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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....


mumofweeboys Thu 05-Sep-13 14:57:39

Depends if you ever want to work for them again?

CoffeeTea103 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:58:15

You are right to be upset. What do they take you for? This favor will turn into a series of favors.
And besides that you are no longer employed by them so legally can they ask an outsider to work with company documents. You have pointed them in the right direction with regards to worksheets so that's enough.

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Thu 05-Sep-13 14:59:37

I don't think so: you pointed them in the right direction several times out of courtesy but, if they want you to work on a project, why shouldn't they pay you?

flyingwidow Thu 05-Sep-13 15:02:35

mumofweeboys, I doubt I'd ever work in that team again (and due to start retraining in a few months for my career change), and worried about potential references as a result now of not "helping out" (for free)!

JRmumma Thu 05-Sep-13 15:05:34

Very unprofessional of them to ask you to come in and help out in the first place IMO. When someone leaves, they leave and you have to just get on without them. I would expect to have to pay for your services which amount to anything over the initial email you send telling them where to find the info they need.

sandiy Thu 05-Sep-13 15:05:40

I think you did the right thing.Where would it end an hour here two there.It sounds like they were trying their luck if they get back in touch I should mail back clearly stating your freelance rate which should be more than your previous rate.Also if you aren't employed surely you are not covered by insurance etc.

DreadLock Thu 05-Sep-13 15:06:01

They are taking the piss. End of and good for you to stand your ground. Otherwise there would be a next time....and a next time...

flyingwidow Thu 05-Sep-13 15:14:21

I get the guilts, this is one of my failings! I feel guilty for saying no to people- but know you're all right, and am kind of proud of myself for standing my ground!

I'll take pre-schoolers over work any day... no hidden agendas!!!!

MortifiedAdams Thu 05-Sep-13 15:17:05

Gosh they are luck you even responded to emails!

Totally UR of them and good on you for stabdibg up for yourself. What are they going to do, sack you? grin

OnIlkelyMoorBahtat Fri 06-Sep-13 13:46:16

They are crackers flyingwidow, and you were perfectly within your rights to tell them to do one.


DoJo Fri 06-Sep-13 15:13:14

It depends - I would do it, because I'm a freelancer so do the occasional favour for my best clients if I can, to keep them sweet, but if you don't want to work with them again then don't worry about it.

Mintyy Fri 06-Sep-13 15:15:30

Yanbu! That has actually made me laugh, tbh. Cheek of some people!

cushtie335 Fri 06-Sep-13 15:17:17

YANBU. Unfortunately employers often exploit conscientious, hard working people. They are taking the piss. Don't feel guilty about it. They are the ones who have been unprofessional, rude and entitled.

RenterNomad Fri 06-Sep-13 17:09:04

Doing the work for free would only get you more of the same kind of "work"!

BrokenSunglasses Fri 06-Sep-13 17:14:16

In think if they have been flexible with you about days you work or any time off you needed for your ds or whatever, then it would have been nice of you to do them a favour, but you weren't under any obligation, so it's entirely your choice.

Retroformica Fri 06-Sep-13 17:25:49

I think it's quite reasonable to charge half a days pay.

ivykaty44 Fri 06-Sep-13 17:37:13

I very much doubt that if the boot was on the other foot you boss would be doing any work for free.

RenterNomad is right, it would go like this - you go in for a couple of hours and look at the spread sheets and help them out.

Then the next thing is another email pops in your inbox oh can you pop by for a couple of hours and help out with this and you would think - well I popped by last moth but I suppose it wouldn't hurt and then it would happen again.

the stone silence was because he is not used to people standing their ground...

then your post in AIBU would be well I have done this several times fro free but now I want to charge? Which would be much harder.

You did the right thing - they will not contact you again

expatinscotland Fri 06-Sep-13 17:42:10

YANBU. I wouldn't have bothered to ring them up, however. I would have just gone with answering every email with a polite 'Sorry, no longer available.'

ModeratelyObvious Fri 06-Sep-13 17:43:12

YANBU. A quick call to ask you a specific question, maybe - but an email asking you to come in? Nope.

sameoldIggi Fri 06-Sep-13 18:01:27

They have asked you because they know you are now SAHM. If you had left to go to another job, I can't see them asking you that.

MarshaBrady Fri 06-Sep-13 18:04:33

Yanbu at all. Good for you.

Can't believe they thought you would go in.

primroseyellow Fri 06-Sep-13 18:04:44

YANBU! They are trying it on.

motherinferior Fri 06-Sep-13 18:07:15

I'm a freelancer and I charge, baby, I charge grin I have in fact just offered to 'look over' a few things for a client, but that's after I got an extra day's money out of them...

I'd bet the farm they wouldn't do this to a man, btw.

southeastdweller Fri 06-Sep-13 18:08:10

My goodness, this is appalling they expected you to work for free.

YADNBU, absolutely not.

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