I have been mulling over a situation that happened to me a few days ago concerning a job that I did for one of my graphic design clients. We spoke by phone about several projects and then they hired me to do a specific project. I completed the job and sent them the draft and they didn’t like the background image I chose. No biggie really, not everyone will have the same taste as me. So I mentioned that there were a bunch of awesome alternative options on a specific site, if they wanted to check it out and get back to me.
I never heard back from them, and after a few weeks I contacted them to ask if they had come up with anything and they said that they went with another graphic all together. I was cordial and said it looked great and that I would send out an invoice for the work I had done. I knocked off a chunk of money just to keep things fair, but still they responded not too kindly and in short – they refused to pay.
I was pretty floored by the whole deal. In all my years in business I have never had a client who acted so unprofessionally and actually refused to thank me for my time and not be willing to pay me for that time. I probably would’ve said forget about the payment if they had just explained themselves and expressed their appreciation for my work and apologize for deciding to go with another designer. I can’t please everyone, so that would’ve been fine with me.
A huge temptation for me today was to publicly confront this person on one of the networking sites we are both on and share how unprofessional and hurtful this was to me. I was almost ready to type it out and then I heard the words “Don’t do it” in my head. I am assuming it was God and my conscience. I have to be honest with you, I fought it for a minute of two. And then I heard the words “Take the high road”. And I immediately softened because I knew that this was God. Isn’t it like Him to always have us do the OPPOSITE!
As human beings we are drawn towards retaliation after someone hurts us. We are tempted to gossip and backbite and cause that person just as much pain right back. I know this situation isn’t too bad, but I did feel the need to defend myself and express my being “right” in this unfair situation. My human nature wants to say – “Hey! What the heck? You hired me to do the work right? You OWE me for my time!”.
But instead, I am choosing to take the High Road and let it go without getting angry and upset. And if those feelings try to come up (which they will), I am going to pray for that person and thank God for the awesome clients that I do have. Tests are bound to come in all areas of our lives and I would rather pass the test now that have it come up again somewhere else.
I am a very open and trusting person. I never saw the need for contracts with my clients until this situation. So, I would love to hear your thoughts and advice on this. How do you do it? Do you have them confirm through email that they agree to pay you for your work? How can I do this in a professional manner?
And for those of you who can relate to this outside of business, maybe in a relationship or friendship, how did you handle it?