Thursday, October 13, 2011

4 Reasons to turn down an assignment

Photo taken by O. Senne
The hollyhocks in my front garden were growing too tall, so I cut some and stuffed them in a vase. Lovely, isn't it?

The day's routine went well. Did a lot of creative writing this morning (on my UNNAMED WIP), proofed a client document and sent it through, reviewed 3 chapters of a client manuscript. I'll probably finish that job tomorrow.

Two other clients sent work and I had to turn down a third client. Remember my post I am saying NEVER? Well the opportunity to say it came much faster than I thought. I was polite and respectful, but the answer was still NO.

Yes, I am still open to new assignments, new clients. A small business owner is always looking for more work.

And if the requst came from a client I wanted to work with again, or it was a project that I loved, I would have made the time.  Basically,my rejection boils down to the fact that the disruption the work causes in my day is just not worth the money. Too much hurry up; not enough calm for me to hear myself think. And I realise some online writers like working under those conditions, where assignments are bid for now, done now and payment is expected that day. There is very little time to pause for breath and the assumption is that you snooze, you lose money. That's not the kind of work I'm looking for.

And lest you start thinking I am acting like a prima donna, here are my reasons to turn down work (various situations, not just one particular client)

1. The work comes at short notice. Most writers I know plan their day or some even a week. So sending an assignment today and needing it to get done either the same day or the following day disrupts their plans,
even throws their scheduled work and deadlines off.

2. Short deadlines. Some clients want to send you work, get confirmation in a couple of hours that you'll do the job and send the product back the same day. This is especially popular when the client does not believe that a large amount of work is required to do the job. Part of the issue is scheduling ( again) and the assumption that service providers are home waiting for work to come. But my other my other objection is that one needs time to do an assignment properly. When you tell the service provider how long you expect her to take to do the job ( and we're talking a matter of hours, not days or weeks), then you sacrifice quality for speed. Not something I want credited to me, even if there is no byline involved.

3. Scope creep. Sometimes you start out a job doing ABC, and then the client also needs XYZ to get done and there is an assumption that of course you'll do that too. But the terms and conditions are not being revised to fit the new needs identified. Which means that you're doing more work for less money than you should.

4. Pay is too little. 'Nuff said.


Lori said...

Damaria, ANY of those reasons are good enough. All of them? A definite NO!

Short notice - sometimes that's fine. But if it's coupled with a same-day deadline, they damn well better be paying extra for the trouble.

I've had those "Can you PLEASE do it today?" assignments. Depending on who's doing the asking, I might say yes. But they have to understand that they're paying for me to put aside someone else's project, to have to work longer hours to get those clients to a happy place, and to compensate for their own lousy planning.

Damaria Senne said...

@Lori - Amen!

Tamara said...

All good reasons. I also turn down repeat work from clients who have been awful to work with in the past and I say 'no' to work that's offered by someone who doesn't share the same set of ethics I do.

Pamela said...

I agree - I've decided not to ever again let someone else's bad planning impact negatively on me. Okay, so maybe once in a while I could be flexible...

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