Should I work for free?

First, professional:

The question of working without compensation boils down to a succinct no;” however, exceptions may arise for non-monetary arrangements, albeit selectively.

Surprisingly, even with 25 years under my professional belt, I continue to encounter requests for unpaid work. While not uncommon in the realm of graphic design, it remains a notable phenomenon. My instances of engaging in pro bono work are infrequent and exclusively driven by personal motivations, not external requests.

Despite a reasonable reception from most individuals upon declining unpaid work, some reactions border on disproportionate. On two occasions, I faced outrage, and once, I even received a threat—all for asserting the need for compensation. Quite perplexing, isn’t it?

At its core, the premise is simple: work possesses inherent value. The mere act of seeking work implies acknowledgment of its value. If you desire the contribution of my design to enrich your project, reciprocity is fundamental. While monetary compensation is the conventional return, alternative forms of reciprocation are plausible.

Consideration points:

These points aim to guide our discussion and establish a fair and mutually beneficial arrangement.


Gen-Z style:

Am I pulling shifts for nada? Hard pass. (Unless it’s some epic, passion-fueled thing, maybe.)

Imagine this: 25 years deep in the grind, and I’m still getting hit with do it for exposure” vibes. Graphic design’s got this weird free-work culture, and it’s kinda mind-blowing. I’ve thrown in some freebies or almost-freebies, but it’s gotta be my call, my rules.

Turns out, saying no to working for free sometimes gets a reaction like I just dissed someone’s TikTok dance. Seriously, had folks seeing red or dropping threats. All for wanting some green for my art. Wild, right?

Here’s the scoop: work equals value. If you want my design magic in your project, gotta sprinkle a little somethin’-somethin’ in return. Cash rules, but I’m vibing with other cool currencies too. Just keep it 100, you know?

Aspects for consideration:


TikTok influencer:

Hey, fam! 💫 Let’s dive into this whole working for exposure” vibe, cause you know, we’re all about that hustle. 🚀

So, after 25 years in the game, ya girl’s still getting hit up for that pro bono life. Graphic design world, you feel me? Not gonna lie, it’s a bit of a phenomenon, but I’m spilling the tea on how I navigate it.

When I decline those unpaid gigs, most people get it. But hold up, some reactions are wild—outrage and even a threat! Like, who knew saying no could stir up a tornado, right?

Here’s the deal: work’s got value, peeps. If you’re after my design magic, gotta sprinkle a bit of compensation love. Cash is the OG, but we’re vibing with alternatives too.

And now, drumroll, please! 🥁 Check out these consideration points:

These points are the GPS for our discussion. Let’s make this a vibe, a mutual win, and keep the hustle strong! 🌟✨ #WorkWithValue #CompensationTalks #BossMoves


Snoop style:

Yo, peeps! Let’s talk about this whole work-for-free vibe. Quick answer? Nah, unless we’re talking some real exceptions.

So, check it, 25 years deep in the game, and I’m still getting hit up for freebies. Graphic design world’s got this weird free work dance, but I’m not always busting moves to that tune. If I’m throwing in some pro bono work, it’s cause my heart’s in it, not cause someone asked.

Now, when I drop the no freebies” bomb, most folks get it. But, hold up, some reactions are straight-up wild. Two times, I got people tripping like I insulted their grandma, and once, I got an actual threat. All cause I want some green for my art. Crazy, right?

Let’s break it down, fam: work’s got value. You wouldn’t ask for it if it didn’t. If you want my design magic in your project, gotta slide some compensation my way. Cash is the usual deal, but I’m open to other vibes too.

Consider this:

Let’s hash it out, keep it real, and make this a win-win.


Like a gym bro:

Alright, gym warriors, let’s pump up the volume on this work talk! 💪🔥

So, when it comes to slaying that work game without getting that green, it’s a flat-out NO. Exceptions? Well, maybe if the stars align, bro.

After grinding for a solid 25 years, I’m still getting hit with those requests for freebies. Graphic design world ain’t holding back, you know? But let me drop some knowledge on how I handle this.

When I shut down those unpaid gigs, most folks get it. But hold up, some reactions are straight-up nuts—outrage and even a threat! Can you believe it? Saying no is like dropping a barbell on someone’s foot.

Here’s the scoop, fam: work’s got gains. If you want my design flex, gotta cough up some compensation. Cash is king, but we’re open to flexing with other forms, you feel?

And now, let’s flex these consideration points:

These points are the pre-workout for our discussion. Let’s make this a beast-mode collaboration and keep crushing those gains! 💯🚀 #NoFreeWork #GymFlex #CompensationGains


🎸 Yo, baby, let’s shred this free work scene, 80s style! 🎸

(Verse 1)
In the neon-lit city, 25 years in the groove,
Still getting asked for free, it’s time to make a move.
Graphic design world’s got this crazy dance,
But my art’s not free, not given by chance.

(Pre-Chorus)
When I say no freebies,” they don’t get it right,
Some folks react like it’s a hair band fight.
Outrage and threats, man, it’s outta sight,
All cause I wanna get paid for my design light.

(Chorus)
Work’s got value, like a rock ballad’s heart,
If you want my magic, gotta play your part.
Cash is the key, the green from the start,
But I’m open to other vibes, let’s make some art.

(Verse 2)
Check the scene, it’s a wild ride,
Pro bono work’s rare, it’s got my vibe.
Not cause they asked, it’s my personal drive,
In the graphic design jungle, I strive.

(Pre-Chorus)
When I say no freebies,” it’s like a guitar solo high,
People losing it, like a 80s hair band cry.
Two times the drama, one time a threat in the sky,
For wanting a paycheck, oh my, oh my.

(Chorus)
Work’s got value, like a power ballad’s flame,
Acknowledge it, baby, it’s not a game.
Design contribution, it’s not just a name,
Reciprocity’s the rule, it’s the fame.

(Bridge)
Cash, equity, or a skill swap dance,
In the 80s groove, let’s take a chance.
Reciprocal vibes, a sweet romance,
In this hair band saga, let’s enhance.

(Chorus)
Work’s got value, like an anthem’s beat,
Compensation’s the rhythm, it’s oh-so sweet.
Alternative returns, make the deal complete,
In this 80s ballad, take a seat.

(Outro)
So here we are, in the neon glow,
Considerations laid out, let the hair band show.
Fair and mutually beneficial, let’s let it grow,
In this 80s design world, we steal the show. 🤘✨