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186f3cc5
Community Member

insulting and labor abuse

I have a client where I have met all the expectations of the project. Even, several times I have had to work to meet a deadline from one day to the next without sleeping. Since he asks me to do things from one day to the next or the same day, even if that means that I have to put everything aside and meet his expectations.

So far I have been doing this because I want to have 100% job success. However, since I have finished with the project (construction of an API with all its requirements), today he asked me to solve something that is outside my fields of work. I am an end-to-end data scientist, but what you ask is for a cloud engineer.

Before this, his response was to insult me, insulting my skills and my work. This has never happened to me with any other client. Definitely a horrible experience.

My question is this. I feel that I am tied to the feedback that the client can give, even when I satisfactorily fulfilled the work with everything they have asked me. However, this does not mean that you should insult me. I would like to finish the contract in the best way. What are my options?

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tinker_bell3
Moderator
Moderator

Hi Benny, 

 

I'm sorry to hear about how your contract with your client is going. It would be best that if you wish to continue working on the said project, is to discuss with your client what they wanted to do with the project/ how they would like to proceed to get it completed. I understand that the client has not been the best at discussing things with you; however, keeping professionalism is always better than resulting in responding harshly. Please politely explain that you are still interested in completing what they asked for.

~ Joanne
Upwork

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15 REPLIES 15
tinker_bell3
Moderator
Moderator

Hi Benny, 

 

I'm sorry to hear about how your contract with your client is going. It would be best that if you wish to continue working on the said project, is to discuss with your client what they wanted to do with the project/ how they would like to proceed to get it completed. I understand that the client has not been the best at discussing things with you; however, keeping professionalism is always better than resulting in responding harshly. Please politely explain that you are still interested in completing what they asked for.

~ Joanne
Upwork

Yes, I have remained polite until now, but I'm not really interested in trying to complete something that is outside of my profession. The work that is within my field has been completed correctly, what he is asking me is outside of what I know and I cannot lie to the client about that, but this he doesnt understand and he want me to complete it anyway.

 

In any case, thank you very much for responding. Apparently the only solution to this is to maintain professionalism and education. Sad to see that there is no other solution to these instances.

You can end a contract at any time. Nobody is forcing you to do anything. 

Actually, Martina, we see many posts from freelancers here who feel they ARE forced by the tyranny of the Job Success Score to do everything possible to keep every client, no matter how obnoxious, unreasonable, cheap, etc., happy.

 

Of course, experienced successful freelancers learn how to weed out many if not all of the worst of these clown clients and never work for them in the first place.

 

As a Top Rated freelancer I will fire a client and remove their feedback, but that is not an option for more than a small percentage of Upwork's 10s of thousands of active freelancers. Without that option, every client rules the roost and could put my JSS at risk.

 

 

Thank you so much Will! This is exactly what I mean.

It strikes me how people are saying so easily: "You should put boudaries." It is common sense that you have to set limits from day one, but obviously as a freelancer you want to keep JSS as much as possible, since that means more work and, what has to do with the purpose of this app, having a job.

The problem, which those who say you have to set boundaries, don't seem to understand, is that these types of clients feel they have some power over you, and they have it! Because 1 negative review can lower your JSS from 100% to 89%. But, on the other hand, not one, not two or three positive reviews will make that JSS rise again to 100%, with two out of 5 stars, it rises from 89% to 93%.

In this way, no matter how professional you are, if you lack money and need to job, and therefore need to have a high JSS, it is necessary for the client to give you good feedback. That system is what these types of customers abuse. Otherwise, if you do not need money or job, it is easy to say that you can cancel or set limits, without the client getting childishly angry and then putting a bad review, which would cost to upload the JSS for months with new jobs , from people who may or may not hire you, because of your low JSS

I know we see these posts every day. That doesn't mean it's a fact. Nobody can be held hostage by one bad feedback from one client. Many situations can be handled with basic client management skills and professionalism. That's where I see the real issue - lack of professionalism, lack of knowledge how the platform works, lack of strategic thinking, lack of ego-containment (responding to bad feedback). The newbies thinking they are at the mercy of bad clients are almost always wrong. 

So you say that the client has the power to leave a bad review, because he felt like it, does this not mean any impact on future jobs and contracts that you may have? It has nothing to do with a lack of anything, it has to do with an abuse of the feedback system.

I am saying that a mindset of being a hostage is not helping. Many people have reported being stressed and fearful of bad feedback, which they never even got in the end. When I say strategic thinking, I am mainly talking about the optics of a profile. A longwinded response to a bad feedback comes from the freelancer's desire to defend himself, but - does it achieve that goal?  The only effect it has is to draw more attention to it, since it takes up a lot of space on a profile. 

One bad feedback isn't the end of the world. My assumptions is that this is the rare exception, when a client and freelancer are just not the right fit. I am not talking about the lack of skills, I take it as a given that the freelancer is capable of performing the work. If they keep piling up, the freelancer needs to re-think his strategy of selecting the right jobs. 

2a05aa63
Community Member

Do youself a favor and put some boundaries. Unless there is a security concern, I start a new task only the next day.

