Setting boundaries

Boundaries.  It isn’t enough to say to some people I’d like you to respect me so please don’t lie to me or try to take advantage of me.   In fact that approach never works because the people who would respect it and me DON’T NEED TO BE ASKED.

This man who wanted to employ me to write articles said he was abiding by the rules of the freelance agency through which he advertised and I placed a bid.   After I wrote my blog he emailed me to say he would honor the contract, and sent me an article to write.  I did it.  I was proud of myself, and pleased to realise it wasn’t really difficult, that if I worked for about 6-7 hours a day at it I could earn what I need to stay alive and even have a bit extra.  It’s an interim measure, but that’s what I need at the moment.  I thought about being able to get my car fixed, and buy more memory for my computer and get my piano tuned and buy underwear – even a good warm jersey and jeans for winter.   Have more interesting and properly nourishing food…  Yum.

When I submitted the article I reiterated my fee – which he had accepted.  I lay in bed feeling excited and not able to sleep.  I woke up this morning relieved that I’d found a solution.   Until I got an email from the fellow saying he refused to pay my fee and pretending he was poor and couldn’t understand English very well.   La la la la la.   I knew he was lying, but although without hesitation I said I wouldn’t work with him unless he honored our contract and worked through the agency, there was a part of me that wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.   I hate believing people are slimy bastards.  Well, he made it obvious to me, because he reiterated the bullshit.  So I repeated myself.  He said ok.  And I thought that was the end.  Then blow me down if he didn’t say he had 5 more articles for me and I could work for him any time.

Oh.  Did that mean he agreed to my terms?  No.  He just thought he could seduce me into agreeing. By giving me a little nugget of work and promising me a lifetime contract.  Thought he could push my boundaries over.  But didn’t I just tell him?  Obviously not strongly enough.  Everything I’d said had made absolutely no impact on him at all.  Because some part of me wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Some people take that as an access route to “yes ok”.  It’s like they can smell it in you, your hesitation, your unwillingness to acknowledge that they are total scoundrels and don’t give a damn about you, just want to use you.

Here’s the lesson.  Once your gut tells you OR THE EVIDENCE SHOWS YOU that they are scoundrels, DON’T GIVE THEM THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT.  DON’T.  Say no and walk away.  Keep it simple.  If they’re going to respect you, they’ll do it without having to be told, your alarm bells won’t go off, you won’t be trying to figure out if they’re telling the truth or not. If they don’t do it instinctively, it doesn’t matter how nice or believable their words are, it’s ALL BULLSHIT.

So I learned my lesson, albeit a bit late in the day, and said adios, don’t contact me again.  I shan’t reply if he does.

Damn.  Could have done with that job.  But it’s not the end of the world.   At least I got some sort of response and it took me a day to put my boundary down.  Now I want a better, legitimate one.  I’m a decent writer, somebody must want to hire me.   Somebody who wants to pay me more than $1.2 per 500 word article.  I can write 5 a day, which means, working 10 hours a day every day, I could earn $180 a month.

If I go and live on the streets it could work.   I want decent opportunities, not crap ones.   Well, I’ve wondered about all those article-writing opportunities, now I see what they’re about.   Rank exploitation.  Not for me.  I will find another way.  I will let another way into my world.

If you say yes you get what you say yes to.   You have to claim your worth, your value.  You have to set the boundaries.  Well, consider mine set.  So it’s back to doing work that isn’t paying me yet, and looking for other work that will.  And promoting my blog.  And writing my script and my bio and and and.  Piano.  Singing.  Italian has gone out the window for a while.  I should be depressed about all this but I’m not.  I feel certain today that saying no to the bad stuff keeps the door open for the good stuff.

Well now, that’s a good Stepping out of history thing.


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