I remember when DJ was about 5. She was angry at a parenting decision I had made – so she came storming into the kitchen, hands on her hips, and declared in her angriest voice that I was the worst Moe in the whole world. After she made this bold declaration, she stood there waiting for the response – her body language and facial expression told me she believe she had hit me where she knew it would hurt me.
I cheered. “I did it! I am the worst moe in the whole world. I’d like to thank all of those authors of books I read that promised me if I did these things as a parent that this would be the result. I knew I could do it!!” Then I asked if I got a statuette.
Her jaw hit the floor. She knew she was beat. And she left the room with her head hanging.
There have been many jobs in my life where I knew that being popular and not having people upset with me for some reason or another was not the best approach. That sometimes being hated meant I was doing my job right.
And last night, I was reminded of that.
I curate a gallery show 6 times a year. I work with artists for months before the show. I put together all of the promotion info for the show – send out press releases, get my team to promote on social media sites, etc. I strongly encourage artists to tap into their own followers, their own fans, etc to market the show. And most artists do all of these things.
And when they don’t……they really REALLY don’t. They fuck it up and waste my time. Rarely do they blame me. Until last night.
A guy who chose to deliver 15 more pieces than I requested. A guy who committed to a show at a place that is 4hrs from his home. A guy who committed to a timeline several times but never showed up until the last possible moment – and even then, he was not ready. A guy who did zero self promotion.
A guy who thinks I’m the most unprofessional person he’s ever worked with.
Why did he think that? Because I didn’t take every call he made to me while I was working and in meetings. Because when I explained I could not get back to him on his timeline due to personal obligations, he did not like it. Because he doesn’t think I did enough to try to sell his art. Because he didn’t think I gave him enough feedback on things, he felt not-special.
We won’t talk about how creepy he was. We won’t talk about the fact I would not meet him alone because his creep factor when I did talk to him was high. We won’t talk about the number of time he did not take my call – or answer my emails and texts. We won’t talk about the fact he committed to be at the gallery at a particular time, then didn’t leave for several more hours making him several hours late. We won’t talk about the fact he met zero of his commitments to me – and it was like pulling teeth to get him to do it. We won’t talk about the fact he wasted at least 3 hours of my team’s time waiting for him to show up on the last day we could hang his show. We won’t think about those things.
Because I am the one who is unprofessional.
Thankfully the person on my team who was handling him listened to his bitching and whining until he went after me. At that point, he took the guy to task. He defended me in a heartbeat – telling the artist that I do this in addition to working full-time, being a parent, handling family emergencies (a death in the family had occurred during all of this meaning I had to do the solo parent thing for about 10 days during this time), etc. He went on to give him some blunt feedback about his own professionalism or lack thereof. Last night was the 3rd time he rescheduled art pickup from the club. He kept de-prioritizing getting the art in favor of other more fun things that came up . This occurred until my team member put his foot down and told him it was now or never, stop screwing around.
When my team member told me this story last night, the guy was still angry. “The nerve of this fucker” was what he kept saying. He was worried about telling me what he said – but I told him I was fine with it. I told him my regret is that I wasn’t more firm with the artist. That I had taken into consideration the money he spent getting ready for the show when he was trying to flake on me. Had I not, I would have told him to forget it. Just ironic that my consideration was ignored. Like I told my angry team member, I don’t care.
He’s pissed because I was doing my job, holding boundaries with a guy who wanted more time than he deserved, then I’m good with being unprofessional. Toss in “Emmy is a bitch” too. I’m good. Because it just means, I’m doing my job right.
I just think that next time, I want a statuette to add to my collection. I’ll put it next to the World’s Worst Moe award.