Proving yourself, again.

I had a call the other day from a potential client, someone who had been referred to me by a mutual (writer) colleague. The caller manages the writing side of a marketing communications firm in town, and was inquiring whether I was interested in doing some work with them.

She didn’t have a specific project, but wanted to know if I had ever done X and Y projects for industries A and B. My first thought was to point her to my Web site — it has info about the work I’ve done and several project write-ups. Apparently she had been there and not seen what she wanted, so called me looking for more.

It was certainly a legitimate request. If I was in charge of hiring writers to work for my company’s valued clients, I’d darn well make sure they were up to snuff. But still, it rankled a little.

Didn’t she trust the guy we both know who referred me? Didn’t she think I actually wrote the samples on my Web site? Or was it more that the client testimonials are fake? And yes, I’ve written about a hundred such projects X and Y, and no, I haven’t actually written for industries A and B, but unless they speak a language other than English, I think I’ll be OK. (I’ve been doing this almost 20 years, lady.)

Or maybe it rankled because within an hour I had sent her an e-mail with 5 samples along the lines she was looking for, and she couldn’t be bothered to respond. Not even, “Thanks for the samples; we’ll be in touch if we have a need.”

I know it’s a silly thing to get annoyed over. Meryl Streep still has to audition, Donald Trump still has to negotiate the deal, every incumbent still has to get reelected — we all have to prove ourselves every day, seemingly no matter what our reputation or track record. And I do get virtually all my business on referral, and rarely do they ask for samples and such, so it’s not like I have to go through this all the time. I shouldn’t let it get to me.

But, if she never calls me for a project, I won’t lose sleep over it. If she does call me, well, that’s another dilemma. I don’t really enjoy doing projects X and Y, and industries A and B are not that interesting…I guess pondering that decision is another post for another time.

Those are my principles, and if you
don’t like them…well, I have others.
                             ~ Groucho Marx

P.S. After I posted this, it occurs to me: Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear her interpretation of our conversation? Maybe she’d say, “Well, she sounded kind of annoyed I was even asking, and she doesn’t have experience in the industries we work with. I don’t need to work with someone like that…”