There are parts of my job that I avoid. They are the tasks that make me feel a passionate longing to run and get the mail or find some other reason to bolt from my chair. These tasks set me squirming and gratefully answering a telemarketer’s phone call.
Every job has these elements. A friend of mine is a pilot and after every flight, even if she is yearning to get home, she needs to fill in reams of paperwork. I doubt if while learning to fly, she said to herself, “Oh, boy! I can’t wait to see the post-flight documents.” Yet, it is part of the job. These annoyances are unavoidable. The image we conjured up in grade school of doing only what we want once we were grown up is a mirage. As a mother, I loved hugs and reading stories. Cleaning up from the effects of stomach flu was something I could have easily skipped. As a partner in our publishing company, many of the things I do are exciting and invigorating. What I need to work on today – calculating how much we can afford to discount our library pack – isn’t one of those things. I tend to get different answers when I double-check my mathematical computations (even when using a calculator), which is rather frustrating. I also agonize trying to keep the price as low as possible while at the same time recognizing that our production, overhead and other costs are constantly increasing.
One of the issues I have heard my husband discuss when he addresses audiences is how important it is to be comfortable naming your price for a good or service. Unless you are from the government, you are giving someone an opportunity to buy what you offer, not forcing them to do so. While this seems obvious, women in particular often have difficulty with the concept. I remember a question a new storeowner posed to me at a financial event for which my husband was speaking. As a cancer survivor, she was sensitive to the needs of women wanting to buy a bathing suit and undergarments after a mastectomy. She opened a shop designed to make the shopping experience supportive and pleasant. Hours of her time went into planning little details such as having nutritious refreshments in one corner and attractive changing rooms. She invested her savings in the project as well as borrowing money from family. Like most small business owners, she worked more than an eight-hour day, and needing to pay bills and salaries before depositing her own paycheck, there were weeks and months that she took home nothing. Imagine her horror when one customer attacked her for selling her wares rather than offering them at no cost.
Instead of outwardly responding politely while internally dismissing the woman’s comments, this storeowner was troubled by them. She felt the need to explain to me that she couldn’t afford to run her shop as a charity. She was disproportionally pleased when I validated that the business was a practical expression of her sensitive and kind nature. While I was disturbed by her insecurity, I understood it. Like me, she for years had been an unsalaried giver as a wife, mother and homemaker. While her family and society both benefitted from her actions, (including financially), she didn’t place a dollar value on her contribution. (If you don’t understand how much money and unpleasantness she saved her family and the average taxpayer by nurturing a stable marriage and home, please explore further. And yes, I know that women who work can also have stable marriages and homes – that’s a separate topic.) Once you enter the marketplace, it can be difficult to reorient and recognize that you are still a giver, just in another form.
I hope my acquaintance is earning substantial money while contributing to society with her unique talents and perspective. And while I need to bone up on my skills vis-à-vis calculating percentages, I believe that the resources my husband and I provide through our publishing company offer great value to those who choose to purchase them. Thinking anything else suggests that both the sentiments of those who believe in receiving money rather than earning it and the disparagement of homemaking have made inroads into my psyche.
P.S. As I was posting this the doorbell rang, heralding the arrival of our newest resource – the 2nd volume of our Ancient Jewish Wisdom DVD series – four more favorite episodes from the television show my husband and I co-host. So, it is time for me to proudly urge you to check it out and if you feel, as I do, that it is will add value to your life, purchase it. Move quickly and you can get the Library Pack or Library Pack PLUS, including the new DVD, before I figure out by how much to raise the price.