I remember many years ago riding home on the school bus in 6th or 7th grade. I’m in the back of the bus and out of the blue, another kid sucker-punched me in the stomach. It doubled me over and knocked the wind out of me. For the life of me, I had and still have no idea why the hell that little shit did that.
Last week I got sucker-punched by a client. OK, I’m a subcontractor and we were thrown together, but I was moving along doing what Maggie & Co does best and somehow he had a whole different take on the entire situation. I was accused of being unethical, greedy, self-serving, and a host of other nasty things.
I talked to his service provider who told me all of his vitriol. I was dumbfounded and blindsided. At first I thought his misinformation was coming from a vicious third-party, so I was frightfully angry at the third-party (although I didn’t attack them). I sent an explanatory email outlining my take on the situation. It was a well-thought out, carefully crafted message that clearly shows that Maggie & Co has nothing but his best interests at heart.
Then I left for the beach (again), my refuge. I ended up close to a friend’s house and they took me out to dinner and let me vent. I was feeling better, vindicated and I had a clear direction on how I was going to revenge myself with that third-party….until the client responded to my email.
He responded with venom, suspicion, and said that my email confirmed that I was concerned about nothing but myself. That his company was founded on integrity and compassion. He gave me the Mark Cuban quote, “Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That’s rule No. 1 of business.”
I was slack jawed and felt sucker-punched again. Why? Because I truly thought the root of the problem was the third-party, but apparently this client is batshit crazy. One thing I am not is greedy. I read it again and again. I sent it to Robin who coolly responded that he is not someone we ever want to be associated with and he doesn’t understand Maggie & Co. The service provider has remained silent (which the Hunter says is proof that she is part of the problem). Now I will say that service provider, during our conversation about his complaints, claimed once we finish this assignment she is firing him as a client, but for now….
As for me, I feel unanchored. My reality has been completed upended. I have lost my way. My work is hard and often misunderstood, as clearly evidenced by Mr. Batshit Crazy. One thing I do know for sure is that his ambitious start-up will be belly-up within 5 years because karma is a bitch, but I really don’t care about him. I care about how this has shaken me to the core. I care about how I have now stopped in my tracks and am looking around saying, WTF? I care about how am I going to make a living?
This career I have is a tough one and clients like this make me step back and ask myself if I really, really like what I do. Today, I don’t. I don’t like it one bit. So I am going to take some time, catch my breath and recover from my sucker punch.