A Slice of Faith: Working for Free, No Gain, Part 1

This is part 1 of a 2-part series on providing free professional services. In this first post, Laurence Socci provides free lobbying services, with negative results. Faith and forgiveness heal all.

This is the first of a two-part series dealing with situations in which a professional arrangement to “work for free” or otherwise provide professional services yields different results.  In today’s installment, my husband, Laurence Socci provided free lobbying services. The result was negative. In the next installment, I have provided free writing services with positive results. In both scenarios, a healthy dose of faith is just what my waiter ordered for me!

I should take my own advice and just learn to delete from my life what bothers me. Sometimes, it takes me a while to soak in my own negativity before I can wash off and let the water bring me peace again. Once I write about it, I know I’ll feel better.

The Screenwriter Barters Services
It all happened a few weeks ago. I have certain professional circles that I deal with. My husband has his. My husband’s circles rarely touch mine, except in this case where it dealt with screenwriting, a very interesting form of writing. I’ve written about my husband several times, how he is and most recently, how  he is.

Today, he wears a different hat.  Besides being a lobbyist, my husband is also a screenwriter, having tackled an intriguing and difficult art form and meshed it beautifully with a fictional lobbying story.  Laurence, my husband, wrote a feel-good screenplay about a lobbyist who is influenced by his corrupt world and redeemed by a surprise twist.  In his research to market his screenplay, he came across the likes of Jerrol LeBaron.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Los Angeles-based LeBaron owns a business that promises to “match writers with producers,” boasting that his company gets “around 20 movies made” per year.  Sounds promising, doesn’t it?  In fact, Internet research on LeBaron yields a lot of links that are impressive and seem to be credible.

Feeling like the “Fools on the Hill”
LeBaron’s most recent project is a documentary titled “Fools on the Hill.”  Laurence learned about this documentary and, being the savvy entrepreneur that he is, connected with LeBaron, swiftly identifying his firm, his political expertise, and the fact that he has just written a screenplay of interest.

For the next few weeks, Laurence worked his hats off, making phone calls, setting up meetings, watching LeBaron’s documentary, and otherwise communicating with LeBaron to see how best he could serve LeBaron.  Finally, LeBaron stepped off the plane and landed in Washington, D.C.  He had gone to D.C. to meet with members of Congress and their staff in order to promote “Fools on the Hill.”

Take a wild guess and see if you can figure out who this Los Angeles businessman turned to for help. Yup. None other than Laurence Socci. Laurence successfully parlayed his political science background and intimate knowledge of the workings of Congress to secure LeBaron two enviable speaking engagements at two extremely important meetings.

Marketing and Promotion is Given For Free
Somehow, Laurence managed to get LeBaron a quick minute of face time at Grover Nordquist’s famed “Wednesday Meeting” as well as an introduction at the well-attended weekly blogger briefing at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Additionally, LeBaron mailed Laurence almost 200 copies of his documentary, expecting Laurence to simply “pass them out” to people on Capitol Hill. I can’t be sure, but LeBaron surely must have mistaken my husband for a donkey, ass-u-ming Laurence would wear his dutiful administrative hat and be a good little boy by “passing them out.”

Did I mention that Laurence offered to help LeBaron for free? No monies were exchanged, but there was an underlying understanding that the professional service of lobbying, provided by Laurence, would be compensated by LeBaron’s professional service and connections in screenwriting.  In some circles, this type of arrangement is known as bartering.

So, after my husband works steadily on behalf of this man and provides literally, thousands of dollars of lobbying services to him, I am anxiously hoping for the best. I am listening intently to the disappointed voice that needs no concrete explanation as to why this arrangement did not work out.  Suffice it to say that I got angry. Royally.

Getting Angry Accomplishes Nothing
I decided to give LeBaron a piece of my mind by posting to his Facebook page.  I complained on his Facebook page that no public recognition or thanks or acknowledgment was given to Laurence Socci for all the work he did to help LeBaron promote “Fools on the Hill.” My comments got deleted.  Was he too cowardly or too self-important to reply? I have no idea.

The situation with my husband, his tireless efforts to work honestly and fairly for others, and the lack of compensation, respect, or gratitude for his services shown by this man were truly disgusting. I felt sick to my stomach that I had to see my husband going through this.  Okay, I admit, I was mad. I did what any human being would do under the same circumstances. Got mad, dwelled on it, and cursed voodoo on this man.

Forgiveness and Faith
But really, what does that get me besides coal in my stocking?  For starters, it goes against my beliefs.  I can not wish harm on anyone. Ever.  No matter how poorly people treat me or anyone I love, I can not justify retribution. I leave that up to God.  Totally out of my domain or interest.  I was raised with a “turn the other cheek” mentality.  Someone does you wrong, you turn the other cheek. Forgive and forget.

And that is what this unfortunate business transaction calls for. Forgiveness and truly, not a second more of my precious time spent on something that did not materialize.  The budding psychologist in me is pressing forward, threatening to discern and write down clues as to how things went wrong. But the faithful in me has won, as it always does.

When bad things happen to me, that is one thing, but when it happens to my husband, it really stresses me out.  My husband is my rock and my partner in life. He has been so strong for me in times when situations weakened me. He doesn’t deserve to go through junk like this. But I can’t preach one thing and practice another.

Faith is my daily exercise in forgiveness and careful breaths, knowing with heavenly assurance that all things that happen to us are meant to happen for one reason or another.  Just like doing sit-ups to strengthen stomach muscles or doing jumping jacks to get my heart rate pumping in good health, so I must continue practicing to put my full trust in God and his actions, even when those actions cause pain to those I love.

How do you handle situations that cause pain to someone you love? Is it hard to exercise faith in moments of anger or disappointment?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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