My old academic adviser from undergrad used to have a joke: How does a stage manager say “f*ck you?” The answer was “thank you for bringing this to my attention,” said in the perfect deadpan that you didn’t know if she was serious or sarcastic. Perfect.
After the last encounter with the woman I tutor for, “crazyface,” things were not the same. Something had changed in me. Maybe it was that I noticed myself getting anxiety about talking to her on the phone or seeing her; maybe it was the way she never calls me back when she says she will; maybe it was the constant incessant phone ringing the days leading up to her son’s bagrut exam. Either way, I was done.
Done. Done-doneski. Done.
So, I started tapering off my hours. I made the executive decision that she has monopolized my Saturdays for too long and that Saturdays are not a work day for me anymore. She wasn’t happy. Then I told her that Wednesday afternoon from 1:30 to 4:00 was the only time I had available for her into the foreseeable future. Again, crazyface was not happy. Then, the other day my phone rang. Here’s what happened:
crazyface: Joan, do you still want to continue working for us?
me: Why do you ask that?
cf: It’s just that the past two or three weeks you seem more unavailable…
me: Well, my schedule has increased significantly recently. I’m just actually busier now.
cf: Do I need to find another tutor?
me: That’s completely up to you. You know that I only have Wednesday afternoons free for you now, so if you feel like that’s not enough I suggest you hire another tutor.
cf: Do you have someone for me to replace you? (Excuse me? Now I have to give two-weeks notice and find my own replacement….oh no, woman…)
me: Umm.. no, I don’t. Listen, it sounds like you are not happy with the time I am giving you so…
cf: Well, I just don’t understand. You said you took another client but why would you do that if you knew I wanted the hours?
me: To be totally honest, my new client is far more reliable and respectful of my time than your family. She studies in-between lessons with me and she wants to sit and work with me, which is more than I can say for your daughter. Also, her parents are paying me what a tutor is supposed to be making here rather than taking advantage of me at the price you pay. Also, it takes me 2-3 hours roundtrip when I go to your house and my new client lives 15 minutes away. It would have been completely irresponsible of me financially and professionally to not take her on.
cf: Ok… so maybe can you come Saturday for a few hours because my daughter has a test on Tuesday?
me: No. I told you I only have Wednesdays. And I’m starting to think that maybe this business relationship is no longer a good idea.
cf: What do you mean?
me: I mean that this situation and this conversation we’re having is ridiculous. You don’t know how to treat a professional who comes to teach your children and your children aren’t receptive to the lessons. It’s obvious that Wednesdays are not enough for you and I refuse to suffer through another conversation like this one again. I will not be working for you anymore.
me: Good luck with everything. Take care. *click*
And now I’m freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!