Tuesday, January 5, 2016
What's Your Value?
Today I had an interesting dovetailing of events.
I was making a design presentation for the lobby of a commercial space. The owners are a married couple and they loved everything I showed them until it came to the price.
I had gone slightly over budget, but the gist of it seemed that they had wanted a lot more 'stuff' for the money.
I countered with the fact that they were getting quality goods that would hold up to the traffic the space would surely encounter. They countered by offering to take the custom window treatment I designed and hang it themselves.
At least that was what they said to me. There were parts of the conversation conducted in their native language over the top of my head with 'dollars' being the only word left untranslated.
I felt like Elaine in the Seinfeld episode where she gets a manicure and is convinced the workers are speaking about her and laughing at her while they chatter in Korean.
On Sunday I picked up Mika Brzezinski's book, Grow Your Value from the library. There's a female in my life who I thought could benefit from her advice on how a woman could evaluate her work contribution and learn how to ask for commensurate compensation. Little did I realize that I would be needing the lessons in the book just as much.
If Mika's last name sounds familiar, then you are 'of a certain age.' Her father Zbigniew Brzezinski was National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter. Her mother, Emilie, is a sculptor, and she is the cohost of MSNBC's Morning Joe, a political news show. In short, she is well-pedigreed and newsflash...she doesn't have all the answers.
Back to my couple. I stayed firm on my price, offering them the option of doing the project in two phases and left. I didn't tell them speaking about someone in another language while they're standing in front of you is rude, but I did tell them good work deserves fair recompense.
I'm still waiting for their decision to go ahead with the project, but either way I feel my design would add value to their space--and whether they recognize that too is up to them.