I was trying to find a specific topic for today’s/tonight’s blog post and I was going through my (too) many blog subscriptions and read Fabulously Broke’s recent post Women Always Have to be Nice, Don’t They? I always enjoy her posts, but this one hit a little close to home.
I do not know that I’ve ever overtly experienced any difference in treatment due to my being female, but just yesterday, as I spoke with someone (male) to discuss per-minute rates for audio transcription, I may have. The first contact was made via email and this person literally called me at my number given in my email minutes after I pushed “send.” Long story short, after playing phone tag for a little bit (and email tag), we finally were able to talk shop yesterday afternoon. We discussed rates, experience, and education, etc., and he asked what I felt about a substantially lower rate. He asked, “How flexible are you?” I replied, “How flexible are you?” He wouldn’t give me any type of answer above the quoted rate, but I found it just a little odd that the communication we had had up until the email was a little more “matter of fact” and he hadn’t deleted my inquiry email that clearly stated my rates. It wasn’t until we made phone contact and he got my full first name (I only use a first initial in freelance work), and of course heard my voice, that he brought up my needing to be “flexible.” (No final decision has been made on either side.)
The funny (or not so funny) thing is, when I am negotiating a rate, I almost feel like I’m being made to feel like I’m asking the absurd. I have the education and experience and ability that this source would be lucky to have. I shouldn’t have to feel that I’m begging for a job. (I already have a full-time job.) But it wasn’t until I read Fabulously Broke’s (FB) post today that I thought how odd my internal gauge was feeling: like I had better “be nice” or I might not get the work. This is ridiculous. He wasn’t threatening me, calling me names. But at the same time, though I was “holding my ground,” I still felt that he was having to speak slowly, explain his situation, like I was some simpleton (that alone is insulting). We’ll see what happens on Monday when we talk about some translation work. (I may have better results in that arena. He really seemed like he needed the languages I have to offer.)
Has anyone else experienced something similar to what FB did? Or to what I did? Please feel free to share your situations and how it turned out.