An acquaintance of mine was recently drafted to “look over” a friend’s resume in order to “tighten it up” a bit prior to an upcoming interview. This acquaintance happens to be great at writing resumes and cover letters, but hates updating her own resume and “would never charge for something like that” since she’s doing this friend a favor. The only thing is, the resume she’s been given to work with is full of “cringe-worthy” grammatical errors and alleged lies about her friend’s work history and competencies.
I won’t delve into the ethics issue here, mostly because I feel that a lot of people who fudge their resumes get caught when they can’t back up the lie once they’re hired or heaven forbid, they can’t remember how the lie went in the first place. I also feel that it’s a different discussion for a different day, and it is a worthwhile one at that.
Just as you wouldn’t expect someone to climb on your roof and fix it for free, I shouldn’t be expected to climb out on a blank page and splay out my thought work without pay. The job may not be as sweaty, but it can be just as perilous.
No, this acquaintance is not me, but I have dealt with a similar situation several times in the past, and I’ve learned my lesson: charge everybody for everything. It took me a long time to get over that because it somehow seemed mean spirited. But a friend of mine gave me some perspective when she explained a simple premise: favors don’t pay bills. And when I was at my lowest point, when I wasn’t able to pay my bills or even survive because of all my “favors”, I learned to make NO apologies for charging people for my services. I do this for a living, and like you, I can’t afford to work for free. Just as you wouldn’t expect someone to climb on your roof and fix it for free, I shouldn’t be expected to climb out on a blank page and splay out my thought work without pay. The job may not be as sweaty, but it can be just as perilous.
However, for the folks who don’t shingle sentences for a living, what if you just so happen to be good at something and your friend is asking you for a favor, but that favor just so happens to take much longer and proves more challenging than you initially thought? Do you:
A.) Charge her for the resume work and do it remarkably well, as you would anyway ’cause you’re just exacting that way. Besides, there’s a recession going on and this is might result in full-time work for her and a part-time hustle for you.
B.) Look over the document, fire off some quick notes and let her “tighten it up” herself. She only needs a bit of guidance.
C.) Tell her ‘no’ because you haven’t even updated your own resume in six months, then honor the laziness in you by playing Wii Sports Resort for the rest of the afternoon.
While there’s no wrong answer, I did slip in one innocuous choice. I’m sure you know which one I’d choose and which one would be a close second. Kayaking anyone?
Leave your five cents at the beep.