Tag Archives: working for free

Part Two – Why You Shouldn’t Take Low-Paying or No-Pay Jobs

Courtesy toothpastefordinner.com

I promised more on this subject and it is truly an inexhaustable one. Today we’ll cover building a portfolio and charity work.

You Don’t Need to Volunteer to Build a Portfolio

Yes, you will have a hard time finding work until you build your portfolio. No, this does not mean that you will have to work for free until your portfolio gels into something that most people would be interested in. In fact, most of the companies that will showcase well in a portfolio will not hesitate to pay you. Visa will not ask you to work for free, because they certainly don’t.

Jobs that bill themselves as “a great way to build your portfolio” simply aren’t if they don’t pay more than minimum wage. Granted, you may need to take something at a lower pay scale than you are comfortable with to start off, but you never need to work for free or close to it.

We’re a Charity – You Should Be One Too

In all fairness I haven’t heard of many organizations using this line. However, non-profits do ask for a discount. What to do? If the business is in Canada, you can offer them a discount if they offer to make up the difference for a receipt for donation-in-kind. This will help you out at tax time.

Steer well clear of job ads that advertise that the job is for a charity so they aren’t paying as much as usual. Real charities actually pay quite well, since marketing is an integral part of their fundraising efforts.

They Take Up Your Time

The time cost of taking one of these gigs is huge. Economists call it the “opportunity cost”. The time that you are spending on a volunteer gig can be more fruitfully spent marketing yourself and applying to higher-paying gigs. Two hours spent sending off query letters to magazines will probably net you a lot more return than two hours that you have spent churning out articles on security systems.

In the interest of keeping it short and sweet, that is all I have for now. Do you have reasons that you don’t think people should take low-paying or no-pay gigs? Post them below.

Letter and Reply from “Web Content Writer Wanted for Free” Company

One of our intrepid readers, John Kulczycki, sent in a response that he received from the “Web Content Writer for Free” being advertised on Toronto Craigslist after he wrote them to challenge them on the ad. The reply is nonsensical considering that the initial ad asks the writer to work for no pay until they “prove themselves”, and also uses words like “asswipe” and “ass” when referring to John. We’d love to get the company name if anyone has it for public posting.

Just a quick recap – the link to the posting is now down. This company posted a long detailed job ad with many requirements and duties, referring to the position as an internship with no pay until you “prove yourself” in downtown Toronto. For the record, if you are in downtown Toronto and you are just starting out without much of a portfolio, you can land a junior copywriter position for no less than $30,000 with a BA or a college diploma with benefits after 3-6 months. Never, never work for free unless it is an internship position as part of a co-op program through your school.

While I usually don’t go in for basting a company like this on the public spit, the initial smarmy nature of the ad and their response to John’s e-mail, which was really no more than light-hearted teasing, sort of gets my hackles up. It also reveals the true nature of people who want you to work for free and serves as a great insight into their character. Without further adieu:

“Dear John,

You sent us an email stating:

You forgot

– Must get coffee on command and fetch other things too
– Must be eternally grateful for this opportunity to be enslaved
– Must roll over and play dead on command when I’m trying to impress people

In your “Requirements”

You see John, if you were talented, skilled and smart enough, then you’d understand that you could take this job yourself and get paid off the bat, from day one- if you knew all that the job entails.

But instead, you choose to complain and disrespect companies that pay and respect those that work for them.

It’s OK  John, stay at home, keep looking for your dream job- let others take this one and make something of themselves while you stay at home and complain about real job offers.

All our contractors happily work from home, so fetching YOUR coffee for you is not gonna happen, since you are not the boss and nobody is your slave. BTW –  they all get paid VERY well- way more than you are making.

And NO, I don’t wish to expose our company name because of asswipes like you.

I want to take this opportunity and wish you the best of luck, BECAUSE unlike you I am not an ass and want you to succeed in the future.

Please grow up, it will help you land a real good job and make a future for yourself, don’t take your frustrations out on genuine hard working people and companies (not a start up) that work hard and pay all of their staff and contractors.”