First off, I need to apologize for falling off the face of the blog world for a little while.
I recently was the victim of plagiarism by someone I looked up to in my industry.
We worked together on a few occasions.
But recently found this person was profiting off ideas I had talked with her about and most recently claiming one of my written articles as her own instead of using it the way we agreed upon.
I am a trusting, giving person by nature and never expected this from someone that knew my last two years were plagued with sickness.
But instead of honesty or just giving me the credit I asked for at the beginning, she lied and took it as her own.
What kind of a person could do that to someone, especially someone not even back to work yet from their cancer treatments?
Well I was mortified and embarrassed because I thought I should of known better to trust this person.
But we worked together over a month on a joint project, or I should say I gave her all the information she asked me and enough for her to even start teaching classes from the info I had given her and yes making money off it.
My heart was a little broken and my creativity went to the waste side for awhile.
I had so many things I wanted to talk about.
I was finding it hard to zero in on one or even five of my ideas.
I myself was working getting my career going again and publishing articles in industry magazines and excited about the possibilities.
I had a new idea for an article after sending it to one magazine then totally rewording it and then another. I wasn’t hearing anything back about that meant they were passing on it or weren’t interested.
I knew the content wasn’t the usual thing they published because it was risky. I thought it might not be embraced by my industry but that’s what makes it so great.
It was a story of loss but surviving, strength and preserving.
I knew it was a story that needed to be told.
It was the subject matter that were making them pass.
Then a lightbulb went off I could message a colleague that has a big following in the Spa Industry here and abroad.
Well I was elated she loved the idea and couldn’t believe this could happen to me.
Her exact words were let’s run with this and
do it before October it’s perfect for breast
cancer awareness month.
I told her how excited I was and I would love to do it together but I must have writing credit.
This was my one stipulation right away.
Since I wasn’t able to do my original career due to my surgical disasters and thinking that releasing this would be the writing credit I needed to add to my new resume.
She immediately agreed “of course”.
I wrote the article that inspired something not touched upon in my industry and this person telling me this as a new platform in our industry and even discussing writing another piece we could work on together and sell to others in our industry.
This was something I was looking forward too.
I put on the back burner for a bit my blog ,my social life, I invested every spare minute in rewriting my article and doubling the size because this person wanted it longer and more laws included with resources included.
Later I would see all that extra writing was only
to have more material to pick from for her elaborate advertisement.
If done right it would of been worth it.
This was something that was a big deal for me and kind of like my baby the subject of being discriminated against after cancer isn’t new, but my idea of handling it by getting it to all the magazines with my article was never been done yet.
I had something to be excited about it was refreshing and I was happy to be doing what I love, writing.
After over a month back-and-forth phone calls and emails. We were done, my original article was condensed, like I said before we agreed at the first call that writing credit would go to me.
To me that was important this story was part of me not only about me but in my voice so my writing credit was the most important, she also promised to use some pictures some throughout my career and cancer. The contact info was both of us but she was clear that any interviews were passed to me because in her words, ‘This is your story and only you can tell it.’
Her career needed a pick me up I had already given her a few ideas for articles during my treatments and she used in some articles for her blog.
Press releases are cheap but she offered to pay and use her name only to give it a chance to get picked up in more places because yes she was a savvy sales businessman and I believed her every word. I had never been involved in a press release before wasn’t quite sure what to expect or know that in this situation doing this in my own was key.
I didn’t realize that letting someone else do
the press release gave them all the credit and creative license and to change everything we discussed together.
Now I know my best option was to run it myself, but hindsight is 20/20. ( by the way that small phrase it wasn’t written by me but I’m sure you know that I couldn’t live with myself if I was a plagiarist and especially to a cancer survivor telling their story that would be pathetic.)
Let’s face it after two years of cancer treatment’s I really needed something to get my career in a new direction. I wasn’t physically able to practice my profession after a few reconstructive surgeries that took away most of my mobility in my arm.
The same week the press release came out my husband had surgery. Needless to say I was a little preoccupied.
I finally googled the article and wow what a huge disappointment.
I hadn’t heard anything from her so had no clue if it was released.
Earlier she claimed to be waiting to run it, till I finished something else she asked me to start.
Now I see that something else was just to keep getting more ideas from me.
The press release that I thought was a
joint venture and was a labor of love from me and that I had spent hours doing reference checking and even calling lawyers to fact check.
Well it turned out to be nothing more than an advertisement for her company.
My name was merely used as the helpless victim of a story. She even changed a few facts about having no laws in place to protect cancer patients from this kind of discrimination.
This was obviously done for dramatic effect because the info I gave her that exact info from my lawyer said it was completely illegal and many laws protected me.
My name was not down as a contact, my pictures not up and most importantly my writing wasn’t even noted as the source, all writing credit went to her and her business.
What a betrayal by someone I looked up too in my industry.
I would rather not mention this person’s business or name because it isn’t about defaming her personally. I was completely blindsided by this well- known person in my
Industry. Claiming to teach others about Cancer patients and taking advantage of the people she pretended to be so passionate about.
I am still hurt that a person I looked up to would take advantage of me and use my disease to profit her business by advertising with it.
It should have been a red flag for me after our first conversation together. I was going through treatment and asked her a question about waxing cancer patients and her response was ‘Wow I never thought of that before, well soon after she had written an article about it.
Nothing life changing, but then starting a whole
other layer to her business by adding training and classes about it, so again profiting off ideas
I gave her without even as much as an honorable mention or including me in what I developed.
Who does that ? Really using a recent Cancer patient ideas in your business and not telling them because your making money off of them then acting like your helping their career and having them even do more work so you can steal their work again.
After I took the time I needed to reflect on this I realized this person made a whole career on an Emperor’s New Clothes, business. Making people pay for something they already are doing legally and don’t need to pay for but don’t realize it.
Making them get certified in the industry for something that’s not recognized by the state or in any of the state’s.
That really is pretty genius, more than the business itself and to be nationally recognized for being the founder of a not recognized certification.
Most haven’t figured out that it more of a hustle than a labor of love because no person with a good heart or morality could boldly do this to a person especially knowing my past two years.
Suddenly I realized I need to look at this as a gift.
Then I thought I hope that’s not my one and only great idea……kidding aside, it got me ready for something bigger and for that idea I’m going to need a contract for sure.
So thank you for giving me the gift of sight to see how people can fool you and remember to keep my ideas to myself and remember everyone is not your friend in business and most importantly ‘ Always have a Contract’.
It was a hard lesson to learn but a lesson that God thought I needed.