“Huge stupidity questions, mam!”

A letter against hate…

The story of this text began with a love letter I wrote to a young designer with whom I’ve collaborated through Fiverr, a freelancers website, after she left me an offensive comment when evaluating me as client . Here I tell the whole story, with the hopes of collaborating a little bit more to the world I would like to live in. Dedicated to you, S.!

It wasn’t my first time using this platform of services. The previous experience had been so good that I decided to continue for one more project. I just contacted a professional with good references, I’ve made her the briefing of my needs, sent all the documents needed and after exchanging some messages, I’ve waited for the results.

Though it wasn’t an excellent experience in terms of price/quality, the work was good and I had nothing to really complaint about. So, when the project was finished, I valued it as it follows:

(Feedback I left her)

Doing this, the payment was done and all was good, within the expected dates and following a respectful process. Or so I thought.

But less than two minutes later, I had my feedback as client from her part too. And this was it:

(Feedback she left me)

Reading this, I just thought: “How bad you must feel, to be able to publicly state something like this?”, I thought. So I wrote her explaining that I was sorry if my questions during the process were seen as “stupid” and “silly”, but that wouldn’t give her the right to be rude and offend a client. I wrote her from compassion, not aggression. She is 15 years younger than me, a young freelancer starting and willing to succeed, so I was talking with her in a way she could understand other possibilities, rather than acusing her. I even tried to use humor:

“Also, offending a client who payed you correctly, who has never offended you anyway and that thanked you for your work is not good karma:)”

But it didn’t work. Some minutes later I had her new reply:

And suddenly, after reading these words, I imediatly remembered Simon Sinek’s talk on Millennials in the Workplace. When I heard him talk I didn’t agree with all he said, but there were for sure some things that rang a bell here, in this case!

“Absolute need for approval”, “incapacity to take a “no” as an answer”, “low tolerance to frustration”, the “run for achieving, no matter what”… Was this only a case of a typical Millennial starting her career, I wondered?

I took my time and allowed the night to bring an insight on what to do. I thought of reporting this professional to the website, sharing her comments and her offensive feedback, but then I thought: I will only hurt her more, get her angrier and allow her to think that all I wanted was to ruin her good reputation. And I couldn’t be further from all those goals!

Something constructive should be done, I felt. So I decided to write her a letter. And this is the letter I wrote and that I share now praising the immense possibilities that are opened by things made with love and care, instead of just following dirty games.

This is, above all, a reminder to myself, to keep my heart open. And so I wrote:

Dear S.,
In a normal situation, I wouldn’t keep the conversation going. I would feel it is a waste of energy and time and I would just let it pass, breath in and continue my life.
But I decided to take my time and energy to write back to you, with the hopes of contributing for something bigger than you and me.
Let me make some things clear to you. And if they are not useful for you feel free to just delete my words and forget I exist. I won’t ask you anything else for this project, since I don’t want to bother you with the continuation of a project you are not committed with. So these are just the words of one person (not just a client) to another (not just a freelancer).
In life, dear S., we do not have only the things we want or feel that are fair to us. Sometimes we have feedbacks, evaluations or results that are not what we were expecting.
Because they depend on so many things!… The other person may have a different expectation about the work or about the procedure or about the result, or….. The other person is just a different person from you, with a different story, age, culture, and way of being.
So, it is natural, not only at work but also in life, to receive less or different than what we expected.
Adapting to that and being able to cope with that will make us more resilient, open and stronger people in general.
Working as freelancers we must be open to the same thing: some clients won’t value all our efforts or results and that is nothing we can do for it, except give our best all the time.
Our clients’ perceptions may be different from ours and all we can do is to respect that. That doesn’t mean you can’t be sad or feel frustrated when you receive a feedback that is less than you think you deserve. Of course you can!:)
What we must not do is blame the other for evaluating it in a different way than what we expected. We must always take into consideration that this will be HIS/HER opinion about it. And you must respect it, even if you don’t agree with it. (You don’t have to accept it, but you must RESPECT it).
And we can never, EVER, EVER, in any case, attack someone who evaluates our work in a way we wouldn’t expect. EVER. It is your client. If they payed the work, if they were respectful to you and if they followed what you agreed, they deserve your maximum respect.
And respect means accepting that they may have a different perspective over your work.
So, regarding your comment “This is a lesson for you nothing else.”, I have to tell, you S., that if this situation might be a lesson, may it be for both of us. A “lesson” on how to build your carreer being a good person.
As for me, I will continue to give my honest and polite visions about everything, even if I get publically insulted or punished for that. This is called freedom.
And as for your words “huge stupidity questions that was very silly”, I leave you the challenge of changing them. Not outside (I honestly didn’t take them seriously, I understand you were just angry and frustrated and you probably didn’t know how to express that), but inside you. Every time we call someone “stupid” or “silly”, we are talking more about ourselves than about the other. And I am sure you are much better that this.
That said, and so you understand that I am not only speaking without knowing what it is to be a freelancer and offering a work that you took a lot of time, knowledge, patience and effort to do, I decided to share with you the way I respond to the comments that are not very positive about my work.
Attached you’ll find the worse 4 feedbacks about my online course that took me months to prepare, that involved a team that worked like crazy and that a lot of people evaluated as “brilliant”, “great”, or “Super!!”. Amongst 75 great evaluations, I had these 4 saying not so good things and making the global evualation of the course decrease.
To those people who wrote not so good reviews (and many of them didn’t even see 20% of the course), these were my replies. (And you can compare them to yours, that I also attach. :)
No anger, no insults, no violence. I was sad to read that, of course, but I had to accept that this was their perspective, to try to help them achieve what they wanted and…Keep doing my best to improve my work, EVERYDAY.
Because, after all, in my opinion this is what we are doing here, in life: we are trying to improve everyday. :)
I really hope, from the heart, that your career goes extremely well, that you continue working with passion and efficacy and that you reach the best results.
But if you don’t, please dear S., just remember: being a good Human Being is much better (and funnier) than having all 5 stars.
Best,
Edite

I send the letter and continued working. It was written with my heart, so nothing to be expected after. But I must say I was curious (and a bit afraid) about the reaction.

Five minutes later I had her answer. And it couldn’t be better.

An humble, soft, delicate answer. A true one, as I felt it. Just someone wanting to improve.

Imediatly I replied to her with some tips and support.

And less than 24 hours after the initial agressive and offensive comment, something beautiful was growing here.

Sometimes, replying to hate with love and care is the only good thing to do.

Best of luck, S.! And thank you for the opportunity of growing together, in this 5 stars process called life! :)

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