Asking for Help

I was called this morning by a university friend whom I have not spoken to in a while. He wanted to know if I could do some work for him, which happened to be outside my area of expertise. Without digging further, I gave him a referral to another friend who might have been able to help. A few minutes later, I got an e-mail indicating that this university friend wanted some work to be done, but either couldn’t or wouldn’t pay for the work.

To anyone who is thinking about contacting an old friend to do them a favor: if what you are asking them to do is something that normally costs, then offer to pay for the work! Just because you’re an old friend does not mean that they will do the work for you for free. Let them make the call on that count. If your friend says they can’t do the work for any reason, but gives you the name of someone who can, you should absolutely offer to pay for the work, as the new referral has no connection to you at all!

There is an old saying not to mix family and business. While people will bend this rule on occassion, it is almost always done at the discretion of the one doing the work. If you’re thinking about asking someone to do what they normally get paid for, then offer to pay them. Otherwise, you may find them cutting you off completely, and they certainly won’t help you out in the future.