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Nasty client is being extra nasty today cant cope :(

(19 Posts)
AKP79 Wed 20-Jul-11 12:54:08

Sorry ladies, just wanted to have a little moan, I'm hoping it'll stop me from crying in the office.

I've got a really nasty client at work, who is a bit of a bully in reality. She's never happy even though my team do some outstanding work for her and she will always look for things and areas to find fault or criticise. She's being particularly unreasonable and unpleasant today and I'm finding it really hard to stay calm and cope with it. I just feel like bursting into tears.

She has spent the whole morning moving goal posts and having a go at me for absolutely no reason. She's told me that she's worried about the account because one of the girl's on it was in an hours meeting this morning and basically wasn't at her beck and call. We each have seven clients on average so she know's she's not our only responsibility.

In addition I'm fairly new here and have just found out that the person who worked on this account before me left because she had a nervous breakdown.

I'm so stressed and exhausted by work, I'm putting in 10 - 12 hour days and trying to deal with pregnancy at the same time. I've hardly even thought about the baby or planned for its arrival because I haven't had any time to. My to do list has doubled in size this morning and there is no support for me from above.

I've booked some holiday so I can have a break from work, but because of team clashes I can't have any until September. Feel like I'm the one who's now having the breakdown.

Sorry for the moan, just needed to get it off my chest.

roz1982 Wed 20-Jul-11 12:59:54

what a Bitch. Just think to yourself how miserable she must be and what a horrible life she must have to act like such a bloody cow. You can only do so much for a person; try to stay calm and you need to go and have a little cry, do it, you might feel better. she's a right dick.

feekerry Wed 20-Jul-11 13:05:22

Hi. Aw dont worry. I know how you feel. I work with high value clients so know exactly how you feel. You know what i'd do- turn off my phone and email and go home or go for lunch or something. She wont die if you leave her hanging for a while. Might teach her a lesson!x

ITryToBeZenBut Wed 20-Jul-11 13:11:31

Sorry to hear you're having a tough time and just wanted to give you some sympthy. I work long days with 'challenging' individuals too often who seem to have awareness of how their unresonable behaviour affects other people and much harder to deal with when you're pregnant, tired and emotional.

How pregnant are you? Mybe it's an espesh exhausting phase which will pass and you can plan some relacxing things for yourself for after work when energy comes back a bit? I'm 10 weeks and have been too ill to do much exercise which has left me feeling quite emotionally low and vulnerable to stress. But I spend 20 mins each day in a yoga relaxation pose after work - dark room , on floor, eyes closed and jsut meditating on breath and it works like an off switch to my stress. Might not float your boat but are there little things you can do for yourself to help remind you of the good things - nice picture on your desk of somewhere special, nice tasty treat for mid afternoon etc biscuit to focus on after being stressed out by this moo?

Karma will get her in the end wink

RebelDiamond Wed 20-Jul-11 13:15:38

You need some support, big time, are you dealing with this demand on your own or can you share the load with the team? Can you sit down with your senior manager/ the team and thrash out a strategy once and for all? Please dont let this person spoil the enjoyment of your pregnancy, its too special, and so not worth it, and you seem like a clever girl so you know this deep down. Someone has to re-affirm the boundaries with this client. if this is easier said than done, just find a way to shut off when you walk out that door, it will just consume you otherwise, find any means possible to vent! Take care of yourself xxxx

AKP79 Wed 20-Jul-11 13:17:21

Hi ladies, thanks so much for your messages, just having a sympathetic ear has been a massive help. I've just come back from the toilets as i gave in and had to have a little cry. Feeling a bit better now, but am still dreading the rest of the day and am panicking because I need to leave by 6 today to go to my first antenatal group. Crazy that I'm panicking about that when I've been in since 7.30am and wont be having a lunch break!

Thanks for the tips too, I think it will be a good idea to let her sweat for a while and Itrytobezen I like your meditation idea, I'm not really into it, but can see how it would help. I too haven't had opportunity to exercise, I'm not getting home until 8 and then I'm so tired I'm going to bed at 9.30 most nights. I'm 14+3 by the way.

