I have a violent allergy to the “We’ll get it to you by close of business on Friday; please deliver first thing on Monday” attitude. And as a self-employed contractor, I come up against this often.
There’s often an expectation – and it’s overtly expressed sometimes – that you must be so grateful for every crumb of work tossed your way that you give up your personal time to service the client’s needs. Or there’s the attitude of, “I work every weekend, and so should you.”
I call bullshit on both counts. If you’re a freelancer, or self-employed, you have just as much right to rest, relaxation and family time as anyone else.
So how do I deal with it when something like that lands late Friday afternoon?
I simply respond with, “Thank you. I will prioritise it first thing on Monday when I’m back in the office, and get it to you as soon as possible thereafter.”
I’ve set my boundary, I’ve been courteous and professional, and I’ve indicated that their work will still be prioritised.
And so far, no one has ever pushed back – and my client relationships have remained positive and in place.
PS. Of course, for the clients I have a longstanding relationship with, I’ll go the extra mile, and handle the odd emergency. But I also have a bunch of fabulous clients who never expect this as their right, and always treat me with respect.