What price, dignity?..

If you read my last blog, you will know that I had a meet up or ‘interview’ with an ex colleague. I looked up to her because she mentored me during my 1st years in the spa industry. Gosh, I was a teenager still. But yes, you read right. I used past tense on ‘look’. That’s probably because I will not know where to look anymore when I see her next..

The rate she offered me was lower than abysmal. This, even after she knows of the experience that I have collected in almost 15 years as a therapist, head therapist, trainer, executive, manager. I have worn several hats and I have tasted life as a fulltime staff with complete benefits, permanent part time staff with pro rated benefits and also the life of a carefree freelance therapist. I have been ALL that, and I am aware of the differing pay structures and rates. Heck, I sooo gotta know because one of my duties were to help hire, interview, train and also amend commission rates based on current industry rates. Now, I cannot be telling on the most basic hourly rate here but I can tell you that what I was offered in a ‘take it or leave it’ mode was lesser than what I saw in the employment poster in a fast food joint. My girlfriend and I were having pre-movie dinner there and I was aghast to realise that they offer higher hourly rate than my ‘high and mighty’ ex co! My gf was disgusted too upon hearing the harrowing experience I had. And I thought she needed the help and was looking forward to have my experience onboard her spa biz because she approached me and asked me a couple of times! I was of course just offering temporary help till I get clearance from a work contract, in all honesty.

10 or 15 years ago I would have given her some of my disgusted and shell shocked piece of mind and then some.. And oh, I would so love to that day in her cubicle of an office! But I left politely, after saying I shall consider her proposed rates. I managed to tell her though, of how freelance/part time therapists are paid normally and currently. To which she bluntly and abrasively exclaimed- (yes, she can be both blunt AND sharp, and it can be a good thing sometimes but not at this moment) that “It’s too high!!” Wow. I cannot find my tongue, so I looked at her in her challenging eyes and smiled. Then it was all the niceties of goodbye (should there be any?) and I left her establishment without looking back.

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The thing that struck me 1st was how she didn’t change at all. Never listening, solid, rash, firm and blunt. NOBODY has escaped arguing with her because she picks them often. The 2nd that surfaced was how much I have changed. I would like to believe that it was for the better. Because I do not see any good in replying her insults with mine which I know neither of us will want to sleep better with.. I also contemplated kicking her teeth in after bashing her overdone coiffure with my lime hobo bag but naaaah. I shall keep that contemplation within the perimeters of my tortured mind. Gandhi said:
“An eye for an eye makes the world go blind”.
Either it was him or a hopeful optometrist, optician or an eye specialist..

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Gandhi, the quote sage..

I am brought to a renewal lesson in this episode. That it was not my ego that rejected her, but it was my older and amplified dignity that will not take unjustified and underpaid crap like this. I know it is not my ego because I walked away with a smile that got even wider as the distance between us drew.

As I sat and have a cuppa to recover in the midday sun, I realised too that perhaps she thought I was the one being unreasonable. And perhaps she also realised that she too has dignity and it will crumble if she depended on my accounts of what is current and present. And perhaps she felt that it was necessary to stay firm in giving me the entry level rate because it was justified.

I only know of one difference though in all our probable discoveries of similar but polar things.

I am not cheaper.

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