Friday, 5 November 2010

Sometimes you just gotta say one little word... "no"

I think we've established that last week was a kerfuffle.

It became clear by day 2 that getting home at 7pm, eating dinner, then cracking on with writing articles until 12am every night wasn't going to work for me, my relationship, or my general wellbeing.

So this week, The Writer was all set to send me another big batch of articles to write, and I thought it best to chat about how much time I can spend on the project. You know, given that I'm no longer spending my days raiding the fridge and talking to dogs. He responded saying that he had a load more articles for November, and hoped we could work around my schedule. After all, the pieces I'd written so far were apparently very good. Ahem.

The Writer is a salesman of sorts; he makes a good living from pitching ideas and getting others - magazine editors, TV producers, company CEOs - to buy into them. Simply put, he's better at convincing me to do something than I am at saying "nope, sorry, can't".

But given the whole err, can't-really-start-work-til-8pm thing, I proposed five or six articles / hours a week, down from his 12. I was being realistic. What's the point in agreeing to deliver an amount you know you can't, and then thinking up excuses or falling short in quality or quantity? It wasn't an easy decision; I've always wanted to write for a living, but my full time job at The Company - the start of a possible career - has to come first.

My offer, however, was refused. And although his words said that he understood why I couldn't do all 50 pieces, his voice adopted an irritated tone. He reeled off a list of other projects he had on the go, and told me how busy he was; as if the hassle of finding someone else was the last thing he needed. It didn't feel like I was talking to someone who understood that I had a new job, a social life, weekends away, nowhere to work at home, flat hunting and a need to see my boyfriend once in a while, all requiring precious evenings, or that I was keen to do as much as I could, it felt like I was getting a guilt trip. I was reminded of the strop thrown by The Polo Player when I quit being a groom, and the horrible feeling I'd got from feeling that I'd let someone down.

"Look", I said, "The offer's there, I can always do the minimum. But at the moment, while I get into this new job, I can't commit to any more than that."

So we left it there. Me feeling guilty, and like I'd missed an opportunity, but then gradually less so. It's beginning to dawn that some people just don't listen, and likely never will.


The Unbearable Banishment said...

Spare yourself the guilt! He's like a lot of employers. He'll push and take and grab until you say "no more, please." They do it to see what they can get away with. It's the oldest story in the oldest book.

looby said...

Exactly - I know just what it's like to be loaded on with work like that and you will actually go totally miserabel if you agree to everything. Well done for saying what you did.

nuttycow said...

Well done for standing up to him. If you can't do the work, you can't do the work - all employers have to understand that hey, we're not robots and we need to have some time to ourselves!

Anonymous said...

Well done Jo. At the end of the day you can only do what you are comfortable doing and you have realised you need a life outside working too.

Fen said...

Sounds like he's being selfish and doesn't care if he's pushing you to the limit. Meh self centred.

AFC 30K said...

Can I refer you back to the comment I left when you were deciding whether or not you should leave the polo player.

You have to do what's right for you and not what's right him.

Ellie said...

Yep, just like the Polo dude. That's what I was thinking before you mentioned it. Good on you, but like UB says, drop the guilt.

jman said...

I don't really know what you were doing for him, but it almost sounds like he got the commission, paid you to do the work, and then took the credit. And then when he realized the gravy train might be rolling to a halt, he tried to make it look as if you were letting him down. He is busy so you can't reduce your load. You are busy but you can't reduce your load. Who needs to be exploited?

not twitter said...

£uck him. £uck him and his imposed serfdom.


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