No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

Today’s post is to give you permission to say no. To say you have had enough. To walk away from a dumpster fire. 2020 has been hard enough and if you live in America, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. If you think that your creepy uncle or psycho aunt got nicer, think again. Today I’m giving you permission. No I’m telling you to say no and create rules/boundaries. Your mental health and physical well being is far more important than how your creepy uncle or psycho aunt reacts. Their reaction is their problem. Not yours!

Last month I left my soul sucking, time sucking job in an industry that left me feeling depleted at best with a team that made me feel that I always had to literally justify doing what my job description had listed and always felt that I had to cover my own ass. This company is large in then sense that they do business in about 20% of my state at best but even 20% might be over stated. They aren’t national or international or even multi-state but they act like it’s an honor and privilege to work for them so much so that bosses on my team couldn’t even have been bothered to wish me well or say good bye when I left.

Before I left I made a promise to myself that I would answer 1 question for free but that was it. After the first free question I was going to charge for my time. Flash forward a week after I left and I was asked to provide information/training on three separate occasions because either bosses didn’t think my work was valuable or that training was not necessary. Here is a text message thread:

Mean Old Lady: Hey Bonnie how’s it going with your new job??? Can’t believe you quit here!!

Me (in my mind): Well I can believe it.

Mean Old Lady: I’m stuck updating your one trend file but the second pivot will not keep when I changed the source data range. It just keeps resorting back to the same range as last month. Is there some type of lock or protection?? Help!

(The next day because I’m in no rush to respond.)

Me: Hey! It’s going well. Very busy with budgets. I trained the Golden Boy (name changed to protect the incompetent manager) on everything trend related. He should have notes.

Mean Old Lady: He said nothing was mentioned regarding the pivots. Why does the pivot keep the sept format?

Me: We went through the whole process. If I need to retrain, I’m charging the company. (In my mind I already know it’s a 30 second fix but they already got their one free question answered.)

Mean Old Lady: Is there anything weird that should not be updating with the new range?

Me: I don’t work for free. So if you want me to review the file and walk you through how to do it since clearly the Golden Boy didn’t take notes on this, that, and the other thing, I will. But the company is paying for my time.

Mean Old Lady: <crickets>

Mean Old Lady Trying to Get Free Information

Every since that conversation, nobody has needed me to do their work for them from my old company. Funny how that goes. Are they mad? Probably. Are they talking shit on me? Sure but more people know the real reason why I left so their shit won’t go very far. Did the Golden Boy stop following my dog’s Instagram page? Yep. Do I have any regrets leaving? Yes, wish I left sooner and did even less training.

Immediately following that text conversation I had the most horrific physical response to stress. I’m taking migraine blinding pain. I took me back to actually working for these bosses on a regular basis.

I am happy to say that within two weeks of ending it with my former company my body started to recover. My body finally gained a couple pounds that I lost from stress and the physical response from stress. My skin started to clear up. I am sleeping even better than ever. I found my energy.

Free neon signage

I’m sharing this with you because you need to stand your ground. You need to value your time. Because every time you say yes to something, you are likely saying no to something you would rather be doing. Not in every case. But if I said yes to the Mean Old Lady to help her, I never would have broken their dependence on me. Not like they valued my time, intelligence, or skill when I was there.

This week may be difficult for you to deal with that pain in the ass friend or family member at Thanksgiving dinner. Before you enter, if you decide to enter, that situation, decide what you will and will not accept. You don’t have to run through a million situations but do something similar to what I did with my old soul sucking job. I accepted the fact that I would answer one question for free. After that I was going to charge a very high hourly rate (about 8 times higher than my hourly rate at that job) with a one hour minimum payment per issue. I sure would have loved to see the bosses choke when they read that contract.

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