Anyhow George, the guy who does 90% of the actual tangible work, has recently decided that he didn't know if the framer's life was the one for him, so he's leaving the company. I don't blame him. He's been doing it since he got out of school ten years ago; he's still young and there's a lot of things he would probably like to try. It does put Ron (the founder of the business) in a precarious position, though. He's in his early fifties now and doesn't want to admit defeat and start over. But he can hardly run the business on his own. Enter me, a former art student who basically knows nothing about the framing business, to what? Save the day?
Last Friday was George's official last day. He'll continue to come in on an as needed basis for a while, though. The problem is that I cannot, and I can't imagine that Ron can, foresee a time in the near or distant future that Ron won't need to have George around to simply keep his business afloat. I'm still very green. I can do a lot of the jobs. I could do them well, or I could do the efficiently. You really need to be able to do both at the same time. A good, fast job. One or the other just won't do. I also don't have the experience with the way the company runs to be able to take any real initiative. So I end up finishing one job and having to go to Ron, make him stop whatever he is doing to give me a new task. It's not a very organic process, and I don't see it getting a lot better in the future.
It's not that I think the business is dying. I think it's already dead. Only Ron doesn't seem to be making any preparations for its burial. Instead he has brought me in to study the corpse like a med student in a gross anatomy lab. "Screw around for a while. See how this or that works. Have fun." I mean, I know he knows it's dead.
I'm not there today because he's not going to be. There's a huge back-load of work to be done that George is going to be in for a second straight day to get through. Ron, I think, has a wedding to go to tomorrow and won't be back to work until next week. I'll be working with Barbara, another middle-aged small business owner whose future is uncertain, tomorrow packing and delivering a bunch of art. Ron is a client of Barbara's, and I got the job with him through her. I got the job with her through a friend and former teacher of mine. She pays me more than Ron, and aside from the occasional beautiful piece of art I might handle before framing, I prefer the delivery work. It's far from perfect though, and I'll talk about the absurdities of that situation at a later date.
As an update, I almost didn't cry yesterday, and my finger, while ugly, is at about 80%.