Friday, May 8, 2009
A call came in this afternoon from a number I didn't recognize, from an area code I didn't recognize. I answered.
"Mr. Sane?" Mmmhmm. "We got your name and number from PET." Have work? "A lot. Do you have a portfolio?" No. "We'd like an example of what you've done recently." No. It's all under non-disclosure. Silence.
"How do people hire you?" Word of mouth. My name stands for itself. "Isn't that a bad idea?" No. I don't need the work. "This is an important project." All projects are important.
"So how do we do this?" If you're not in Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles or New York City, you need to fly me out, put me up in a hotel, show me what you want, and I decide. "It's a tough market out there, why are you picky?" It's not tough for me. "That's what Don at PET said. You'd be cocky, but worth it."
Pick a day. "Next week?" Fine. "Tuesday?" Just tell me what time and send me a travel voucher. Good hotel, too. "What are your rates?" I don't have any rates. I'll tell you what I want, and you can say yes or no. "No negotiation?" Never. "Are you busy?" Constantly.
"Ok, it was nice talking to you. We'll send you the details today." I give them my email address. I really need an assistant, these phone calls are annoying and not worth my time.
I get an email an hour later for a business class flight out of O'hare to Houston. Early flight. Put up in a decent 4-star hotel. I didn't even ask what company I was visiting, but the email confirmed it: some corporate drone holding company, probably owned by GE or the Bush family or the Clintons. All these large scale corporations are tied to powerful people or powerful companies.
So off I am to Houston for a day. I won't spend the night, but I'll use the hotel.
Who wants to come with for a day of fun? The meeting won't last 30 minutes. They'll hate my price. They'll accept it anyway, because they have no time to waste. Maybe I'll charge more than usual. I don't need the work, and I definitely don't need someone questioning my talents if they already received a rave review and a stern warning not to piss me off or negotiate with me.
My time is not-negotiable. My wages are not-negotiable. I am good at what I do, and they will either pay me and get it done right in 1/4 the time, or they'll hire a cubicle-crawler with no real experience.
That means more money to spend on someone I like. That means finding someone I like. That means I do need to get out there. Maybe I will go out tonight and take my two blog friends here up on their offer. We'll see.