Speaking Engagement

Normally, you work on salary from 8:30 to 4:30. Your job provides you with a lot of independence and off-site work. A community partner asks you to provide a presentation at a community group during a weekday afternoon. This presentation is not in your job description. You will be paid a modest honorarium. No one will miss you at work, and you believe that this speaking engagement will enhance your relationship with the community partner. Is there a problem?

In the scenario, “Speaking Engagement”, the fact that you are keeping your attendance a secret from your workplace is a good indication that something is wrong. Your primary client in this context is your employer. You are supposed to be working from 8:30 to 4:30 for your employer and are being paid for that time. Your competing personal interest would certainly include the honorarium and using work time for other activities.

Even if you were not paid the honorarium, you would have to be confident that your employer would approve the presentation time.  In many jobs, it would be natural for you to discuss the invitation with your supervisor before accepting it.

Depending on the circumstances, the concerns can probably be successfully managed by appropriate communication. Some safeguards could include notifying your employer of the speaking engagement offer and obtain approval for your participation. Your employer may ask you to justify the presentation as it is not within your job description.