Q9: How do you know when it’s time to terminate an employer?

By , December 10, 2009

Answer to #9 of 12 Questions I think are important for commercial writers to know. I think these questions are especially important for people newly striking out on their own.

It’s very hard for me to terminate employers. But some situations make it necessary and therefore a little easier to say good-bye.

Three Things I guard Against

  1. Clients who always want jobs other than what I do. I once had a client ask me three times if I did graphic design, even going so far as to ask, “You sure you don’t do…?” That was a glaring indicator that we might not do well together.
  2. Clients who insist that they are paying too much for the work that I do. I’m careful about what I charge, and I don’t intimidate easily. And when I add to that, the fact that I respect others’ rates, I really have no patience for this one. If I can’t pay it, it’s because I don’t have enough money. The last thing I’d consider is that they are too expensive.
  3. Clients who can’t be clear about what they want until several drafts in. Sometimes it’s alright. But repeatedly getting jobs that are not fully thought out can be a real time-suck, and a bit frustrating.

These are my Big Three. And they aren’t hard fast rules, more of a guide. I don’t want to be caught flatfooted. Keeping these indicators in mind, help me to know when to say when.

A Caveat

In the second point, about rates, I don’t tell people they’re too expensive for one good reason: if they’re getting their asking rate then they must not be overpriced. So when I shop around for any service, just like goods, I shop around for the best value for my wallet.

Do you have trouble terminating employers? What are three things that can cause you to make the decision to separate?

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