Bye, Felicia

It’s the little things.

A few months ago, I received an email from a reporter (let’s call her Felicia) I had been working with for two years. I felt a flash of anger followed by relief as I read the following paragraph:

“I could send so much more work your way, but I feel you nickel and dime me at every turn. Frankly, I have other scopists who do a better job and turn it around in three days or less for less money.”

I read her words, leaned back in my computer chair, and wondered, “How did we get here?”

So after eating everything in my snack reserves, I started analyzing what went wrong.

For starters, I have a tendency to justify things for other people.

Even as I write this, I wonder if I should give Felicia the benefit of the doubt. I just genuinely see the good in everybody, to a fault.

For example, when someone treats me poorly, a few thoughts spring to mind:

  • “They were probably just having a bad day.”
  • “Maybe they didn’t get what they needed from their dad.”
  • “Perhaps they had a rough childhood.”
  • “You never know what someone is going through. Be kind. Always.”

While these are great things to keep in mind when you feel like firing off a defensive e-mail, I’ve learned that too much justification can be harmful.

Back to the story at hand.

Before I received this e-mail, things seemed like they had been going well. But just like that, I was forced to reflect on the previous two years of working together.

This particular e-mail came on the heels of me standing my ground on expedite pricing, the first time in two years I was sent anything under my five-day turnaround time.

Granted, a lot of this was my fault. I was unhappy with the way things were going, but I got comfortable, and because of that comfort, I kept making excuses. Felicia was usually a good writer and paid on time, but the little things… I shouldn’t have overlooked.

Like I said, she never sent a single expedite my way in the entire two years we worked together. I found out too late that she will not pay expedite prices unless she’s getting paid expedite prices. Had I known that from the start, I never would have worked with her.

Live and learn.

She also sent jobs to my DropBox without ever asking if I was available. And I let her. Instead of asking her to check my availability first, I just continued to make room for her in my busy schedule.

As you can see, this story isn’t about a singular event. It’s about patterns. Not getting sent an expedite for two years is not a one-time thing. It’s a pattern, and a well established one. Never asking my availability was no different.

Felicia didn’t do anything wrong by sending her expedites to cheaper scopists or keeping them for herself, but it didn’t fit into what I wanted for my business.

I should have recognized these things a long time ago and moved on. I could have ended things on good terms and found a reporter who was more compatible with my business goals.

Instead, I got comfortable and I made excuses.

It’s easy to justify the little things, but over time, they add up and they become big things.

Learn from my mistakes.

Have you noticed any of these in your working relationship? I’d love to hear from you. Shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment down below.

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