“How to decide when to work for free” by Penelope Trunk

August 26, 2013

On August 17, 2013, at the Northeast PHP conference in Boston, I gave a new presentation titled “How To Get There“. This was a motivational-like presentation, which is virgin territory for me, but I think it turned out well. In the talk, I recommend 21 behaviors and attitudes one should have in order to succeed, in order to achieve one’s goals. The tl;dr version comes down to this:

Be honest. Work hard. Never stop learning.

This is common sense, yes, but often it’s the things that should go without saying that most need to be said.

One of the specific recommendations I have in the talk (one of my 21 points of light) is: Give It Away. This is actually one of my recommendations for making money. Ironically, one way of making money, one way of getting a great job, is to give your time or work away for free. This is absolutely, 100% valid, and I could relay dozens of stories about myself and others where giving it away has had remarkable financial rewards.

Coincidentally, I just today came across a blog post by Penelope Trunk titled “How to decide when to work for free“. In the article, Ms. Trunk wonderfully illuminates the benefits of working for free, of giving it away. Moreover, the article provides recommendations for how one makes the decisions as to when you should work for free and when you shouldn’t. If you’re looking to get a job, or just to build your resume, it’s well worth reading.