How much time can I be reasonably expected to give?

(15 Posts)
SunInMyWindow Fri 15-May-15 12:47:26

More of a WWYD really.

NC for this.

I am a freelancer and have been doing a weekly job for a company for nearly 2 years now. It is very poorly paid and it has been made clear to me that there is no more money available.

It is taking up more and more time each week. In the meantime my other work has been increasing. I am very short of time and very stressed due to my workload.

I've reached a point where I really want to stop doing this weekly job. It is way too much work for such a small amount of money, and I often end up working late and even on weekends to get my other stuff done. I have only let it go on for this long because the person I work with has become a friend, and she has considerable personal difficulties at the moment. To top things off, she is nearing the end of a very difficult pregnancy and really needs the extra help from me.

But I don't have anything more to give. I am working round the clock and not really making much money, partly due to this time-consuming job. I am stressed and anxious, am not getting enough time with my family or for my hobbies, and am not getting enough exercise.

What to do? It is not my friend's fault (for she has become a friend) that the employer has no budget for the work. (I think he's taking the piss really, but that's a whole different story). But likewise it is not my responsibility to suffer stress and loss of income (I could be doing more profitable work in that time) because my poor friend is struggling. And in the meantime the employer can count his £££.

The lines of business and personal life have become so tangled that I'm not really sure what to do for the best?

(NB there were good reasons for me taking the poorly-paid job to begin with, but I don't want to give too much information online).

christinarossetti Fri 15-May-15 13:01:32

You need to take it up with the person who contracts you re what you can realistically do in the time that you are paid for.

If your friend is going to go on maternity leave, this would be an opportune time for you to change your role/leave too?

Collaborate Fri 15-May-15 13:02:44

Just explain that as the demands of the job have grown, the fee structure can no longer apply. Charge your usual going rate. As you say, working for next to nothing so someone else can rake it in even more is plain daft.

gobbin Fri 15-May-15 13:02:59

Stop the job. You are only here once and your life is much the worse for it. Imagine yourself NOT doing the job - if that feels like a massive weight lifted, you've got your answer.

The words to explain to your friend can come later.

DisappointedOne Fri 15-May-15 13:03:59

Just tell them what you've said here. It's too much work for not enough money and is impacting on your ability to make a living. it's not personal, but they aren't paying you sufficiently to take so much of your time.

SunInMyWindow Fri 15-May-15 13:11:14

If your friend is going to go on maternity leave, this would be an opportune time for you to change your role/leave too?

You would think so, wouldn't you? But I think she is only taking a few weeks or months off shock and so apparently needs me more than ever.

You are all 100% correct. I just feel sooooo terrible leaving right when she's struggling so much with a difficult pregnancy. I feel like the company has (however unintentionally) taken advantage of the crossover between business and personal life. As the situation stands, I look crappy for ditching the client right when she is about to give birth. But honestly, I am at breaking point. I feel resentful too, that the business is taking advantage of me, but that is secondary to the fact that I really can't go on like this for too much longer.

DontTurnAround Fri 15-May-15 13:18:50

surely the point of being self emplyed/freelance is so that you are working to your needs and time constraints. If she's a friend then she will understand, you have to have a life too. If they upped your fee would you be prepared to keep it going? If so work out what a realistic rate is for the work/time you are puttingin arrange a meeting with the boss and say here are the two options 1 - I leave altogether, 2 - you up my fee.

People are always willing to take the piss out of someone who is too polite to kick up a fuss. Don't be that walkover!

SunInMyWindow Fri 15-May-15 13:26:06

Thanks DontTurnAround.

I met with the boss last year to discuss this and received an increase that was the bare minimum of what I was happy with. Then the scope of the job kept increasing confused.

Most people who know me IRL would find it hard to understand how this happened (note my use of language: "I received an increase"? I'm the one who should set my fees and they take it or leave it!). It's the whole social crossover here that has caused me problems I think. I'm a people-pleaser outside my business life and that's got me where I am today. Overworked and underpaid angry.

I am no longer prepared to keep working there because I feel that they just keep asking for more, more, more. So I'm going to tell them that I'll leave.

It will cause my poor friend a lot of tears I expect. She is really emotional with all the problems in the pregnancy. But if I have a nervous breakdown of sorts due to bottled-up resentment, stress and overwork, I don't see how that would help anyone.

I suspect I will lose a friend over it and be blacklisted by the employer (big deal). Such is life.

Purplepoodle Fri 15-May-15 13:56:59

I would draft a letter to the boss detailing (every single thing) the scope and amount of work required, how many hours it is taking u to complete. If he wishes u to continue to do the work outlined in your letter you will need to be a minimum of X amount or unfortunately you will not be able to continue with the job.

Purplepoodle Fri 15-May-15 13:58:28

Then if he tries negotiate stick to your guns - get a formal outline of what's expected and amount paid. If they let u go then no one can complain you havnt tried

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 15-May-15 14:06:51

I'd just give notice - you're a freelancer - it is just business and not personal and they should totally accept that. If they get difficult well that is their problem.

I doubt they'd worry too much if they had to give you notice.

DontTurnAround Fri 15-May-15 14:08:04

Sounds like getting out is going to be the best thing for you then. If she's a true friend she will understand and if she doesn't then its obviously not a friendship that was meant to be.

Good luck and stay strong! Sounds like boss man is a huge piss taker and probably needs the shock of you telling him to GTF!

PeterParkerSays Fri 15-May-15 14:10:16

Give a month's notice in writing, or whatever time period is stipulated in your contract.

Then write a list of what you're going to do with the extra time once you stop doing this work, and stick it on the fridge where you can see it so you aren't swayed to change your mind.

don't give a reason other than "it has become unsustainable" or something similar so they can't come back with offers.

christinarossetti Fri 15-May-15 14:12:20

I'm sure that your friend will be upset, but her problems are a stressful and difficult pregnancy and being taken the piss out of by her boss at work.

Not you.

BigChocFrenzy Fri 15-May-15 15:15:30

Walk away. That firm is massively taking advantage of you and will continue to do so for as many years as you allow it.
If you want extra money, find something with a sensible amount of hours at a fair rate.

You are NOT required to wreck your physical & mental health, just because you feel sorry for another employee. You are not her mum.
Maybe it'll encourage her to find a better job too.

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