And then he fired me…
Updated: Jan 16
I had a really shitty experience last year, that I haven’t written about because, frankly, I was embarrassed. I thought it was my fault. I had been FIRED. And I was, to put it mildly, freaked out.
Except…WAS I fired? The whole thing was pretty confusing. Allow me to explain…
I was whatsapped by a friend, asking If I’d be interested in being part of a brand new writing project. It was a new vegan publication that was going to be released in London. Hell, yes. I was in.
I contacted the guy putting the whole thing together. He said he had a team. He was holding a zoom meeting the following week. Would I attend? Well, obvs, I would. I’m a vegan who lives in London. This sounded like it was right up my alley.
We all met on zoom. He spoke of his vision. He told us that because this was a brand new project, we wouldn’t be paid in money, but we’d get to visit really fancy restaurants in London and go to events. Who WOULDN’T want to do that, seriously? He also spoke about himself. Like, a lot. Like…for 90 minutes. That should have been the sign that I needed to get out of there. But, you know…I was doing it for the animals. So, I stayed.
My responsibility was content. I would write blogs every week that would be about veganism and would SEO the crap out of the publication. So, I got started. I put together a GORGEOUS google doc full of blog ideas – they were epic. I researched them. I left notes. I spent a few hours on it.
Without even reading the document, he decided that google drive just wasn’t going to work, and signed up some very obscure provider, deleted the google account, and with it, my work. No apology. No recognition of the effort I’d put in. And when I said to him that he deleted my work, he didn’t reply.
I was a bit cross, reader.
But, you know…the ANIMALS (and also, my incredible knack of not being able to put my foot down with people in authority).
Off I go to my first event. It’s lovely. We get incredible food. My husband comes along. We sit with my new ‘boss’, and he talks about his penis. Like…a lot.
I write my first blog. I send it through. No reply.
He then starts to message me on Instagram, on a Friday evening. Now, I work hard. I work incredibly hard. But as much as I can, I try to switch off on a Friday night. And I definitely don’t check my business Instagram at the weekend. He sends me a couple more messages. And I reply on Monday, only to find that he has removed me from everything. The Slack channel. The IG group. My headshot is no longer on their IG profile…like, I have been dumped. Badly. In a cowardly fashion.
And immediately, I think that I’m a failure. I’m the one who’s fucked this up. I’m the one who’s unreliable…not to be trusted…a poor businesswoman.
HOLD ON UP THERE, ASHLEIGH.
This guy has taken my time and my work, he’s messaged me like a crazy person on a weekend, AND HE’S NOT PAYING ME.
I message him, asking what’s going on. To this day, he has never replied.
A few weeks later, I get a message from one of the other (brilliant, smart) women he has 'working' for him (aka giving him her time, knowledge, expertise for free). She tells me she’s left. She couldn’t deal with the lack of clarity, certainty, normality, etc.
I then ask her what happened with me. What did she hear? And she tells me that he told the team that he had contacted me, and we’d agreed we weren’t a good fit. We didn't gel. We'd agreed to go our separate ways.
He never had a single conversation with me. He took my work. He took my ideas. And then he decided that, because I didn’t respond to him on a weekend, I wasn’t what he wanted. So, he removed me from everything and he disappeared.
And THAT, my fellow fierce woman, is why you NEVER work for free.
Happy 2022, Will. I wish you much success.
Yes, I use the word fuck in my blogs. That's my brand voice, lady. Wanna know yours? Take my quiz.