What's your problem?

I work for the client from hell. I'm a web site designer with an impossible client. She phones at all hours, is abusive, demanding and negative.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

My work is usually good, but I can't seem to get anything right for her. I've worked on the account for six months, and we've progressed nowhere. It's making my professional life a misery. The worst is that my MD won't support me. He believes 'the client is always right' - even if that means going against his staff. Is he right, or am I being a mug?

You sound a very reasonable sort of web site designer so I'm inclined to believe your description of this thoroughly tiresome person. But while your MD refuses to support you (and thoughts of resignation would seem altogether premature) your best course of action is to keep at it, day-by-dreary-day, and wait until you're saved by what Harold Macmillan called events. There's every chance you will be - and quite soon.

Your client is clearly deeply insecure and wildly out of control. She's paid by her own company to get a decent web site up and running, yet after six months (and presumably a few invoices) she's delivered nothing. Unless she's the ultimate boss of her company, which seems unlikely, one of two events will happen soon: either she'll be fired or she'll fire you.

Either way, your misery will be over. If she's the one who's fired, you should expect to lose the business anyway: whoever succeeds her is likely to want to make their own appointment. If she fires you first, at least you'll have demonstrated inhuman degrees of loyalty and resilience to your far-from-supportive MD.

So soldier on, with the best work you can. But make sure you keep an accurate log of every fruitless meeting, every change of instruction, every abusive phone call. If recriminations follow, you'll need your case to be factual and watertight.

Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. Or e-mail: management.today@haynet.com Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into

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