I’ve been noticing a trend that I do not like one bit - giving away one’s talent, services, and skills…for free. This is not the pure thing it was in past, when Aunt Susie volunteered two days a week at the Pink Elephant store in town. Oh no. This is blatant disrespect, as I see it, for the professional creativity and skill of others.
Now, I’m pretty sure we are all grateful for people like volunteer fireman, professionals who do pro bono work for those unable to pay for their services, and neighbors who step in to help when someone is in trouble. As a massage therapist, I have offered my time and skills to various charities and individuals whom I felt I could help. The operative word is “offered”.
If I am solicited for my professional skills, I expect payment. Now, before you tune me out and say “oh, there goes the almighty dollar, getting in the way of good deeds again”, let me explain the principle.
Let’s say you have an art opening, for which you wish to have live music. Your guests are coming free of charge, and as much as I LOVE art, I do not consider it a life or death necessity (ie you’re not the children’s cancer ward at the local hospital). Why on earth would you not charge a dollar or two per person at the door and give some of it to your skilled help and performers?
Again, it’s principle. You may only be able to pay 20 bucks to someone who worked all day to make YOUR event a success, but it matters. And before you hold up the “gilded lily” of beefing up their resume’ or garnering future clients, let me say this – a PAID gig (the exact amount is not important) looks good on a resume’ and in my experience, those attending fully free events are not generally seeking the services of musicians, caterers and the like, so that’s a dead end.
Furthermore, those who do this sort of gig out of friendship, or frankly, insecurity in their skills are setting the bar low for their respective industry. In other words, you are screwing your own colleagues out of being taken seriously and ultimately making a living from their chosen profession.
So please, think twice the next time some long-faced event planner hits you up for your time and service for absolutely zero effort or money. There is almost always a more worthy recipient of your talents.
*smacks you on the ass*