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The fundamental principle of being paid for work

This morning, as most mornings, I received an email from an employee who wanted to know if he “had a case”. He was most appreciative of the work I did, the YouTube videos I uploaded to my YouTube channel, the blog posts and information on my various websites, and so forth.

But he wanted me to review his situation before he decided whether to take the matter further, and must believe, I assume, that I carry out free reviews of potential cases. This belief never fails to surprise me because it obviously requires me to provide my expertise and time without payment.

Not many people are prepared to work for free and the irony is that many such queries are from individuals who believe they have not been paid for all their work or are not being paid enough for the work they do; and yet, they expect me to review all their circumstances, read through letters and/or emails, possibly the contract of employment and/or staff handbook, and give them free advice before they take another step or spend a penny.

I don’t do it, as a matter of principle. I believe every person is entitled to be paid for their work and their effort and as a fundamental principle I insist on being rewarded for mine.

I have great time for persons who volunteer for things, who give freely of their time and labour and expertise. I do it myself sometimes; but volunteering and being engaged in a career or business are distinctly different matters.

There is another principle involved: I have advised many employees, for example, who have fallen on tough circumstances and for whom the consultation fee is a significant amount of money. Yet they have no difficulty paying it to ascertain where they stand, what their rights are, if there is any course of action open to them, the prospects of success, and so on.

It is not fair on those individuals that I would charge some persons and not charge others, or adopt some type of random, arbitrary approach to what I believe is a basic principle I am entitled to hold.

I do, occasionally, provide advice and help for free; but those are occasions when I choose to volunteer my time and expertise by reason of the particular circumstances. The important thing to note, however, is that I choose to do this and any demand or expectation on that account will definitely lead to a refusal.

Because that expectation fails to place any value on the work or expertise or time and is, quite frankly, disrespectful. I don’t walk into Supervalu in Enfield or the local doctor’s or dentist’s practice and expect to get goods or services free gratis. 

Precisely the same principle is at issue when people contact me by email or phone and send me a large quantity of correspondence and documents for my review  and expect me to review all the papers and give an opinion before the querist decides what he is going to do regarding instituting legal proceedings.

It’s not going to happen, and I have no apologies to make for my position.

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