It’s a nasty practice and I’ve read about it in numerous places, most recently today over on the Animation Guild Blog, but blacklisting employees seems to remain commonplace or rather, perceivably commonplace within the animation industry.
First of all, just because someone pissed you off in the past, that’s no reason to never work with them again. People change, more often for the better as they get older and wiser (hopefully).
Of course, the ideal thing would to avoid the ugly situation that causes all the problems in the first place. Why let an employee wreck havoc in your department and ruin everyone’s day? It would be much wiser to sit down and try and figure out what they feel are the problems within the department or group. Often times it is the simplest things, like micro-managing supervisors that can be dealt with relatively easily, but sometimes larger things like deadlines can be what’s bothering them. Sadly, deadlines are part and parcel of life outside of a government job so there are not many ways around it.
Humans can hold some fantastic grudges that only serve to harm themselves in the long run. The blog post above mentions the infamous debacle between Art Babbitt and Walt Disney. The root of Art’s problem seems to stem from the fact the newcomers to the Disney studio were being paid at or near similar wages of guys who’d been there for 10 years or more. If I were in his position, I’d be pissed off too!
Blacklisting (among other things) can also damage your studio’s reputation. Granted, today’s weak economy means this is not as relevant as in the past, but if you have one or two employees who leave on bad terms, you can bet they’ll tell the world and his dog about how crappy it was to work at your place, and such word gets about, especially in industry circles.
I suppose respect for the individual is key here. If you respect them enough to work through their problems they way the expect their manager to, it is possible to avoid a heck of a lot of conflicts. Artistic industries (or indeed any industry) like animation should not be side-lining talented folks just because they had a row at work. The industry is all the poorer for it.
Lest we forget that classic quote from Homer Simpson
Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream?