11 March 2008

Ungrateful gits

A couple of weeks ago, I did a corporate writing job for a mid-sized company. It was a lot of work. Of the tearing-your-hair-out variety. And it also entailed hours on the internet researching stuff that did not want to be found and required me to hire someone to help out with the googling.

I sent the job back within the deadline, clearly indicating it was for a first draft and requesting feedback. I was met with a resounding silence. Several days passed and I heard nothing. I emailed again to check the company had actually received the file. Still nothing. I rang. The client was unavailable, but the secretary confirmed the file had arrived safely.

- Sod it, I thought and raised an invoice.

A cheque for the job arrived today with an almost blank cover letter saying please find payment for my invoice. That was it. No thanks for doing the job. Just nothing. I hate clients like that. They want everything and give nothing, not even a thank you, in return. Is it really so difficult to drum up some good manners?

6 comments:

Juliet said...

I often think that clients don't believe manners are necessary when dealing with freelancers. I have to solicit acknowledgement of 80% of the parcels of edited manuscript I send back to publishers. And that's just to make them say 'yes, thanks, the parcel's arrived'. I don't think anyone's ever once (in 20+ years) said 'yes, thanks, the parcel's arrived AND thanks so much for doing that job on time, on budget and so damned well'. Not ever. The psychology is 'you get paid to sort it out, so it doesn't need to occur to me to "thank you" as well'. They'd never treat an in-office colleague the same way, of course, but that's because their colleagues are human beings, not freelancers!

wordsmith_for_hire said...

I actually agree with you - up to a point. Perhaps I've just been exceptionally lucky that most of my clients have made the effort to let me know I'm appreciated (and have paid me more or less on time too). Yes, as a freelance I'm paid to sort things out, but the clients I've retained as regulars are precisely those who've taken the trouble to thank me, or at least let me know that they are happy with my work. My regulars DO have good manners and I guess it works in reverse too - that when the less well-mannered have asked me to take on more work I've rejected it on the grounds of being too busy but I suspect my tone has given away that I'd rather eat dog shit off the M1 hard shoulder than grovel to such an awkward sod again.

Cutting off my nose? Possibly. But I do have some professional pride.And my regulars appreciate that and treat me as a professional.

I guess that;s one of the perks of freelancing - that we can accept or reject work. And one of my principles is the right to refuse repeat work from clients I consider to be ill-mannered.

God, this all sounds really wanky, I expect. Especially after several glasses of Merlot. And I'm certainly not implying that anyone who doesn't share my view is less professional or good at their job in any way.

I've had worse bosses in-house.

Juliet said...

Ahh, Merlot. Of course! I knew there was something missing from my evening thus far. Where's the corkscrew?

wordsmith_for_hire said...

Right here, honey. Bottoms up!

having my cake said...

I have at times cherished a desire to become a proper wordsmith. Reading comments like the above makes me realise that it's not quite such a romantic lifestyle as I had imagined.

Mind you, I guess, employers can be plain rude in all walks of life.

Thanks for the link on BG's blog to the article about strange crushes. Martin O'Neill is suddenly quite a hunk in that company :)

wordsmith_for_hire said...

Hi having_my_cake

Heh, there's nothing romantic at all about being a freelance wordsmith! Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I feel privileged that I can earn a living doing something I really enjoy, without the hassle of commuting and dealing with bosses and office politics.

BUT, it's hard work. It's not just writing (and editing too in my case) but running an entire small business. I wish I could loaf around all day and knock out 1,000 words here and there at my leisure. The reality is that I am a writer, coffee-maker, secretary, receptionist, bookkeeper, administrator, marketing guru, sales person and then some. I'm one person but I have to perform every function going to keep the business running.

It sounds bad, doesn't it?

It's not really. It's just that mostly I blog when I need to let off steam because freelancing can be very frustrating at times.

Hmm, perhaps I should blog about something nice today?