I'm done with client work.
I'm done with client work because the thought of dealing with one more client who needs to be hit (smashed, obliterated) by a clue stick, sends me into a depression so deep I can't see the sky.
The thought of dealing with a project manager who doesn't keep track of what's going on, doesn't tell his client "no, you can't have it yesterday," can't communicate effectively, delivers prerequisite work two weeks late but expects the rest of the schedule to be on time, and springs non-tested project launches two hours before an arbitrary unknown and uncommunicated deadline, fills me with an annoyance so strong that I lose the ability to suppress it.
The thought of feeling I've disappointed another client, nearly completing a project, but seeing a list of items that aren't QUITE done, not being able to be satisfied with work-well-done because the work wasn't done well because the end was a continually moving target, frustrates me beyond belief.
I can't do this any longer.
I can't deal with clients who say "Did you see this? See how the links are at the bottom. What about that?" What about it? The links are at the bottom. What are you asking me? Are they in the wrong place? Are they supposed to be there? Are they incorrectly labelled? Are they pointing to the wrong pages? Should they be on the top? What about the links are at the bottom? What are you asking me to do?
I can't deal with clients who ask, "What is the status of X? What about Y? How about Z? What's going on with W? How's it going with T?" When I ask back, "Do you have this in list form? Have you sent me these tasks or asked me about them before?" responds, "No, I haven't sent you this list. I don't have it in a list." If you haven't asked me about it, nor told me about it, I'm pretty sure IT ISN'T DONE.
I can't deal with clients who send me bug reports that say "That thing on the front page. It doesn't work." What doesn't work? The links at the top of the page? The images aren't scrolling properly? The nav buttons don't highlight? The sponsor logos don't rotate? What doesn't work? And what browser doesn't it work in (because it's working just fine in my browser, and the other four browser types I tested, otherwise I wouldn't have said the task was complete)? "It doesn't work" isn't enough information for me to solve your problem.
I can't deal with clients who say, "The system is broken," and blame the software when EACH. AND. EVERY. TIME. we go over the steps the client did, the error is revealed to be USER ERROR. Doesn't matter. It's the system that's broken. The client doesn't stop to think or to READ THE ONSCREEN INSTRUCTIONS (the short, one sentence to-do item). No, it's the system that is broken.
I can't deal with clients who, though given my hourly rate, the number of hours I've worked and the work I've done, panic when my invoice arrives. They knew what my rates were before I started the project. They knew that my rates are on low end of high. I charge that rate because I get the work done in less time than the guy who charges 1/3 my rate, often at a lower cost, because I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING. Just because YOU don't know how to do it, doesn't mean *I* don't know how to do it. In fact, I DO know, and you asked me to do it.
I can't deal with being stressed when I send that bill. If I do $10000 worth of work, and we agreed on $10000, why should I be stressed and worried about the client's paying? Because the number of clients who have decided not to pay had been, until 2008, disgustingly high. I've changed my billing practices to fix the problem, but am still wary when I send that bill.
I can't deal with clients who ask, "How hard can it be?" when they don't have any clue about the effort involved. Yes, I make it look easy, but that's why the client hired me: because I can do the work. Just because I can do the work, doesn't mean that it's not hard. Certainly doesn't mean that it's not GOING TO TAKE TIME.
I can't deal with clients who want tagging because "It's a Web 2.0 feature," not because it actually ADDs to the site, not because it actually serves a purpose, not because it makes sense. "We HAVE to put it in. It's Web 2.0." You know, "It's Web 2.0" is not a reason to do something. Either you've forgotten WHY you should something, nor never bothered to learn.
I can no longer help incompetent people look competent. If you're doing a job you can't do, either learn how to fucking do the job, or get a different one. I'm tired of pulling someone else's ass out of the fire, saving someone else's butt. I'm tired of saving a project because six months ago the client promised their client a site would be delivered in three weeks, and they don't have anything to deliver, but that's okay, call Kitt, she's famous for delivering sites in three weeks or less. I'm tired of figuring out what the hell a client is trying to ask for, then having to redo the task three times because, "No no no, that's not what I said," when, yes, that was EXACTLY what you said, and I have the documentation to prove it.
I can't deal with helping other people achieve their dreams while my dreams lay dying. I can't wake up in two years and think, "Fuck, it's 2011. Where did the last four years go?" because I wasted it on everyone else's projects. I'm already wondering where the last two years went. I can't do this for another five years. Or two. Or one.
I just can't do it any more.
I'm done with client work.