Indian Clients and Their Inability to Process Illness Scenarios
For whatever reason, my Indian clients assume, even when I am coughing, sneezing, wheezing and video calling from the hospital ward, work itself will continue uninterrupted.
Update 1 on December 4th 2022
As with all my blog posts, this is a summary of several such experiences over the last 10 years. This post is not about one specific client. Rather, the ‘client’ in the post is a representative of hundreds of clients I have interacted with over the last 10 years of my freelancer life.
I just felt like i should add this disclaimer. The idea behind my posts is to highlight the plight that freelancers like me go through. And, a small hope and a prayer, that, companies will be more ‘humane’.
[Original Post below]
There are several reasons why, traditionally, I have avoided working with clients based in India.
For example, this client, who has run out of funds, wanted to me to work for free. When I declined, he put me in a room with his work friends and beat me up.
Or, several clients, who can only make the payment after 45 or 60 or 90 days after the work is completed.
Or several clients who happily deduct TDS of 10 % from payment, but never deposit to the income tax department.
Those are the most common culprits.
However, one scenario does play out occasionally. That is the illness scenario. As I grow older, I fall sick more often, and it takes longer for me to recover. I fell sick this week. I waited 24 hours before checking in with the doctors. I have been given a 5 day medicine course, and after that, it’s a waiting game.
Now, immediately, I informed my clients who are affected, that, yes, I am sick, and I might become unavailable. That way, they can make alternative arrangements, reschedule what can be rescheduled, and cancel or postpone and so on.
Obviously, my western based clients, immediately responded, wishing me to get well soon, offering to pay me in advance for any unexpected medicinal expenses and asking me to take a nice good break.
Now, here is what the client did.
- I send him a message on Wednesday (today is Saturday), that I am falling sick.
- He refuses to acknowledge the message or ask me to get well.
- Friday night, I am unable to sleep. My mind and body exhausted, weak due to surviving only on simple food and fruit juices and heavy medicinal dosage. I message him again, confirming that I am too sick to work.
- The client finally responds.
- Not to ask me how I am or how is my health. That would be blashphemous.
- He only replies to remind me that the ‘show will go on’.
- I call him and inform him that I am not going to take the session.
- I give him multiple options. I could extend future sessions by an hour to make up for the lost hour today. I could take the missed sessions on a weekday. Or they could extend the work by another weekend.
- He says, none of that is an option. The schedule is ironclad.
- I wish him all the best with his ‘ironclad’ schedule, and decide to end the call.
- Perhaps, as a sign of some last-minute humanity surfacing from deep within, he asks me to take rest and wishes me to get well.
- I shake my head in disgust.
- I write this blog post. Vent out my frustration.
I work as a full-time freelance coding tutor. Hire me at UpWork or Fiverr or Stack Overflow. My personal website is here. Find more of my art at Behance and Unsplash and ArtStation. Also, I have a Podcast about everyday life. And, a 2nd Podcast, where I talk about freelancing. And, I have one more podcast, where, I talk about movies.