They say, never mixed business with pleasure, and in a few cases this rule does apply. So when you are a softy like me, it’s very hard to be a boss or a manager and throw your weight around and be an actual “boss”.
My way of doing things is to be friendly, and it seems to get the job done in a more positive and equally friendly manner.
The problem with this way of thinking is that when the shits hitting the fan and you really need to flex some managerial muscle your staff can sometimes not take you seriously. This is because they have become more friends than employees and over time you start to go soft because your worried you will lose them as friends and you and them now can’t separate work from play.
Because I’m known as a sort of jack of all trades as I can fix computers, design stuff, web site stuff, if there is something creative to do, they call me. I call it the plumber principal (every family seems to have a plumber who then gets allocated the work to do from other family members and then is expected to do it asap and usually for free) well, this used to happen to me a lot, but then I decided to act dumb and tried to convince everyone I had no idea what I was doing. But when I need extra money I sometimes slip up and people start to realise that I can actually do stuff for them and usually cheap.
So it doesn’t take long for other business people to start looking for me to do some cheap work for them. Usually around Christmas time which is when I’m at my most vulnerable.
Not to long a go, a customer who I had become a friend to came into the shop where I work. He had just recently opened up a novelty shop out of town and asked me to set up a website as well as be the data entry operator, ie put all their stock online etc.
For a few months I would breeze in and out, and help out when I had the free time. Sometimes on small stuff I wouldn’t even charge, as he was a mate and work on the “every good turn, deserves another” principal. He had helped me out a few times in the past so I was only too happy to help out whenever possible.
Sometimes I would even leave my own place of business and come up and do things on my other bosses time or in my own lunch break. I became his jack of all trades computer guy, I would design letterheads, advertisements, logos, fix computer problems, set up printers etc, as well as the agreed Website and Data entry.
Because he was solely getting frustrated that he couldn’t tie me down long enough, he offered to give me some “proper” shifts aka agreed on an allocated time frame so that we could finally knock the work down. This would mean I would have to sacrificed a piece of what little spare time I had to myself, and for two days I wouldn’t be able to have lunch with my girlfriend. Sucky I know, But the one hour for lunch with her every day was the only quality time we could get each week. By this time he asked me to create a whole website from scratch, ie, graphics, design, programming, code, promotion etc. Something that usually takes a complete team of professionals working on separate departments, but in this case it was just me, and some of the new technologies needed I had to re-learn. But I agreed and was up for the challenge.
All seem good and well,
But the problem with this is that giving me “proper” shifts meant that he “should” be able to control me and my environment. The problem with this notion was that when it was on MY time and HE needed a favour, or when I was on another employee’s time, he didn’t mind or show appreciation when I took time out and helped him with computer related emergencies.
Yet on one occasion, I came back 15 minutes late from being stuck at a bank, he was pissed. Not because I was stuck at the bank, but because he knew I also called in to see the progress of another job I was working on with another employer. That ironically, previously had showed no problems with me ducking out from time to time to help him. The thing is, in all cases, I don’t work a proper 9 to 5 job. I am a contractor and I’m constantly shuffling and robbing peter to pay Paul in regards to workload, priorities and deadlines. Because this is just the way I work, I usually compensate my clients but doing the work way cheaper than everyone else, and most have the understanding that what goes around, comes around and it usually works out for all parties. A great scenario is when I’m doing video editing or other types of render. It might take up to 24hours for a project to render. So I would leave a computer running and go onto another job, as it would seem a waste of time to sit at a screen just wanting a percentage bar go up. So I would then leave and sometimes go to where the next priority is. If I worked from home, no one would even know.
But back to my friend and me being 15minutes late.
He decided it was the perfect opportunity to seize the moment and give me the who’s the boss and who’s the employee talk, aka, who’s cock is bigger. This is usually done when someone does usually have a smaller cock and is using their authority to make up for their lack of size and other inadequacies
He was pissed off, and I was shocked. He thought he could finally control me because he was paying me (better). Yet, two things came to mind.
Firstly, why is it that employers like this can go ape shit because your 15minutes late, but never notice it when your 15minutes early.
Secondly I realise someone was clockwatching, and knowing he wasn’t there when I initially left for lunch I knew someone had it in for me and wanted to see this upstart in shit. Face it, I’m sitting on my ass doing computer work while they are on their feet and dealing with customers, what’s not to get jealous of. But us computer abusers are getting fatter and our eye sight is shot to shit. So it evens out. This also upsets me, because I respect everyone I work in, and try even harder when I have been roped in form outside and have to try and work with the already established staff. I try and knock down the us and them attitude and try and say hey, I’m a team player, I’m not going to take your job. But nonetheless, they still get territorial and do this clockwatching shit or do whatever they can to get you in trouble or make an example of you.
Secondly, I was under the impression that I wasn’t being employed by him as such, as that I was contracted to get a particular job done. Therefore being 15 minutes late would mean I just have to make it up. That said, for the price I was getting off him per hour to do said work, I thought I was giving him mates rates. Trust me, I could stay home and masturbate, it would be more fun, and I would love the extra sleep. It’s worth more than the hourly rate I was getting. Especially when I was already working a job and had more contract work to do.
But he was screaming at me, telling me what I am required to do. Was he doing this for my benefit, or for his other employees who were in earshot?
In any case, I was upset by this display. Thousands of thoughts came into my head, but every time I tried to open my mouth the wrong thing came out. It was belittling
He was still screaming at me, getting more frustrated because I kept coming up with reasons or as he put it, excuses as to why I do what I do, and why this doesn’t help him.
I thought he was a friend, I thought he understood this is the way I work. If he wanted a definite 9 to 5 employee then not only should he pay me as one, I would want the benefits that go with it. I say this not to disrespect him, or seem ungrateful for him slinging me a few bucks for some work. But if it was a proper 9 to 5 job, I wouldn’t need to do the other contract work to offset the bills, and I could soely focus on his work. The money I got from him would be lucky enough to pay my rent alone. That is why I have to balance all the work that comes in from other sources.
Because of this, I innocently thought there was an understanding between to parties that would never have to be explained and because I thought he was a friend, being 15 minutes late, or even 1 hour late would never be an issue.
Especially if it was an isolated case like this was. But at this particular moment, I realised I had made a terrible misjudgement.
Business is Business.
I looked around for my bag, I was about to leave. I don’t need this shit I thought.
I knew right then, no more favours, no more mates rates. I’m not sacrificing any more sleep let alone the only hour I get with my girlfriend per day, just to be screamed at.
I got up, and then he slapped me on the back and said, sit down. I am only kidding. I’m taking the piss out of you.
I don’t really think so…
He left, I sat there for a moment to think.
I’ll finish what I agreed what I would do. I’ll stick to my half of the bargain.
After that I’ll reassess a few things,
Starting with mates rates.
Originally Posted in 2007