Working for FREE…why it is not really free
Have you ever heard the saying “nothing is for free”?
What does it mean? It means that even if someone offers you something as a ‘gift’ (outside of your birthday or holidays) for free, it does not mean you will not be paying for it later one way, shape or form.
Here is a story as an example: my grandmother was moving apartments and needed to ‘de-clutter’. She offered me a large amount of her old plates, dishes, vases and nick knacks. I did not want them, they were out-dated, I had no use for them and most importantly, I had no room for them. Nonetheless, she forced them on me -free dinnerware and all. My mother told me she can keep them in her storage unit for me until the time I had enough space to store them in my own home. That time never came. A year later, my mother told me she could no longer afford the storage unit and I had to come and collect the boxes of ‘stuff’ I had in there and to cover $900 worth of storage fees as she was unable to keep up with payments.
$900!! I was blown away. For that money, I could have purchased myself brand new dishes, and ones I truly wanted. I never even wanted nor needed my grandmas stuff, but to make her happy and avoid arguments, I took them. So you see, her ‘free’ things ended up costing me money. In the end, I paid for them, and I paid high.
So the moral of this story is – be careful what you accept as a free gift, because you will pay one way or another. It does not have to be financially, it can be with time, energy and mental health.
How does this all translate to career and your personal employment? Well, there is another side of looking at this concept. Imagine then you give away something for free, what is it that you get in return? Imagine you gave away your labour, skills, time and energy for free? What do you gain from it? Are you paid in any way? We would argue yes.
So as you can see, working for free is not really free – whilst the organisation who gets your services without having to pay may seem like the only ones benefiting, you benefit as well. On top of that, the organisation who has you will be paying by investing their time in training you and developing your skills. So really, it is not free for any party. There may be no financial exchange, however, an exchange of time, service, training and relationship building would be trading at high levels.
Thanks for reading – we hope we inspired you to consider expanding your options and volunteering or giving an hour of your time either within your company or another business where you can benefit and grow. Don’t be afraid to ask, you never know what chances you could be given.
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