04 Aug More Clients to Avoid: The Tattletale & The Blame Gamer
Last summer, I talked about people like Teddy the Tailgate Negotiator and Ned the Needy. In this episode, I add a couple of new ones to my Hall of Infamy: Tammy the Tattletale and Blaine the Blame Gamer.
✔️ Here’s an uncomfortable reality about freelancing or consulting: sometimes, a client hires you to be the scapegoat. 🐐
✔️ No matter how hard you try to avoid a nightmare client, on occasion, someone will fly under the radar and surprise you in a bad way.
✔️ One of the infuriating things about tattletales is that they often wish to have a whine and moan about things you cannot control.
✔️ People are still ghosting and dropping out of a hiring funnel if they lose interest. This is reality.
Links I discuss in this episode:
Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/
Transcription by Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos!
Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. And now, here’s your host Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, thanks for tuning in. In today’s episode, I want to add a few more characters to the Hall of infamy. With more individuals turning to freelancing and gig work, whether they’re trying to make ends meet temporarily until they find another full time w two job, or they’re thinking about making freelancing, their full time staple. I felt like this would be a worthwhile episode to record. Full disclosure. As always, this is not advice of any kind. This is me opining for your entertainment only just my opinion and it could be wrong. I’ll also add in like they say in books and in movies. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead is purely coincidental. So don’t start emailing me going oh, this sounds like such and so person or Oh, I bet I know who this is. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. So I have talked before about people like Mike the micromanager, Ned, the needy, Nancy the nitpicker and Teddy the tailgate negotiator. I want to add a couple of individuals now to our Hall of infamy. infamy. infamy. So we have also Tammy the tattletale and Blaine the blame gamer. Now before I start to describe Tammy and Blaine to you, I want to interject something important here again, because I see already more people getting into freelancing and gig work. I myself am very cautious of anybody that goes on social media or wherever and they’re braggadocious. And they want to bloviate Well, a project has never gone sideways on me. I’ve never had a negative experience with a client. I’m just so perfect. And everything’s great for me all the time. Sure, in my opinion, people like that are either lying through their teeth, or they haven’t done very much work. Because let’s face it, you cannot be all things to all people all the time. You’re also not going to please everybody either. You can give something your absolute A plus best effort left nothing on the table, you did everything possible to try to please this person or this group of people and it’s still not good enough. Sometimes in consulting or freelancing work. Unfortunately, here’s an uncomfortable truth. You are set up to be the scapegoat. If nobody’s ever told you that before. Allow me to enlighten you. There was a meme I think it was on work, retire dies Twitter account. Maybe even I don’t know if it was recently or if it was an old one that’s been being recycled. But the text of this meme said, Hey, team, the client has a really horrible idea that I’m too scared to push back on. Can you drop everything to make it happen ASAP, and then accept responsibility when it doesn’t perform thanks, rockstars smiley face. And I saw that and laughed out loud because sometimes, unfortunately, when you do consulting or freelancing or gigging, the client deep down knows they have a project that’s absolute dog poop, but they want you to be the scapegoat. They want to point a finger at you about why it failed. Cool, it’s not our fault that we want it Tony Stark, genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, we only wanted to pay him 50 grand, he had to live within a 10 mile radius of the middle of nowhere. Oh, he’s gonna have to RTO because there’s no more work from home. We also want him to go through eight different interviews and a personality test and a work assessment and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And if you weren’t able to find us, Tony Stark under those conditions, it’s your fault. And it’s like, right, okay, sure. In the episode that I did last summer called Teddy and med two types of clients to avoid, there was an article from inc.com and I will drop a link to it again and I will also reference it in this episode because again, as more people get into freelancing and gigging, this is good intel to have. The title of this article is seven types of clients who will take your patients to the brink. The byline reads, no matter how much you vet your clients or strive to preserve healthy client relationships, you’re eventually going to get a nightmare client who presses your buttons and pushes your patients to the brink. Keep watch for these seven types of nightmare clients. And it’s written by Jason demurrers, founder and CEO of audience bloom. So first and foremost, I want to give big ups to Jason For keeping it real and being honest, this is absolutely correct. No matter how thoroughly you vet your clients, and no matter how hard you work, even if you will, our hearts and roses and sunshine and peace and love and whatever you like it will shiny, happy people holding hands who just want everybody to like me, I want everybody to be happy. Like no matter how much of that energy you bring to a transaction, believe me, you’re gonna have at least one person who comes into your purview. And you’re gonna think, Oh, my God, am I being punished? Is this a karmic debt? I’m being asked to pay back like, how did this person even get in, you may have Jekyll and Hyde at times, that’s another individual that really needs to be added to the Hall of infamy, people who present one way and then turn in into straight up Satan. And once you’re working with them, trust and belief, you’re going to have that experience. If you’re in business long enough. Now, maybe you try a couple of transactions, and then you get another full time job, and it’s whatever, but the longer that you’re in business, trust and belief. So on Jason’s list of the seven nightmare clients, number one is the bureaucracy. And he writes, The bureaucracy isn’t necessarily a person is an entire organization. There may be a dedicated representative that you communicate with, but behind that face is a gigantic, complex organization filled with rules, procedures, and committees. Number two is the mind changer. The mind changer is notorious for changing his opinion at the last second. So for example, if you order 500 units, he’ll say did I say 500? Huh? I’m at 1000. Now this is also similar to my person, Teddy, the tailgate negotiator. They agree to things superficially, but then they think once they have you over a barrel, or once you’ve started the project, they can start asking for things that were not agreed to, and that were not listed in the scope of work. Number three, the needy one. Obviously, this is very similar to Ned, the needy on my list. The needy client is following up with you constantly. From the time you begin working together till the time the project is done, and sometimes thereafter. She demands an update every day, even if no progress has been made and causes your phone to ring off the hook. Oh, yeah. Then they’re done that and it will give you a headache. It will give you a splitting headache. Number four, the micromanager obviously, akin to my character for the Hall of Fame, Mike micromanager, the micromanager is sure he’s better at your job than you are and he’s questioning every strategy you make. Number five, the everything’s urgent one, this client has no sense of distinction between a minor issue and a genuine cause for alarm. Number six, the dictator the dictator refuses to listen to anything constructive. You have to say he’s already got his mind made up and he’d rather disregard your expertise than deign to compromise his initial vision rule. And number seven, the incomprehensible one, the incomprehensible one is almost impossible to understand, either because she doesn’t speak coherently or because she’s so disorganized. You can’t wrap your brain around what she’s asking. Bump, bump, bump, bump. So I will add to my own Hall of infamy. Tammy the tattletale and blame the blame gamer. Tammy, the tattletale is exactly what she sounds like. She’s a tattletale. She wants to whine and tattle. Tammy is probably the kind of person that drove her teachers and principal absolutely bonkers and elementary school, because I bet she was up in their faces every 10 seconds, Sally pulled my hair on the playground. Timmy doesn’t want me to sit with him at lunch just all the time, all the time wanting to have a wine and a moan, no matter how insignificant the situation might be. So Tammy might be tattletaling on you to other people on the project. She might be tattletaling to you about other people on the project. She may always want to be the type of person to try to pull rank well, if you don’t do X, Y and Z for me, then I’ll go tattle to the manager. In staffing, this can also manifest as a client who wants to tattle tale to you about candidates. Well, you sent Billy to us, and he agreed to a 3pm phone interview on Thursday. And then Thursday at 301. They’re calling you they’re either blowing up your telephone or blowing up your email to say we tried to call Billy at 3pm and he didn’t answer the phone. And you’re looking like okay, so he it’s 301 And what do you want me to do about it? I mean, seriously, let’s let’s drag all of these things out into the light, no sacred cows. What is it that you want me to do about that? Do you want me to show up as at his house like a psychopath? Do you want me to try to spank him with a wet noodle? What is it that you Want me to do? Because Billy didn’t pick up the phone at 3pm? What do you want me to do? To me? I just find that kind of behavior so childish and so maddening. And it also, like, begs the question, are you not aware of the great resignation? Are you not aware of the fact that there was this huge revolution in the way that people choose to interview and the way that people are working? Did you miss that? I mean, yes, I have been trying and trying to get the word out that I believe we’re already in a recession. I believe the pendulum is already swinging back to one of client and corporate America control, rather than being candidate driven and employee driven. However, not every candidate, not every job seeker has gotten that memo yet. People are still ghosting. People are still doing no show no call, people will are still dropping out of a hiring funnel. If they think it’s complicated and stupid. I can only do so much. You can only do so much, right? I mean, let’s say that you are in it. Or you’re a software engineer, product engineer of some kind. And the business development or sales team makes a bunch of hot air promises to a client. And then they come to you and they tell you something that’s unobtainium, or totally impossible. It’s not going to happen. And then you’re standing there going, Okay, well, why on earth would you have made that promise? Because it’s literally not possible. Or it’s not realistic on this timeline. What were you thinking? Well, you could be used as the scapegoat. Not saying that’s what happens in every company or in every situation, but it’s possible. You know, so then somebody like Tammy, the tattletale wants to run and tattle to somebody. Well, Bob said, this isn’t possible. I’ve already told the client it is possible where where I just don’t like whiny people. You