Are you a creative person working in the field you love? Have you been dreaming of joining forces with others and creating a safe, transparent bubble in which your only worry is your next project? Have you had extended talks with people about strategies and how great it would be to work together, only to later on find an email on your phone saying you’d better call it off because the risk is too high?
I’m Sarah. I’m a music artist and I just got dropped by a business partner via email – a business partner I had just seen five minutes before. Maybe it’s karma firing back at me, because I’ve acted similarly. What’s wrong with us, people? Business email break-ups are a big fail and here’s why.
WORK IS WORK.
I believe we’ve all spent quite some time learning our job. Especially in the art world, we’ll probably never stop learning. Joining the creative industry is always a choice. Our motivation is our passion and, despite the opinions of the people around us, our determination fuels us with strength and bravery in order to face all obstacles and hardships that we come across.
But work is work. Being professional is important. Working in the creative industry means we have to build a network of people. Personal contact can be more important than being good at our job. It’s sad but true. Whenever we work with somebody, rule number one is to be transparent about everything that’s going well and not so well. We don’t want to bring back memories of that emotionally unavailable boyfriend/girlfriend it took ages to get over. Let’s stop pulling the „it’s not you, it’s me“ card and confront the other person honestly. Respect and honesty are the alpha and the omega of a great partnership. And even when we really need to cut it off with someone, chances are it will be much less dramatic than we imagine. I assume this is the driving fear behind sending a cowardly email instead of talking to the other person directly.
THE INTERNET IS A TOOL, NOT A SHIELD.
I’m all down for the digital, modern ways, but until we become hybrids between humans and robots, there’s a social rule book, and it applies especially to the business world. Assuming we want to succeed, I wish us not to be the “all talk“ kind of characters. Unless one has a job that allows her to work from whenever/wherever without actually meeting people, nobody can escape the people we work with. And even after a business break-up we may have to deal with that person again in the future. No keyboard will save us from it. I guess we just need to put ourselves into the other person’s position. Do we want to be dropped via email by people we were planning on working with? Talking with them, telling them about our doubts and concerns is the only fair way. Why are we making it more complicated than it already is?
EVEN A PHONE CALL IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN AN EMAIL.
I understand that breaking bad news is not the best thing, but let’s remember that the receiver has to deal with much more after „the outing“ (pun intended), especially when bad news comes from out of the blue. There is a reason why we consider writing that email – we are scared of the other person’s reaction. Fair enough, but no one can have it all in life. It will be so much more appreciated if we show them the respect they deserve (even when they tremendously failed us). Being nice to our fellow humans is the bigger move and simply kind behaviour in general. And even if we don’t have the time to meet, calling and letting someone know still works better than just dropping some words in their mailbox.
WE’RE GIVEN MOUTHS TO TALK.
Communication has always been a major part of society. Talking about both the good and the bad hasn’t lost its importance. Not yet, anyway! Speaking directly with our partners/colleagues/employees is basic courtesy. Believe it or not, being straightforward and direct saves us much more energy than anything else. Let’s stop avoiding discussions, let’s stop hiding behind keyboards and let’s simply talk.
All photos are from Christoph Neumann.