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Why do the rich think I’ll work for free?

Note to readers: I will be going on vacation soon and so the column will appear sporadically during that time. I'll write when I can. -- CT

Dear Cary,

I am a Ph.D. candidate living in a large city. A major advertising and design agency has asked me to speak to one of its teams about my area of expertise. This invite was extended to me because I was at a barbecue and mentioned to one of its employees (who helps arrange for enriching speakers for teams focusing on particular projects) about my work, and she helped arrange for me to give a talk at the agency later this month.

This is exciting, as they're well-known for working with Ph.D.s in many fields on philosophical problems of advertising and design. They employ a lot of doctorate-level researchers and my students and colleagues dream of getting a job at this place. The problem is, they seem to be assuming that I will speak to their team for free. I did some hedging in some emails ("Just checking to see what paperwork you need from me -- an I-9 for an honorarium, etc.") and they've assured me that all I need to do is show up and give my talk on the specified date.

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