Things That Make My Head Explode: Part Nine

What’s on the iPod: Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd (oh yes, it is!)

What a hot day yesterday! I’d love to say I was able to get outside and enjoy it, but as it happened, I had an interview at 2 and I spent the morning researching a sidebar for an article. It took two hours to confirm everything (I do not trust compiled information on the Internet — it’s too easily dated). So now I have an up-to-date chart listing the insurance adjuster education requirements for all fifty states. And you thought your day was exciting…{yawn}

After the call, I got a client NDA notarized and sent back, which means I’m ready for our conversation next week. We’re talking about their workload, my role, and what retainer may fit. I’m eager to get going for them on a more regular basis. I’ve done a few small projects and they’re just great people to work with.

Today I have a call with a client to discuss his website revisions (if any) and to interview him for an article. I’m multi-tasking here — I need the invoice to be settled and I need input from him on this story. We’ll get both sorted in one call.

As busy as I’ve been and as much as I’ve loved it, it’s been a really frustrating week. Here are the things making my head explode:

Selfish attitudes. I can’t say who the thoughtless one(s) is/are, but a reaction this week by one(s) I thought would be more thoughtful left me agape with shock. It’s also made me realize no matter how much someone claims to be friends, I’d have no support if I had to present my own problem, which I still regret not doing. I’ve resisted the urge — although only temporarily — to just drop out of that particular orbit. I’d rather hang around with more evolved, caring people.

One-sided conversations. I had plenty of lovely conversations this week, but all too many one-sided ones. If I would have asked one more person this week how they were and heard the ten-minute monologue, I was going to scream. What kills me about this behavior is there is never a single question directed back to me that would indicate any interest in me other than as someone to listen to how freaking special they are. It’s not a conversation if it’s just one person talking.

Unpaid invoices, stone-deaf clients. This one has me absolutely baffled on top of thoroughly disgusted. The invoice was sent and only partially paid. Yet three weeks later, I can’t get an explanation as to why that is. I’m a week from attaching late fees and ignoring reasons since my three notes have gone unanswered. It’s unacceptable to me to have someone promise, then not deliver. They wouldn’t put up with it. Neither do I.

Poison ivy. The itch is a bitch. Touch it and you’re in for two weeks of crazy-making itch and a rash that looks like burns when they start to heal. It makes me want to move to Europe just to escape the damned stuff.

Pretension. Maybe I hate this more than arrogance, but they’re both pretty high up on my list of Worst Personality Traits Ever.Pretension leads people to believe they are better than others, that they’re intellectually superior, that they know ALL the right people, and that they have all the answers. They’ll argue to death every point and then if they’re right, God forbid, you’ll hear no end of how wrong you are. And any time I hear someone say “I’m excellent at blah blah…” forget that. I’d rather be mauled by a passel of skunks than listen to deluded people.

Religious visitors — on a Tuesday morning. Are you kidding me? Just because I work from home and the other Jehovah’s Witnesses who visited once told you that does not give you the right to be knocking on my door at 10:30 on a Tuesday morning. You gain no sympathy or attention from me if you’re interrupting my work day, and you damn sure won’t be invited in if you continue to do so. Stop knocking because I’m not answering.

What’s making your head explode this week?

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  • Cathy Miller June 22, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I swear there's something in the water. Princess Jones has a post about how she has switched to payment in full upfront because of the problems she was having chasing down past due payments.

    I'm still waiting for my June check (that is due the beginning of the month-not the end) for my retainer arrangement.

    In this my busiest month, I can't get clients to respond to things I need to proceed and it's getting hotter than you know what, which is messing with my walking time. Not to mention I will be working this weekend, which is something I RARELY do, but can't avoid with all the delays.

    Sigh…enough ranting.

  • Lori June 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Rant away, Cathy! That's what this post is all about.

    Same situation — June check due at the beginning of the month. You're right; it must be in the water. How many clients are leaving you without answers? I'm sitting on just the one, but there's another who's gone silent and the check is due in. I thought I was over the invoice-payment issues. I'm too busy for this crap!

  • Joseph Hayes June 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I love the segue from unpaid invoices to poison ivy. I'll step up the invoice thing to "rush assignments with after publication payments".

  • Lori June 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Joseph, I tend to have those little accidental parallels. 🙂

    Yes, the rush assignment. What's unnerving is the corporate "rush" assignment that requires you to give up a weekend so they can all sit around Monday pondering it for two minutes and table it, only to decide to take four weeks to get back to it.

