Please pardon the borderline-naughty language today! (Hey, notice the byline — it’s NOT Jayme Soulati.)
One of my exes was a drummer who took the idea of his drumming pretty seriously. He was forever getting the “let’s hang out sometime and jam” from not-as-serious musicians. Privately, these requests outraged him. “I’m a PROFESSIONAL. I don’t f*!@n jam,” he seethed at me after yet another one of these requests.
Recently my best friend Steph and I decided to borrow this phrase and apply it to requests for free labor. You know, “Can I pick your brain?” or even “want to be a part of my project (where I’ll end up sticking you with all the work)?”
“Sorry, I don’t f*!@n jam.”
Possibly this is an internal response. But slackers and cheapskates be warned: we don’t f*!@n jam.
Do You Jam?
My polite response was: “’thanks but no thanks’ in most cases, “yes” in very special cases.” Of course, what I meant was the above (sing it with me!), “I don’t f*!@n jam.”
Small businesses need to be careful about jamming. You want to say yes, because saying yes feels good…right until you finish saying it, when it starts to feel terrible. Projects drag on and on. Your ideas are stolen and profited from. The “future work” and “referral” payoff never come.
Gini Dietrich wrote about the true cost of brain-picking here. Her argument is, “…[in] industries where people sell their brains for a living…Time is how we make our money. We don’t make widgets. We don’t sell products. We don’t manufacture anything. We don’t process anything. Our brains are our products and…every time someone asks us for free help, they’re taking us away from clients or opportunities to make us money.”
Who’s In Your Band?
On the other hand, you’ll play music with your band, won’t you? So who’s in your band? For me, I’ll always help out a friend, because my friends rock and give it back to me in spades. If they don’t pay me, they’ll return the favor for sure.
If I don’t already have a relationship (business or personal) with someone, they aren’t in my band. No jamming.
So…do you jam?
Have you jammed? What was the result? How do you handle jamming requests?
(Image: Flickr Creative Commons by Jonas Bengtsson)