Not All Requests To ‘Pick Your Brain’ Are Bad

A simple request to ‘pick your brain’ can be costly and frankly insulting to some consultants who make money based on sharing the expertise they have built in a given field. But I’d like to argue for a more nuanced position:

Not all requests to ‘pick your brain’ are bad.

Personally I grant a good deal of requests for ideas, conversation, or advice from young and/or less established people who share my values. My belief is that if I’m not investing in the next generation of feminist leaders and creators, I’m not doing my job as a social change agent. This not to say that I’m a pushover: If I’m too busy, or simply don’t see a request for a conversation as a good use of my time, I will respectfully decline. But I am proud to have spoken with a number of people over the years to offer support, encouragement, or a few words of advice on their journey.

I respect those who have boundaries such that they automatically turn down all requests for free advice or quote an hourly rate. Where I have landed, however, is evaluating requests on a case-by-case basis and maintaining strict control of how much time I allot to these requests. As I do so, I remember all of those who have helped me, with gratitude.

One thought on “Not All Requests To ‘Pick Your Brain’ Are Bad

  1. Alpha Warrior

    Erin– As usual, I sooooo agree with your philosophy about helping other feminists in our important work, even if that help is sometimes “donated.” Paying it forward is necessary and progressive.

    Best,

    ~Roxana Dapper Gender Equity Educator San Diego, CA *”People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.”~Rebecca West. For workplace gender/sexual harassment prevention education & training, contact RDapper.Training@gmail.com *

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