Friday, November 21, 2008

Well anyone could have seen this coming

I knew this would come back to bite him in the ass when the lack of any common sense in the scheduling became apparent.

There was almost a mutiny in here this week.

And the reason for the mutiny was quite simply that the producer did not take Christmas or holidays in general into account when making up the schedule. I guess it's hard to blame him. I mean, who could have seen Christmas coming? But the reaction was obvious - it was going to piss some people off.

And pissed off workers are not good workers.

They never are. Ever.

When the reaction became apparent (unlike the image above, the producer chose not to deliver the news himself), the scheduler in question went on the defensive. Went on to prove he was right about the schedule and that everybody should have known about the Christmas plans and then was afraid to budge in case it was seen as a sign of weakness.

Like the animators are the enemy.

I wonder if there are any management books anywhere that recommend you should view your staff like they are your enemy? I'd be surprised but who knows... maybe there's one out there somewhere. But I'd be pretty damn sure that there are many more that would advocate treating your staff well, recommend not using 'I'm right and I'll prove it' as a tactic for dealing with people who feel antagonised, point out that the cost of having angry workers steaming and bitching together is far greater than working a few more days into the schedule.

It all just seems like common sense to me.


Andy Latham said...

I can quite easily imagine bosses thinking of their employees as enemies. The thing is, if a boss is nice to his/her staff, is it because they respect their staff and WANT them to be happy, or is it because they don't want a rebellion on their hands?

It may be a cinical point of view, but I can't help thinking that 90% of top-ranking bosses are not in the least bit interested in keeping a workforce happy. They may realise they have to sometimes and do the absolute bare minimum to reach the "happy" threshold. Just happy enough to avoid strikes, but no more.

But yeah, a happy worker is a productive one and it bewilders me that noone seems to have cottoned onto this. Surely if a boss spends a few more pennies on his staff, the increase in productivity will pay him back with profit. I think bosses just don't consider the long term. They don't want to spend anything unless they get an immediate reward. They are children, and spoiled ones at that.

I hate the business world and it sickens me that it controls the creative world in fields like animation.

Red Pill Junkie said...

I tried to enter the Animation business when I was But I couldn't stand the woman who was supposedly my immediate boss; it wasn't only that my work was completely unappreciated because I did all: layouts, backgrounds, character design and animation including in-betweens and cleanups (it was a very VERY small company). But the moment I lost it was when she explained it I had to work all night and the weekend to pull a project off, and that if I didn't like it, well... TOUGH! I had an episode of rage, I stood up and walked away. And that was that.

Where would I be if I hadn't walked away? I don't know... it haunts me sometimes. But I know that having an incompetent boss over you who cares not about ho many hours you're devoting to the office is Hell on Earth.

They ask you to 'put on the shirt' and be a team player, but what do you do when the shirt they gave you is actually a dirty floorcloth?

Andy Latham said...

There's an odd thing I just thought of. The more a person is passionate about their job, the more they will want to keep doing it, even if it means laying down and taking a load of crap from bosses. There must come a point though where a person gets so passionate that they have to speak out about their feelings. I wonder where that point is?

Bitter Animator said...

That makes it all the harder, Andy. If you don't care about your work, it can be easier to just get on with things. But if you're passionate about it and you feel that you should be doing the best you can, it can kill to not get the support from those above you. Or worse, to feel they don't care.

I've been there. I spent months bitching with co-workers and it was poisonous. For me and everyone else there.

It ended with me writing a letter, an angry list of things I thought the boss was doing wrong and why he should be doing things better. Oddly, it didn't get me fired - it got me the position I now have (that's a whole long story I should really go into on the blog at some point).

But some leave, try to find a studio that works better for them (and often they do). Others try to set up their own studios (difficult but doable). Others just allow their hearts to blacken with that poison and end up bitter and twisted. And probably more still just get out of the business, as Red Pill Junkie did, figuring their sanity is worth more than the hassle of the industry.

And they could be right.

Red Pill Junkie said...

When I was doing my thesis to get my college diploma, I stumbled upon a very weird and interesting book: The Teachings of Don Juan, by Carlos CastaƱeda.

It was a very lucky break for me—if you believe in things like 'luck' & 'coincidence', which I stopped doing quite a while ago— because in the book there was a passage about "the path with heart".

Basically, it tells that for each & every one of us there's a special journey or path; the way to tell if you had found your special path, was to see if travelling through it felt like a blessing or a curse. The path with heart makes you stronger and more able to face the inevitable difficulties ahead; the path without heart weakens you and it slowly steals your energy.

We all must find our "path with heart". Have you found yours?

Andy Latham said...

I can feel that poison surrounding me sometimes, and moments of pure animosity for those above me sometimes creep up on me as I sit around with co-workers bitching about how the company works...or doesn't.

However for the most part, I have been able to avoid it consuming me. My love of what I do stops it getting on top of me. It also helps that even though there are numerous things at work that annoy me, it is still the best job I have ever had and has brought me closer to my dream than I have ever been before.

I guess that falls in line with the "path with heart" that Red Pill Junkie speaks of. I can see people that have come from jobs that were far more suited to them (usually stop-motion jobs) having the life sucked out of them. I see them get more depressed every day, gaining real resentment for their job. I hope that never happens to me.

I think my measure of what a good job is, is whether or not you would do it without being paid. I want to be a great animator, and that goal remains whether my job allows it or not.

On the subject of that letter, Bitter, I'd be very interested to hear that story.

Bitter Animator said...

Am I following the "path with heart"? I don't know. I must examine that and post on the subject.