Case of the Mondays

posted by Jory on Monday, November 19, 2012
My Monday has started out extremely well. Not. So I'm going to share a little craziness with you. Hopefully, you'll be entertained. If not, well, I apologize.

Let me start by explaining what I do. I work for a university web department. A large part of my job consists of conducting training sessions to university department representatives on how to manage their own department's site using the content-management system the university has subscribed to. However, another part of my job includes converting and transferring departmental sites from the old system we used to the new one. When this happens, it generally takes me about a month (sometimes more, depending on the size of the site and state of disorder it is in) to transfer all of the content, clean it up, fix links, update images and out-of-date content, and generally make it look clean and nice. When I'm finished, I send a preview of it to the client for them to review and let me know if I need to make any additional changes. If I don't, I take down the old site and publish the new one, at which point the department then takes over the management of that particular site.

What sometimes happens, however, is that I will finish a site and send it off for review, and then it will sit for months, despite my frequent e-mailed reminders to the client, until the content I updated way back when is now out of date and has to be redone. It's pretty awesome. Fortunately, this has only happened with a few clients, and most of them have been pretty cool about owning up to their own inaction.

I have one client, however, who is crazy. If any one person has ever given me the urge to pour hot coffee all over someone's crotch, it's her.

So, instead of making this a long, drawn out vent-a-thon, I'm just going to share with you some key quotes from my e-mailed interactions with this woman. I already made a contact history log for my boss, so I'm just going to share the highlights. I have thus far had the good fortune of never having to meet her in person. And I fear that, should the occasion arise, I might actually punch her in the face (or, you know, at least kill her printer with a baseball bat).

Timeline 
April 19 – Finish conversion of site (which began on March 29) and send to client for approval; She responds saying she will pass it on to other associates in department for input and get back to me.

May 14 – Still have not heard back from client. Send another e-mail, reminding her that I am awaiting her review. She replies same day saying “Actually, I just got the edits back late last week, so I haven't had a chance to begin working on them. Let me send you the email I sent to [associate]. Let me know if you are confused.” Then she proceeds to forward me an email thread between her and aforementioned associate in which the associate praises her on the work she did on the site (to which she never corrects her) and requests a few more changes. Because my client has indicated to her associate that she will make the requested changes, since she has been given access to manage the site, I disregard the e-mail.

May 24 – Client emails me asking if I’ve made the requested changes. I’m sorry, what? I reply “Are you speaking of the email you forwarded to me on 5/14 addressed to [associate]? I read through that email and your comments, but was under the impression that those were edits you were going to make after the site goes live. Therefore, I have not made any recent updates to the site. If I misunderstood and you would like me to make those edits, please let me know.” To this email she responds simply with:
 “ :-) “
No joke. That’s some very professional e-mail correspondence, there, lady. Props to you. 

May 30 – I send her another preview with the updates I made; she responds saying she will pass it on to her associates.

June 5 – She requests more changes; I quickly make them then send another request for approval. Site is now at point where it’s been ready to go live and the updates she requests are things she could easily handle herself.

August 6 – Send another reminder about site and request ETA on publishing live. Her response:
“Thanks!” 

October 29 – Send contact history to boss. Boss sends stern email to client’s supervisor. Client’s supervisor gives client swift kick in the pants. 

November 8 – Client request site to go live. I schedule publication for the following Monday. 

November 16 – Client emails me and my boss about links that do not work and content that is not up to date. She says, “[Associate] had changed a few pages in [old system] that apparently Jory didn't realize.” 

I’m sorry, but were you dropped on your head as a child, lady? Of course the information isn’t up to date. I FINISHED the site months ago and it was UP TO YOU to send me updates you wanted me to do. Meanwhile, YOU HAD ACCESS to the site and actually get paid to manage it, whereas my duty to your site ended at the latest back in June, if not even earlier when I finished converting the site the first time. Not only that, but I specifically told you and your [associate] that it would be best to make all new changes in the new system, and if changes must be made in the old system, you must notify me about them if you want them implemented in the new site as well. Contrary to popular belief, I do not just sit at my desk checking your old site daily to see if there are changes. 

Also, back in March, she sent me an e-mail that said only, "It sure can!" I have absolutely no idea what this e-mail was in response to or what it was regarding. It was out of the blue. I imagine it was sent to me by mistake, further indicating that she is completely inept at professional correspondence. Do you not look at who the e-mail is addressed to before you click send?

So, that's my client from Hell. I've had other ridiculous clients - particularly one who is clinically crazy and had a complete and public mental breakdown last year - but they are all still at least pleasant to deal with, even if they do inspire occasional frustration. But this lady, I swear... I don't understand how people like this even obtain employment, let alone stay in their position without getting canned. Oh, and I stumbled across her Twitter and blog, and after a cursory glance at both, I can honestly assess that she is insane.

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