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Career Coach: On Deadline

Pam talks about the need to set deadlines for completing your own projects or they just won't get done.

Pamela Kleibrink


I’ve been working on this article for a long time.  In fact, I was writing about a totally different topic and decided that it sounded too much like I was preaching.  I was writing something I believe in–building your savings for financial freedom–but it sounded like a lecture.  Something I wouldn’t want to read.  So I was struggling with that and that is why this column is so late. We sometimes complain that we are working so hard at a job that we don’t have time to work on our own stuff.  One good thing about having a job is that you have people you are accountable to.  They expect you to deliver.  They expect you to meet deadlines.  Deadlines help you get stuff done. If you are a freelancer or a company owner, your client sets deadlines when he or she asks you when you can deliver something.  You have to meet the expectations of the client or you will not be working long.  So you do whatever you have to do to meet those deadlines. If you had unlimited time to finish a project, it is unlikely you would do so.  Work expands to fill the time you have.  Do you have a personal project you never seem to get around to doing?  Perhaps it’s updating your reel, creating a website or animating a short or other project.  You have to set your own deadlines or else you won’t get the project completed.  To do that personal project you have to impose deadlines on yourself.  When you work on your own stuff, you must set your own milestones and deliverables.  And you have to schedule time to do the work.  Keep that time sacred and you will finish that animated short or painting or sculpture.  You will update that resume, portfolio or demo reel if there is a deadline.  How many of you are working on your marketing materials right now in anticipation of next month’s SIGGRAPH?  You get my point.  If you have a deadline you will do the necessary work.  If you don’t, there are all kinds of things to distract you. So treat yourself as a boss or a client–set those deadlines and you’ll find you’ll be able to finish that pet project you have been neglecting. UCLA Screenwriting Chairman Richard Walter wisely says, “Deadlines are your friend.”  It may be true, but I still hate them. Resources: Essentials of Screenwriting, by Richard Walter


©2012 Pamela Kleibrink Thompson Pamela Kleibrink Thompson has been writing her monthly column The Career Coach since 1999.  This is one of the latest columns she has ever submitted.  She recently spoke about “Finding the Right Person for the Job” and “Hunting and Fishing: Targeting Employers” at Jalloo  She is available for career coaching, speaking, and recruiting.  You can reach her at