I find myself with more time thanks to basically being laid off. What started as a misunderstanding escalated into a tangle of accusations. Here's the skinny:

- I sent my hours & activities to Dan
- The next morning at 7:32am he fires back with questions about how much I'm billing per hour and overall cost of building his website (which Rusty & I have been working on since March 4th)
- I answer his questions (mostly corrections to what he thought he owed) and provide some insight into the remaining time for completion. In my mind, this case is closed.
- I drop by his office around 11:30am to review business card design. Already I sense a cold shoulder* but I ignore it. He has me wait for his partner Jeremy to show up.

Then the impromptu barrage of accusations and questioning.

He believes it shouldn't have taken so long to locate images to use on his website. I combed istockphoto.com to find almost all of the pictures to use. I spent time evaluating what each picture communicates about a concept. For a page of financial calculators, do I go with a white couple in front of their new house or a Hispanic couple in the midst of building a new home? For estate planning, old people on a park bench or man sitting alone at the beach? A retired couple talking or dancing? I also take time to replace a logo on the collar of a man in one picture with Dan's. I lighten images where needed, crop where needed, resize where needed and even search on Flickr for alternatives that don't cost anything more than permission to use. This all takes time that I dutifully recorded. Dan wanted me to find pictures online (essentially steal from others) and just use whatever. I had the better idea to make it all legal, look professional and reach his broad range of clients. He was not happy with the amount of time I spent on images, despite my attempt to explain where the time was spent. It breaks down that I spent 23 hours locating and refining pictures (20 in all throughout the website), or one work week. That pales to the 100+ hours spent on content and overall design.

He got stuck on the idea that all the work I've been doing for him since January is for his website. I pointed out that actually he hired me on to tackle a number of things he needed such as newsletters, brochures, business cards, letterhead, revamped forms, and general buzz to attract more business, of which I completed most of these objectives. Now that we are less than a week from making the website "live" with all the basics, he's looking at what that's cost him. Honestly, it's cost him just over $3000 as of last week and completed in just over a month's time. That's a steal. Most firms charge $7-9000 for the number of pages, quality and functionality he wants. I repeatedly stood up to the notion that I have been working on so much more than just this website. But to no avail.

He wasn't happy that the website wasn't done yet. I reminded him that the original deadline was by June- which looks to be a full 3 weeks ahead of schedule. He wasn't happy with not knowing exactly where my time went. (I work from home and don't have a camera watching my every move, and I swear I was honest with my time, but he doesn't see it.) In one breath he doesn't care about what's on his website because "no one goes there anyway". In the next breath he complains that a basic website is what he had to start with and why doesn't he see the extras we planned out? (because that's what takes the time that he doesn't want to pay for anymore) argh!

We went in circles for a bit. One moment he says he doesn't want to continue using me for anything beyond the website. The next moment he says we wants a group picture but I'll have to stand in back because I'm so tall. He's not good at communicating. In fact, he's not good at management or budgeting either. He saw something he didn't like and rather than working through it, he open the door and essentially boots me. He hired me on for "at least a year's worth of work" only to grumble that he can't afford me after three months of part-time work.

Oh yeah. I almost forgot the wages. He owes me over $3000 in wages. I haven't set a deadline for payments received because that was the arrangement we agreed to in the beginning. I agreed to take payment when he could afford it. So really he hasn't paid but for HALF of his website so far. He has no idea what a deal he's really getting for everything. Nor what a deal he's losing by me leaving.

In my mind he's burned a bridge with me. I don't want to see him or talk to him if I can avoid it. All of this could have been avoided with a civil conversation or meeting, not an impromptu barrage of accusations and lack of real information. Going into the talk, he did not know what a comparable website costs, or what the timing was like for completion. He took one small bit of information, jumped to a conclusion, reacted quickly and essentially laid me off in front of his partner. How can I be okay with that? I'm not. Even if he had handled himself even a little more professionally, I probably would have turned heels because I don't want to work with someone who stabs you in the front.

I promised Rusty I wouldn't lose more than one night's sleep over this. Now that this off my shoulders, I can keep my promise. Life moves on and so will I.

*While tossing in half sleep, I realized he had already made up his mind before he ever heard my side.


Moofie said...

Anybody who questions YOUR integrity, my friend, clearly doesn't know it when they see it.

What a rotten situation. Hopefully, it'll be behind you soon. : )



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