I feel so bad for a friend of mine. She’s a freelance writer, specializing in health issues. Her stories appear in quite a few health magazines and small to medium size newspapers. Recently, a writer for a major national newspaper heard about one of her ideas for a story and took it as his own. As I write to you, I realize you may want to know how this guy heard about her planned story. I have no idea! Needless to say, my friend is beyond angry, but there’s not a thing she can do about it. I think she should confront the guy and give him a piece of her mind. She believes this story could have significantly raised her profile and possibly secured her a permanent spot with a major magazine or newspaper. Any thoughts? What do you suggest for my friend?
Stick with your own ideas
Dear Stick with your own ideas:
Your friend’s negative feelings are not only natural but justified. Unfortunately, I have walked in your friend’s shoes and it can be crippling if we allow it to be. So, although I highly recommend she be more protective of her work and keep the subject matter of her articles to herself before they are officially published, I can also look at her situation with a positive perspective. If she is as good at her work as I think she is, this has probably happened to her before now. When individuals are very successful in their line of work, it is not unusual for others to take their ideas or concepts, or a version of them, for their own.
I suggest your friend not say a word to her competitor. And instead of letting his action bring her down and crush her enthusiasm, encourage her to see it as a huge compliment and to allow it to increase her confidence and fuel her creative juices in coming up with a lot more top-notch story ideas.
Best of luck to your friend!
I have been running my own business for over ten years and have always been a big believer in helping out with community initiatives and non-profit associations. In my line of work, it’s been common to be asked for freebies, either the products I sell or my time to help with projects. What I struggle with are the organizations that reach out at the 11th hour. Even though I have great admiration for their missions and whatever they’re trying to accomplish, their lack of consideration and respect for my time make it so I don’t want to help them. I must say they always sing my praises when they reach out and thank me profusely when I agree to assist. Because it’s happened several times with one of the organizations, the appreciation no longer sounds sincere and I can’t help but wonder if they’re late in their requests because the people they initially contacted backed out at the last minute. It’s hard to be gung-ho when it appears you’re someone’s last choice. I’ve reached a point where I don’t think I’ll be helping them the next time they call, but I want to hear how you think I should respond if it happens again?
Feeling like the last resort
Dear Feeling like the last resort:
You cannot help but want to believe that any organization requesting contributions of an individual’s and business’s time, services, resources, and products knows the importance of the way in which the request is made. One would think it is common sense to not only make such a request in a timely manner but to be sure to develop and maintain a relationship with the individual and business before and after the request. Sadly, you are not the first person nor will you probably be the last who has had this kind of experience. Regardless, before you receive another request, I suggest you have a sincere one-on-one with your point of contact at the organization. Give the person the opportunity to hear your concerns. The response and follow-up behavior will be very telling. Hopefully, it will all be positive!
© 2013 Rozanne R. Worrell