If there's a problem client roaming around looking for a contractor they are sure to find me. It's as if I have a sign on my back: Use Me And Don't Pay Me.
After giving up hope of getting any money out of The Scarlet Pimpernel - a cunning, conniving cow who racked up thousands of dollars of web and design work with me and didn't pay me, then proceeded to do the same to at least two others - I now have another client who wants me to do work urgently but doesn't have the money to pay.
A friend of mine nicknamed him Mr Twat. I call him Fer-ANK or Fuck Off Frank. Not to his face as I'm a coward. But when I see his name come up on my phone I want to scream or self-harm (keep me away from sharp objects!), so I yell Fuck Off Frank to it several times before I take the call.
Mr Twat is running a conference. Or rather, I'm organising it for him. He wants it to be an annual event. I'm in the throes of organising the third annual conference and he still owes me for the work I did on the first two. He is paying me off whenever he gets a new sponsor for the current conference.
As a business plan goes, it sucks. "I can't pay you unless the conference makes a profit." It's rather like a commission-only sales job, and that is something to which I have never aspired.
Well. I spat the dummy last week. I have been extraordinarily - some say stupidly - generous in the time I've allowed him to pay me off. I've been called daft for still doing work for him but if I stop now I don't like my chances of getting paid as the conference needs to go ahead and make a profit.
The end result of the dummy spit is that Mr Twat rang me yesterday and told me that regardless of whether or not the conference made a profit he would pay me even if it had to come out of his own pocket. I suspect the concept of loaning your own company your own money to pay contractors or bills has only just occurred to him. The rest of us do it all the time.
What really irritates me, aside from the slow payments, is that Mr Twat will phone me on an almost daily basis with more tasks for this wretched event. He will talk on hands free because he's driving, which means essentially he shouts down the phone at me. I hate being shouted at. He also asks if I am in front of my computer or at my system, which truly pisses me off. Apparently I have no right or reason to be anywhere else, as he is often surprised if I tell him that I'm actually not sitting in front of a computer. People seem to think I spend 24/7 at the desk. Perhaps they believe I sleep with my computer, holding my laptop like a lover. I bloody don't.
This year my intent is to grow some balls and spit the dummy at problem clients more often. I have eye problems which mean I can't realistically do a full day's work sitting in front of a computer. My eyes get tired, the left one gets painful and stings. I am now picking and choosing who I work for, and will be moving Mr Twat off my client list once he has paid up in full.
Life's too short.