Have you ever worked for a friend? Are you still friends?
Written Contracts – Are They Always Necessary?
A fellow blogger and close friend recently asked me to do a small freelance job and I accepted her offer via email. I helped her out for free when I was steadily employed, but told her I can no longer work for free now that I’m getting my freelance copywriter business off the ground. I’ve thought of this friend as a sister for several decades, due to the history we shared in our youth. I didn’t think it would be necessary to sign a formal work agreement, especially for only fifty dollars.
I thought about how many times I’d told others to always have a contract signed. Suddenly, I felt like a big hypocrite. I imagined what would happen if my dear friend decided to stiff me. While content writing isn’t making me rich at the moment, I’d be upset about more than money. Failure to get paid would be more upsetting because of the statement it made about our friendship. It’s frustrating to waste my valuable time and efforts, but I would be deeply hurt and demoralized to be used by a friend that way. Many others out in the business world- government agencies, corporate entities, etc. already mistreat me, I sort of expect it from others now. However, I still cling to the belief that I can count on my friends to value and respect me. It would really throw me for a loop to be taken advantage of by someone I considered a best friend. I’d hate to think she valued saving fifty dollars more than she valued our friendship or me. While I don’t value myself according to how others do, but it would still sting.
Drawing Boundaries in Business
I decided rather than risk losing a good friend or my faith in humanity, I should just refuse to work for a friend again. If someone offers me a job, I will accept only if the money is more important to me than the friendship. That’s just how it’s going to have to be now. I’ve learned over the years I must set healthy boundaries. Pain has been a motivating factor in setting up boundaries, I’ve established more than a surveyor’s map by now. I prefer to erect boundaries before, rather than after the suffering, but don’t want to become isolated inside too many barricades either. If you’ve been burned by a friend and have since set the same boundary, please share. If you think I’m going overboard, I’d like to hear from you too.
Written by Dana Altman