Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I am woman... hear me meow

As a freelancer, I'm usually all business. However, I do have one nemesis--getting tough.

Quite honestly, I never learned how to ask for things I deserve, such as payment within a certain time frame. Instead, I try to figure out the least offensive way to obtain past due invoices. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.

Am I a product of upbringing? Culture? Personality?

It's a conundrum.

I believe one of the contributing factors is that the American language offers no positive word for a woman who takes charge. She's a bitch, a witch, a ball buster (which is a funny term to me, but that's probably because I don't have a pair of uber-vulnerable testicles attached to my body) or a whole host of other less-than-attractive monikers.

Why can't a female who stands up for herself as a business person simply be considered "normal"? Why is it that she's labeled as if she were a mythical creature coming to terrorize man- and womankind?

Obviously, it's time for me to do something about my lack of initiative in this area. I mean, I can't blog about it if I'm not willing to put forth an effort to combat this issue.

I think the key is to distance myself emotionally from money and business relationships. I'll have to begin thinking like a mob kingpin: "It ain't personal." That sort of thing.

For now, though, I am not the "roaring" female figure that was heralded in the tune "I Am Woman". I'm more like a persistent (but lovable) kitty.

It's that "nice" thing again, isn't it?


SzélsőFa said...

I hear you.
Women are taught and upbrought to behave themselves, be kind and polite, and so on...
Boys, on the other hand are not only allowed to stand up for their damn rights, they are encouraged to do so.

the individual voice said...

Send ten consecutive invoices in rapid succession to the same person. In big red letters on top: Oops! You seem to have forgotten. Here's a reminder.

After the first ten, if they are not successful, send one with the red letters: I have contacted a collections agency. This is your last reminder to pay before it affects your credit.

You can try a couple of those, too. Then call impersonating the collections agency. You can be a total bitch if you are "performing" as a collections employee and claim not to be you. Offer them a payment plan, whatever.

Just some suggestions for the actress in you.

Jennifer said...

Good luck becoming um, less nice? More fight-oriented? It's a tough balance. I like to be super nice but if you piss me off I usually let you have it. Maybe I'm not so nice.

You know what is nice that you used the word, "conundrum" a much underused word. But I think we should try and start a conundrum revolution! Are you with me? Ok it's late and this is what happens when I visit blogs late. I'll just go now.

ybonesy said...

I work in a corporation where the word "nice" is the kiss of death. So what you get are a lot of women who emulate the men, and the men are pretty careless in their actions and words. So everyone, essentially, acts tough, cusses at times, challenges underlings, tells them their work is lousy, etc. I can't stand it.

I've started to challenge this behavior and ask what it is about rising in rank that makes people lose their common courtesy. It is so refreshing to see a senior executive -- male or female -- be polite. To encourage and role model younger generations. And yet to be firm and direct.

There's a huge difference between being assertive and direct and being nice. You can be all of the above. All that to say, I guess, that if you can at all help it, don't lose that meow of yours.