Well, I played a little hardball, and hip-hip-hurray, it looks like I've got me a contract! Three months, at a higher rate than the first two offers, and this stint should lead into fulltime once we've carved out my role.
I feel happy and very blessed.
And it was so great to be able to leave my shoes under my desk over the holidays!
Of course, there's a little more to the story. I'm not Rosalind Russell saucily smoking a cigarette and cooly demanding more dough. But I did ask for more and they did give it to me. I was so stressed out this morning, as soon as a friend in the office asked me how I was doing, the tears started leaking out. She knows me well, so she made me vent my stress - rather than cram it back in, which is what I was clearly trying to do. Anyway, she told me I seemed to be trying to convince myself that the SVP didn't like me and that I was personalizing their lowball offer, when in fact, that's what they're offering everybody for contracts these days. As usual, talking it out helped a lot and I was able to be productive all day, until about 4pm, when I hear I got the contract.
I went over to the doorway of the SVP's office - many moons ago he was a drinking buddy of mine, but that's all history now - he's a biggie! I asked him if I could give him a great big kiss. As I well know, there's nothing he'd hate more. But he let me give him a great big hug, and congratulated me, and we agreed it was going to be great.