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?
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