I just fired a long term client

I just fired a client who I’d been working with for the past 3-4 years.  He’d always been difficult and somewhat abrasive but in the last 6 months, it had gotten worse and to the point where I dreaded hearing from him.  Sure, he was paying me well and the work wasn’t terribly difficult most of the time but my heart wasn’t it.  It seemed that he wanted to argue with me about everything and always wanted to be right, which, in most cases, he wasn’t.

Last week, he asked me to come up with something fairly complex, which I did.  He then decided that it had to be done a different way because he couldn’t grasp it.  Without arguing, I tried to explain the logic at which point he went off in a rant about me not listening to his demands.  I listened, without interruptions, until he was finished and then got off the phone and thought about the conversation for 10 minutes, before sending him an email telling him that I wasn’t going to work with him anymore.  (He did try to get me to call him back to discuss our ‘differences’ but I ignored the email; I’d made my decision and wasn’t going to change my mind).

Did I cut off my nose to spite my face?  After all, it was a steady stream of paying work.  The answer is No, I didn’t and it was absolutely the right thing to do.  In life, there are always bullies and they need to be stood up to, no matter the cost.

As developers, we can always be fired but it is important to remember that you can always fire a client.  When the pain of working for one outweighs the benefits, that’s the time that you should fire them.  Nobody ever said that you had to put up with their crap and you shouldn’t.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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