Thanks again everyone xx

Catsycat Wed 20-Jul-11 13:23:34

She sounds like a sour and deeply nasty person. Like roz said, she must be very miserable.

You are working very long hours, and clearly doing all you can for your clients. If she can't understand that people go into meetings, then she is an idiot as well as a bully. I hope you have chance to get a bit of air and a walk round the block at lunchtime, failing that, go and hide in the loo for a bit!

Try and communicate with her by e-mail (or not at all) for the rest of the day if at all possible!!!!!

Catsycat Wed 20-Jul-11 13:27:26

Sorry, x posted - glad quality time in the toilet helped. Had to do that lots when I was at work (and I wasn't even pregnant). It's a shame some people can get so wrapped up in themselves at work, that they don't notice / think / care how it affects others.

Hope your antenatal class is good - I made lovely friends at ours, we are all still friends 4 years later.

AKP79 Wed 20-Jul-11 13:53:56

Thanks Catsycat, really appreciate your post. I'm trying to focus on tonight, I've been looking forward to meeting other pregnant ladies as I don't know any at the mo. Would love to avoid my client for the rest of the day, but she's coming in later for a meeting! sad

Catsycat Wed 20-Jul-11 14:03:19

Eugghhhh! Good luck! Make sure she knows how hard you're working on her behalf. Deep breaths.... and count to 10.... x

AKP79 Wed 20-Jul-11 14:24:10

Don't worry I will! smile There's been lots of deep breathing and counting to 10 today!! Thanks for your support Catsycat xx

NoMoreWasabi Wed 20-Jul-11 15:05:34

I’d definitely speak to your management whether they want to know or not. If they know you’re pregnant and the previous person left due to the stress of this then you can make them provide more support to you and your team. Not sure what area you’re in (high net worth banking or similar?), but I can very much understand people not wanting to tackle the client. But are there service level standards or similar as to how quickly things should be done? If not it might be worth considering introducing them which should make clear to the client what she can expect and when which may calm her down.

Rootatoot Wed 20-Jul-11 16:51:43

AKP - I know it is easier said than done, but you have to put your health and your baby's health first. You MUST eat regularly and look after yourself. I know you probably won't have told work as yet but I really think you should consider telling your line manager. They have a responsibility to you, pg or not, but particularly in light of your predecessor. No job in the world is worth making yourself ill for and esp not during pregnancy.

I was signed off work with stress many years ago. A lot of it was exacerbated by crap management. You can end up convincing yourself that you MUST work 14 hours a day with no breaks, etc but if the company is operating like that and cannot cope otherwise, there is something wrong. That is not YOUR responsibility. That is up to the company to hire more staff or put more of the team on your project.

I imagine you might be in creative sector like me. I know what demanding clients can be like. I had an issue earlier this year when I was a bit further on in pg than you. My client's client starting hassling me with phone calls & emails at all times of day/evening. I just laid the law down to be honest. Didn't take his calls or reply. Told my client I wouldn't do so & it was unacceptable. In the end, I finished my part of contract and my client had several months of hell with his client. Some clients will just take the pee pee if you let them. I know it's prob harder when you work for a company, but in that case, the company have duty to you and your health.

I'll stop rambling but I'd say talk to your line manager, esp if you have a good relationship with them, in the first instance. IF, this situation continues and your managers are not resolving the issue, then think about getting a union. I'm not usually one for unions and all that, but they have their place and have helped my DH in the past with bad management/stress problems.

I hope you get out of work on time and enjoy your class. And DON'T SKIP LUNCH in future!!!

AKP79 Wed 20-Jul-11 17:26:14

Rootatoot - a lot of what you've said rings true with me, I do feel that I MUST work those long hours and there's definitely an unwritten expectation of people.

I told my line manager after my 8 week scan that I was pregnant because I was worrying so much about what they would say. I'm still within my 6 month probationary period so I am putting extra stress on myself because of that as well. My pregnancy was a happy accident and not at all planned so it's not been ideal and means I miss out on maternity pay because of that I'm putting incredible pressure on myself to do really well as I need this job more than ever to save for next year when the baby's here.

