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Pancakes, Snakes, Red Flags, and Advocacy
You don’t have to be a huge fan of Dr. Phil’s to appreciate his delightful and useful sayings. He boils down important and sometimes complex concepts into downhome philosophy that helps us better understand our fellow human beings and our lives. Today we’re going to focus on one of those sayings to improve our ability to ferret out those clients we should not work with (yes, I said, SHOULD NOT work with): “No matter how flat you make your pancake, it still has two sides.” Advocacy stories are like those pancakes. They have at least two sides, too. I raise this today after an exchange with an APHA member about a disconcerting client experience. That came on the heels of another advocate’s experience where, because of a simple typo on her directory profile, a potential client posted a negative review of her work. Say what? Let’s look at both stories – and, in pancake style, their flip sides. The first advocate was contacted by a potential client who was very specific about help he needed with a hospital bill. After an assessment conversation, she quoted him a price, sent him an electronic invoice, then waited for him to pay it. He forwarded reams of paperwork to her, but never paid the invoice. She sent invoice reminders. He contacted her several times asking why she had not gotten started on the work (indicating there was some deadline that needed to be met), promising a check was on its way, and she reiterated that he needed to pay his invoice before she would get started. Payment was never forthcoming. She never started the work. He got very upset, and contacted APHA through its feedback process making her out to be the demon-child for not handling the work, and for making him miss a deadline. Of course, he never mentioned the lack of payment. Now, as you can imagine, this kind of report is quite disturbing! But, understanding that there might be another side to this client-story pancake, and as we do for negative reviews, we contacted the advocate just to make her…