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... 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....


ModeratelyObvious Sun 08-Sep-13 23:01:53

Flying, I'm sure you haven't burned bridges, that other woman sounds mighty reasonable!

RenterNomad Mon 09-Sep-13 09:29:03

So get your last "boss" to do your reference and flick Vs at the phone when any other twat tries to make out they have a hold over you. If you refuse to do the free work, they won't be entitled to write you a reference!

<imagines self-appointed "bosses" demanding favours of random passers-by, then, when refused, stalking them to their work to write bad "references" about them. In green ink>

Trills Mon 09-Sep-13 09:35:27

Freelance might begin with the word "free" but it doesn't mean that you'll work for free.

sophiedaal Mon 09-Sep-13 11:04:50

If this was something you did four years ago, it wouldn't just be a case of casting your eye over the spreadsheet - you'd presumably have to spend a few hours getting back up to speed with the details, so you could offer the right guidance.

Colleague is uncomfortable because she can't understand the details; exBoss is uncomfortable because he was supposed to have covered it, but can't understand it either. The frosty silence was the sound of his brain ticking and coming to the conclusion that they were both going to have to knuckle down and work it out for themselves, instead of getting you to 'pop in' and do it for them.

LessMissAbs Mon 09-Sep-13 11:10:50

I bet they can't be bothered with the paperwork needed to process it as work for payment. I also bet they wouldn't do it to a man.

I'd continue this OP, by sending them your terms and conditions, and a note of your hourly rate. Or asking whom to send your invoice to, and your terms for payment.

Expecting someone to work for free is utterly ridiculous.

To the poster who posted about marking uni exam scripts on a course she had been teaching, unpaid. I encountered this once at a local FE college. The hourly rate was already pretty dire, I marked the papers out of professionalism, then never worked there again. I can't think think who they would get to work for them only people who have been struck off from the profession

My current uni employer is very correct and issues new contracts for all sorts of additional work, including marking. Its damned hard work, but both my hours and hourly rate are generous, and I do a good job of it.

IShallWearMidnight Mon 09-Sep-13 11:16:04

we have a client who not only "has no money" to pay our fees for work we've done, but also thinks that we should be continuing to work for them for free in order to help them build their business. No thought that actually this is our business which we're building and pisstakers don't really help that. Can't believe the brass neck of people.

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