Oh I’m so sorry! Oh, wait – no I’m not. I didn’t do anything wrong. Why do so many women feel the need to say sorry when they’re not in the wrong? Everyone is guilty of doing this. Just the other day I found myself apologizing to a woman in the grocery store when she ran into me – and she had the gall to give me a dirty look! When I realized what I’d just done I was tempted to turn around and retract my apology and call her a rude you-know-what, but I’d left the top down in the car and this Florida weather is so unpredictable I was paranoid it would start raining at any given moment (no, there were no clouds in the sky when I made the decision to leave it down). Ladies, we need to stop making ourselves feel smaller by apologizing for things we have not done wrong; especially in the workplace. Here’s a list of things you need to stop apologizing for right now.
Women spend far too much time apologizing for their financial expectations when they shouldn’t. I recently found myself in a situation of this magnitude. A professional acquaintance I’ve met a handful of times emailed me in a panic because he needed a short piece written for his website. It was less than 300 words and took me approximately five minutes to write. The fee I charged him for this was paltry. Soon he was asking me to write more of the same. Since they took such a short amount of my time and because I am very familiar with the subject I was writing about, the fee stood as it was. Eventually, he began sending me requests to write much longer pieces – 1,000 words and more – on subjects I had to thoroughly research.
He didn’t offer to up my fee for this, even though we both know there was a big difference in the work I was doing for him, and I found myself emailing him an apology telling him this work was cutting into my regular work for clients who are actually paying me what my time is worth. I then realized that I don’t have to apologize to him: I have a fee and he needs to pay it. I sent an email saying I’d be happy to do the work for him and outlined my fees. He accepted my terms and we have a lovely business relationship. The moral of this story is that you should never undervalue yourself enough to apologize for expecting more money – within reason.
Yes, women apologize for their appearance. I’ve done it myself. “Forgive my crazy hair! I didn’t have time to iron my shirt or fix my hair due to a sick baby and oversleeping this morning.” I’ve done it to friends I’ve run into while out and about and moms on play dates. Guess what? I don’t need to apologize for my appearance. It’s mine. As long as I’m dressed appropriately and all of my bits and pieces are covered up – I’m good to go. It’s not my place to apologize for looking completely amazing or like I just rolled out of bed.
I was recently offered a contract to freelance for a major, big-time company that I’ve been dying to write for all my life. When telling friends about the position one said to me, “You are so lucky to have all these amazing opportunities given to you.” At first I beamed with pride and excitement, happy that my friends were happy for me and happy that I’d been given this opportunity. It was at that point my (wonderful and sweet) husband interrupted my conversation. He put his arm around me, pulled me close and looked my friend right in the eye, “She wasn’t given this opportunity. She worked hard to earn it. She’s not lucky. She’s damn good at what she does.” Yes, I swooned (feel free to be a little envious).
Ladies, we don’t need to apologize for our accomplishments. We rock. It’s really that simple. We earn what we work hard to earn and we don’t earn what we don’t work hard to earn. Never apologize for being completely awesome at anything. You’re better than that.