My first job was working in a cafe. It was called Johnny’s Java. It was great. I used to love that when I was on shift, I’d get amazing, free drinks and when I came in on my days off to visit my friends/coworkers, I’d get discounted, free coffee and pastries.
I loved working as a barista so much that I applied to the coffee house on campus when I was in college. I worked at Jazzland Coffee Co. for a couple of years, ended up managing one of the two locations. Then I worked at Starbucks after college until I got married.
I never imagined taking things without paying for them. It never even occured to me to steal bagels or muffins, to ask my friends/coworkers to give me espresso drinks without having to pay something for them. (Though, I did accept my discount.) I didn’t want to hurt the business–bite the hand that signed my paycheck.
Now that I’m a writer, I live by the same code. The “drink” is writing. The “business” is/are my fellow authors. It’s not a perfect analogy. My fellow authors aren’t signing my paycheck. Though I’ve made some amazing connections with fellow authors and writers at conferences and writing classes, critique groups and clubs. They’ve supported my career in its infancy. I would never ever steal from one of them, just as I know they would never steal from me.
I believe in supporting one another, and respecting our craft. That means shelling out for the books we love. And I plan to do so as much as possible. This is my pledge. I hope you’ll join me