DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a client who has very little regard for the people she works with. She says that she wants all hands on deck to help her with whatever big project she is working on, but then she doesn’t set herself or the project up for success. Most recently, she sent an email for a mandatory meeting at 11 a.m. on Sunday -- church time. And the request (or demand) was sent at 11 p.m. the night before. I was headed out when I noticed the invitation, so I canceled my plans and stayed in, which made me resentful of her and unhappy not to be able to go to church. When we got on the call, she didn’t even bother to acknowledge that she had inconvenienced us, because she doesn’t care.
I need this gig, which, by the way, is freelance, so I don’t even get paid for these extra meetings. How can I have a better attitude while working with this woman? -- Undone, Cincinnati
DEAR UNDONE: What’s good about your question is that you aren’t asking how to change your client, as that is not possible. Changing your attitude -- and sometimes your actions -- is wise for your own well-being and mental and spiritual health. You could have apologized profusely and said that you could not attend the Sunday meeting because you would be in church. That could be followed up by an email or call asking for the notes so you could stay updated. You can take care of yourself by putting yourself first, remembering the value of the project for your own well-being and choosing to stay positive no matter what your client requests -- even when you have to say no.