Know When to say “Bye, Felicia!”

If I can stick with the apparent pop-culture themed advice columns, I will call upon the magic and wisdom of he who is known as Ice Cube.

If you want to be happy and successful in life and your career, you have got to know when to say “Bye, Felicia.”

Click the great and powerful ‘Cube’s image for a clip from “Friday” to provide some context

.byefelicia http://youtu.be/G05u7ihoYQA

If you’re still not sure about the actual meaning of “Bye, Felicia”, I feel that I cannot explain the concept any better than our friends at Urban Dictionary  <- you should have clicked that link.

Anyway, now that you’ve been properly filled in, here’s how this concept applies to you and being happy with life. 

Whether it’s your work life, creative career or personal life, you have to find your threshold; the point when a person or thing’s drama, inconvenience or negativity outweighs any value that they may bring to your life. 

For example, that friend that has remind you of your past mistakes every time something goes well in your life? “Bye, Felicia!”

That day job that makes you miserable every day, sucks out your soul and keeps you from doing something g that you actually enjoy? “Bye, Felicia!”

The client that wants to see every project with 10 different versions, has an unending list of revisions that they expect to be included with original quote and are always looking for a lower rate than last time? “Bye, Felicia!”

The significant other that belittles your work or accomplishments and demands all of the attention you have, distracting from your creative work? “Bye, Felicia!”

I think you’re starting to get the picture.

So to make the point and hammer it home all at once, here it is; At times in your life you are going to have to make the tough decision of cutting particular individuals out of it. It’s more often than not going to be hard, and sometimes the ones that make you have to cut them out can be surprising.

You might be flying high. A decade of struggle under your belt and you just landed your first freelance gig with a major publisher, on the verge of self-publishing your memoirs, or maybe you’ve completed the project and it’s actually being well received by fans. Suddenly that close friend or family member who supported you all along on your struggle starts to become distant and passive aggressive. As crazy as it sounds it happens. The world is filled with all types of people with all different types of thought processes, and it’s inevitable that some of them prefer watching you struggle over succeeding.

Some people may feel that their role in your life is to emotionally support you when you are struggling with your own creative turmoil. It follows that they may feel that your impending success may eliminate the need for them and their emotional support in your life. They feel that if the struggle is over so is your need for them, thus the cranky, distant attitude that seems to come from nowhere.

The good news is, there are things that you can do to help navigate the personal relationships.

Be understanding. Remind those close to you that they are still important in your life. Never forget that fame and success are fleeting; what is here today will most likely be gone tomorrow. Your friends and family are the ones that will still be around for the most part. Be the mature one, be the adult, allow those that are close to you to have their feelings of insecurity and to process and deal with those feelings and be there to be emotionally supportive with them, the way they have been with you.

It won’t always work. Some people will get on that negative, insecure track and ride it to hell and lash out at you and anyone else who tries to stop them. 

It’s important that you don’t let those around you that are mired in negativity and insecurity drag you down. Recognize that you are a person worthy of success. You don’t deserve to be undermined for all of your work. Don’t be afraid to say “Bye, Felicia” and let those that would drag you down be left to stew in a mire of their own negativity. 

Some will get through it, face their own feelings of inadequacy and come back to be an important part of your life in a month or a year or more. Others may not.

There may be some people you considered close to your heart who become hell bent of some misguided, spiteful grudge against you, based simply on the fact that you worked hard and got what you wanted. Don’t dwell on those people. They aren’t worth your time and were likely never the person you thought they were, and that’s not your failing, it’s theirs. It’s simply not worth your time to dwell on when you have your own successes to build upon. Don’t let others repressed jealousy derail your motivation. 

Thankfully when it comes to clients it’s a little more straightforward. 

It comes down to value and respect.

You need to have the confidence to see the value in your own skills and they need to respect your work to see the value in it to them. 

Be smart and plan ahead. Make sure any quote or pricing for your writing, illustration or any other creative work details exactly how many revisions are allowed. I’d suggest no more than one or two revisions. Get it in writing and clearly state that is the client requests additional revisions, that there will be additional fees to compensate you for your time and skills. Make it clear that the client is expected to review the work, either completed or in stages, and provide one concise list of revisions, as opposed to sending them in one at a time in random e-mails or messages. Getting this established early on will help set the tone for a working relationship that is beneficial for both parties. 

There are always going to be clients who try to take advantage of you or your work. Some before you’ve even worked together, some after building a relationship.

The client that asks you to work for exposure is the most obvious one. In this case the best advice I can give is that exposure does not buy groceries. There is no value to it, only the value the client can convince you that it has, which is subjective and ethereal at best. (If you’re going to work for exposure, work on your own creator owned project that you have creative and financial interest in, I’ll talk about that another day.) What is really happening is that someone is asking you to work for free, for their own personal and financial benefit. They are asking you, and possibly your family, to starve or suffer so you can help them realize their creative dreams. “Bye, Felicia.” 

The client that says your price is too high and is looking for a 50% discount. Bye, Felicia!

The client that asks for 10 different versions after you’ve priced them for one job. Bye, Felicia!

The client that hires you for one thing, but then asks you to fix the mistakes made by everyone else that was on the project before you. Bye, Felicia!

The client that keeps coming back, but requires an increasing discount every time because of their “loyalty”. Bye, Felicia!

The new client that requires a bulk discount because they are going to bring you so much work, but doesn’t want to make a contract for the eluded to volume of work, in order to legitimize their request for a bulk discount. Bye, Felicia.

And so on and so forth…

I think you get the idea by now. People are going to try to take advantage of you based on greed or jealousy and when they do, you can let that negative energy become a part of your life, or, you can choose to have confidence in yourself and your skills. Know that other people and clients will move into your life that can work on the basis of respect and friendship, helping build each other up instead of miring each other down.

Sometimes it doesn’t become apparent that you’re in a “Bye, Felicia” situation until you’re in the middle of it. Sometimes you have to grit your teeth and bear it. Just get through it with as little friction as possible and when the opportunity presents itself, or you finish the job, get out as soon as possible. Value your time and know that it’s worth more to you than having to deal with those negative people.

When those “Bye, Felicia” people and clients contact you again, and they will, the ball is in your court. You can simply choose to say “Sorry, my schedule is booked.”, even if your schedule is really full of video games, gatherings with friends or you just have a date with the back of your eyelids. More likely, it will be full of awesome and creatively fulfilling work and people.

Bye, Felicia!

-Mike

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