It’s true, I never seem to learn in this “doing a favour” game.

People ask for help. I say sure, I’ll see what I can do, I’ll try my best, but it will be in my free time after work, so please be patient. Enough?

No. Soon enough there will be emails demanding an immediate response — “have you done it yet?” — real professionals would have responded straight away.

Ah, there’s the clue. You would have paid for the real professional’s time too, and you wouldn’t have expected them to work on your project late into the night after a full day’s work already sat in front of a computer.

I’m not honestly sure if you can expect the same rights from a friend helping you out of kindness as a professional being paid a living wage to do the same job. Maybe you can. Maybe this is the wage of charity and kindness and friendship.

But sadly these favours always end the same way: with me promising myself not to take them again. But I never learn; soon enough I’ll take on the next favour out of a sense of duty, kindness and good cheer. And soon enough I’ll be grumbling again about disrespect, and singing the blues once more.

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