Sunday, June 10, 2012

Value

Any time I spend too much time thinking about a blog instead of just writing it, I kind of screw myself.

I've been sitting on this one for a full week. 

I've talked it out with my husband. I've written full 'graphs in my head while I was driving downtown or weeding a flower bed. 

And here I am. Stuck in bed after a night of birthday celebration (Pre-emptive celebration. My actual birthday is later this week) that included oysters on the half, a slab of slightly bloody red meat and copious amounts of wine, I've been pooping my brains out since about 2:30 am. Husband is out front watching Italia/Spain in the Euro Cup and I'm trying to feel like a human again in the room just adjacent to our bathroom. Strategic positioning, for sure.

I've got to write this.

Were I to judge the past week on a scale of 1 to 10 (one being not great, 10 being awesome), I'd say it was a 15. And a -3. It was, professionally speaking, one of the most bipolar weeks of my life. 

A 2-year client relationship ended on a really horrible note. I won't disclose the details (although they are pretty fucking hilarious) but I will say that I kept my cool and I maintained my professional integrity, despite being ambushed by absolutely hateful e-mails and voice mails. 

That same day, I learned that the 15-page marketing plan I had developed for my agency downtown, had gotten minimal edits. I had blocked Tuesday to spend time editing a document that had nothing more than some grammar-type tweaks. I submitted a 15-page plan for review and when it came back to me...it was still my plan. 

Understand that I had put close to 17 hours into this plan, and I labored over it's organization and creativity. The process was intense, but I enjoyed it: I stayed very true to my creative spirit while writing it. The fact that the results  -- that my employer thought it was fantastic -- made the fruits of my labor even juicier.

That evening, I secured a two-day ideation gig which has a very enjoyable paycheck attached to it. Can't tell you what it is for, but I'm going to have a swell time with it.

Two days later, I was with my 'main' client - the one I'm putting about 30 hours/month into - to have coffee and discuss my future with the company.  My client took time to let me know how valued I am (which I kind of already knew, as it isn't uncommon for this client to end business texts, e-mails or even FB posts with "We love you!!!") and to confirm that I was in for the long term.

Sign me up.  I'm in. You want more Triple T? I'll give you more Triple T.

And then the day after that, I met with the client who received the marketing plan that I had labored over. I can't name drop, but the actual client is married to a very iconic Chicago artist, and he was a part of the meeting.  Wife and husband were both blown away by the plan. The husband...the very iconic Chicago artist...may or may not have said something about seeing that my "creative blood poured onto the pages of this plan."

Insert record scratch here, Sybil.

Accused earlier in the week of not contributing and of being too expensive (never mind that it was a trade for services agreement, and I had invested 90+/- hours into the account and had NEVER issued a single invoice), I closed out the week with people that recognize my value. And by value, I mean, they don't see the value that is defined by an hourly rate.  They see value in my creativity. My strategy. My energy. My partnership. My big, fat, sticky brain.

They acknowledge my value and then they happily give me money.  They also offer me more work.  

It's that kind of value.

I closed out the week with tears -- the happy kind.  I have struggled for the past few years with my transition to a 'traditional' role as a stay-at-home mom, mostly because I wasn't making a financial contribution to our family. A year or two ago, I started giving it away for free (or for trade) because marketing was in my heart. It's my gift. And that might seem like a really lame way to explain a career that exists just to increase a company's bottom line, but in the past few weeks, I've realized that it is my gift.  No, it isn't finding the cure for cancer. It isn't writing the song that makes the whole world sing. It's not going to land me a book deal. But it's what I've got and when I'm in marketing mode - when I'm sharing my gift - I'm 100% in my light. 

I am 48 hours outside of my 40th birthday. And I feel like my possibilities are endless.  I know my value. I'm connected to my gift. And all of that is a pretty great way to end the first three decades of my life and to move into what looks to be the best decade of my life. 

Also, I may be done with oysters. 

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad you're in a good place. (And I can relate to your bathroom woes--it happened to me last week as I was chaperoning a senior trip to an amusement park. I was not amused).

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