Topic: When a friend and when just business?  (Read 2264 times)

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Offline Matt Self (Gaddabout)

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When a friend and when just business?
« on: February 27, 2009, 07:07 PM »

Burning question I've had for 20 years ... When is someone who employs you (or someone who is employed along side you) in the music business a friend, and when are they just business? Do you ever make strong delineations in your mind? Do you ever draw the line with people before or after the fact?

I ask, because someone who *used* to throw me the occasional gig is now putting pressure on me to fill some of his dates for free (or perhaps just an unreasonable split of the take) because we've become friends and he can't afford the income loss. He's wanting to me fill dates where he's taken other gigs, a behavior I'm inclined to not support because it strikes me as unprofessional. OTOH, he is struggling and there is a medical need in his house where he desperately needs the income.

Thoughts? Opinions? Wisdom?
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Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: When a friend and when just business?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2009, 05:49 PM »
I don't think I've ever had a thought process where I've ever said "I can't get close to this person" or "they're my employer so I can't be friends or get too close". Some individuals I've met on the gig have become close friends. The ones that don't ... it's not a thought process with me ... we just don't have enough in common to be friends. For me, a common interest or vocation such as music isn't enough to build a friendship on. That's me.

As I think this through, individuals who have hired me before I ever knew them never seem to end up being really close friends. Of my close friends who have hired me for sessions and gigs, our relationship has maintained and remained the same. I've had a few wackadoodles in my life that were "friends/employers" but never close enough that it's fair to count them in all of this.

I personally think it's wrong for anyone to suggest or imply that you should do something pro bono or for free ... for them. That should always be your suggestion and decision. Of the ones that HAVE crossed this line, they were never really close friends, and 99% ended up being a wackadoodle.

There has been plenty of times that I've helped people (acquaintances, friends and close friends) by playing (or doing something) for free or at a reduced rate. For me, anyone who is a close friend has ALWAYS assumed that they would need to pay me for my services. In my mind, this is very healthy. Anything else is assumption / presumption.

If we ask someone to do something that is directly connected to their vocation, we should always be prepared to compensate them. If I were trying to hire someone but have limited finances, I should state the fact, but be prepared to pay those whom I wish to hire ... friend or not.

The example you gave ... that person, regardless of their situation, doesn't seem like a close friend. I can't picture ANY of my "friends" laying a guilt trip on me; that's manipulation. The people who this individual is normally throwing work to, those are the people he/she should be asking the favor of.

As you said, it's unprofessional ... and certainly not the behavior of a friend. If you feed it, it will grow and continue. Don't most of us "need" the money? We all have needs, and you should be compensated for the work you do. If you choose to give it away or do the gig pro bono ... that's YOUR choice.

I've been refraining from saying this, but I just need to say it. You asked me so I need to answer the question the way I would if you were sitting right here, regardless of what people want or don't want to hear. So, here it is:

This situation as you've described it comes down to two things. First, manipulation is essentially witchcraft, and we don't want to have anything to do with that. What it produces is not good. Secondly, I only want to do what God shows and/or tells me to do. So when it comes to my time, energy, finances, etc., I don't give to people because they have a need. I give because that's what God tells/shows me to do. I like going about it this way because it keeps me from worrying about whether I did the right thing or not. The challenge is doing what God tells you to do, whether you like it or not. You might end up doing nothing for someone simply because God has someone else slated to help. Or, you might end up doing far more than you ever thought you could/would do ... like playing gigs for free AND giving them a week's paycheck.

To sum it up:
  • stay clear of traps and snares
  • ask God what YOU are supposed to do
  • wait for an answer, then do it


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