Paid vs Free was a topic that came up a few times in the 2012 ProBlogger Event tweet stream. This is my view. I know for a fact it doesn’t suit everyone.
I don’t believe in working in your professional area for free. If you are contributing value to a company (an entity that is by definition geared towards making money) then why are you devaluing yourself by working for free?
When I was 17 I spent some days wandering around London while looking for work. I was canvassing businesses and dropping off my resume to anyone who would take it. I walked into a small media company to give my resume to the receptionist. The receptionist asked if I had any experience specifically in media. I said no, but I outline my relevant work experience in other industries. She told me to volutneer, because no one will get a job in media without having worked in media. I said sure, how do I pay my rent and eat? I politely left the office, without leaving my resume with them.
Guess what, businesses? It costs money to pay rent. It costs money to eat, to have a phone, to get to & from work and use that pesky electricity stuff.
When asked outright how I should pay bills while volunteering, no one has yet had an answer. Perhaps they’re all millionaires and don’t have that issue.
Having said that, I do believe in working in your chosen area as a volunteer – ONLY FOR A CHARITY. A business is there to make money. I really have no desire to help them with that by volunteering. Volunteering can develop skills that are applicable to any industry.
Relating this back to blogging, I think some of the debate comes back to a sense of entitlement – it’s not that bloggers are feeling too entitled by asking for payments, it’s that freelance publishers/brands are feeling entitled that people should work for free.
I do understand that there are many valid reasons for working for free. I know some of my favourite people on twitter do this, and for very good reasons.
Personally though, I think I’ve just been screwed over one too many times in this area as an employee.
What do you think about working for free?