Really, don't ask me how to do it. It is uncomfortable, and awful and made all the more difficult given the fact that I have a vagina.
I was given the job. Just under a week since leaving the cafe, I managed to land what has been a dream role of mine. Sales and Marketing for a book publishing house. I know, incredible right? Right. I was ecstatic and obviously went home at drank celebratory whiskey and ate potatoes with my man. And then, unfortunately, the salary that they offered me is not even enough for me to make rent for a whole year.
It is, for all intent and purposes, an entry level position, so I do understand and respect the figure that they offered me. However, as a twenty-seven year old woman who lives by herself, owns a car and has a small animal to feed, the figure would have seen me actually losing money each week. I have taken a role with the same salary once before, and it put me in a terrible, anxiety-giving financial position that I cannot afford to be in again.
Maybe even more importantly than that though, I know that I am worth more than that. I know that it was by no means a personal thing when they sent through the offer, however I know my skillset and I know the way I work, and I know that I am worth a certain dollar figure. So, due to the simple maths of my life at the moment and the knowledge that I am, as an employee, worth just that little bit more, I had to do something that I have never done before. I had to negotiate my salary.
I constructed an email. I ummed and ahhed the whole way through writing it. The little voice in my head screaming YOUCA’NTDOTHISYOUCAN’TDOTHIS the entire time I was typing. I pressed send before I could think too much about it, scared that I would simply accept the offer and then have to move into a small cardboard box on the curb of my street. I read it back over and over again throughout the night. And then again this morning. And then again this afternoon. My head is fighting with itself. On one hand, it is my dream role and as I accrue time there, I am sure my salary will improve. On the other hand, I will have to choose between eating for a week and paying rent for a week. On one hand, it is an entry-level position. On the other hand, I am twenty-seven and a very, very hard worker. On one hand, it is a job and I am unemployed. On the other hand, well, that is where I get stuck.
So here I sit, waiting for an email or a text message or a phone call. Fuck, I would take a series of smoke signals if it would give me some idea of what is happening with my employment. I have gone through so many waves of feelings today. I have been hopeful, and then in complete despair, and then hopeful again, and then worried that I offended them, and then defensive because I am worth more and now? Well, now I am in complete disarray. I feel sick, the knot in my stomach feels as though it is of the noose variety and I am riddled with nervous energy. I keep trying to see the silver lining, saying out loud to myself, “Well, I guess it is a good thing that they haven't responded yet, right? I mean, they could have said a flat out No already, but they haven’t.”But then there is the fact that there are two unanswered emails and an unanswered call from my end. And it’s Thursday. And they want me to start Monday. And come Monday, I am unemployed and without prospects.
At a time where I have seriously learned the value of patience, I cannot help my jiggle my knees nervously and scream to myself WHAT THE FUCK IS TAKING SO LONG? I know that I need to be equal amounts pushy and patient. And I feel quite confident in that I have toed that line really well, considering that I have never done this before and I am perhaps the most impatient person I know. So I mean, there’s that. But my knowledge of self is not going to pay my real estate agent $575 a week. The old, anxious version of me wants to bug them on every phone number, email address and social media platform that I have access to. But too many things lately have proved time and time again that patience is key. What I haven't mastered, however, is how the fuck to handle myself in the time it takes to be patient. I mean, there is only so many times I can do the bay walk before my fucking kneecaps call it quits.
Don’t get me wrong, I have built up a lot of resilience over the past two months. And I have learned a lot about myself. And I have learned a little bit about what I am worth. And the people who interviewed me were bloody lovely yesterday, and I know that they want to work with me, and I, with them. I know all of this. But that doesn’t stop my heart from beating too fast, and the what if thoughts to creep in, and those feelings of not being good enough and why the hell would they give you more money eat away at you steadily. And again, it is okay that I am freaking out. It is okay. I need to take solace in the fact that I did, in fact, get the job I set out to get and I made it happen all by myself and for myself.
Negotiating is not a language I am proficient in, nor does it’s back-and-forth nature suit my mental composition. Maybe if I had a penis, it would be different. Or maybe it wouldn’t. But right now, I have a vagina and I am freaking the fuck out. God speed ladies and gentlemen, wish me luck.