Monday, June 19, 2006

This morning...

...I probably would have been better off staying in bed.

Not that I was having such a wonderful time between the sheets. The usual demons visited in the night -- thankfully, without talking to me this time -- and I spent more time staring at the ceiling than is good for me.

But among the early-morning emails was one that made me wish I was still asleep or struggling with the old computer and unable to access messages.

My most regular -- but least financially rewarding -- client has been a pain in the posterior lately. For two years, they were happy with the subjects I picked to write about; I would submit lists of topics on a regular basis, and they'd take them happily.

Not now. The new editor there seems to have goaded the publisher into choosing what they want me to write about. In theory, that shouldn't be a problem, save for one minor detail: for practical reasons -- gathering information, familiarizing myself with the subject, and so on -- I need at least a month's advance notice of the subject to put their request into what one might call "the system."

And I'm not getting it. Their latest request gives me something like ten days to make necessary arrangements, and that's not enough.

The price they pay for my work leaves me a very small profit margin. I've accepted it up to now because I could fit them into the schedule easily and I haven't had to spend a lot of time dealing with the hassles of back-and-forth communication, changes of mind on their end, and the like.

But when they begin to act as if they are a major client and are more demanding than the money I get from them justifies, some rethinking is in order.

Now is not the time for me to react to their latest communication. I'm not in the mood.

Don't misunderstand. It pleases me when people have high expectations of me. But unrealistic expectations are another matter altogether.

I can only hope the rest of the day is better.


BDraggs said...

It's a disease that employers have today - they think that if they shell out a few shekels, you're supposed to give them blood.

Birdie said...

can't you just tell them "no can do"?
let them TRY to find a replacement... they should come back on their knees begging....

MrScribbler said...

birdie...sadly, not so easy. You know exactly what I do, so believe me when I tell you there are any number of people who would do (and are doing) this for next to nothing if given the chance.

Sadly, these days quality counts for less when choosing writers than does just filling blank spaces between ads for the lowest possible price.