Sunday, November 4, 2012

On Working and Relationships

I keep telling myself I am going to blog more frequently, even if it's just small posts, and I keep not doing it. I think part of the problem is that when I write here, I like to write uninterrupted. (I would also say without distraction, but I am so easily distracted it never happens that way.)

Like right now, I am writing but also monitoring file transfers and the time tracking web-based software I use for billing. The time tracker has been having some issues post-Sandy since their data center is in NYC and I am worried I may lose the tracked hours and invoices already in their system. But the point is, it's difficult for me to get lost in the writing when there's something else going on that I must monitor.

So what's going on here? Well, clearly, I am still getting freelance work (hence the file transfers I am watching) and I'm averaging 15–20 hours/week with that. Sometimes I out earn my unemployment check (which is awesome!) and sometimes I don't, and believe me, I am incredibly thankful that that particular safety net is there to help as we get back on our feet.

Scoob has started freelancing with me. He has been meeting lots of people at the networking groups he has been going to, and many of them want consulting work done on their websites. And despite my concerns about working together, we have now worked on a couple of projects together. We've been doing this pro bono right now to get the word out, but he does have a lead on a paying client.

I am not totally sold on this working arrangement—when I said he could use the company I set up to do freelancing under, I did not mean I would be taking on the additional work myself. So far I do not like how the division of labor is falling out. He finds the client, does an initial review of their website, then asks me to review the site, and then I get stuck writing up our findings and recommendations. I do not mind looking at the websites and giving a second opinion on specific things or even proofreading his write ups, but doing a complete second review of the sites and putting together the write ups is time consuming, and since he's doing the work for free right now, it takes away from time I could be billing on other projects.

If he wants to do this, he needs to do the whole thing. I am more than willing to help him, but it just rubs me the wrong way when he dumps the work he doesn't want to do in my lap. His reason is always "because you're better at it." An that may be true in some instances, but that doesn't mean I want to do it. And, he needs to start tracking the time he spends on these projects so he can figure out what to charge when the time comes. So far he hasn't been willing to, or he "forgets".

I'm seriously about to play the Owner card with him and lay down the rules and expectations, and that is exactly what I wanted to avoid. But it seems pretty clear to me that he is going to continue to take advantage of the situation unless I do. I've even offered to file the paperwork to make him a co-owner or even just turn the business over to him—if he wants to run it his way, then he needs to be in charge.

That, and I am interviewing for the position in New Jersey I posted about last time. I ended up interviewing with a VP and then a Senior VP the day after that post, and had an interview with one of their program managers this last Wednesday. I'm currently scheduling interviews with their production managers in India as the next step. Scoob and friends are convinced I have the job as long as I don't lose my mind and start dropping f-bombs during the interviews.

And, as I have been pointing out to Scoob, this is even more reason for him to step up on the freelance side, because if (when) I get this job, I won't be here to do the write ups, track the time, meet with the clients, or send out the invoices for him. Then he talks about hiring someone to do that work and I just have to keep telling him I did not want this. I never wanted to "build" a company or hire employees; I simply wanted a business name to conduct my freelance work under. If he wants to go out an conquer the world, by all means do it, but do not expect me to allow you to co-opt my business or do the grunt work. It is not my goal and is not what I want, and I have been very clear about that, and yet…

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