Working For Free: Exploitation Or How The Valley Works?

from the depends-on-how-it's-structured dept

With so many people out of work these days, it seems that some people are willing to work for free. The idea is that working for free lets some people keep their skills up (or get training in new skills) while also having something they can put on their resume – so that it doesn’t look like they’ve been out of work for a year or more. The problem with this arrangement, though, is that some of these “free” workers feel exploited. I think, if they’re entering into that arrangement, they know what they’re getting into. It doesn’t make sense to agree to work for free and then complain about the agreement. If they don’t like it, they shouldn’t take the job. That said, I’m amazed that so many people would work for free without a clear explanation of how they might eventually get paid. The startups that are hiring these people simply make vague promises of “future” salary and stock options. If I were taking such a job, I’d at least want the conditions clearly detailed. It seems completely legitimate to ask what needs to happen to turn the free job into a salaried job and what that compensation will provide.

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Comments on “Working For Free: Exploitation Or How The Valley Works?”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

This sounds familiar

Reminds me of the various groups that have performed ‘volunteer’ duties for online services (AOL and CompuServe forum moderators and various online games in-game support, etc) and then after having performed these duties for some time (years even) they decided that they qualified for minimum wage pay and wanted to sue for back wages. Those few put an end to almost all online volunteer programs of that type. Sounds like those people have found a new opportunity to complain.

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