What do i say? Just when you think everything is plain sailing again (like my visit to John Lewis) along comes something that leaves you utterly, utterly shaken. I am trying, right now, to breathe calmly. However, when i’ve stopped – the calm stuff, that is: not the breathing – i’d appreciate advice.
I wrote well over a year back about probs i was having with one of my clients. I can’t find the post, but i remember it well. A squawk of indignation as i discovered that i had been unpersoned.
That is: i had written a series of reports for them – commercial reports which retailed very nicely, thank you, and made them a load of dosh and, out of the blue, i wondered why those docs weren’t turning up in searches on my name.
The answer, it turned out, was pretty poor. Because i had started, back in the dim and distant, writing for them under my old name, they had gone into the reports and…amended the author details in two ways. first, they’d changed my name back to old version. Second, in one, possibly two, key places, they had amended my author bio to remove reference to “she”. All done without reference back to me and AFTER i’d signed off a final version.
Unpersoned, misgendered. I’d have walked from them then and there… except that they are worth a significant proportion of my annual income and…i just can’t afford not to do the work right now.
OK. So i protested. Apologies given. Some stuff about not confusing readers and “aligning the name with what was on the contract”…which sounds like so much nonsense, as i’ve never come across that elsewhere…and we carried on working together.
In August, i received a cheque (for several £k)…and was pissed to realise that it was unbankable. Because for old time’s sake, i still write for this publisher as Jane Fae Smith (except its not Smith!)…and they had made the cheque out to J Smith.
So. I spoke politely to a lady in accounts, thoroughly outed myself. She said there was no reason why invoices could not go through as “plain” Jane Fae. I gave her my banking details and that, i thought, was that.
In November, next bill goes thru. The name on the bill is Jane Fae: the e-mail to which it is attached asks, politely, that they make any amounts payable to Jane Fae, as i can’t bank other stuff now and….
…this morning in the post arrives ANOTHER cheque to “J Smith”. What?
I am seriously pissed. But that’s not the end of it.
Talking to accounts (remember my nice e-mail with bill attached) the guy there tells me that the invoice, which i sent on a word doc, gave Jane Fae SMITH as the payee.
Let’s get this absolutely straight. Without telling me: without asking permission; someone on the client side has gone into my invoice and amended the payee details. And, they have done so with the result that i don’t get paid for a while longer.
I am whirling. I don’t want, don’t think i can afford the confrontation. But…this is ridiculous.