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To be considering changing my mind about helping someone after only one meeting?

(121 Posts)
SirBoobAlot Tue 15-Jan-13 14:01:54

A friend of a friend runs a small business, and is horrendously busy. The three of us all went to a talk a while ago, which is how I know him. We had a great night, and got on very well. He mentioned that he was overwhelmed with work, so I offered to help; research etc, I can do from home. He's not paying me.

So I went along for a meeting with him today, to go over what he needs me to do. I got there and he was really stressed with his accountant. He said, "He's just so disorganised, and rubbish at staying in contact. I think he must have a mental health condition or something." I replied, "Does he just not keep you up to date?". He said, "No, he is just generally crap. I think he must have a mental health condition, and you can't work with people like that. They just don't get it."

So, I said, "Well, actually I have a mental health condition." He looked at me sharply, and said, "We might not get on in that case." I told him I had Borderline Personality Disorder, and explained loosely what that meant. His phone then rang.

Then we started talking over what he needed me to do. Quite a lot more than I was expecting! He talked about a company he had contacted; "The first question they asked me was "are you disabled?". I mean, what is the fucking relevance of that? Some do-gooder set on ticking a box. Would they have helped me if I didn't have any legs?". I bristled again at this, seeing as I walk with a stick, but replied calmly, "I think especially with the current cuts that are going on, people have to give it an appearance of not being a vendetta against disabled people." He retorted, "It's not a vendetta. People have just got used to living outside of their means, and spending too much money, when they don't have it. Everyone can't be a charity case. We're economically fucked."

I don't really know what to do. I feel like I should just carry on and help him, because I said I would. But at the same time, I don't want to either start helping out and then be having to listen to this on a regular basis, or be helping for the wrong reason, ie, an attempt to change his mindset instead of because I want to help.

Currently have a battle between wanting to prove him wrong and wanting to protect myself going on in my head.

Would it be unreasonable to type up what we discussed today, and do what I said I would do before I am due to see him next (Friday), but then say "I'm sorry, but because of your views, I don't feel it will be suitable for us to work together"?

I'm really surprised he came out with this.

WilsonFrickett Tue 15-Jan-13 14:05:14

Why on earth are you working for free in the first place?

Bakingtins Tue 15-Jan-13 14:06:06

He sounds really unpleasant. What would you get out of working for an unpleasant boss for nothing? Do you need experience for a CV or do you need something useful to occupy some time? If you have time to spare I am sure you could volunteer somewhere you'd be more appreciated.

SirBoobAlot Tue 15-Jan-13 14:06:38

Because I'm long term ill, not well enough to work regularly. But the stuff he needs me to do is research, which I can do from home on days my conditions will let me.

twinklesparkles Tue 15-Jan-13 14:06:49

No don't help him. He sounds like a prick and like you may end up regretting your generosity

TheDeadlyDonkey Tue 15-Jan-13 14:09:27

You're not obliged to help him at all in the first place, but given his comments about mental health etc, I think you should steer well clear of him.

At least you've found out now, while you have a chance to back out.

Icelollycraving Tue 15-Jan-13 14:09:54

He is a completely unethical twat. Tell him his attitude just cost him some free labour. Idiot.

ladyWordy Tue 15-Jan-13 14:10:47

Of course it's not unreasonable SirBoob.

You have the right to change your mind. Even if he was politeness personified, you still have the right to change your mind!

You've no contract, you haven't been paid - you don't have to do anything.

You don't have to give a reason either. Given what you've said, chances are he'll have a go at you, but it sounds like he'd do that anyway! I really think it would quite damaging to work with such an aggressive person.

PureQuintessence Tue 15-Jan-13 14:12:13

Holy cow, what an ignorant fuckwit.

Maybe we can help you compose and email where you withdraw your offer of help?

KhallDrogo Tue 15-Jan-13 14:13:28

tell him to fuck off

glastocat Tue 15-Jan-13 14:15:21

Tell him to fuck off.

SirBoobAlot Tue 15-Jan-13 14:15:42

Glad you hear you don't think I'm just being over sensitive. Its taken me a long time for me to stop feeling ashamed by my illnesses - any of them - and this felt like a bit of a kick in the teeth, to be honest.

ovenchips Tue 15-Jan-13 14:16:03

If you are helping him because essentially you are being kind (rather than reciprocal benefits for you), please don't help him any more. I would do what you said - do what was agreed this week then say 'This arrangement is not going to work for me. Goodbye.'

Then walk away and don't waste any more of your time or mental energy on this undeserving scrote.

PureQuintessence Tue 15-Jan-13 14:21:14

"So, I said, "Well, actually I have a mental health condition." He looked at me sharply, and said, "We might not get on in that case."

This is all you need to know. He wont get on with you, he has decided.

But what if YOU dont get on with HIM? Make that choice now, why get further entangled with him?

fromparistoberlin Tue 15-Jan-13 14:27:53

do NOT
I repeat

work for this man for free


mamakoula Tue 15-Jan-13 14:31:54

If you are having strong doubts about this, I'd say go with your gut feeling. Just say something came up and you're sorry you will not be able to help after all. No reasons - even if you feel that you have to give them, you don't have to and it keeps things simpler and prevents further discussion.

I would have doubts about somebody I would be engaging in a professional relationship voicing such strong opinions.

SirBoobAlot Tue 15-Jan-13 14:32:33

I should have walked out when he said that, Pure, but I was too surprised. So I feel to some degree that if I took it then, and proceeded to continue with the meeting, if I tell him to get stuffed now, I will have wasted his time, and he won't be happy.

mamakoula Tue 15-Jan-13 14:34:41

Could you look for a volunteer position? Sometimes there are ones which can be done from home eg collecting information, writing, phone call services (support roles)

JuliaScurr Tue 15-Jan-13 14:35:15

hth smile

CailinDana Tue 15-Jan-13 14:35:34

Who cares if he isn't happy? Why are you so concerned about someone who clearly doesn't care about your feelings?

PureQuintessence Tue 15-Jan-13 14:39:27

Wasnt he passive aggressively slagging you off all through the meeting though?

Never mind him. Just write him an email.

Dear John,
I regret to tell you that I will after all not be able to help with the research on a voluntary basis. I hope you find somebody else more suitable to take on this task. Good luck.

SirBoobAlot Tue 15-Jan-13 14:42:26

Mama: I'm not consistently well enough, unfortunately. I want so much to be working, and going somewhere with my life, which is one of the reasons I offered to help him in the first place.

Cailin: I'm a people pleaser blush and I have an issue with knowing people will be angry / dislike me. I am getting better with this, but it is all part of my illness, which is rather ironic in this situation.

Tailtwister Tue 15-Jan-13 14:45:38

Don't help this man. If he behaves so badly during your first meeting, it's only going to get worse.

PureQuintessence Tue 15-Jan-13 14:45:50

There are plenty of companies around who needs people who can research a topic, and write a good article about it. Why not try freelance copy writing? Then you take on as much as you want/feel able to?


PureQuintessence Tue 15-Jan-13 14:46:25

Do you want to have this man moan about YOU to his friends, colleagues, the same way as he rants about his accountant?

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