Techies Work For Hope, Not Cash

from the this-again? dept

A few months back we had a post about techies working for startups for free, mostly just to keep jobs on their resume, and to hope that maybe those new companies would take off. Now, the Chronicle has their own version of that article talking about how many laid-off techies are working just for stock options instead of cash. The article brings up the same issues that the last one did, saying that these workers sometimes feel “exploited”. Of course, no one forced them into this situation, and they knew what they were getting into when they signed up. What I can’t believe is how few have asked (in writing) for what conditions it will take to them into full-time workers with salaries. This article also brings up another issue, though, which is that many of the companies employing workers for stock options only may be breaking labor laws, which require employees to be paid minimum wage, even if the employees have agreed to accept no wages. While I can understand the legal issues, I think this is a case where the law is not intended for these types of situations. Clearly, if people are being exploited, then it’s a different story. But, mostly, these are people who are looking for something to do, who want to keep their resumes and skills fresh, and know the companies can’t afford them otherwise. What’s wrong with helping that company out with the hope that it goes somewhere? We’re not talking about sweatshop workers, here. The only comment I have is that they should just make sure the conditions of their employment (and eventual salary) are clearly laid out at the beginning.

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