Recently I was laid off from the company where I had been working for the last year as an in-house designer. While I was sad about the situation, I had already been thinking of moving on.
I knew when I left that they were still going to need my services as a designer periodically, and as a freelancer I’m always open to having more clients. What has been interesting is how the company still interacts with me as though I am their in-house designer.
I made sure that everyone I worked with on a regular basis knew I was leaving, finished up some long-term branding projects and prepared several documents detailing everything from logo treatments to asset locations on their servers. I did my best to make sure they were set up for success and whoever they worked with after me would have an easier time grasping the lay of their corporate identity.
I was surprised when I left that no one had approached me to ask about my workflow, for any special projects to be completed before I left, etc. Since leaving they keep contacting me every couple days for work and with questions. All of this has been very cordial until this week when I was asked to create new art for their YouTube channel and after delivering the new artwork, was asked to upload it to their profile.
Now uploading the artwork on social media accounts was one of the things I used to do when I worked in-house, however, as an outside contractor I find it totally inappropriate for me to update any accounts held by my clients unless I have been hired to manage that account full time. Having created social media artwork for other clients in the past, the creation and handoff of the artwork was never an issue.
However, explaining my policy against updating clients’ social media accounts on their behalf garnered me a rather rude backlash that was extremely unprofessional. I do understand that, to them, my relationship with the company may not have seemed to change as they never had me on as salaried staff and I’m still doing graphics for them. But the relationship has changed.
I’m no longer in their office on a daily basis from 8am-5pm. I’m only a graphic designer now, not a marketing assistant. I am my own boss and I can refuse to do work I deem not in my best interest. I am now another freelancer whom they hire out to. And I know for a fact that they would never ask the video guy they work with to post the videos he creates for them to YouTube.
I’m sure I’m not the only freelancer who has encountered a client who has asked them to perform work outside the range of their offered services. It’s hard telling a client that you will not perform a task they have asked you to. Especially when that client makes it personal and does not keep things professional.