Friday, April 6, 2012

Insanity - expectations not met

Recent facebook discussions circling each other have made me reflect on my previous teaching relationships with fellow instructors and event organizers. A quote from "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" is applicable- Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Here are my thoughts.

1. Discuss the services that will be rendered whether it's teaching, djing, performances, etc
2. Be clear about what you need even if teaching is a hobby. Think 5 years down the road. What precedent do you want to set?
3. Discuss applicable fees and if there's no profit split, have a compensation figure you're both agreed on.
4. Inquire when payment will be made and follow up at the appropriate time.
5. Be clear what you are saying "no" or "yes" too. Some organizers are way too flighty or only half pay attention.
6. Don't leave the event without getting paid. If it's cash or check, get it that weekend. If it's a money transfer, confirm it's in your bank account before you leave.
7. If you require a teaching or djing schedule by a certain time for your own sanity and preparation, ask for it.
8. Be professional and demand professionalism back.

An event organizer told me to prepare one aerials class for their event. At a dinner one week before said event, volunteers informed me that I would be teaching a completely different class than the one I was planning for. I was ill prepared and stressed. I also asked for a dj schedule which I never received, so I never dj'ed that weekend.

One dance organizer didn't pay me at the end of a dance where I played an extra two hours. People still remember that very memorable dance. The organizer said he would pay me at the next dance. I believed him. There was never a next dance and I've never been compensated.

At another event, the organizer asked if I could help with the contest that night, so I asked several questions to understand what they were asking. Eventually, this turned into them wanting me to plan the entire contest as befitting my vision. Never let the organizer dump extra work on you that you did not explicitly say "yes" to.

Another workshop organizer who was to be my teaching partner stated that I would receive 100% of workshop proceeds after expenses. This was because I would have to invest many hours training them for this highly skilled workshop. I was paid 75%, inquired about this, and she got upset. In the end, I considered my 25% a donation to her future event.

I discovered 2 months before an event I made the DJ list. This was confirmed 3 weeks before the event and I was put in touch with the DJ coordinator. Two weeks before the event, I find out their compensation figures. Two days before the event I ask if DJs get free admittance to the dance evenings they're djing. I expected the typical "yes" and received a "no". I canceled that day because djing at a loss would devalue my valuable services. The moral: don't expect "typical" dj compensation

In the end, I am partially responsible for people not meeting my expectations. I expect similar business practices to occur in the lindy hop world as in the business world. Someone recently mentioned people taking advantage of working in our cozy scene. Just because we're cozy doesn't mean we should lean toward lackadaisical business practices which can eventually lead toward ill feelings or people getting hurt. Don't live with insanity. If you're getting the same results each time, try something new.

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