Hi, how was your day?
Mine? Oh, it was okay but it ended very badly.
I made a client really, really angry by producing what he deemed to be a terrible piece of work. He said he was “shocked” at what I had produced. I admit, criticism like this I take to heart.
I like to think of myself, and sometimes I believe it to be true, as thick-skinned but it’s at times like these I realise I am not. I can act as if I am, and do a pretty good job of it.
But I know this is going to be hard to shake off. When I saw his email, I started shaking, got all hot and began to sweat. Literally.
This is not the reaction of a thick-skinned person.
I’ve produced around 400 similar pieces of work for people and this guy is probably about the fourth or fifth to be really unhappy with it. He spoke to the customer service person of the office who supplied me the client and went ballistic apparently. Swearing and all sorts.
I sort of think the problem might have been his unrealistic expectations; my overwhelming success ratio would tend to suggest that. I could tell when I spoke to him (before doing the work) that he was bit of arsehole. He was very sweary then too.
But in spite of all that I feel physically sick to my stomach knowing that I’ve simultaneously made one person angry and let down another.
It comes down to this: I hate letting people down and the people I have let down are the ones who supplied me the client. I don’t give two shits about the client himself. I honestly couldn’t care less whether he lives or dies. It doesn’t matter to me.
But letting people down is something that guilts me big time and I think that’s why I am reluctant to take on challenges and responsibilities, particularly when other people are involved.
It’s why I only play INDIVIDUAL sports, it’s why I’m SELF employed, it’s why I travel SOLO and it’s probably why I’m SINGLE.
I mean, my God, talk about subconsciously distancing yourself from people. I hadn’t realised this until now but it does seem to be what I do.
So, what happened today shook me to my very core. I will try to draw strength from the book “Fuck It” that I read last week, and not be quite so pathetic about this.
But it will make me doubt myself and my ability over the next few days, I suspect. I need to shake this off. I have always kept the positive feedback I receive from the work I do for my clients and have a dedicated folder for all their emails.
Maybe reading through all of those will help recover my shaken confidence.
It could also help to put this into perspective and ask myself: what’s the worst that can come from this incident?
Suggestions welcome, folks. Blogging about it is actually helping.
Have a good evening.