Turning down work

Post length: 737 words, about 3 and a half minutes.

It doesn’t happen often but last weekend, amongst all the other turbulent events, I got an offer of work which I decided to turn down.  And it seems I made the right choice.

While out shooting the Hallowe’en party last weekend I was approached by a man asking if I did this professionally: “I’m looking for someone who knows what they’re doing for an event we’re holding tomorrow night in Woking” he told me, “it looks like you know your stuff, just looking at your flash”.  I shoot with a Canon Speedlite 580EXII.  He went on to tell me about his event.  “There are some big names going to be playing — N-Dubz, Jodie Steele”.  I’d never heard of either of these.  And something was making alarm bells ring.  Still, I gave him my card and he gave me a flyer.

When I got home I decided to do a little bit of research.  He’d told me about their new website (in fact he offered me publicity through it — he said that he’d let me us it to promote my work.  I explained I pretty much had that covered myself), so I started looking there.  It looked reasonable.  It explained about the event, a 16+ club night, their launch event.  Their gallery section had some images which had obviously been stolen from somewhere else.  Next I checked their Facebook event page.  This looked a little less professional.  They had over 1000 people saying they were going to go, but the text was very poorly written and all the contact details were mobile numbers.  People seemed to be excited about going.  I still wasn’t convinced.  I decided that I wouldn’t ring them as he’d said I should, I’d let them ring me.  And I went to bed.

Next morning I woke up thinking about it.  This is my kind of work, and normally I wouldn’t think twice about it if I had a gap in the diary, but still something didn’t seem right.  My mobile rang about half 10, I didn’t check it, but I decided not to answer.  It turned out to be the letting agent asking if we had any post for the previous tenants.  The day went on as normal, no one rang.  Just as I’d pretty much decided they weren’t going to ring my phone rang again.  This time it was the man I’d met last night.  I didn’t answer.

It was about half 7 in the evening and the event was due to start at 9pm.  This was pretty much the deciding factor — any properly organised company would have sorted this out before now, especially given that they had promoted that photographers would be there on their publicity.  I think this is part of what made me feel uneasy the night before: why would a well organised company approach someone in the bar the night before asking if they could shoot their event?  So I didn’t go.

Next morning I checked in on the Facebook group again, had people enjoyed themselves?  The first comment: “WHAT A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS THAT NIGHT WAS!! FUCKIN RIP OFF! COMPLETE N UTTER SHIT!”.  Oh good.  The next wall post was from the organisers claiming they had problems with the club management and that “At 11pm on the night we were threatened with the club being shut down”.  Sounds like a rocking night.  I think my suspicions were well placed.  Who knows what would have happened if I had turned up…

He still has my card, and they are promising to do another event at the end of this month for everyone who was let down last time so maybe I’ll hear from them again, but I think that’ll be another job I’ll be turning down.  Besides I think this next event might never happen — their website has now disappeared.  I wonder if that was done on a promise like they tried with me (“we’ll give you publicity!”) and with the failure of this event that poor person, who has already put the time an effort in, has decided to pull out.

Either way, it’s times like that sometimes it’s better to listen to your gut feelings than just grab work when it’s offered.  My horoscope for the day of the event gave the best advice, in fact: “Well, on the 1st, if somebody comes your way peddling something that, while appealing, just makes no darn sense, say no.”

Posted on Monday 10th November, 2008 at 4:01 am in Photography, Work & Career.
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