As a freelancer, you not only are required to do the job you are hired to do, but learn how to handle different clients. They might not know the difference between a data scientist and a cloud engineer. It's your job to communicate it to them. JSS and feedback is not only about the quality of the job but also how happy you leave your client.

If someone is being unprofessional, the best is to point that out and if they continue - close the contract yourself and stop working with them. There's a chance they won't leave any feedback.

Same answer to Will L.
It strikes me how people are saying so easily: "You should put boudaries." It is common sense that you have to set limits from day one, but obviously as a freelancer you want to keep JSS as much as possible, since that means more work and, what has to do with the purpose of this app, having a job.

The problem, which those who say you have to set boundaries, don't seem to understand, is that these types of clients feel they have some power over you, and they have it! Because 1 negative review can lower your JSS from 100% to 89%. But, on the other hand, not one, not two or three positive reviews will make that JSS rise again to 100%, with two out of 5 stars, it rises from 89% to 93%.

In this way, no matter how professional you are, if you lack money and need to job, and therefore need to have a high JSS, it is necessary for the client to give you good feedback. That system is what these types of customers abuse. Otherwise, if you do not need money or job, it is easy to say that you can cancel or set limits, without the client getting childishly angry and then putting a bad review, which would cost to upload the JSS for months with new jobs , from people who may or may not hire you, because of your low JSS

tlbp
Community Member


Benny S wrote:

Same answer to Will L.
It strikes me how people are saying so easily: "You should put boudaries." It is common sense that you have to set limits from day one, but obviously as a freelancer you want to keep JSS as much as possible, since that means more work and, what has to do with the purpose of this app, having a job.

The problem, which those who say you have to set boundaries, don't seem to understand, is that these types of clients feel they have some power over you, and they have it! Because 1 negative review can lower your JSS from 100% to 89%. But, on the other hand, not one, not two or three positive reviews will make that JSS rise again to 100%, with two out of 5 stars, it rises from 89% to 93%.

In this way, no matter how professional you are, if you lack money and need to job, and therefore need to have a high JSS, it is necessary for the client to give you good feedback. That system is what these types of customers abuse. Otherwise, if you do not need money or job, it is easy to say that you can cancel or set limits, without the client getting childishly angry and then putting a bad review, which would cost to upload the JSS for months with new jobs , from people who may or may not hire you, because of your low JSS


On the issue of not being able to regain 100%. That is a matter of math. Any review less than 100 will prevent your average from being 100. Except... your JSS is calculated on your best of 3 different time frames. So, if you get 100s for a full 6 months, your new average will be based on those numbers. Also, having long-term clients can bump up your points. So, if you mathematical average is 98. You may still achieve 100 because of these "extra credit" points you gain from having long-term clients. 

 

Will mentioned that many freelancers who are new to Upwork find themselves in a similar situation as OP. This is true. However, the only one a freelancer can rely on to solve the problem is the freelancer themself. They either push through or find someplace better. 

 

Every online business faces the same problem. For many the problem is even worse. Third-party sites still post reviews about them whether they participate on those platforms or not. The internet is the new town square and you can't prevent others from sharing their opinions about you. 

wlyonsatl
Community Member

Benny,

 

You have to set boundaries from Day One of a project - will you accept new work assignments with very short deadlines, etc. ? (For example, some freelancers establish how many iterations of a work product they will provide under their existing contract. You could make it clear that you are available during specific hours for consulations (especially important if you and the clienty are in different time zones) or commit to completing updates to your work with 24 hours during weekdays, etc.)

 

Once you allow for unreasonable demands from a certain type of client without pushing back, they'll think you are available throughout the project to work within whatever boundaries they (not you and they together) set.

 

Good luck!

The proper way to handle clients who behave inappropriately is to be very strict and hold them to high standards of behavior.

 

And to always make sure that the client pays for the work that we do as freelancers.

 

And to never be "held hostage" by worries about JSS.

 

But the brutal truth is that when it comes to applying these principles... Somebody such as Will or myself have different perspective than a very new freelancer.

 

I have completed hundreds of jobs, and I have a lengthy track record on Upwork. I can absorb occasional bad feedback in a way that a very new freelancer can not, without the same impact to JSS or my success in getting hired.

 

I'm not saying that a very new freelancer should let clients walk all over him... But there IS a different set of considerations...

There is not question about that, Preston.

 

And Martina is wrong to say that "One bad feedback isn't the end of the world."

 

It isn't for me. It isn't for you, Preston, or for Martina. But for a new freelancer it can be. And since the JSS is a blackbox, no new freelancer can know for sure what a difficult client's private feedback has beenor how it will affect the freelancer's JSS.

 

Experienced freelancers shouldn't be glib or condescending when addressing new freelancers' problems. We were all once in the same boat...

We were all once in the same boat... Exactly. This is the point. Any of us advising less experienced FLs to learn how to establish and maintain appropriate boundaries with clients had to learn to do the same thing and we all know there is no substitute for it. We all had to weather the early stages of our UW career when any contract could have an outsized effect on our JSS. And those of us who started longer than a couple of years ago also had to contend with the potential hazards of 'no feedback' contracts and did not have the potential benefits (or perils, to be fair) of dollar-weighting in the calculation. 

 

As for glib and condescending, by my observation that typically only surfaces when candid and informative bounce off. 

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