Let's face this reality; in the past 15 years, life has been tough financially, first because of the struggling economy and then because of Covid. Both of these crossed boundaries that at least half of the country had to deal with. Unemployment was high regarding the first, while a pandemic regarded the second. Some people were out of work for a very long time; even now, some haven't fully recovered from the pandemic issues. Things like that will put a strain on anyone.

Gave someone money to make giant circles
in my backyard; don't ask lol

It's hard for people to maintain their sense of themselves when a lack of money comes into the picture; trust me, I know. There's a website called Fiverr that lets people bid on jobs to do almost anything for just $5 (I'm charging more than $5 lol). Some of the things people are asked to do border or the unethical and insane; that's just how it is.

I remember early in 2009 I was asked to write 20 articles about smoking for a website. I wrote all 20 articles first, then shared 5 of them with the person who requested them. He wrote back saying he wanted to see all 20 articles and would pay for only the ones he liked best. I said no, that I wasn't going to sell any of them to him, built my own website on the topic of smoking (none of it was positive), wrote more articles, and accepted advertisements and Google ads; ended up making more money than if I'd sold the articles, but the website wasn't sustainable because I tapped out just before I wrote 50 articles on the subject; sometimes you only have so many articles on a topic you really don't care about.

With that said, sometimes people accept gigs without hesitation. Actually, that part might be unfair; I mean, if they absolutely need the money, and it's something they can do and live with, then who am I to question their motives? We all have to eat, right?

Years ago, a friend of mine did some extra work with someone she'd done a major project for. She created something he asked for and got paid nicely for it. But he needed further work from her, and told her the only way he'd give it to her was if she went on his payroll for a salary that was way below her standard.

And she took it. I asked her why, and she said she didn't see another big project coming down the pipeline any time soon, and at least it would give her some extra money, no matter how small it was. I told her he was taking advantage of her skills and that, if it were me, I wouldn't do it. But she felt this sense of purpose; she wanted to see her project come to life.

A year later, my friend was living with family members because she couldn't afford to live on what this person was paying her. She spent most of her time working inside her employer's office, and didn't market her business while working for him; it cost her dearly.

I'm not saying that she would have gotten another contract in the meantime, but had she stuck to her guns she probably would have gotten more money from this guy, who couldn't run the software without her knowledge, and sustained herself better. Or she'd have had her free time to market her business and possibly land another contract elsewhere; she was well liked at the time.

There's nothing wrong with lowering one's price if it helps to get business. There's something wrong with lowering one's standard of living to the point where they can't make it on their own. There's a point at which everyone has to make a determination as to whether they absolutely need someone else's money, or needs to keep their self respect; sometimes they're mutually exclusive, sometimes they're not. I've been there myself, but I've always stuck to my principles and ethics; it hasn't always worked for the best, but sticking to one's principles are more of a good thing instead of letting someone untrustworthy manipulate you; at least that's how I think about things.

This isn't a new thought; back in 2004 I wrote a newsletter where I talked about a mental change after firing a client, the first time I'd ever done something like that. I'd lost my confidence and judgment in my background and skills because I was allowing someone else's money to dictate how I was going to work and how I was going to be presented. As an independent consultant, even as an employee, it's supposed to be a 2-way street; no one gets to always be the dominant one, especially when you're the person who's dignity is at hand. Always bet on yourself unless it's a life threatening proposition.

With that said, I understand that we all need money to live. But the question still remains: what will you put up with for money? Where will you draw the line? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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