What does putting on my big girl panties have to do with law? Plenty. Before I found out how efficient and effective it was to use the phrase "my lawyer" in professional conversations, I was such a loser, literally. Clients wouldn't pony up what they had to pay or if they did it would way late. Or, they would sweet-talk me into re-negotiating a fee, after the work had been done.
Thanks to blogging about legal matters, I have now many "my lawyers." With them in my life, I finally had to guts to do what artist Mary Phillips instructed me to do on 1 of her famous greeting cards. The front of the card commands "Put your big girl panties & deal with it." Inside the message softens a bit with, "Remember I'm always here for you." The greeting card was sent to me by my college buddy ReBelle Mitchell Tarumoto who used to own a business and was trying to help me be the show-me-the-money entrepreneur I was meant to be.
Well, around 3:45 P.M., usually the time I think about turning on "Oprah" so that I can chart the show's downward spiral for my communications blog, a very minor account calls. It's always the minor accounts which call instead of doing the whole thing by email. Probably makes them feel important. "I have some bad news for you," the man said. He told me that his organization couldn't use my drafts but they would be generous enough to give me half the fee and use me in the future. Guess the man figured I would feel pleased. I explained that it is standard to do 1 draft, and, if needed, a 2nd draft. I did 3 drafts, which was beyond the call of duty, and did not charge for the number-3.
But we didn't use it.
I ran the tape: many clients I have had and some I still have didn't use my work. We had a contract. They paid, within 30 days of receiving the invoice or when the court told them to.
He went on. I stopped him. "My lawyer will contact your company's chief executive officer." The man told me that his legal department would contact my lawyer. "No," I reiterated, "my lawyer will contact your company's chief executive officer and, no, I do not want future assignments." The last thing you ever want is 2 lawyers talking to each other. The fun aka fireworks starts when a non-lawyer in the company is the 1st point of contact.
The man balked. Why didn't I want to do work for them in the future?
"I have a lot of work to do. I don't want or need work from your company."
Isn't it something what throws people. It wasn't the image floating over the phone wires of my lawyer talking to the chief executive officer. It was that I wasn't hungry for more and more work from his organization.
Of course, he wanted to talk more. This was probably the most excitement he had had in years. I tugged on my big girl panties and told him the conversation was over. Should I call my lawyer or wait for the check in the mail. The check will be in the mail, he said, for the total original fee.
You can't beat it: big girl panties and a few lawyers to call mine. Thank you all attorneys out there who told me you were mine.