The adventures and musings of an aspiring shoe designer

The lesson is complete

My first thought was to let her go; in fact this is probably the best thing that could happen.  Like Maya Angelou says, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

I weighed everything in my mind, and then I went to talk to my uncle.  He has run his own company successfully for as long as I can remember so I wanted to ask him how he thought I should handle the situation.  More than anything I think I needed permission of sorts by someone I respect to do what I knew I had to do. 

Sometimes I find that I tend to get stuck in a place like this simply because I don’t know what to do afterwards, the uncertainty of what’s next can be very powerful.  I always feel much better when I have a plan or at least the inkling of the next step or two.  

One of the things he said to me was exactly what I needed to hear, “Business is hard enough; you have to constantly watch your back.  Usually enemies come from outside but, when you realize you have an enemy in your camp; you have to get rid of them, the longer she stays the more damage she can cause.” 

I finally woke up and realized that surely she wasn’t the only person who has the knowledge that I needed; her price was too high in many ways.  I knew without a doubt that regardless of what she brought to the table, I never have and never will, need anyone that much.

As I mull this over I ask myself “what is the lesson here?  It is crystal clear, I needed her to be that outrageous, that ridiculous in order for me to stand up and say unequivocally, this will not be tolerated.  The fact that she had done so many other things and I had allowed it gave her permission to walk on me and this was far more a fault of mine than it was hers.

Once I made the decision to let her go, I felt such relief, until that moment I hadn’t realized just how heavy the burden had been.  All those little things, the moments where I felt uneasy, the times where I willingly allowed this to go on I had been carrying that around unconsciously and it was quite the load.  I have found, as I’m sure you have, that you know you’ve made the right decision when once it’s made you exhale and feel a sense of peace and lightness.  I felt light as a feather when I called her that day and then sent a follow-up email with a written version of what I had said on the phone.

Hi Mary,

 I have attached my formal acceptance of your resignation letter for your records.  As I said in our conversation, I will not worry about the 2 hours of services that are still owing, please consider it a gesture of goodwill.  I wish you the best in all of your future endeavors.

Below is the resignation letter excluding greetings and legal formalities.

This letter is to acknowledge receipt of your letter of resignation dated June 6, 2009.  I accept your resignation and wish you the very best in the future. 

As a reminder it is implied in our consultant agreement that non-disclosure of Ventrano, LLC. Company information remains in force indefinitely.

Some may be wondering why I let the two hours go in light of everything but, this was not me being naive.  I have learned lessons before this and what I know for sure is that I would not get my money from her without engaging her in battle and frankly, it isn’t worth it.  I also thought she might attempt to bill me for some unknown reason and it could turn into a he said, she said.  I wanted to preempt that with an acknowledgement of her owing me time, because she had in fact shown me who she was and this time I believed her.

I was given one thousand percent assurance I had made the right decision as this was the email I received within minutes of the acceptance of resignation.  All emails with the exception of name changes are copied exactly, misspellings and all.

Kathy Jo,

Thank you for the letter. I have sent a letter to Dillard’s and to my Nordstrom contacts as well as my other contacts stating my resignation form all aspects of Ventrano shoes

Please make sure X bank is notified that I will no longer be acting on your behalf of Ventrano shoes and all projected sales with Dillards will no longer be honored

Best of luck with your company,

Mary

When I don’t respond I get this email

Kathy Jo,

I have just read your letter and at no time have I agreed nor signed any consultant agreement with you or your company. If you have such document please forward it to me immediately.

 My consulting was just that consulting and anything I disclose from our meetings is information owned by her company name.  

Nothing can be implied as an agreement of non-discloser since I had no formal contract with Ventrano,LLC. indefinitely or other wise.

If you wish to discuss further we can set up a meeting at my office,

Sincerely,

Mary

In response, I forward a copy of our consultant agreement but, say absolutely nothing.

Kathy Jo,

This is my contract with you, not a contract for the safety of Ventrano, LLC or from Ventrano, LLC. This contract only applies to her company name, my consulting fees and liabilities and the protection of her company name. It does not state anywhere that I cannot use any of the information developed during our meetings. Nothing can be applied or considered non-discloser by Ventrano, LLC with this contract since it was not issued by Ventrano, LLC and does not state this coverage.

Again, Nothing can be implied as an agreement of non-discloser since I had no formal contract with Ventrano,LLC. indefinitely or other wise.

Sincerely,

Mary

I decide to stay silent as I know that engaging at this level is bound to cause me more aggravation and to be honest, I have better things to do.  I figure eventually she’ll tire herself out and I can make better use of my time by not letting anger get the better of me.  In my younger days I might have jumped into battle but, sometimes the battle isn’t worth the effort.  I was able to let the anger go almost immediately.

More than anything I was grateful and felt like I should thank her.  Thank her for teaching me that I need to be wary of people like her and how her nice, sweet façade quickly faded to such nastiness.  I should thank her for being so obvious, had she went about this in a more intelligent fashion I may have given her everything, who knows.  I was grateful that this happened when it did, as opposed to launch week or some other time where I might have felt more insecure.

 I was grateful for the lesson early on the path to watch my back and to pay attention to the signals that indicate people are motivated for reasons other than presented.  I’ve always known this but she had sold herself well and I am forever grateful to her for this lesson.  I believe that she was absolutely the best teacher I could have had at that moment; it was obviously a much-needed lesson. 

I know the truth of the Buddhist proverb “When the student is ready the teacher appears.”  I think we usually look at this from a different perspective but when I look back on my life, the best teachers I have had and the strongest lessons I’ve learned have come in the form of someone who is not so nice.

 

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