I value the opportunity to give back and pay it forward. Most recently, it has come in the form of giving advice to younger professionals looking to start or develop a career in government relations. Within the last three weeks, I’ve received no less than four different requests to discuss my career and offer any tips on starting out. I don’t mind helping. However, I’m starting to wonder if advice is the only thing people want from me.

Let me explain. I recently had a phone conversation with a young woman who was very anxious to start her GR career. We talked about what she was currently doing and what she wanted to do. I offered to look at her resume and gave a couple of resources. Five minutes later, she asked, “Can I just connect with you via LinkedIn so I can access to your contacts and ask them for a job?” In my head I was like, “Sure. While I’m at it, why don’t I also give you my ATM pin and the keys to my house?” The amazing thing? She was serious. When I politely declined, she ended our conversation.

It’s one thing for a job seeker to ask you for a couple of people to reach out to. It’s another to ask you to hand over your professional network. I like to help because I had a number of informational interviews when I started my career. However, when I asked for advice, I was respectful of the person’s time and willingness to help me. Now that I’m in the position of being asked for my assistance, I find that some people expect me to spend all of my spare time helping them find a job.

Look, we’re all busy people. When you ask someone for advice, be aware that something is being put on the back burner for you. Be respectful of that. If you’re being asked for career advice, be realistic on what you can deliver. Don’t feel pressured to find someone a job or get them an interview if you can’t.

This article originally appeared on It’s on the List and can be found here.

Executive Director of the Maryland Psychological Association

Stefanie Reeves is the Executive Director of the Maryland Psychological Association (MPA) in Columbia, MD.  In this role, she manages the day to day operations of a small staff association representing mental health professionals in the state of Maryland. Previously, she served as a senior lobbyist for the American Psychological Association. In 2014, Stefanie founded Generation Advocacy which specializes in advocacy training for association members. She has over 18 years of association management and government relations experience.

Stefanie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The George Washington University and a Master of Arts degree in Government from Johns Hopkins University. In 2010, she earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).  A native Washingtonian, Stefanie currently resides in Silver Spring, MD with her rescue puppy Charmer.

Stefanie Reeves is the Executive Director of the Maryland Psychological Association (MPA) in Columbia, MD.  In this role, she manages the day to day operations of a small staff association representing mental health professionals in the state of Maryland. Previously, she served as a senior lobbyist for the American Psychological Association. In 2014, Stefanie founded Generation Advocacy which specializes in advocacy training for association members. She has over 18 years of association management and government relations experience. Stefanie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The George Washington University and a Master of Arts degree in Government from Johns Hopkins University. In 2010, she earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).  A native Washingtonian, Stefanie currently resides in Silver Spring, MD with her rescue puppy Charmer.

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