Monday, October 28, 2013

If you want me to work, pay me

"Not getting paid for things in your 20s is glumly expected, even sort of cool; not getting paid in your 40s, when your back is starting to hurt and you are still sleeping on a futon, considerably less so. Let’s call the first 20 years of my career a gift. Now I am 46, and would like a bed.
Practicalities aside, money is also how our culture defines value, and being told that what you do is of no ($0.00) value to the society you live in is, frankly, demoralizing. Even sort of insulting. And of course when you live in a culture that treats your work as frivolous you can’t help but internalize some of that devaluation and think of yourself as something less than a bona fide grown-up."

I'm still pondering this rush to do work for free. Many people do it just because we like helping others, or we enjoy a challenge, or maybe we just like a challenge.  But meanwhile, this spirit of helping screws up our system of how people make a living. Recently I heard on the radio a guy who makes a living partially by doing cleanup after a storm.  He was bemoaning the religious organization there with better equipment than him, that was doing the cleanup as a religious service, gratis.  It made it harder for him to make a living when people rushed in to do the same work for free.

I don't really see a problem with this if there is some baseline income for everyone.  Swizterland is thinking of trying this so maybe we'll find out of this could work.

But this article did make me notice that it is SOME occupations, not all, where people think you just might give away your work hours.  Writers and graphic artists seem some of the hardest hit.  But for all of us it's a tricky situation to have more and more occupations hurt by people who are just trying to do good.

No comments: