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Discussion on: What's your opinion of doing free work in exchange for "exposure"?

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lewiskori profile image
Lewis kori Author

What sort of projects do you think made you grow as a developer and what is the general relationship with the stakeholders of the unpaid projects you pick up? Do they expect a lot from you and start making outrageous demands midway through the project?

secondly,
which are some organizations you'd recommend working with?

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shaunagordon profile image
Shauna Gordon

What sort of projects do you think made you grow as a developer

My own projects and that of people that paid me (seriously, I learned a ton from doing work at various agencies, where -- for better or worse -- the salespeople tended to sell things the production team didn't actually have the current skills to deliver, so we were forced to pick them up on the fly). I can learn and grow without taking on work brought to me by someone with promises of exposure.

what is the general relationship with the stakeholders of the unpaid projects you pick up?

Depends on the project, but it's usually projects that I care about for one reason or another. Since they're usually super-small, I typically have had direct contact with the maintainer for some length of time and have gotten to know them quasi-personally.

Do they expect a lot from you and start making outrageous demands midway through the project?

Since I come to them to offer help, not usually. If they do, then I drop the relationship, respond that they can start paying me, or otherwise enforce my boundaries. Like I said, I take on unpaid projects in my own time and I have other obligations. If they want to try to monopolize my time, then I want compensated accordingly.

I consider this boundaries on my time and energy, which I encourage everyone to set and enforce. The whole "exposure" thing, I think, is a way for someone to try to overstep those boundaries and take advantage of us. It's up to us as makers to not let them.

which are some organizations you'd recommend working with?

Code for America is a good one if you want bigger named stuff. Generally, I like helping out on little projects and stuff I personally use, which are generally maintained by one person in their own spare time. You can probably find a number of options in the various things you use, too.

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lewiskori profile image
Lewis kori Author

Code for America is a good one if you want bigger named stuff. Generally, I like helping out on little projects and stuff I personally use, which are generally maintained by one person in their own spare time. You can probably find a number of options in the various things you use, too.

I'll look into some open source projects that need maintainers. There's find collabs which is a platform for open source maintainers to look for collaborators.

I consider this boundaries on my time and energy, which I encourage everyone to set and enforce. The whole "exposure" thing, I think, is a way for someone to try to overstep those boundaries and take advantage of us. It's up to us as makers to not let them.

someone once told me to build their startup for them. Long story short we had a discussion over on discord and he even went to the extent of adding me to their workplace discord server. But we hadn't discussed payment. So when I raised the issue and it became clear he wouldn't pay, He gave me some philosophical BS and removed me from their server.
Needless to say, I learned my lesson quite hard.