Monday, July 21, 2008

What I Won't, and What I Wish

I cannot remember the last time I so longed to be granted an escape from my current condition. The tasks on my plate right now are so unappealing, but I cannot simply scrape them off into the trash. Everyone around me is taking off for vacation for a week or more, going hither and yon, and I am stuck here in the incubator of Nashville, doing a job that I generally like, but which is made unappetizing by a couple of wonky clients who manage to drain the joy out of my work.

The thing is, I could conceivably drop them... but as usually happens, I'm in the midst of a slowdown in my workload, and I need the income.

I can't stand it when I have no clear-cut idea of what I'm supposed to be doing, but the client is pressuring me to do SOMETHING. Plus, it's not an area of expertise. Sometimes I feel like people come to me because I'm affordable and available, despite my protestations that I don't have enough experience for that particular task. You do NOT want me to try and set up a Windows Server for you, just because I'm cheap! I have a particular skill set and a definite market, and although I'm willing to learn new things, there's generally enough work for me in making house calls to people's homes. So I don't WANT to learn how to configure a server!

You wouldn't want your chiropractor to perform brain surgery on you, would you? No. So why do I feel like I must accept whatever people ask of me, even when I know it's over my head, or that I simply don't like doing it? As I get close to Year Three of my business, I have made some definite decisions:
  1. I don't want to do web design work for individuals anymore. I'll keep maintaining for the clients I currently have, but I simply don't like the development process. It requires me to work on it when I'm at home, and there is nothing I'm more disinclined to do when I'm home than work on websites.
  2. I'm not going to feel bad when I don't have the skills to do something. I know lots and lots of things; there's no reason for me to feel guilty that I'm not a computer guru.
  3. I'm not going to feel guilty when I refuse service. If I'm going to put up with the inconveniences and difficulties of working for myself, then I reserve the right to avoid unpleasant clients. Pervy old men, this means you.
  4. I'm not going to feel guilty when I name the price for the 2 hours of working on a dusty, carelessly maintained desktop, and they stop smiling and talking and quietly write out a check. I named my price on the front end, or they didn't bother to ask, so it's not like I'm cheating anyone. I'm still cheaper than most solutions on the market, and I'm much more compassionate and friendly than the guys at Best Buy.

Some obvious issues there. I don't like hearing that kind of harshness from myself, but right now I'm not particularly happy or joyful, I'm frustrated, and I need a proper vacation.

If I had the money, opportunity and connections, I would go by cruise ship to England, visit my friend Teresa in Glasgow for a week, bounce around on BritRail to Edinburgh, Cardiff, London and Bath. Go see Patrick Stewart and David Tennant in Hamlet at the RSC. Go to Evensong at Westminster Abbey. Take the Circle Line. Walk over the Hungerford Foot Bridge. Go to the Tower and St. Paul's and the school on the edge of Kensington I stayed at one summer and The Orangery for tea.

1 comment:

Mike Howell said...

I have the same problem with feeling guilty charging someone a particular rate, even with my painting. I know that I personally would not want to spend that much on a service and I feel hypocritical asking someone to pay more than I would.

Selling goods is so much easier. Just find a drop shipper and start selling stuff. People thank you for giving them discounts on stuff.