Company Calls Man 'Shyster' After He Refuses To Work For Free On 'Trial Basis'

If you gathered 100 freelancers together in a room and asked them to tell you their least favorite word, chances are that the most common term you'll hear is "exposure."

Because in a lot of cases, that's how potential employers will try to pay them for hours of work. And while it's widely considered ridiculous when a social media influencer tries to talk their way into a free hotel suite by offering exposure, it's worth remembering that they didn't invent that kind of raw deal.

Indeed, offers that either underpay or provide no pay at all for a serious undertaking are the kind of daily reality that independent creators and other freelancers have had to put up with for years.

But in one particularly bizarre case, a man found himself accused of trying to run a scam simply by insisting that his labor costs money.

When a social media strategist named Luke seemed to find a client for his services, their conversation started promisingly enough.

As he expressed in an email thread posted to Reddit, he told them that he could create accounts for them, craft marketing plans, design branding themes, improve their priority on search engines, and schedule posts.

All of this sounded good to the unnamed company he was speaking to, so they offered him a job on a "trial basis" starting the following Monday.

Although Luke was excited about this development, he wasn't sure what they meant by "trial basis."

And what he heard in response was that after an unspecified period of advising them on their social media strategy and creating content for them, they would consider his work complete and pay him if they were satisfied with what he did.

They told him not to be disheartened with this arrangement, but he couldn't help but wonder something:

"Does that mean I won't get paid if you decide you don't feel like it?"

He then reminded them that he typically charges the equivalent of $59 per hour for his work and expects to be paid in full with that in mind by the time the project is complete.

In response, he was told that the company's policy is to only pay freelancers if they're satisfied with their work to avoid scam artists and went on to say, "We are willing to look past your €50/hour fee in exchange for this working arrangement."

To Luke and the commenters who found this offer disingenuous, that sounded a lot like, "We'll forgive you for daring to suggest your work has a set value."

And considering that Luke described the company's Instagram page as "a patchwork of competing artstyles," he suspected this company had a pattern of refusing to pay for work and using the results anyway.

With that in mind, he told them that unless they could provide a written agreement that he would be paid at the time his work is completed, he would not be working with them.

pixabay | caio_triana--2513150

This prompted the company to send a final message telling him his attitude was "unamenable" to their standards.

Strangely, they also put his name in quotes ('Luke') and told him they had a strong policy against dealing with "shysters" before warning him that he's closed himself off from their business and that of their associates.

As one commenter pointed out, it's unlikely that Luke considered this a great loss if their associates have the same policy as they do.

As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.

h/t: Reddit | nitiddesigns