Will that be cash, check, or PayPal?
One of my good friends in seminary has set a wonderful precedent when it comes to boundaries. In a previous life, she was a professional editor, so of course when folks learn that, they immediately ask her to take a look at their papers. She then responds with an email outlining her rates: "Will that be cash, check, or PayPal?" I can imagine this is off-putting to some, but I think it's genius. Caitlin understands that if she sets up the expectation that she'll work for free, this will continue even after she graduates. She understands the value of her time and talents and expects others to as well.
Caitlin's example got me thinking about my own talents: what am I giving away for free that I might one day want/need to charge for? Pastoral care. This has been a gift I used in both my position as a speech and debate coach and as a volunteer coordinator. If I continue to pursue chaplaincy as a career path, then this is definitely a skill I'll be using professionally in the future. I need to start valuing it now.
This does not mean I will start charging for my friendship, but it does mean that I have begun to prioritize reciprocal relationships instead of those that rely on me for guidance and give nothing in return. As a wise person once said, in a give-and-take, there also needs to be some take.
How do you value your time and talents? What are some ways you can start to?
This is part one of a series: check back for more exploration of healthy boundaries!