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If you’ve been around these parts any amount of time, you know I get my fair share of hate mail… and I like to point out certain ones when I think there’s a deeper lesson to be learned.
Well… here we go again! 🙂
I got this email the other day:
“Now I know why people hate you so much!“
When I pressed on why, this is what I got:
“You’re selfish and you think you are the best. Grow up dude. Be nice with people and help them.“
Now, you couple that with the constant stream of emails I get that say things like:
“Thanks for wasting my time.”
“You really suck.”
I think you have to conclude that I’m a pretty horrible guy, no?
But, what was my crime?
In this case, I had mentioned how I get a ton of emails on a daily basis of people demanding my help… dropping 100 lines of code in an email and saying, “Fix it!”
And, it’s quite literally that assuming.
And that I tell them no. And the whole point of the that episode of the show was telling YOU that you have to learn how to say no. You’ll run yourself ragged if you don’t… and clients will walk all over you.
But alas… that makes me selfish I guess.
Now, why do I bring THIS up?
It’s not to make you feel sorry for me (despite what many of my haters like to assume). It’s because I’m worried about where we’re headed… both in general as a society AND as a community of coders.
As I pointed out to our friend above:
“People don’t ask, they demand I help them… for free. Then tell me I’m selfish when I say no. Meanwhile I have 200+ videos on YouTube for free. 100s of posts on my site. 1000s of lines of code. And on and on. How about you?“
It seems to me the selfish one is the one demanding help without any offer to help back. It’s the one labeling everyone else selfish while literally doing nothing to help others themselves.
But, to me, this all goes back to entitlement.
There seems to be this growing sense of entitlement among society at large… but more importantly among our community of coders specifically.
I had a guy the other day blast me on YouTube about how all the software I was using (PHP, HTML, CSS, etc) was free… so why would I charge for my source code?
Uh, because I have to eat.
And when I pointed out to him that technically he’ll be writing code for a client or boss or whoever… that HE will get paid for…
I think a lot of it comes from the open source movement. Not that the movement is responsible… but it creates an environment where entitlement is easy.
But, even the Free Software Foundation…
One of the organizations spear-heading that movement says when describing open source… “free as in speech, not as in beer”… to make the distinction that open source is about freedom NOT necessarily about not paying for stuff.
Anyway, getting back to entitlement…
Now, I know… people like to talk about millenials and being entitled… yada, yada, yada. I don’t really accept that kind of collective thinking. To me, individuals are individuals who make their own choices.
BUT, that’s my point today…
I think it’s worth looking at in your own thinking.
As Zig Ziglar said:
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
And, you’ll be hard-pressed to convince me that our friend above has a helping mindset when it comes to his own actions. Chances are, that’s a standard he only applies to other people.
That’ll get you nowhere.
KNOW THIS: The more you want… the more you’ll have to step up for others.
And, that’s the REAL secret to winning at freelancing… and at life.
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