She loves me, she loves me not

Working with freelance clients is quite* a bit like a romantic relationship. You obsess over the smallest innuendos in an email message. (When she said “I appreciate your hard work” is she saying that I’m working hard and getting nowhere? Was that all she could say that was complimentary? Or does she think I’m doing a good job? Does she truly appreciate that I’m killing myself to get it right?)

Not getting the job seems personal. There are a million reasons you don’t get a job (or a second date), and only some of them have to do with you. The HR person’s cousin needs a job. The hiring supervisor hates your shoes. They had an inside candidate. There were three of you who were perfect for the job and they had to choose one.

When a gig with a client is going well, I always want to gush. Right now I want to write one of my clients a mash note and say “I’ve had a lot of clients, but you are the best editorial supervisor for study guides for underwater basketweaving that I have EVER come across.”

And breaking up is hard to do. In my romantic life, I was usually the one put out on my ass, and so I don’t have a lot of experience as the dumper. I’m thinking of dumping someone in a professional sense, and I’m afraid to speak up. I’m letting the time spin out, when I know in my heart of hearts that it’s not going to be a long-term relationship.

And polygamy, for a freelancer, if we’re beating this metaphor into the ground, is not only legal; it is encouraged.

How’s your love life these days?

*And if you are a certain antipodean reader, I mean “quite” in the Kiwi sense.

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3 responses to “She loves me, she loves me not

  1. I have something going on like that as well. But I will wait to be the dumpee, which is easier in so many ways. Less angst involved, and afterward I’ll be able to whine about it to all my friends.

  2. I excuse all sorts of bad behavior, keeping it to myself, and then when I call it and move on, they never know why. Which leads to the other thing, I ruminate endlessly about whether it was the right decision, but never ever go back.
    Kind of the way I’m not friends with exes. When it’s done whether a job, a friend or an ex, it’s done. Probably because I put up with so much crap before the end.
    Surprises them, but a long time coming in my mind.

    • Me too. On the “once you’re done, you’re really done” thing. You’re shocked, right?

      The last man I dated before my husband, I dated for almost 5 years. I finally got up the guts to ask him if we were ever getting married and he said no. The next week, when he left on a business trip, I moved out of the house and out of the state. He came home to an empty house. When he called (and I finally answered) he said, “What the hell? Last week you wanted to marry me, and now you never want to see me again?”

      I said, “Yes. I’m done.”

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