Thursday, May 26, 2011

When will I listen to my intuition?

When I got back from the beach two weeks ago, I had a message from a woman looking for an editor. I had responded to an ad she put out for a book editor. I called her back and we had a long conversation. She seemed a little strange and told me a lot about her personal life, not what I usually hear from prospective clients. But her book sounded interesting and she said it was the first of several and those are great clients to have. She lived here in town and wanted to meet me before we agreed to work together. That's not a very common request--most clients are interested in a sample and a time and money estimate--although most of those clients have come to me by referral. But some clients like to put a face to the name so I agreed to meet her.

She was friendly but strange in a way I couldn't quite put my finger on. In addition, she asked a lot of very personal questions and then would back pedal, say she was probably overstepping her bounds, she was a psychic, a therapist, interested in people and how they worked--but none of the questions were about my work.. She stayed an hour and a half and I felt leery somehow but she seemed keen on working together and handed me a huge check for the work. I had prepared a simple contract and she made some minor changes, but that all seemed okay too.

Next day I had an email from her talking about unfinished personal business between us and did I want to come over. I said no, no time. Again, something didn't feel right. But her check went through and I started the work. But very quickly I could see that it was going to take me way longer to do the work than I had estimated. The sample she sent me was not representative of the whole text and I had grossly underbid. So I emailed with some options. including a refund.

I got a furious email back, saying I was in breech of contract, demanding her money back by the end of the day or she'd sue me. The response was way out of proportion to the email I had sent her and I'd offered to refund her money. And then I realized that she was crazy, that my intuition, my wiser self had been telling me all along not to take the job. And I hadn't listened. The money was good and I wanted the work, even though I knew something was off.

I haven't had many of these clients over the years. Just a handful. But each time, I knew taking them on was a bad idea. I feel very relieved to be out from under this. The messenger she sent just came for the refund. I've put in a couple of hours work I won't get paid for but it seems a small price to pay.

1 comment:

sorella said...

Dear Jill,

Wow. A good lesson there, for sure, in learning how to heed one's intuition.