Years ago after a successful article in the Toronto Star, I was approached by a T.V. producer about being interviewed on her show. I thought my moment in the sun had arrived and I had been discovered. Visions of having my own T.V. show flashed before me.
However, when we finally connected it turned out the show was taped in Florida -- not a problem I thought -- I have air miles. But it was soon revealed that in fact, I would have to pay $11,000 for the pleasure. I declined.
More recently I have received calls from a local publication saying they wanted to profile me as a rising star among women entrepreneurs. Flattered, I asked for more information. It was only $1,000 for this opportunity. I declined.
Then last week I got approached by a U.S.-based publication who also wanted to do an article on me as a top woman entrepreneur. I passed the initial interview process and the charming editorial assistant got back to me to saying I'd been selected for the fall, 2012 issue. How exciting. But after my past experiences, I knew there had to be a kicker, and of course, there was.
This time it was more subtle, but they wanted the contact information of my nearest and dearest clients, preferably those with money, who would purchase advertisements, just to see their dear friend and colleague profiled.
I'll be honest, I did noodle it over but more and more, I felt uncomfortable about the whole thing and so I passed on the opportunity. Apart from privacy laws, I really did not want to approach my peers and have them feel pressured to buy an ad, all just to feed my ego.
Because in the end, that is really what it is all about. Yes, it is flattering to receive attention for your work, but the real pay-off should come from within, not from external sources who have ulterior motives in the first place.
It has made me somewhat cynical about the articles you read -- did the person pay for the profile, or did she genuinely get selected because of her accomplishments, courage or personal attributes. Whatever happened to giving recognition to someone because they justly deserved it?
Is there a price tag on everything, including fame? Sadly I think there is.