Thinking Clearly — Archive of past newsletters Volume 1

#110 – Mariah doesn’t do stairs. What will you not do?

Screen shot 2013-11-04 at 21.16.19


High resolution visual version


Hello wonderful

And thank you! I’m completely blown away by how you have chosen to support this newsletter. From the multiple +$100 payments to the weekly $1–it all counts, because it’s a clear signal that you find this valuable. I guess that’s how it works sometimes: create something people really like and simply allow them to give back. Thankyouthankyou!

However, there are also times when it is good to know what you want and to ask for it. In issue 105 we explored price “How much?” – today we look at how we want to work (and not work). Performing artists are often notorious for their “backstage riders” – documents that specify all kinds of requirements. Katy Perry has 45 pages incl. that her hotel room be fitted with two Egg chairs – one with foot rest. Kanye West requests specific moisturizer lotions, and Mariah Carey will apparently not walk on stairs.

Excessive? Absurd? Let’s park our judgement and simply consider what we might ask for if we had the chance. For your freelance contracts or your next job.


You will need:


_Black + red pen

_15 minutes of quiet time (or more… there exercises are really fun)



Let’s begin by making a list of our most materialistic demands. I don’t want to work in an office without daylight or that has fluorescent  light.

  • What are your demands for…
    • The physical space?
    • Fruits, snacks, food, drinks?
    • Travel? Flights, hotel rooms? (how early will you get up to catch a flight?)
    • Equipment, computers, phone etc.

Now please consider how you will work and how you will not. A friend and fellow Sandbox-member was considering a job in an art institution and wanted permission to go and spend time looking at art during his work day.

  • What are things you will not do? Or at least don’t want to be obligated to do?
    • Meetings? Being in the office at certain times?
    • E-mail or phone calls? (my contracts state that I will only respond to e-mails for scheduling next session)



Read through your own lists of demands and use the red marker to highlight any interesting discoveries. Are there any unexpressed expectations? How could you use this in your own life and career?


Thank you for subscribing.

Thank you for reading.

With love until next week. Mathias




(Traduction française disponible)

#110 FR

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.