Once upon a time I shook hands on a free-lance assignment to begin four months later. Before the handshake the contractor and I agreed upon the duties, venue, hours and pay scale. But the contractor’s internal procedures prohibited finalizing any of it in written form. We clarified the steps I would need to take before the assignment could be formally contracted and over the succeeding months I completed all of them. So, confident that the foundation was well-laid, I began to prepare to discharge the assignment once the time arrived.
To prepare, I needed some things from the contractor. But emails went unanswered and phone calls resulted in conflicting answers from administrators who lacked authority. Finally, toward the end of this circus I learned that my not-quite-contracted assignment had been reduced by half . The contractor “regretted any inconvenience.”
And it was not because the work had dried up. Rather, half of the work we’d agreed I would do had been shifted to a better-known, possibly cheaper, freelancer who came on the scene after I had.
That’s a bummer; but why write about it in a blog about decluttering?
Because… It took Forty-Eight Hours of hard emotional work to free my mind of the blinding illusion that I had any obligation to these folks, or that I wanted to work for them.
I had to recognize that the half-job was not-(even yet)-officially-contracted and could still disappear as easily as the first half had……
I had to face that I would be working alongside people who preferred to work with someone else and who had reneged on an existing agreement to make sure they could.
I had to grasp that devastating realization that none of this was an accident; they had chosen to do what they did.
I had to negotiate with all the demons that stood in the way of Just Saying “No.”
It took five staunch friends to help me declutter my mind of these illusions so make no mistake, this was a major and difficult decluttering. It’ll take, by way of comparison, that many movers to clear my living room of my husband’s deceased first wife’s piano — should that time ever arrive.
About five seconds after I declined, in writing, to do any work at all for them, the contractor assured me that I need have no worries, they’d get the remaining work covered.