We all have to start somewhere, and sometimes somewhere is the land where you work for free. But you don’t always have to work for free to get experience or to build your portfolio. So how can you know whether you should work for free or find a gig that pays?
This helpful infographic walks you through various situations where you might be tempted to work for free, and tells you whether or not it’s a good idea.
One main thing to walk away from the Flowchart knowing is to avoid employers that seem sketchy. This might mean employers who promise outlandish future rewards in place of immediate cash, employers that push the “build your portfolio” card to get you to agree to the work, or employers who fall back on being a “start-up” company as an excuse to pay you less.
On the other hand, sometimes it makes sense to work for free, such as working for a non-profit but respectable agency that will extend some creative freedom your way and be a good reference in the future. Sometimes, we might do free work for altruistic reasons, and it may all come back around for our good. The key is to not let your skillset be taken advantage of. You’re better than that.