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The Career Coach: Slaying Your Prospects -- The Sequel

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson continues with more horror stories in this month's column.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson.

This is the month of Thanksgiving in the U.S. and I want to thank AWN for giving me the opportunity to write for them. I also want to thank my readers for all their reactions, response and comments about last month's column "Slay Your Prospects." I told a scary tale about a system administrator who didn't show up for work.

Here are a few more scary and true tales from readers:

Tony Power of Vancouver, BC wrote:

"Sometimes the things that artists do make me shake my head.

"How about doing a follow up about leaving a position before end dates are met? Sometimes artists, especially those just starting out, do not realize how important it is to end a project contract in good standing.

"When I was working on a CG series a couple of years ago we had an artist who gave notice towards the end of our project to go onto another longer project in town.

"The interesting thing was that his 'two weeks' notice' was given on a Friday before a long weekend and the artist had already previously booked off the rest of the following week as a holiday. Not exactly 'two weeks' notice.' Artists are always on the look-out for new projects when things are coming to an end but how one leaves a project can also 'Slay Prospects'."

Beginners do not have a monopoly on mistakes. Experienced artists also do not know how important it is to end a job in good standing. Here is a story from Onel Mesa from the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area:

"I saw it happen on my very first production, a two commercial project. The supervisors of the project hired this guy who was known to be one of the best compositors in Miami. As you may know the compositor is the one who puts all pieces of the puzzle together to make the final product look amazing. He was working with one of our student employees, who was very bright and a fast learner."

Onel relates that the experienced compositor seemed excited about the project in the beginning but started showing up to the studio very few times a week and very little hours each time. The commercials had tight deadlines and the supervisors spoke to the compositor and the hours and workload were accommodated to his pleasing. "A week before the first project was due, he came in, worked for about an hour, and left. He was called and he just said he didn't want to be part of the project anymore due to personal problems. The projects got finished on time and achieved very good reviews from the client and even got published in the local newspaper as the best production of the year, but this was achieved through numerous non sleeping days, which the apprentice student did to save the production. I took it very personal since I felt the stress of not being able to finish and the stress of my friend who I know had to shift her learning to top gear and deliver the final product."

As the art director for a company that created laser shows for theme parks and special events, Jerry Fuchs of Atlanta wrote that his experiences with freelancers have usually been great, but he had a story about a full-time employee.

"As for full-time kookiness, I had hired a person for a full-time position, and after all the paper work was filled out, I was informed by him that he had a two week, European vacation scheduled for the following month, during our production!

"I think my oddest experience was the guy who went to lunch and never came back. He and I were digitizing animation for the lasers, and we broke for lunch. The last time I saw him was walking across the parking lot. He just left and never came back, didn't even send for his check. Nobody ever answered his phone either."

Mary Ann Mann of San Francisco was appalled at the story of the system administrator not showing up for work and wrote:

"Unbelievable, although it happens more often than you think. What happened to our morals? Word spreads like wildfire within the IT industry."

Keiko Hirose, a producer in Tokyo, told how she deftly handled getting two job offers. Unlike the system administrator I wrote about last month, Keiko handled the situation perfectly.

She was offered a job as a producer at company A run by a former co-worker.

She had a very good first day at company A, followed by a welcome dinner with the team, and was quite happy except for a slight concern about an email from company B requesting an urgent meeting. The next day, she visited company B, and the president who she had known for more than 10 years asked her to join the project as line producer.

"Oh, my gosh. Why didn't they tell me one day earlier? I had just made a commitment to company A. The president of company B mentioned this project several times to me and I knew it was a big deal for him and his company."

When she told the president of company A about the project at company B, he said, "Well, it sounds like it's a big project that you have been following. Why don't you do this project and come back to my company after you finish." Keiko writes: "Wow. He is very generous to offer that to me, amazing! I was very happy, relieved, to be able to have this kind of amazing arrangement, thanks to company A's president.I think the key to a successful arrangement is to be honest.  Honesty and sincerity were the key."

Keiko is right: Honesty and sincerity are keys to maintaining a great reputation.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson has recruited for companies all over the world and recognizes how small the world really is and how important it is to maintain an impeccable reputation. You can reach her for speaking engagements, recruiting or personal career coaching at Plan to attend the Creative Talent Network Animation Expo Nov. 20-22 at the Burbank Convention Center in Burbank, California. Visit Register for a one or three-day General/Professional Passport and enter PTHOMX09 to receive a 10% discount.