Playing the bad guy

From time to time, we have to be mean. Usually, when all’s new and shiny, we count on our likable selves to get things done, such as payment. And then… you spend 3 months waiting for a check that you feel will never come.

What can we do? First off, trying to be conciliatory seems like a good idea… You say things such as “If there is anything I can do to speed things up, let me know”, or “you know, if you have some financial difficulties, we can postpone the payment”. All you get is a black hole. Either you have the standard answering machine message “we work as fast as we can”, or just plain nothing.

Of course, it’s a little annoying. But since you enjoyed working with them, and you know some of the people in the company that you like to consider as friends, you wait. At some point, though you start getting just angry enough to send a half-mean email, with a copy to all your friends. Everyone puts pressure on the Bottleneck (notice the cap B? that’s because she’s so, big time), to no avail.

You learn by non-standard channels where it’s gone wrong. The Procedure was not followed scrupulously, so the process sticks somewhere in the machine. You then try to be helpful (“If you need me to start from scratch, let me know…”). It’s just useless.

When you feel out of patience, you just threaten. You get an answer right away. Weird, huh? Except that the answer isn’t really satisfying, for some reason I will not develop here. You reject the counter offer, and give it some more time.

Then, the guy who hired you leaves the company. Still no worries? Not really. But since you have some other work to do, and a written promise, you let it sleep a couple more weeks.

Finally, when nothing’s moved, you threaten seriously this time. The lawyer is loaded and ready. Immediately, an answer asking for more time, because the new guy isn’t up to speed yet.

I just hate it when it goes down that road. Why is it so hard to pay for something they desperately needed at the time? It’s not the first time, but it’s the worst yet… I like being the good guy, the one who comes in and saves the day… But in movies, this guy gets something out of it, while me… I have to threaten to sue to get what’s mine by right…


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