With a right sore arm from shooting with Mark’s Canon EOS-XTI- I have a darn right to be tired and cranky.
Add on waking up at 7am to get to a friend’s wedding to take some cute photos and drowning in sweat in my un-air-conditioned apartment (at least not in construction noise and I’d like to think my place as a “luxury sauna I reside in with the comforts of home”).
Oklahoma was a great show down at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. After the show my friend, who was the birthday girl tonight, held a little birthday dinner at the White Spot on Cardero Street in Downtown. I left the dinner-party earlier than usual, because my stomach hurt (too much seafood in the day-time) and I have to wake up early in the morning.
I just can’t fall asleep until I get this small thing that bothered me at the party.
There was this one young gentlemen who joined us at the party.
Imagine five or six tables lined up in one row with chairs all around it.
This gentlemen, who sat close to the opposite side of the row, thought it was appropriate to bring out his shiny MacBook and show off some of his stuff.
I don’t have a problem with laptops at tables, my classmates bring them out all the time whenever we’re waiting for out food at the pub.
I just thought-
“That’s a nice laptop, but this IS a dinner party. It’s not lunch, a business meeting, or a proposal get-together.
What is he doing?
Well… I guess it is my friend’s birthday party, maybe he’s gonna do a sweet slide-show presentation with photos of the birthday girl with more of her friends.”
I brought myself to ignore his party-faux-pas and just get back to chatting it up with the other guests, but I couldn’t stop thinking-
“Look, it’s my friend’s birthday dinner here. Why are you on Facebook? Are you trying to say my friend isn’t good enough company for you, so you decided to bring out your laptop? Oh- so I see you’ve taken some nice photos…”
What was he thinking?
If he was trying to nab another client for another photo-shoot why didn’t he instead hand over a card discreetly and say- “Let’s talk business later, so here’s my card.”?
Especially in times of celebration, this act “bringing out the laptop and doing some self-promotion” was just a sign of disrespect to my friend.
If he was showing to the whole party cute photos involving the birthday person, or whoever the celebration is for- that’s welcomed. Promoting your talents and your job don’t really belong on a dinner table- especially at a birthday party.
It wasn’t just a sign of disrespect, it was more like a slap in the face.
It’s like slapping my friend in the face and saying,
“You’re an absolutely boring person- so I’m going to bring up things on-screen that don’t involve you and show everyone how talented I am.”
I really wanted to go up to this particular gentleman and express my opinions about having his laptop open at a birthday dinner party.
Yet I was told by another dear friend recently that I can be a little extreme and unnecessary with my comments.
Not wanting to see a look of disappointment and embarrassment from the birthday girl, I decided to stay quiet and eat my dinner.
I could be wrong about the whole “self-promotional” thing. Who knows.
I called my colleague involved in photography and asked him if I was being irrational about this situation.
He agreed, whether self-promoting or not, it’s not the greatest idea to have the laptop open at a dinner table with many guests.
“If he was a friend of mine, I would have taken him aside and tell him to do his business later or away from the table. But because he was just another person at the party- I’d let him make himself look like a jack-ass.”
It was sort of sad actually- I’m usually myself and not afraid about what other people would think of me when I share my opinions. But I admit that I didn’t want to face another look of disappointment and “look, you’re embarassing me AGAIN” from the birthday-girl. (Just not on her birthday, on a special day and around people she cares about.)
Don’t get me wrong- I’m all for shame-less self promotion, especially for creative professionals.
But there are time and places where it’s highly recommended to be done or not.
I think as a self-promoter, your friends had probably heard already enough of what “fabulous” projects you’re working on.
Leave the advertising to others while mingling or wandering around.
Leave it out when it’s celebration, family, or a formal affair at a table.