When Condescension Strikes

When you’ve been in business (and life) long enough, you’re bound to run into a disrespectful tone. Whether it’s blatant sexism, racism or just plain anti-humanism, it can really shake you up. Fortunately, in this business, I’m blessed to work with a lot of kind-minded people, who treat each other with respect, despite any ideological differences.

On a recent morning, I hopped onto a sales call and was surprised to hear that biting tone. After five minutes, the voice on the other end had spewed so much website industry-speak at me that I realized he didn’t really understand the concepts. He also didn’t understand the value that RedTree could bring to his business. When I provided him with the base rate for a website, he dismissed the answer with, “Are you kidding me, dear?”

Sexism, ageism. Call it what you will. It was disrespectful. And it was painful to explain our value and be met with more condescending “dears.” Finally, I said politely,  “I’m sorry that you don’t see the value in working with a company as experienced as ours. We want to work with people who see the value in working with us and the industry knowledge we bring, so we are probably not a good fit.”

It’s not always easy to stand up for your values, but I’m proud to be at a place in my career where I know how valuable our experience is, and I can choose to work with those who know (and respect) it too.

We do have a young staff. Frankly, that gives us the ability to think even further into the future. And we have made our share of mistakes and learned from them, fast. I’ve logged 13 years in the industry, which is an eternity in this sector of lightning-quick technology changes. We know our stuff and we help clients create great, hard-working sites. We are also women-owned and right now, we are 100% women staffed. I’m proud of our talent and our drive, and we all create a supportive and mutually respectful culture.

No one deserves to be disrespected, whether it’s based on gender, race, age, political beliefs, religious beliefs, heritage or another perceived reason to do so. It took everything I had to rise above the talking down to. And if we all recognize and protect our value, the only ones left to be disrespected will be the disrespecters themselves.

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