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Dear Madeleine,

I manage a large team of graphic artists for a popular online magazine. A few of my people are employees who do other tasks for the magazine, but most of my artists are independent contractors.

On the whole, they are professional and easy to work with—but a couple are simply a pain in my neck. They don’t take feedback, they try to re-negotiate the fee after we have signed the contract, and one routinely misses his deadline.

Of course I like to give the bulk of the work to the ones who are easy to work with. One of the difficult ones called me recently and challenged me on giving preferential treatment to a favored few. I was tongue tied and didn’t know what to say. I basically ended up stammering that I would pay more attention in the future. Am I being fair?

Feeling Unjust

Dear Unjust,

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