Taking help without giving back can create resentment. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. And don’t be selfish with your time when others could use some of your expertise. Quid pro quo – giving back is important.
An acquaintance of mine once asked me for comments on his company’s web site. He was looking for suggestions that would help generate more site traffic and provide an easy to navigate experience for visitors. Their goal was to increase awareness among their client base, agencies within the Department of Defense, so they would have stronger brand recognition as they bid on contracts.
The reason he asked me is because this is my area of expertise. My company has a good bit of experience building business web applications. Before we embark on a project, we do a lot of research to simplify the design flow. If we can make the site so straight forward that it doesn’t take much thinking to find and navigate, then we know we are on the right track. This kind of work takes a lot of time to ensure we are using the right words, images and structure.
I was happy to help and quickly put a plan together, which his staff implemented. I didn’t charge him for this since I was doing it as a favor.
What Happens When You Don’t Reciprocate
A year later, I needed a some guidance on a project. I asked him if he could spare some time to chat. No response. I politely asked again. Radio silence.
I was not terribly bothered by this since I figured he must have been very busy at the time. Quid pro quo didn’t even enter my mind.
Then, another request came in. He asked if I could look over a new web-based human resource system they put together for sourcing candidates for their job openings.
I gave him a few pages of comments which his staff took and improved their system. It didn’t take me much time because a lot of this is second nature to me. Again, I did it as a favor and did not charge him.
A while later, I needed some input on reaching buyers at government agencies and knew he had the expertise that could help me sort out some questions. I asked for help and got the same lack of response I had experienced earlier.
This time, it did bother me. His silence portrayed him as a very selfish person, someone I no longer cared to help.
The concept of quid pro quo bubbled to the top. When someone reaches out and you help them, but they don’t help you when you are in need, it gives rise to resentment.
Making Yourself Aware
He is a very nice guy in every other respect. But he is not tuned into giving back and as a result he doesn’t see that his lack of response turns people off.
If someone asks for help and you have the expertise to chip in, do it. If you think this type of thing isn’t for you, look back to the last time someone helped you out. You might be surprised to see the village you live in has been giving you a boost. Quid pro quo.