Sorry it’s been so long since my last post Sometimes in life we’re dealt a lousy hand but we’ve got to play that hand anyway or to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Earlier this month I was surprised to find I’d been unceremoniously discharged from the creative team at Pickleberrypop. There was no prior notice. No kind conversation. No contact at all except an email saying my profile had been changed. When I tried to see what was going on with my profile I couldn’t login. Basically, the locks had been changed and my key no longer fit. I’ll get back to this later.
A Little Perspective
Let me put a little perspective on the situation. In March, I was told I had to remove links on my siggy that were going to my blog and gallery because “outside links” were not permitted. This was news to me. When I joined the team I’d looked around to see how others were doing things. Basically, I was mirroring what most of the others were doing on their siggys and I said as much. Sadly, that wasn’t well received. At the same time, I had some personal things that needed attention so I asked a little time off.
My husband has had some ongoing health problems that ultimately resulted in him being sidelined (retired) from driving our truck tractor anymore on June 4th. That was really unexpected and left us scrambling to sell the truck, several trailers, and some other equipment. There are a lot of quarterly reports and paperwork required when closing down a business. Plus, my husband’s health problems were ongoing.
I gave periodic updates about everything going on and tried to keep up as much of my responsibilities as possible while taking care of his needs and the needs of everyday life.
A Little About Creative Teams (CT)
Requirements for creative teams vary and naturally store CT’s have more responsibilities than designers’ creative teams. The purpose of having a CT is advertising, so a team member is required to post their layouts (with links to the product in the store) in 3-4 open galleries, the store’s galleries, Pinterest and Facebook group, your own Pinterest and Facebook page, other social media sites and your own blog. You must also post the layouts in the newsletter thread and link to the store. Four times a year each CT has to post a monthly challenge and interact with the participants. That’s just a few of the things to do each month. AND remember to track & report everything you do every month.
You can probably imagine how much time this can take for each and every layout. CT members do it because they love creating layouts. There is no pay involved other than getting the product you used to create the layout. In addition, many of the open galleries require that you’re active in their forums, galleries, and challenges. That’s fair but it’s also another huge time suck.
I have to say Pickleberrypop is the most organized team I’ve ever worked with. They’re the only team I’ve been on that has a written agreement or contract. Each CT member is required to acknowledge and agree to the terms of the contract which outlines what’s expected of every team member. Fair enough, they expect a commitment. Let me tell you though, it’s a lot! Here are just a few of the many requirements I’ll address:
- Post all your layouts to your blog, gallery, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
- Link to the products in the store with designer provided link
- Add your layout in the newsletter thread with designer provided link
- If you’re going the be MIA for any reason PM or email CT lead
Post to my blog, gallery, and all social media. Check. Every layout/product must be linked to the store. Check. Posted to the newsletter thread. Check. Include links provided by the designer (rarely ever provided) so it’s up to me to track down the link. Check. Finally, keep in contact if personal time is needed. Check.
So Let Me Get This Straight
First, I’m required to post all layouts to my blog, gallery, & all social media. Then I’m told to remove all links from my siggy because the outside links break the rules; however, more than half of team have links to their blogs, galleries, and social media on their siggys. On top of that, I never found this “rule” written anywhere. Brings back memories of “do as I say not as I do” from childhood. Did your parents says that too?
Wrap It Up and Put a Bow on it!
I have a saying I try to live by, “when people show you who they are, believe them”. Sometimes, when a relationship has gone on for a long time I’ll let an incident go but it doesn’t always pan out. When I finally had time to see why I couldn’t login I looked at the list of team members on the site first. I’m sure you can guess who was MIA! So I emailed the owner. She said (in part), “…the last I heard was that you would let us know if you wanted to continue on the team”. This was referring to the incident in March but I HAD let them know. Then she says, “I just figured you had made your decision”.
Excuse Me While I Make Some Lemonade
Finding out I’d quit (LOL) was an unexpected surprise to say the least. Do I blame them? No, not really. I understand they want team members that are busy promoting the store’s agenda. That’s cool. I had produced multiple layouts every week for several years and followed the rules to the best of my ability. At least the written ones! I thought they’d work with me when things went off track. But no! No check in to see how things were going? Not even a note to say, sorry if life is still kicking your butt but you gotta go cause you no longer have time to focus on our agenda. It would’ve been nice and the right thing to do but I’d forgotten, for a moment, to believe what I had already been shown. But I’ll take those lemons and make some sweet Texas lemonade.
Truth Be Told, I’m Fine
Truth be told, I’m fine. My creative juices are still flowing. I’ve got some new ideas in mind and I’m making notes. Right now, I’m still trying to help my husband through some issues. Family first, right? But I’ll soon be back to tell you what direction I’m going and hope it’ll be something you will want to share in. In the mean time, I’ll laugh and shake my head as I tell the story about the time I was fired from my volunteer job.