Making the Case for Free Work? | Day 3/30

Making the Case for Free Work? | Day 3/30
This entry is part 3 of 30 in the series 2019 BLOG CHALLENGE

I’m convinced that today’s prompt is out to test the consistency from the rest of us who yesterday held the belief that a dream life is never about the money, but the experience. With context of course.

Everything is monetized these days, complete with the slogan –  If you’re good at something, never do it for free.  

Unpaid labour almost always follows a series of promises that things will pay off for you in the end. Or that not all work needs to be paid and working for free will grow your career. 

A few have benefitted from this exchange. The rest have taken the heat for igniting embers on the indignity of free work. Particularly in systems that hail unpaid internships. For a long time, the aggrieved parties would be threatened with taboo and shamed into silence. But the outright millennial rebellion of the oppressive systems has been viewed as the cause for this century’s problems. A joke. 


Death by Exposure 

Most companies (and clients) issue they can’t provide any mode of payment but the experience is priceless. 

Exposure does not pay a bill. I can tell you that. I went through an entire year of unpaid internship where I still depended on family support to take care of my expenses. The perks I would get while in Uni were obviously stripped off. 

I survived on a very tight budget and occasional locum if lucky, spent 13 hours at work including performing graveyard shifts daily and still had to deal with some exploitative superiors who saw zero value in our contribution. No, I wasn’t guaranteed employment immediately after. 

If anything, it was the beginning of a bumpy back-breaking ride.

A career would do much better with a relentlessly upwards trajectory that doesn’t feature unpaid labour or delayed payment or underemployment. But we are not thriving in the ideal world. Here, you have to deal with conversations such as #Payinternske and sift through the privileged takes by would-be employers and downright awful mandazi bosses. 


Why One would do things for No Pay 

So what could possibly inform the decision not to cash out from your pool of talents or voluntary pursuits in this gig economy? Why would anyone be open to providing time, energy and resources for free? 

Let me explain.

♦ Generosity is fulfilling – giving back or lending yourself to the rescue of a friend’s needs, a colleague, a family member or a complete stranger is a delight. Despite the powerful challenges that shake up their worldview, humans respond compassionately when they see others in pain or in need of help. 

♦ Honing skills – developing your new skills take time and what better way to nurture your craft than by continuously providing acts of service that help you grow as a form of exchange. 

♦ Difficulty in placing monetary value on personal passion projects – in such cases, putting a price tag might well be a bonus. The work speaks for itself.  



Work I would do for Free 
  • Research work and curating content for my readership.
  • Voluntary work for a cause I believe in. 
  • Filming documentaries to showcase our different cultures and shared experiences or shows centred on organization.


What’s the sort of work you would do for no pay? Let me know! 

Series Navigation<< My Dream Life is Complicated | Day 2/30Deciding to Be Better at Something | Day 4/30 >>

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