Members of a popular Internet forum quickly defended a man who asked his husband and in-laws to pay for his architectural services.
In a viral Reddit post posted to r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/Embarrassed-Track474 (otherwise known as the original poster, or OP) said he was reluctantly brought into plans for a massive renovation of a medical clinic before being accosted by her husband and in-laws for seeking compensation.
Entitled, “[Am I the a**hole] for telling my husband and in-laws they were raving if they thought they could get my professional services for free and sent them a co-worker’s recommendation?” the viral post received nearly 7,400 votes and 1,400 comments last day.
Explaining that her husband and stepmother are dentists and her stepfather is a dermatologist, the original poster stated that the trio were planning a complete overhaul of the clinic they operated and asked her to be part of the process. After attempting to refer them to a trusted colleague, the original poster stated that his arm was twisted and he agreed to participate in the project, which includes five new offices, a new operating room and new x-ray rooms and ultrasound.
After a tour of the clinic, the original poster, her husband and in-laws gathered at a cafe to talk more about the upcoming renovation. But while discussing the budget for the project, the original poster made a less than pleasant discovery.
“The four of us went to visit the site… to see what they had in mind and everything was fine,” OP wrote. “We went to a cafe to discuss something and I asked about the budget they had and they told me the amount they had in mind, so I asked, ‘Is- what my payment is included in there?'”
“They looked at each other pissed off and [mother-in-law] said to me: ‘Wait, do you expect us to pay since it is your husband’s and one day they will be your children?’ and I said, “Yeah, I still have to spend a lot of time doing this…you expect me to design it and oversee it for free?” OP continued. “When we arrived [home] he told me i was amazing and told me that the thought of expecting me to pay if i needed his services would never cross his mind and reminded me that this would be like expecting my kids to pay because it will be their day.”
“I even told them that I was ready to give 50 [percent] but they said that was out of the question,” OP added.
In a survey by jobs website ResumeLab, 93% of professionals admitted to working without pay for family and friends.
However, among professionals who said they had donated their services to loved ones, 53% said they felt they should Had been paid.
Due to family ties, close friendships, and in some cases, romantic relationships, free help with professional projects is sometimes expected. But for many professionals, providing services without compensation is out of the question.
Ladders, an online career advice platform, recommends people who are unwilling or unable to work for free to set professional boundaries with family and friends to ensure separation of business and pleasure.
By being clear that payment is necessary and having strong policies in place to discourage loved ones from expecting otherwise, the tension surrounding saying “no” to a friend, family member or partner can be attenuated.
For professionals who want to work for loved ones, Ladders also recommends setting a discounted rate for friends and family. However, as with the viral Reddit post, a discount doesn’t always solve the problem at hand.
Throughout the comments section of the viral post, Redditors assured the original poster that his offer of a 50% discount was more than fair and speculated that OP would lose some money substantial if he had agreed to design the new clinic for her husband and in-laws for free. .
“You’ll be spending way longer than they would for a dentist appointment,” Redditor u/MerlinBiggs wrote in the lead comment to the post, which received over 12,000 votes.
“That means you won’t be working on another project that pays your full fees, so you’ll be losing money doing it for free,” they added. “50 [percent] off is a very generous offer.”
Redditor u/kikogi, whose comment received over 2,200 votes, echoed that sentiment.
“They are totally taking advantage of you,” they wrote. “Friends and family either want a free/big discount or they appreciate our work and pay us what we are worth or more.”
“Don’t let them take advantage of it,” they added. “The time you’ll spend doing their project is time you can’t spend working on another paying project.”
In a separate comment, which received nearly 4,000 votes, Redditor u/Prestigious_Candle_4 said the terms put forward by the original poster’s husband and in-laws were unfair and encouraged OP to proceed with caution.
“Like an appointment to a project you have [to] to put in the time and effort for weeks or even months is ridiculous,” they wrote. “I resent that your husband and in-laws expect you to do this for free, and the only is that ‘one day it will be your children.'”
“I think it’s very disrespectful that they didn’t even consider paying you anything,” they added. “If you continue with this, make sure you have a written contract stating your salary and what exactly your responsibilities are.”