Some folks from the office seemed to be convinced I had it in me to play the business side of the game at work (Ranjan, I’m looking at YOU). And I have always scoffed and laughed it off as the most absurd thing ever. Like the day I choose to switch over and go on to the business side, pigs will fly, cows will jump over the moon and it will be a snowy night here in Goa. But honestly, having done it for a while, having dealt with picky clients, stubborn feedback and long and painful days and nights getting things down to the T the way the client wants it — I know that maybe somewhere inside of me there is a client-facing professional. And maybe with a little help from my friends, there might have been some hope of that side of me flourishing. Heck, with the way my copy ambitions went down the tube, maybe I’d have done well to hone the other facet of my professional self and discover a side I didn’t know I have. Maybe, maybe.
But because I chose to give up on employment altogether, I find myself today in a bit of a quandary.
I have been self-employed before. I have donned the hat of a multi-tasker, a self-managed copy-consultant who can deal with managing incoming work, understanding a brief, working on it, managing my time, coordinating with designers and delivering a finished product with a fair bit of finesse. Also having a year-long stint in a client-facing role as a communication specialist, I figured I have enough experience to manage a wee bit of work every now and then.
When the sabbatical began, the plan was also to do a little gig here and there to keep my brain active, my skills in touch and sort of adept with what’s happening in the communications arena. Yes, Im self-employed, sometimes. When a project that sounds interesting comes along. Or when someone approaches me with something really and I think of the extra pocket money I can earn to buy myself baking accessories (what?! Microplane zesters are expensive. As are Silpat mats! And don’t even get me started on the KitchenAids and the Le Creusets!). So yes, some pocket money is always welcome.
But today I have realised that being safely guarded behind a wall of very patient Project Managers who bravely interface with all kinds of clients, like those in my last job has made me forget the kind of twits clients can be. I have lost my radar to pick up on idiots. I have lost my patience to deal with stupidity. And I have no will to chase after them.
In the past 3 months I have dealt with:
– 1 schizophrenic woman who shuttles between calling me frantically and behaving like she wants to hire me immediately and disappearing for weeks after. She then calls me back, apologises profusely, behaves like she will meet me pronto and hire me. And then dies on me again.
– 1 very duhhhh client who has no idea what he wants on his website. I offered to do some research, dig up a bunch of references, ask him relevant and pointed questions so he can give me some meat to work with. And even then, he was clueless. I don’t know why he even wants a website actually.
– 1 ex-colleague who put me on a job and went away on an international holiday, while I kept trying to call him and didn’t get through for a fortnight or so.
– Several people who have contacted me through the blog, asking me to be a feature writer for their portal/blog/website; but who scoot (some without even bothering to say goodbye) the minute I quote a very humble rate which would just about cover the time and effort I put into a task like that.
Is it just me, or is it really a world where writers seem to get the shortest end of the stick? I’m pretty sure other self-employed folks feel the same way.
Thank god for the one gig I have going on a monthly basis, which is fun, painless and seems to function very effortlessly and is actually a lot of fun working on. Today, I have come to believe that maybe I should just stick to blogging to keep my writing itch in control, baking to keep my cooking in control, and forget the world of clients and servicing them altogether.