Friday, May 20, 2011

My Haute Thoughts on My Value, Respect and Worth

I’ve come to the conclusion that some relationships must end, particularly when you put your heart and soul into a story and your work is taken for granted. It seems like the week has been extremely long but when the truth comes out the best thing to do is face it. As such, I’ve decided that I can no longer work with a publisher who doesn’t value my contribution, my work or my time. Recently, I noticed that I had not been paid for an article that I wrote nearly six months ago even though it had been published. Under my contract agreement, my check was about 20 days late and no one in accounts payable with the magazine would return my emails, acknowledge receipt of my invoice or give me any idea of when to expect payment. As an independent consultant and writer, I can’t operate my business or life in limbo. So I took a tougher approach and sent a letter outlining my intentions on collection. Well, that got the attention of the publisher who decided to defend his breach of contract actions with his advertisers had not paid him explanation. My response, “I don’t have a contract with your advertisers.”

The entire incident started a conversation among my friends and I about the dynamics between men and women and how they measure value and worth. Men generally ask for what they want in business and relationships and get it. While, women (typically) take the approach that someone will recognize our hard work and reward us for it… no conversation needed on our part. But that’s not how it works… unless you’re willing to ask for what you need and deserve because you understand your value—you’re not going to get it. Yes, it’s taking a risk because people who don’t value you will show you who they are immediately. They may not want to work with you once you make your case. But in my mind, that’s fine because if you can’t honor your agreement then I can’t work with you anyway.

In my situation, the publisher turned no communication into “where should I send your money” within 24 hours. As a result, my relationship with the magazine has ended because there was a breach of contract more than once, but the value of the experience is priceless. I think that when you take a stand, make your case and prepare to walk away from a relationship that doesn’t honor or value you—you win. By not being afraid to have the conversation, I not only got the answers and results that I sought but I got rid of the stress and drama that bad relationships bring on. You can say this is how I stay healthy, wealthy and wise!

My advice to women who face similar challenges… know and value your worth, don’t be afraid to have the tough conversations, take your emotions out of it… and never be afraid to walk away from a relationship or business deal that doesn’t serve you well. Letting go opens the door to someone who will respect you and pay you on time!

Has this ever happened to you?

15 comments:

  1. Good for you! You have to teach people how to treat you in life. One thing I learned about you is that you do not play when it comes to you money and that's Haute! Taking care of business is Haute and more women need to feel comfortable being assertive. You taught me early in my career how to hold these publishers accountable to their contracts when we had to track down another flaky publisher in FL to regain thousands in owed payment. Our talents are a gift to us not THEM and we deserve to be compensatated for our time and talents! Thanks for teaching me to use the power of the pen instead of a brick and my cousin pookie to handle money disputes!

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  2. Wow!!! This really hit close to home today. I was just having a conversation with a friend about not being valued by family and friends. Because I never knew my own self worth, I always felt that I had to go above and beyond to please friends. I am single with no children. But my "closest" friends, at the time, were all married with children. I would always send gifts on birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and Christmas. I began to realize that I often would not get a thank you or even a card on my birthday or some special moment. I have to find my own self worth in myself, not in validation from family and friends. People are flaky. I know sometimes they may not mean to be but they are. I am in no way saying that if I give you a dollar, you have to give me one back. I am not keeping tabs. But you wonder at some point....you feel me? Thanks for sharing your feelings.

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  3. Marian, I am very proud of you for taking this tough, but much needed stance on this ongoing issue in our profession. No that when one door is closed, for whatever reason, rest assured that another, far greater one is opening in the near future... Never, #Ever, compromise your values! In the End, the payoff will far out-weigh the sacrifice. Head held high M! I got ya back... Dr.Sami #POY #Blessings

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  4. Standing Ovation...

    I'm sure this was difficult for you to write, but it amazes me how individuals will push you to your limits thinking that you'll sit back and do nothing. Because we are women who run a small business? Wrong! We are passionate entrepreneurs who do what we do because we have a love for it. It's not a hobby or something we do because of boredom; It's our lively hood. As a entrepreneur and contract employee I completely understand your point & encountered a similar situation recently as well. I won't go into great detail, as I have turned it over to those who handle my business affairs.

