Work for Free, Maintain Your Integrity?

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Jul 20, 2009 5:04 PM
According to this Reuters story, everyone from poor little college grads to day laborers at airports are starting to work for free just so they can say they're doing something with their time. But I'm skeptical. Sure, the economy may be in the pits, but yuppies working spiffy marketing gigs for free isn't the same as laborers being asked to scale back hours as baggage handlers. Those yuppies would be mooching off mom and dad and working fun jobs for free even if nationwide unemployment was cut in half. And while the labor market is probably being squeezed more now, laborers always dealing with cut hours and reduced pay. This is not necessarily a symptom of the recession; it is more likely to be just another reality of the free market, which benefits even these workers when all is said and done.