I woke up on International Women’s Day to this:
- yet another demand (via email)
- by a man I do not know
- for free labor
- by me
- for his personal benefit.
In this case, the man wanted free career coaching, something I do for money.
Requests like these happen far more often than you’d think. Sometimes they want free editing, or free consultations about CVs, or free website evaluations. I do all of those things for money.
Rebecca Solnit wrote about how Men Explain Things to her. This post is about how Men Demand Things of Me. And many, many other women could write the same. After all, that’s why women are striking today.
Maybe that’s why this guy’s email really stuck in my craw.
Back in 2015, there was the excellent #GiveYourMoneytoWomen campaign started by Lauren Chief Elk and others, highlighting the kind of work that women (especially women of color) do for free all the time.
The point is, Men Demand Things of Me is not new. But today, I realized that I am done. So I’m writing this blog post as a canned response for these requests. For when I reply and say, “I’m happy to help you transition your career. My fee is …” and inevitably I received an angry response for having the gall to ask to be paid for my work.
My realization was underscored later today when a woman also emailed me asking me for help, and she offered to pay me.
When I received her message, I immediately scrolled back through messages of similar requests (I keep them in a folder) and checked. The women offer to pay me for my time.
It’s as though they know how precious time is.