    Business is Business and if you can't do business in an ethical way- then you shouldn't be in business at all. Know that nothing goes unnoticed and you reap what you sew. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it will re-surface when you least expect it. In life we must know when to cut or loses and walk-away. And I give you a standing ovation for doing just that. Those who truly have character it will rumble inside them, that they have wrong one of God's children and until they rectified the wrong- nothing will be right.

    Unfortunately when incidents like this occur it makes you think twice in doing business with certain individuals. However, we can't allow that one hiccup to block the future blessings GOD has in store. Continue doing what you love and expressing how you feel, that is the beauty of writing and blogging. Free Speech to say it like it is, although it may not be served all pretty on a platinum platter each & every time.

    In closing forgetting isn't easy, but forgiving is GREATER. Recognizing the lesson as a Aha Moment and making sure it doesn't happen again.

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  5. Addendum to my previous comment! Error #Know not No! LOL Oh well, the #writer in me... And that's why we have effective #Editors! LOL Peace

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  6. Nice work Marian! I'm about to have a professional development conversation with my manager. Had I not read your post at this very moment, I would have walked out of the meeting not asking or sheepishly asking for what I want and need to be successful here. In a few minutes, I'll walk in prepared to ask for it without hesitation or emotion. Thank you.

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  7. I haven't ever not been paid for an article that I've written but I have been asked to review a product and then never had the product arrive. The company wanted me to start advertising that they would do a giveaway on my blog and in the end the deal fell thru. Talk about feeling like a nut.

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  8. Thanks girls! I just hope that my story inspires someone else to have thoughts of high value because we're worth it.

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  9. I think your article rings true for me both professionally & personally. I try to end all my "entanglements" on a positive note but in some cases you cannot prevent the inevitable knee jerker response, "I am worth honesty, respect, and consideration at all times!" Last night, I spoke my peace and the person apologized and asked for my address (not sure what they will send even though I jokingly told them I hope its not a bomb LOL!)

    Professionally, as a young woman of color our skills will continue to be undervalued as long as we refuse to acknowledge our worth. I know we have been socialized to help others or compromise at all costs but we have to build up the courage to simply walk away from transactions that don't make Dollars or Sense. We can start by STOP doing everything for others for Free!

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  10. Ditto ditto ditto...because THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD @socialmediaHWY Thank you for writing your Inspiring story!

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  11. You are so right about so many things, I am one of those people that can never be confrontational at work because I feel I have worked so hard on getting where I am , my performance speaks for itself and I don`t want problems. But my last job, i got sick of it, I walked away and I can tell you my boss was a total a*hole up until the last date on my contract. 2 months later, he keeps emailing me asking for help with certain things that were part of my work since they can`t find someone who can do it. I am so mad right now about it, but I don`t have the balls to them to go f*ck off. in fact the past couple of days I have been drafting a letter to tell them to go f*ck themselves....... politely of course. Its just beyond unbelievable, I think I am too nice but I am definitely taking your advice and sending the email. I have worked to damned hard for my reputation.

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  12. "Wow!!! This really hit close to home today. I was just having a conversation with a friend about not being valued by family and friends. Because I never knew my own self worth, I always felt that I had to go above and beyond to please friends. I am single with no children. But my "closest" friends, at the time, were all married with children. I would always send gifts on birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and Christmas. I began to realize that I often would not get a thank you or even a card on my birthday or some special moment. I have to find my own self worth in myself, not in validation from family and friends. People are flaky. I know sometimes they may not mean to be but they are. I am in no way saying that if I give you a dollar, you have to give me one back. I am not keeping tabs. But you wonder at some point....you feel me? Thanks for sharing your feelings".

    This post could have come out of my mind (or finger tips) word for word.......

    http://stylemefab.onsugar.com/

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  13. SO glad you stood up for yourself and your work! GOOD FOR YOU! I really agree with the difference in how men and women deal in business. You're well written so you'll do great!!

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  14. I'm so proud of you for standing up for what's right. So many times, women, in particular brush things off and make excuses for bad business behavior. I'm so happy that you realize your value and refused to accept anything less. The beauty of being in work for yourself is that you get to choose who you want, and more importantly, don't want to work with!

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  15. Thank you for sharing! I think so many women in business feel it but we don't talk about it enough. This totally resonates when you really think about the differences in the way men and women think and therefore do business. Growth and value over comfort-- whether that means your own comfort level or the comfort of someone else.

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