A funny thing happened to me at the end of my work day Monday evening (I know this sounds like the beginnings of a bad joke, but I assure you it's not). I received a call on my business line from someone - another writer who belongs to the same association as I do. She immediately introduced herself and stated that she was just reaching out to fellow colleagues she'd located through the membership database. Immediately my Spidy sense began tingling.
She began asking me how business was going and launched into a discussion about how successful she's been writing within this particular specialty. Can you see where she was going with this? Yeah, neither could I. but i was intrigued, so I listened. She eventually started asking me how I managed the "feast or famine" cycle we freelance writers are known to experience. That's when I asked about the purpose of her call.
She stated that as a freelance writer, she'd come to realize the importance of having a "plan B" for financial security. Freelance writing is her plan A, but what do you suppose her "plan B" Is? I'll tell you: she sells Melaleuca products. And she's doing so well financially, she just had to contact other members of our writer association to let them know about it and offer them a practically no risk opportunity to sign up to sell these products with her.
There are so many things wrong with this situation I can't even begin to tell you; but I'll start with the obvious. She's using the membership site that writers pay good money to join to solicit a service that has absolutely nothing to do with freelancing or the industry. I know for a fact that if I reported her to the Executive Director, he would NOT be too happy. As a freelancer, I understand the "hustle" mentality as well as anyone, but this is crossing some serious lines. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having a "plan B" to ensure your ability to make ends meet, but you have to use common sense.
I was polite to her but i let her know that I did not appreciate being solicited in that manner, and that it is not okay for her to ever solicit me in the future. I also cautioned her to seriously consider the consequences of her actions should the Executive Director ever get wind of how she is using the membership contact list.
I hope that everyone who reads this post already knows not to engage in this type of behavior. Utilize membership contacts responsibly and with respect. Treat their private contact information the way you'd like others to treat yours. Has anyone else experienced something like this? If so, how did you handle the situation?