I had another post scheduled for today, but yesterday something kind of big happened to me, so I wanted to just take a minute to jot down what I was feeling in the moment (writing this on Monday). Before I go into that, though, some back story:
In March, I was asked to perform at a Women’s group meeting in June. There’s someone that plays the flute, and she wanted to accompany me while I sang a classic song (The Water is Wide) and at the time, she said I would be getting a certain rate. Now, there’s this one busy body, sticks-her-nose-where-it-never-belongs-secretary who is a control freak and I really don’t want to swear but what I’d prefer to call her is not a very pleasant word. She has consistently done her best to try and butt into me, and my family’s business, ruin opportunities for my career, and generally just be a gossip and irritancy. I moved recently, as I’ve stated before, and when my manager called to confirm the gig last week everything was fine. What happened last night? Glad you asked! My manager gets an email from the flute player saying “The secretary said you moved ___, so you can’t commute to perform? Also, we didn’t say we’d pay you the amount you’re saying we did”Well,
I was furious! I also felt bad because the flute player has wanted to do this particular song with me for like, a year and I didn’t want to let her down. But lowering my already low rate? I can commute, I have no idea where that stupid logic came from that I couldn’t get to the freaking location on time when ya know, this is my job. But even so, getting there costs money. Money, that they weren’t going to compensate me for because hey! The rate we are offering by the way is generous because we usually don’t pay for this event anyways.
…Then why did you tell me in March that I was going to get paid? Why are you undervaluing my worth as a performer in the first place? Why are you treating what I do, and work so hard at Every SINGLE DAY like I’m doing this as a hobby, have other means of making money, and generally disrespecting me?
I had to get the entire story from the flute player: Apparently, the secretary had spoken to the Arts event manager, and had been telling everyone involved that I couldn’t make it to perform. Another person on the board who plays piano conveniently said they could step in if I “couldn’t do it”.
My guess is that the piano player wanted to do it the entire time, but that’s just a theory I can’t back up with anything other than my gut feeling.
After I got the whole story, I had to sit and talk with my family. I felt really conflicted: On one hand, I didn’t want to seem flaky and bailing on something I had committed to months ago, but on the other hand, I really wasn’t getting anything out of staying commited to a deal that had been altered because of this woman. My brother kept on telling me “Keep your emotions out of this” and eventually after weighing the profit margin, and objectively looking at the situation, I declined to make the appearance.
I felt like if I had said yes, it would have been a slippery slope to my devaluation of my skills, and my self-worth. I have gotten lessons from a very well-known voice coach, I practice every day. I learn songs when they are requested of me to learn, and I put together sets and travel, and so much more I can’t even think of right now. I am worth more than what they were offering me, and I was not going to put myself through a week of drama, stress, and irritation when I have better things to be doing. I’ve been working on some songs, and during that whole ordeal earlier today I had lost complete motivation to do anything related to my singing tonight. It was draining, it was frustrating, and I did not need to put myself in a tense situation for no profit.
After I decided “No” a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt a lot happier: and I think that had a lot to do with just the fact that I took a stand, knew I was worth more, knew I needed more respect than these people were giving me. It felt good to make a difficult decision and know after making it that I had made the right choice. After all, what good is doing something you love for a living if you’re going to regret doing a certain gig and be angry with yourself later?
What will I do now? Why, what I’ve been doing: recording covers, working on getting gigs that pay me what I’m worth, working on youtube videos and generally improving my craft. Oh, and recording a video on Wednesday with the flute player: she agreed to do the arrangement with me on both of our free time so we could record it. I’m so excited! Never had live accompaniment before
But yeah, a very valuable life lesson that I am going to take with me. I can only go up from here!