Thursday, October 28, 2010

I am too much a nice girl

And I mean that with probably all the connotations you can think of, although one is first and foremost in my mind today.

There's a lot of shit going down lately. I won't ask for an excuse for using that phrase, as it's richly descriptive. I am subjected to a manager who believes in ludicrously unreasonable deadlines. I decided to interview for another job. I just started a home business on the side. My father got very ill and he may or may not get less or more ill again, depending on what the tests say this week.

And also, honestly the media onslaught that accompanies any large election is exhausting. Even though I don't watch tv (that's why God created DVDs) and read online papers only sparingly), it's still everywhere, down to the pile of junk mail I receive everyday and the front pages of the papers in the kiosks near where I work. Just the amount of lying bullshit in the air fills me with despair.

I kind of identify as someone trying to set the world right, even if it's just doing my job well every day, throwing away trash I pick up on the street, be polite to every person I meet. I try to reduce entropy. And to see events and issues misrepresented so badly; that just makes me weep inside that any problems could ever be fixed or any wrongs could be righted.

Somewhere deep inside me is this tiny little optimistic kernel that if only everyone UNDERSTOOD things, aided by my trying to communicate as clearly as possible, then everyone would work towards a better world. Then the nasty cynical part reminds me that no, that's not actually true. The actions of many make it clear that they are actively trying to twist the world for their own gain, and nothing matters besides that.

Anyway, random aside, whatever. Back to topic.

I really dislike interviewing. Talking doesn't come easy for me, harder still if it's someone I don't know. I don't describe things well, and I don't have a natural rhythm to my speech. It seems to take too long for things to travel from my brain to my mouth, and they get garbled along the way.

But back to the nice girl: I am crap at negotiating.

I consistently undervalue my work and worth. I am so accustomed to trying to make you happy at any cost, that I will make concessions I don't agree with, that weren't necessary anyway. I am so damn eager to please that I'll do something I don't want to do to make a third party happy, when he might not even care.

I always seem to have to wait for external validation that I am competent and hardworking and deserve that raise. I never ask.

I don't know why it's so hard for me to tell someone that I am skilled and competent and believe I should be compensated fairly for this. There's this feeling that I will somehow mortally offend them by suggesting something more advantageous to me. That I will loose that all-important validation if they say no. That they're so uninterested in me that they'll just dismiss me out of hand.

And this is for a job I am not even certain I want to take. I am already employed (knock on that wood), and really, it's Not That Bad working here. I like the people a lot. The work is interesting.

I keep trying to come up with a coping mechanism for this and failing. I have a whole script I wrote out for a phone conversation this morning. I pretend I'm playing a character. I act Vulcan and keep reminding myself this is all professional. Grrrr still blurt out stupid things.


Cookie said...

Oh I love you.

Undervaluing ourselves is what we're expected to do in America because we're women and everyone else matters more than we do.

Total crap, of course, but it's hard to undo the training.

Oh, and you're fucking fabulous. Don't make me come up there and shake you, missy.


elizabeth said...

ME TOO. I just bought a car. It's an old car, it was only $3,000. But I couldn't talk them down. I am terrible at negotiation. I should have walked away. But I didn't. I will never buy another car from a dealership again! I hate feeling taken advantage of.

Good luck with the interviewing. I think adopting a character is a good choice. You can dazzle them with your personality when you get hired!

pacalaga said...

I'm terrible at job negotiation (having never done it - I undervalue myself from the start and my "preferred salary" requirement is usually so low that they offer me that or more on the spot). I'm fantastic at "talking someone down" because I just don't want things, and they keep trying to get me to buy.

Adrienne Martini said...

I don't have all that much I can add - other than to say: you are not alone.

Anonymous said...

Sweetie, you are FABULOUS! That is why I read your blog. Internalizing that value is a tough thing to do. Keep working at it, though. You will get there!

alittleweirdo said...

I can totally relate! Maybe we need a nice girl support group... I'm not too fond of interviewing either, but it feels validating just to get to that point (I think I've applied for a dozen jobs this week, and the only interview I have lined up is for a seasonal retail position).
Hugs! We'll have to get together and do something fabulous soon :)

Carrie#K said...

Good luck with that. There's a lot of things that I thought that I'd outgrow too and as it turns out? Still me. After all these years.

But yes, you are worth it, you should get it and hey! If you don't step up, some entitled twit with an overinflated view of themselves will take it from you. And probably tax you on it too.

I suck at negotiation too. (I call it haggling.)