know, I don’t. And I think to some degree, it, it has gotten worse over the years because I’ve been involved in agriculture. You know, I’ve been working in the heat. I’ve been working in cold. I’ve dealt with all kinds of conditions. I mean, when you have animals to take care of you have livestock depending on you, it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you feel like it. It doesn’t matter what the weather’s doing. It doesn’t matter if you’re sick and sore and whatever yourself it doesn’t matter. You got to get up off your butt and get the work done. So for me whiny people that just want to act like everything’s a crisis and everything they need to be a stool pigeon and a tattletale, about everything. Their feelings is always hurt. I am sorry, I can’t roll with that. I find that so obnoxious. So I put Tammy the tattletale on my hall of infamy. Because for me, it’s all I can do is speak for myself. I would not want to get engaged with the Tammy the tattletale because just like Ned, the needy or a Nancy the nitpicker a Tammy, the tattletale is going to blow up your phone or blow up your email with a bunch of hot air and nonsense that you cannot control anyway. Now on that note, I would say that blame the blame gamer is maybe a brother or a cousin to Tammy the tattletale because Blaine wants to make sure that there is someone to blame. If the project goes off the rails if something goes sideways. If you’re in staffing and you can’t get Tony Stark for 50 grand Blaine wants to make sure that he walks away from the situation scot free, it’s not his fault, it’s your fault. Or if he promised a client something that’s not possible. And then you come along and say the software literally will not do that. Or there’s no way that we can build xy and z in this amount of time. We don’t have the inventory to deliver this product. Well Blaine wants to point the finger of blame at you, it’s not going to be his fault, he will lie and conjure and do whatever he has to do to make sure that he points the finger of blame back at you. The Blaine’s of the world typically have another character trait that I really cannot stand which is being a right fighter. I love how Dr. Phil uses that term to describe somebody who is going to be right no matter what they’d rather be right than be happy. They’d rather argue even if they have to argue with a signpost. They’re going to turn everything into a Lincoln Douglas debate where by God somebody is going to be right and somebody is going to be wrong. And guess what the person in their mind that’s always going to be right is them. So Blaine is going to pull you into arguments. He’s going to try to trap you into all kinds of dialogues that you probably shouldn’t even be having. Because he wants to put the blame on you if anything goes wrong if the end user is not satisfied. If everybody gets called into a meeting and gets their butt chewed. Blaine wants to make sure that he’s like the Teflon Don, nothing’s going to stick to him. It’s going to all stick on you. And I feel like this is one of the ugly sides of freelancing and consulting work that people don’t Talk about as much being hired to be a scapegoat being hired by someone within a company who knows deep down that the rails are about to come off. The project is a what is it that Bruce Banner said Loki is crazy. His brain is like a bag full of cats. The deep down this person that’s hiring you knows that the project is crazy. And it’s like a bag full of cats. But they want you to exist to take the blame. So you’re coming into it fresh faced and maybe a bit naive thinking, Oh, this is great, I’ll be able to help them. And this is wonderful, shiny, happy people. And then when the whole thing explodes, Blaine is going to point the finger of blame at you and say, Well, you know, we hired John Doe, or Jane Doe to help us with this. And they just failed. It’s all their fault. Again, I can’t give you advice. I can’t tell you to just walk away from a project or I can’t tell you what to do and what not to do. If it were me, if I came across somebody in my repertoire that sounded like a Tammy, the tattletale or a Blaine, the blame gamer, I myself would try to run far and run fast. Because we have to count the cost. You know, I talked about this also in my episode about Teddy and mid you have to do a cost benefit analysis. At the end of the day, how much money am I going to make off of this? And is that amount of money worth the headache of attacking the tattletale or blame the blame gamer? How much headache Am I willing to put up with? It kind of goes back to my episode about how dirty is that dirt sandwich, we have to have rules of engagement in my opinion. And we have to set out the terms in order to get access to me and my time or to me and my skills or my product or whatever. Here are the rules of engagement. And then those rules of engagement become meaningless if you don’t require adherence to them. And I think this is another case where an ounce of prevention is worth about 10 pounds of cure. When we have Oopsy daisy and we’re involved with the Jekyll and Hyde, Mike the micromanager Ned, the needy Nancy the nitpicker Teddy, the tailgate negotiator, Tammy the tattle tale or blame the blame game or it can feel really difficult and uncomfortable to try to extricate ourselves from that situation. And some of these people want to push back and make all kinds of threats and show out and act the fool other people don’t. So use your own best judgment. That’s all that you can do. In my opinion, it’s important to count the cost. Is the money worth it? Am I going to be stressed out? Am I going to have a bleeding ulcer? Is this person going to call me at three o’clock in the morning? It’d be butthurt if I don’t answer, just some food for thought. I’ll see you in the next episode. We hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you haven’t already, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.