They were lovely about the pregnancy and were very understanding which is great, but they also know what nightmare clients I have and have done nothing to support or help me. I have regular 121s with my manager and explain that I am finding things overwhelming, but they have said that I'm doing a good job so it's almost like I need to start doing a bad one before they listen and I have too much pride in what I do to do that.

Thanks again for your message, you're 100% right, the baby is far more important, but I am feeling really trapped at the moment.

ITryToBeZenBut Wed 20-Jul-11 18:12:55

Sounds a tricky situation but you're doing fine and have had great feedback (probation is a worrying time but you build credits and sure you've already earned a few). I've worked for professional services firms and I agree it does seem to be the unwritten rule about hours in those places but at the end of the day, it's the quality of your work that matters and sometmes people genuinely appreciate seeing someone demonstrating good work-life balance. 730-6 is not shirking! The higher up the tree you get, the more you'll see examples of workaholics but also people who very flexibly manage their work around life.

Since being preggers, I now do 8-6 and really, really focus on what I'm doing in that time but am out the door at 6. Could you talk to your manager again and maybe say that it's a difficult time with pregnancy hormones and you're sure it will settle but can they practically suggest anything you could do to help with the situation? Spin it back onto them by asking for their advice in very practical terms rather than emotional one (I've had the same before - you just get lines about it being normal etc etc but you're doing great which is a very positive sign on you but doesn't help you) whilst drawing it to their attention again perhaps? Maybe ask if you could look to structure your day to take a lunchtime swim or yoga or something?

When I deal with someone difficult, I often imagine them as a small child whihc sort of takes the power out of their fury etc. Makes me smile to think of then as a tantrumy child. Just seems to hurt me less and make it much easier just to concentrate on what they're saying and deflect the emotion. Any little tricks you've used before to help you mentally get less affected by your client?

It'll be ok re money etc. You probably need less money than you think you do - buy second had etc saves a fortune.

Hope the antenatal class goes well. smile

Rootatoot Thu 21-Jul-11 14:35:17

How are you today AKP? Hope you enjoyed your class last night AND I hope you have had a lunch break today? ( I'm nagging grin)

AKP79 Sat 23-Jul-11 10:38:46

Hi Rootatoot, thanks for thinking of me and for nagging! smile I confronted my client at a meeting the other day about the issues she appeared to have (in the nicest possible way) and she said everything was fine and there wasn't a problem. It seems she's only able to be a bully over email! My week didn't get much better, some holiday which I'd booked for early September has been cancelled by my line manager because it clashes with another team (who I don't even work with or on anything with) and I've been told I can't take any time now until early October! I'm going to see if I can take the odd Friday before then, but with all this stress I could really do with a break. Am so glad it's Saturday though!!

Merinda Sat 23-Jul-11 12:18:54

Hi AKP79, I realy understand what you are going through! I work in consulting, am 21 weeks pregnant and have areally nasty client, who has been trying to bully my team and keeps finding fault with everything we do.
The emails are unbelievable, and I try to ignore them and always either talk to him on the phone or in person. And it always turns out there are no issues, it's just that he is nervous or panicking.
So my approach has been to ignore his emails and I told him to call me instead if he had "real" issues so that we could sort them in a professional manner. It is very difficult, but helps to deal with it collectively with the whole team, when we sit down, recall the events of the day and have a laugh about all the rediculous statements we hear throughout the day.

On top of that, I actually had a chat with the client's boss, highlighting that I expect professionalism at work, and will not tolerate this kind of attitude with my team.
I also put my foot down on his expectations for working hours - they assume if they pay us, we are slaves and available 24/7. My biggest issue is their expectation is that we work weekends, and I told them that the shop closes at 6pm on Friday and anything sent after that will be seen on Monday morning. They did not like it much, but had no choice...
I know, it is not always possible, but gentle, calm and professional pushback can help to "realign" the expectations. The message is basically: "this is how we work, we have out rules and practices, and you as a client have to respect that".
Good luck to you, hope you are finding ways to cope!

Catsycat Sun 24-Jul-11 21:47:18

Hi AKP. Hope you had a good weekend. Really agree with Merinda above, re. reminding the client of your ground rules!

Sorry about your holiday - hope you manage to take the odd day before then.

Hope you have a better week!

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