I Want the Best Employees and I Don’t Want to Pay Them

Do you have a business or interest where everybody expects you to do the job for free? I don’t just mean friends and family, I mean everybody. If you do, let me know what your particular field is. I’m curious if it runs across the board or just in specific jobs. I think I work in several areas where it is expected that you do your job for free as opposed to ever asking for money. Public speaking, counseling, and freelance writing are where a lot of my income comes from.

Here’s an e-mail I just rec’d from a newspaper editor…



Sorry for the late response. Things have been kind of crazy here. I’ll be blunt: I like your idea, but I can’t pay you anything. My boss recently cut my budget for columns and freelance work and I’ve had to let some folks go. That being said, if you’d like to write a column without compensation, we’d be glad to run it and I suspect the Chronicle would too (However, I’d need to get the OK from the editor of that paper). It’s your choice. I don’t like asking people to work for free — this isn’t a charity — but if you’d like to write a column as a community service, we’d publish it. Let me know what you’d like to do. Hope your family is doing well and take care.



Bear in mind that the e-mail came from a guy who actually writes for a living, but since he works for a newspaper in the 21st century, I suspect more of his job time is spent soliciting free writers and advertisers than anything.

I kindly let him know that I don’t work for free anymore and that my kids wouldn’t like me if I couldn’t buy groceries.


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