Advanced search

... to not be expected to work for free?

(81 Posts)
flyingwidow Thu 05-Sep-13 14:52:43

Genuine AIBU here.

Finished work last November as decided to be a SAHM. All good, left on good terms with my boss and my department. Since then I have done some occasional consulting at the same organisation but for different departments.

Stopped working there completely a few weeks ago, as my son starts at a local preschool shortly, and I can't offer the same sort of consultancy hours that I managed to when he attended a 'daycare' provider (even then it was only 1 day a week max!!).

Had an email from someone in my 'old/original' department yesterday. Not someone that I was particularly friendly with. Could I come in next week for an hour or so to help out with some figures for something that I worked on back in 2009. No mention of pay, and quite blunt, worded in such a way that it kind of insinuated that I should go in, as a favour!

I replied, no- sorry, not working anymore, very busy with my son, sorry I can't be of anymore help. However, I pointed her in the direction of the spreadsheets, but pointed out that top boss took over the project when I was on maternity leave. So he should have more knowledge. I thought that was the end of it...

but no, another email pinged in this morning basically laying it on thick again- that she can't make head or tails of things.

So, I ring up the boss in charge of the department today (male). Firstly, I wanted to know if she'd discussed this with him- yes, she had. Basically he said it'd only be to drop in and help 'for a bit'. So I said, that I couldn't be of much help- the project completed 4 years ago (I have a shocking memory), and that I had detailed all the figures in a spreadsheet, but if they did want me to come in, that I would charge them. Stony silence on the end of the phone, followed by a "you mean like taking you out to lunch?" response from my former boss! I said no, that if I came in I would charge a half day at my daily rate.

My boss sounded really pissed off, and the phone call ended frostily! AIBU, should I have just 'helped out'?

I am miffed, a) that they contacted me in the first place- I have never contacted ex-colleagues (except to congratulate them on birth of children etc!). b) that when i said no, that she continued to email me. c) that my boss thought I'd just pop in as a favour....


Tee2072 Fri 06-Sep-13 18:09:34

You absolutely did the right thing.

missinglalaland Fri 06-Sep-13 18:11:33

YANBU! Cheeky devils.

Portofino Fri 06-Sep-13 18:12:12

I would reply mentioning my hourly/daily Rate.

tiggerpigger Fri 06-Sep-13 18:14:52

Why not to a man? Im a man and have been asked for a short time to come back to a previous contract to help with something I previously worked on. They paid me me the hourly rate they paid me when I worked there.

OP, they should pay you if they want you to work. Imagine it the other way round - would you email them to ask them to transfer some money into your account without offering to do any more work for them??

RevoltingPeasant Fri 06-Sep-13 18:16:21

YANBU althoooooough..........

I do notice that you twice refer to this guy as 'my boss'. You aren't working for him anymore, right? So he isn't your boss. He's manager of XX dept at YY company.

I just wonder if somehow you still see yourself as an employee there and that is coming across to him, so he thought he'd try to take advantage iyswim?

Your response was quite right btw.

motherinferior Fri 06-Sep-13 18:16:39

I don't think a man would be asked to come in unpaid. That was my point.

RevoltingPeasant Fri 06-Sep-13 18:17:12

tigger i think the point is, the company may be assuming as she is 'just a SAHM, home all day, nothing to do' she won't mind working for free.

The crucial difference is that you went back and were paid.

MarshaBrady Fri 06-Sep-13 18:18:17

Tigger they paid you.

This kind of stuff is very irritating. All those calls and emails are already your time.

MarshaBrady Fri 06-Sep-13 18:19:26

It's the same as when people expect you to do free child care. Forget it.

expatinscotland Fri 06-Sep-13 18:20:38

YY, Marsha, and a time when boundaries need to be set out from the get go: reciprocal or paid. Or nada.

MarshaBrady Fri 06-Sep-13 18:23:07

Yep Expat. I've got my no way radar pretty finely tuned by now.

BerylStreep Fri 06-Sep-13 18:23:27

Most definitely not being unreasonable.

I assume it is public sector?

tiggerpigger Fri 06-Sep-13 18:26:57

I know they paid me, I didnt mean to imply that that was due to me being a man. I just said it to agree with the op that she should have been paid if she went back.

I was querying why someone thought that a woman might be expected to work for free but a man wouldn't.

Mintyy Fri 06-Sep-13 18:26:59

Something like this did happen to dh recently, actually.

He wrote a tv script for an event (broadcast) last year.

When the same event came around this year, a minion from the company got in touch with dh and asked if he still had the script and could he email it to him as they were just going to tweak it a bit and use it as the basis of their script this year ...

Dh (who has saved every last voice over that he has ever scripted and that runs into the thousands by now) said sorry he couldn't help as he had not kept it ...

Lilacroses Fri 06-Sep-13 18:27:56

Seriously?! My god what a bloody cheek! It would be odd enough if they'd asked sweetly but to expect you just to do it, for nothing?! Unreal! Well done for standing up to them.

luxemburgerli Fri 06-Sep-13 18:29:56

YANBU, I think.

I have some ex-bosses that I would happily do this for, because they did so much to help me move up in my career while they were my boss. But if this was the case for you, I assume you'd feel differently. So your gut reaction is going to be right on this one!

Talkinpeace Fri 06-Sep-13 18:34:32

After having DCs I went back and helped out a couple of former employers.
Having registered as self employed and agreed a pay rate.

Same reason as I never ever post tax and accounts advice online under my real name.
You want the benefit of my personal advice, cough up the money.

Talkinpeace Fri 06-Sep-13 18:38:16

Some organisations are cheeky though (yes BBC, I mean you)
Years ago I had an article about me in a national paper. I then did an interview with Radio 4. I then filmed a slot for a current affairs programme. A few months later they called again saying as the story was good they would like to film more for another programme. Certainly I said, how much will you pay me to fill your airwaves? I never heard back.

They did something similar wanting DH to work for them for free, because its the BBC. Yeah right.

Saffyz Fri 06-Sep-13 18:55:56

YANBU. Of course you shouldn't work for free! Would they do something free for you? I don't think so.

Saffyz Fri 06-Sep-13 18:56:57

> They did something similar wanting DH to work for them for free, because its the BBC.

Agree. They will do everything on the cheap and undercut paid workers by getting a freebie if they can.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 06-Sep-13 19:03:18

I suspect someone things that being a SAHM is a doss, you have time on your hands and would be happy to pop in for a couple of hours mental stimulation, for a chat and a couple of biscuits.

RenterNomad Fri 06-Sep-13 19:09:18

It doesn't matter if the OP is s SAHM now, she spent November 2012 to this summer as a freelance consultant, being paid for whatever she did. These people had absolutely no business not being used to paying for her time and attention.

Tabby1963 Fri 06-Sep-13 19:18:17

FlyingWidow,* you were right to ask for proper remuneration for your skills and experience. They wanted the benefit of your experience but did not appear to respect you enough to offer proper payment.

You put them right nicely. They did not like it but will certainly respect you more now.

You may even get another email agreeing to pay you your usual fee for your help with the spreadsheet. Plus expenses of course ;).

RenterNomad Fri 06-Sep-13 19:20:14

Oooh, lottiegarbanzo, I think you really have something with that comment about "mental stimulation"!

Oh, a SAHM will do anything for mental stimulation amongst adults.

They have evidently not heard of MN

Phineyj Fri 06-Sep-13 19:23:59

I wouldn't have even returned the email. Muppets. YANBU!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now