The Trickle-Down Stress Effect

Caiman crocodilus in water ...

Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. That’s partly because I don’t consider myself someone who has much to say and partly because I’ve thankfully been busy enough to not worry about where my web site ranking is based on my pathetic blogging record.

But being busy and staying sane are two completely different things. I’ve been a graphic designer for over 20 years (ok, now I just feel old) and I have never seen the time-crunch crises that I’ve seen escalating over the last year.

My four least-favorite letters are: ASAP.

Followed closely by the phrase, “We needed this yesterday.”

So I’ve spent several months growing more and more annoyed and practicing (excruciating) patience by responding in kind and trying to get everyone’s work done. All the while I’ve also been making snarky comments in my head like, “Really? Get in line,” or, “Well then, why didn’t you do it yesterday?”, and finally, “Not my problem.”

However, it has become my problem and I’ve spent a lot of time wondering why all of a sudden so many clients have lost their collective cool. Did these formerly organized, sharp, smart people suddenly forget the concept of time management? Or of pulling all the content together before throwing it at the designer?

But then I had a series of conversations with people from several different fields and I realize that these good people have not suddenly gone completely incompetent – they’ve gotten completely SWAMPED – like barely treading water with cranky crocodiles closing in for a marketing meal. And they are just doing the best they can to get their insane to-do lists done.

And those lists just keep getting longer as more work keeps getting piled on, but timelines and expectations are not only not adjusted accordingly, but amped up all the more. This leaves the graphic designers and the printers at the end of the line of a lot of really stressed out people.

It also leaves less time for great design and more room for errors. So like the saying goes:

You can have it fast, good, or cheap. Pick two.

And remember… When that stress trickles down to your designer (and printer) – that nuttiness will be palpable and highly irritating to our creative lot – but we’ll probably manage to save your bacon from the crocs anyhow.

This article has 2 comments

  1. Joel
    Around 2 years ago

    Nice post T. I can attest to what you experience first-hand. “More with less,” is pretty much here to stay I am afraid.

  2. tyra
    Around 2 years ago

    Thanks, Joel. I was getting really annoyed with people and down on myself for being so impatient, until I realized it’s just too much work for too few people and it takes its toll on everyone.

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