By Callie Oettinger | Published: July 17, 2015
I’m married to a numbers guy who taught me the art involved with math and business. Before him, I ran from numbers.
This afternoon, I spoke with a guy who said there’s an art to grading a driveway. Thinking back to what my husband taught me about numbers, I don’t doubt the art of the driveway grading, but I doubt art as an excuse.
The driveway guy is trying to sell me a new driveway. I live at the bottom of a hill and need a driveway that includes a dip leading up to my garage, so the garage is higher and water isn’t shooting right into it from the driveway. Instead of saying yes to my request for specific grading language in our contract, he said “we only use general words in our contract” and “grading . . . it’s an art” as if the latter made the former better.
Signing a contract with this guy would be the same pitfall I’ve seen so many artists fall into within their careers.
When someone tells you they’re going to do something for you, ask “How?”
When they say they’ll make everything work out, that you’ll be happy, don’t believe them.
Ask how they’ll do the work.
Ask when they’ll do the work.
Ask the style in which they’ll do the work.
Ask the medium they’ll use to do the work.
Ask how the work will address your needs.
Ask what will happen if the work doesn’t address your needs.
Ask who will be responsible if there’s a problem.
For every decision of your career, think about the decisions you make that relate to your home or your car or your life. Would you go to any doctor just because she promised to make you feel better? Would you leave your car with a mechanic just because he said he could fix it?
Ask the questions. Put the answers in the contract. If you can’t get the answers and/or can’t get the answers added to a contract, don’t sign the contract. If you do, you’re asking for a driveway at the bottom of a hill, with water shooting straight into your garage — or a mismanaged career. You pick. Above all: Run from anyone who says “art” is the reason he can’t be more specific. The art of B.S. is the only time that one flies.