What's that smell? (aka A project gone bad)

Subject: What's that smell? (aka A project gone bad)
From: DHICKEY -at- ALIS -dot- COM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 11:24:00 -0400


I guess this question (cry for help) goes out to freelancers, contractors,
and rogue technical writers roaming the bad lands in search of the ever
elusive dangling modifier.

During a long and (mostly) successful career, you'll always end up with a
few bad projects. When the client ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Now let's say you've got a project that has suddenly gone bad. Everything
was hunky-dory (or so it seemed) and then the client does a 180 degree turn
and you end up with his pointy finger in your forehead and he's snarling
that he's not happy with your work (now *there's* an unbiased assessment of
a situation!).

Now you're scrambling to redo the project the way he sees fit, even though
you know the resulting product's not very good. But your hands are tied and
you've got to get it done. After that, you're outta there and off to the
next project at another client's place.

My question is: how do you close the situation with the client? Do you just
wipe your hands of the situation and learn what you can from it or do you
try to assess what happened and send a letter to the client explaining your
side? Is it worth it? Is it worth anything besides your own personal
satisfaction (as fleeting as it is)? Is there a way to salvage the

Be seeing you,

John David Hickey
Montreal, Quebec, Canada eh?

dhickey -at- alis -dot- com
wk: 514-747-2542 ext.: 317
pg: 514-205-9209

They say that the pen is mightier than the sword.
But if you miss a deadline, you'd better bring the sword.
Don't confuse my opinion with my employer's.
Each exists in blissful ignorance of the other.

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