The most memorable line to come out of ABC’s short-lived Marvel’s Agent Carter occurred in the first season finale. Strategic Scientific Reserve agent-extraordinaire Peggy Carter has just saved the day (again), and her male colleagues have taken the credit for her actions (again!). Witnessing this, a more enlightened male agent asks Peggy how she can stand it and she simply responds: “I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.”
Those 10 words became a rallying cry for the show’s female fans (me included) and were frequently referenced when ABC execs cancelled the show earlier this year. But while I certainly recognized Peggy’s value, her self-assured conviction of her own worth also inspired me to recognize mine. Or more accurately, it inspired me to look for my own.
Though I have just about every Jordandené design featuring Peggy’s immortal words in my closet, and frequently ask myself “WWPCD” (What Would Peggy Carter Do?), it wasn’t until yesterday that I had my first true “I Know My Value” moment.
As I’m sure you can gather from my many absences, work has been a bit crazy lately, with just about every project having been delayed for some reason or another. The result is that everything is coming due at the same time. On top of that, some deliverables have expanded beyond their scopes of work and are much longer than originally anticipated.
For the most part, I’ve been able to juggle everything coming down the pike reasonable well, but yesterday it became clear that the current report on my desk was something different. It was just too long for me to get through in the timeframe allotted. Luckily, my supervisors completely understood the issues and we were able to triage what needed to be done before the document went to the client.
I know, I know, this all sounds very innocuous – just the usual work stress – and admittedly, it is. Yet when I’ve encountered conflicts like this before, I’ve usually questioned my abilities as an editor, have been more worried about “disappointing” my supervisors than maintaining a healthy work/life balance, and have sacrificed my personal time for the job. This time, however, I didn’t experience any of those feelings.
For whatever reason, I actually trusted my abilities as a professional editor and the limits of what could reasonably be done. I also told myself that I would not work overtime unless I was compensated for it. After all, my time has value, just like I do.
As noted, the whole situation resolved itself fairly well, but just making those mental stands was extremely empowering for me. There was a strength in my convictions that hadn’t been there in a while. And as I steeled my spine, I couldn’t help but think of Peggy and her sense of her value. To be sure, I still have some work to do to reach her level of confidence, but yesterday’s small victory felt like a step in the right direction!