The path to a good-paying job seems simple enough. Go to college, get a degree, work a free internship and, if you’re lucky, our career aspirations will come to fruition a few years post-graduation.
However, this well-established trajectory has severe foundational problems and supports the normalization of performing work for free. In reality, suggesting workers must work for free to find stable income is a diatribe that should be retired.
According to a report from Zapier, 40% of today’s U.S. workforce has a side gig to make ends meet. With the increased popularity of freelancing, more professionals are turning to additional jobs in order to keep up with the affordability crisis.
Now, a pandemic-driven workplace revolution has renewed the fight for workers’ rights and combat the exploitation of professionals.
But free work isn’t just limited to graduation requisites — established professionals and freelancers perform free jobs all the time.
In fact, a survey from freelancerclub.net founder and CEO Matt Dowling shows that 52% of freelancers perform free work to stand apart to their clients. Still, 51% of respondents said they inevitably regretted making this move.
For instance, workers are often asked to take over tasks that, with the appropriate title, would be paired with a higher salary. However, many take on these jobs, such as conducting interviews, hosting meetings or writing reviews, to get to the top (without the compensation.)
“When freelancers have had a good experience, have done well and are paid fairly, they are more likely to evangelize about the platform, and far more inclined to work with the client company again,” said Dowling.