People who know us know that H is a wicked talented graphic designer. I love his work, but obvs I’m biased. He’s made many cards and gifts for people–lots of posters, printed scripts with cool covers, etc. He designs all my marketing stuff, and created the logos for Under the Bed magazine and The Horror Within, among other things. He’s designed some awesome book covers and more marketing stuff for friends, family, and clients.
I’d been pestering him to put a portfolio together, so he could make more money doing something he loves and is awesome at. He didn’t. A year ago I figured, screw it. We’ll start a business together. I can do book layout and editing, he can do cover and internal graphics. Together, we could help people self-publish their books, and maybe even publish some people outside what I already did with the magazine (except with better communication and more money), and what I do with the site now (again, with more money). So we’ve had a few clients and done some good work.
Then…one of our clients took some of H’s designs to H’s day-job for printing. I’m not saying the name of H’s work here, and if you know it, please refrain from saying so in the comments. Anyway, this led to questions that then led to H’s work informing him that he is not allowed to perform, for profit, any service that his company offers. Even if it’s to people who were not customers already. Even if it’s something he doesn’t actually do for this company, and therefore doesn’t involve poaching customers. Even though it doesn’t involve using his work’s equipment or resources, or wouldn’t impact his job function in any way. Even though he’s been with the company for almost 20 years and has never been reprimanded in any capacity. He isn’t allowed to use his skills to make money on his own time, because employees of his company in another facility H has never even been to, do something similar to what he does–design graphics.
I can’t even put into words how sad and angry I am about this.
Our new business was going really well. We had annoying clients who paid us a good wage, and let us work together to do great things for a variety of projects. It was great and promised to only get more awesome as time went on.
Now it’s over.
Sure, I can still take on clients for layout and editing. But I don’t have H’s skills backing me up. We can’t offer cover design services or marketing support that requires the use of graphics (ie: most of it). We’d never be a full-service company for people who want to publish books. All because an obscenely profitable and absurdly huge company thinks they have a right to tell H what to do in his own time, with his own computers and talent. And being H, he’s not even going to argue with them. Because that’s the kind of employee he is.
I can’t even let H know the full extent of my disappointment and anger, because he already feels really bad about it.
So long, [name of company redacted].
You were a good dream.