The Juggle and Struggle with Professional Relationships & Finances.
How money and finances affects professional relationships.
Eight years ago, a former client stated with a quizzical tone and sardonic expression, “Billy, it’s cool I can pay a good friend in you.” He was a witty young man. I smiled and chuckled because he was not being mean; however, there was a message that was a harbinger of challenges ahead as my experience grew and practice evolved.
I’m reminded that the guiding principle of integrity and business along the way is still challenging. Not the rule – the perception. My essay is inspired by “conveniently” waking up this morning with a sullen heart and fractious mind about navigating the financial aspect of my work: counseling/connections and charging for my services. Simply: it sucks! Sometimes—that is. The equilibrium of ‘Fairness’ and ‘unfairness;’ are two words I philosophically question and almost extract from my lexicon entirely. My integrity has been questioned even when my conscience (and I have an assertive one) is clear, and I know I’ve been ethical. I must be mindful of my ego and the confusion clients experience, knowing that I’m paid to represent, emote and practice healing, recovery, health, and wellness.
Clients experience abandonment, a friend for “hire” predicament, and an attachment that is challenging to navigate from a professional’s perspective—even with Eighteen years of anecdotal, self-taught, and organic experiences.
I’m not in the business of treating people; conversely, I charge for such services, and on a sliding scale, to aid people to help themselves. It’s not semantical. It’s a perspective. It’s an approach. It’s a philosophy. There will be a curve of teachable moments for every person I’m fortunate enough to provide services to.
The coaching and companion practice can and does become sincerely personal, but I, the professional, must not take it personally. You create and share a safe space during a crucial time in one’s life. A compassionate and humane bond (I hope and typically) organically evolves. You can have insight, compassion, and transparency; be a complete and utter ally on their path, and still, those pesky financial figures sucker punch, calf kick, and rear naked chokehold you. Most of my clients don’t pay me directly; their families do, so there is the family dynamic I get to confront and attempt to untangle therapeutically. Every family has its own government and an unwritten – reflexive – unconscious constitution. It’s humbling, the process like a marriage “for better, for worse” – “through sickness and health.” For the client: there is no finish line; however, they’re goals, i.e., learning to think out loud to people you deem safe, recognizing your blind spots, being an observer of your mind, finding meaning, community, and humble strength.
When I explain what I do and share scenarios that invariably arise with successful professionals outside my field, It’s now an echo, “You have a tough job; I don’t think I could do it.” I don’t drop my head in pessimism; I instead smile (usually because I’ve heard it so many times) and state, “Their Triumphs supersede and outweigh failure!”
I’m no martyr, victim, saint, healer, or woeful messenger. I desire to stay in this field as long as my bandwidth allows where I’m practical, principled, effective, humane, and have the gumption.
FoxWhole’s promise: integrity, transparency, conscientiousness and honest communication, ethical approaches, and honoring my scope of practice and the boundaries of my clients.