Working for free as a help? My experience!

Working for free for someone wouldn’t be something new for you! Whatever field you work in, people come to you usually to help them, ofcourse for free!

This work is mostly exactly what you do to make a living usually. Like coding for programmers. Sometimes the comments or response we get from them is more than the pay we might get, but most of the time, it’s just a waste of time.

I will give you a few examples of experiences I had recently.

I got a request with reference to help someone on a project. I didn’t know the requester personally. I first tried to refuse due to my busy schedule but upon insisting I agreed to “help – for free”. Anyway i got some free time and asked them to come online to discuss what’s needed and help them with it. This is how it went, the requester told me about the project they need to submit. I said fine, so send me what you have done so far, and whats needed in it so that I can help there. In return, I received the original requirements email and a response that they haven’t started the project yet, because they were busy! o_0

I asked the requester to start working on it when they are not busy and tell me when they need my help, fine enough I think!

A couple of days later, the requester contacted me sending me the files they have made till now and the help they needed. I gave them time when I can be available to them. It was basically html/css for now, as they were poor in front end design part (as well as backend though!) Upon receiving the files and requirements, I asked them a few questions, so that I can work properly, but the requester wasn’t able to respond to me fast (almost 5 minutes gap b/w each reply) because they were busy in chatting to their online friends! and that’s what screwed me up! I told the requester, to only ask me to come online to help them when they think they are serious about the project and not making fun of me. I went offline from messenger but continued working on the design part of it, as much info I had. After about 1 hour, i messaged the requester that here are the files, and the response I got was (while canceling the file transfer) don’t disturb me I am working, I don’t need your help.

There you go, I know 1 hour work is not too much! but this is how you are dealt when you work for “Free”. Imagine their response if they had paid you (in advance or on agreement) ? I am sure it would be different.

Another thing happened after this one, and this time, but bit difference. A guy in my group asked me to help them setup some configurations in their Joomla website and stuff, for free. I said ok, send me the joomla admin logins and I will work on it. The response I got was: please work on my system via teamviewer. Well, fair enough, if you don’t trust me to give me admin access to your million dollar website, I have no issues with it, so I said fine, you will be charged certain amount for that sort of help. And the response was, no thanks, I can do it myself. Then why the hell was he asking me to do it in first place? because they are busy and we are free as birds?

What I have learned with these any many other experiences is, if you work for someone unknown or relatively unknown, don’t do anything for free, no matter how deserving they are. Charge the minimum, very minimum, but not free.

What are your thoughts and experiences about it?

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