Stop expecting people to do unpaid work in Goa

Oftentimes, people mistakenly assume that others should lend their names or services for free
Setting boundaries is important when it come to self-care.
Setting boundaries is important when it come to self-care.Gomantak Times

By Maya Rose Fernandes

I was recently approached by the staff member of a Goa news channel to do a one-hour interview on their show. The channel, as I found out, is one of several subsidiaries owned by a Goan business corporation. I had previously done some free work for this same organisation, more than five years ago, in exchange for the promise of ‘visibility.’ I agreed to it before I knew better.

In Goa, ‘visibility’ does not really translate into paid work or any kind of useful resources that can help pay the bills. People may recognise your name in the future, but even the ones who can afford to pay for your services resent doing so and will look for ways to avoid it, if you allow them.

Setting boundaries is important when it come to self-care.
Ujwal Art Gallery, in Vagator, is a treasure trove of creativity

After a conversation with the person about what they were inviting me to do, I asked what they paid people to appear on their show. There was a pause before they said, “No one has asked us for fees before.”

I pointed out that they were working for a TV channel owned by a profit-making entity that was likely getting ad revenue from their programme views. The person repeated again (this time, I could hear the touch of indignance in their voice), “We’ve never been asked for fees before.”

Setting boundaries is important when it come to self-care.
FRANKLY FRANK: Goa tourism is far from world-class

I told them that as a self-employed woman working in the arts, I was passionate about getting paid for my time, particularly because the arts is an area that is de-valued everywhere in Goa.

Their final response seemed to toe the company line, “We don’t pay for people’s time,” to which I replied, “Okay, thanks for thinking of me and getting in touch.”

Just as women are starting to get more vocal about asking to be compensated for the labour they provide, people in Goa need to get used to hearing women asking to be appropriately compensated for their time and labour.

And, the reason why I focus on women is because, even though things are slowly changing in a few places, we still live in a world that pays women less for the same amount of labour than men, and that de-values the labour women provide. If you don’t learn to value your own time, talent and labour, nobody else will.

In another instance, I recently ran a series of writing workshops. People paid a fee to attend and were told very clearly, up front, what they were getting in exchange for the fee. I tend to provide a lot of added value in my workshops.

But, I find that there are always one or two persons who have no problem asking for more. They’ve never encountered boundaries before and don’t comprehend the language of it. So, I’ve had to discover multiple ways of being firm, polite and re-instating the limits to my time and access to me over and over again.

Setting boundaries is important when it come to self-care.
On World Pull-Up Day, 3 youths from Goa aim for a record 2,000 pull-ups

The person, who happened to be male, kept requesting more and more ‘support’ and ‘guidance’ over and beyond what was promised. I had to clearly keep re-instating what I was willing to provide. The person then messaged me separately from the group, saying that they “Will surely stay in touch with me.”

I reminded them that, as I’d said during the workshop to all the participants, I was pretty clear about its boundaries and that having given them the fundamental tools and resources, they should lean on each other to share their own learning and build up their confidence instead of relying on me for more beyond the workshop.

They finally responded, “Yes, sure,”which brought me a sense of relief. Which leads me to my next point.

Saying ‘no’ to people isn’t easy. It takes mental effort and emotional labour.

Saying ‘no’ to people isn’t easy. It takes mental effort and emotional labour. But knowing your worth and the value of what you do makes it easier. What I’ve learned over time is that if you don’t learn to value your own time, talent and labour, nobody else will.

Not having clear boundaries around it will lead you very quickly to feeling resentful and burnt out from the level of free care-giving to others, without taking care of yourself first.

Setting boundaries is important when it come to self-care.
Sanket Mandrekar: An artisan with an eco-friendly message

A full cup is what is necessary to be able to provide for others in healthy ways, and one way to do that is ensure the goodness of what is being poured into the cup as well as out of it.

Valuing your time and talent, the care-giving and the mental, physical as well as emotional labour you provide to others will help you get better at saying ‘no’ before you get stuck in resentment, passive anger and eventually burn out from emotional exhaustion.

And, let me add that this doesn’t include all the kind giving done through goodwill, sharing your time and resources with the have-nots, and volunteerism.

But, the principle still stands, you need to ensure your cup is being filled in whatever way you need it to be before you can give to those in need, without ending up at a place of resentment.

Your Gateway to Goa, India

The Gomantak Times app is the best way to stay informed on anything happening in Goa. From breaking news to the top 10 restaurants to visit, GT helps you navigate your time in Goa.

Download the Gomantak Times app on your Android or IOS device.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Goa News in English on Gomantak Times