  • Krista June 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    re: One-sided conversations

    Oh, boy do I know a few of these people. They ask how things are going, but if your answer is more than 10 seconds you can just see their discomfort. They're jumping out of their skin and I can read their thoughts…"Okay, enough with your boring life… It's my turn to talk for 45 minutes now."

    I consider myself a pretty good listener, but I also find myself zoning out when I'm not part of an actual "conversation." I could not agree with you more!

  • Paula June 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Lori, remind me never to introduce you to that know-it-all, pretentious, self-involved friend of mine, because she's a non-stop talker. (I'm so used to it, it's almost a game now: If I mention something totally about me, how long will it take her to shift the conversation back to her? And my new favorite: Make something up and watch her pretend she knows all about it – but it's so hard not to burst into laughter watching her try to sell it!)

    Lately I've been guilty of the 10-minute answers because things have been so crazy around here the past several weeks.

    That leads to my comment on "Selfish Additudes" – why do so many people think the rest of us are here to serve and provide for them? Yesterday I noticed someone ripped a large petunia right out of my window box. I planted them symmetrically this year, so the gaping block of color really stands out. When squirrels or cats dig up plants, there's dirt everywhere and the plant is left behind. This time: no dirt, no plant. Why would someone do that? If they wanted to be destructive, pull out all the plants. It's not like a petunia has any monetary value.

    Hope your poison ivy rash is healing, Lori – the eczema on my hands is finally healing, except for the finger I scratched raw the other day. My own fault, I know.

  • Devon Ellington June 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I used to put a sign on my NYC apartment door that said, "If you interrupt me when I'm working, I will be rude."

    And then, I was.

    Even the mailman — if he walks up to the door and I don't get up to meet him (he can see me through the window), just puts the mail through the slot and waves. Most days, if I can, I chat with him for a few minutes.

  • Amanda Brandon June 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Details are making my head explode from both ends of the spectrum – too many scope creeps and others who call you and ask you where the work is when they give you two words to work with. I had a person ask me on Wednesday where his article was and he'd given me one detail, three words to be exact. The scope creep is getting ridiculous on other stuff. If people would just read! Ah. All better now.

    P.S. Thanks for the Twitter shout out!

  • Anne Wayman June 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    what's making my head explode at the moment is trying to work with a well meaning but almost hopeless customer service gal… it's taking 3 times as long to get the problem solved. Sigh… I feel like invoicing them for her education.

    I've probably been way less than sensitive to other's needs this week…

    Have a great weekend all.

  • Kimberly Ben June 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Sounds like rough week, Lori, and I hope the weekend makes it all better.

    Your comment about pretension stands out for me because I spent the week dealing with a client who was pretension personified. It was just ridiculous.

  • Lori June 22, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Krista, I know someone who goes on about how many famous people he knows. After four hours of nonstop talking, someone told him to shut up. That lasted for ten minutes. He just can't not talk about himself even if he's merely talking about everyone around him. It's still incessant bragging.

    Paula, no thanks! I know that woman via your descriptions in the past! Don't you feel like saying something totally outrageous to see how quickly she responds with how she's done/said the same thing? Tell her you're going skydiving next week with THE best instructor. LOL

    Devon, I'm making a sign like that as we speak. Perfect idea!

    Hang in there, Amanda! Hey, just point to the contract and say, "Oh, we don't have that work included. Let me work up a separate agreement and pricing for that." It's amazing how quickly they back off when they realize it's costing extra. 🙂

    Sometimes Anne, you just have to allow yourself to forget about other people's feelings and concentrate on yours. Go for it. 🙂

    Kim, that's the worst! They're usually the ones who will argue the invoice or simply avoid paying, too. Hope next week goes well for you, too!

  • Lori June 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Ooops. Signed in under another account. How weird is that?

  • Lori June 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    There. That's more like me. LOL

  • Sandy June 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Amen to all these Lori.
    On the poison ivy, my brother used to dab it with bleach to dry it out — he swears it works.
    Hope you have a good weekend.

    Sandy (late to the conversation, as always)

  • Lori June 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Sandy, good seeing you again! I've tried bleach — it does work, but it can leave nasty scars. My mom uses it — she's a tough broad. LOL

    I used Zanfel for the itch. It costs a small fortune, but it gives me hours of relief — sometimes it doesn't itch again.

  • Joseph Hayes June 25, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Poor blotchy itchy easily-distracted Lori. Email me your address, I have PGTips for you!

  • Lori June 25, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Joseph to the rescue! You know how I love a good PGTips…email on its way!