PATIENCE AND THE FREELANCER

Like most careers, a freelance writing gig has its highs and lows. One of the biggest highs is working with many different clients. One of the biggest lows is chasing paychecks from all those different clients. Besides, putting a wrench in the budget, it just feels crappy to not get paid for work done well and on time.

Thankfully, chasing down clients doesn’t happen often. Usually I see payment within 30 days. Sometimes up to 60. Only once before, did it seem to take more than 3 months, but that company was reorganizing and I did believe that no one was in charge. And now there’s this…


Hey, look at me! I look like I am begging for… um…maybe a paycheck I invoiced 120+ days ago.
It was Day 107 when I started writing this post. And then I hesitated. Maybe it’s not the right thing to do, plus I had that idealistic “oh, it’ll probably come tomorrow” recording playing in my head.

On February 13th, approximately Day 120, I thought, “Hey it’s been 4 months since I sent that invoice.” I’ve been waiting an entire season for a paycheck. In other terms, I have been waiting the time it takes a baby to start solid foods. I got pissed, and resurrected the post.

I tapped on a few keys, then hesitated again. I wrote to the woman who hired me. Mortified that I was still waiting to be paid, she told me that some checks went out on Friday, and that maybe mine was with that bunch. Our fingers were crossed.

Then came Valentine’s Day — a day of love and perhaps…a paycheck! The only exciting thing in my mailbox, however, was a tiny lizard which scared the shit out of me. When I spotted it stationed on the last envelope, nearly white and trying so hard not to be seen, I screeched and threw all the mail in the air. As I collected the letters off the grass, a really cute Wheaton came over to sniff me and say “hello.” That was nice, but the absence of a check was not.

{Confession: I did not sign a contract with this company.}

The freelance gods are frowning upon me; I performed emergency proofreading duties in good faith. I know. I know — a stupid move which actually sometimes makes me think this massive delay is somehow my fault. I hate that that thought actually crosses my mind.

A good friend tells me his sister did a job for the same company, and that they took forever to pay. “But they paid!” he says, attempting to assuage me. I know this is supposed to make me feel better…. kind of like the forgotten 50 you find in a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in a very long time.

I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful, whiny freelance writer — and if you know me personally you know that I am so NOT a WFW, but in the event that I am coming off like one, I shall turn this negative situation into something positive starting….now!

Let’s play…

“GUESS THE NAME OF
THE VERY, VERY SLOW PAYER”

Just leave your answer in the comment section of this blog. If you are correct and the first one to be so (but you may not be a good friend to whom I may have already griped), you’ll receive an autographed copy of a “The Colorful Counting Book,” a short paperback kids book that I made a little too hastily on Lulu. But it’s the thought that counts, right? And it is kind of cute. Oh, I am eager to see the names you come up with, and I do hope you’ll play.

(o.k.- I’m really sorry that the prize is not a cool purse, or a spa service or anything of greater value, but remember, I haven’t been paid — and actually it is kind of cool especially if you have a kid or know a kid that is at the age of learning colors and numbers.)

It is February 15th, and still no check. Maybe tomorrow or the next day or the next or the next or maybe the next………….

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