Would you work without pay?

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livesoft
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Would you work without pay?

Post by livesoft » Thu May 29, 2014 8:32 am

I help develop drugs for infectious diseases and cancer. I have the opportunity to work without pay. Should I do so even though I need to pay for my children's college expenses as well as my normal living expenses of shelter, food, clothing, health care, and transportation?

Would you work without pay?
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by niceguy7376 » Thu May 29, 2014 8:43 am

Though it sounds cheesy/dreamy/wont happen type, I can only afford to work without pay at this juncture of my life if I have 2 mil (in current dollars) in all my accounts combined.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by dbr » Thu May 29, 2014 8:46 am

I put in many hours a week working without pay, but the job is not the job I had when employed and probably doesn't really exist for pay as such. Maybe that is not what you mean.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by kenner » Thu May 29, 2014 8:49 am

livesoft wrote:I help develop drugs for infectious diseases and cancer. I have the opportunity to work without pay. Should I do so even though I need to pay for my children's college expenses as well as my normal living expenses of shelter, food, clothing, health care, and transportation?

Would you work without pay?
I probably would, depending on options, needs and goals. I would welcome the satisfaction of helping others, but I am quite certain (make that definitely certain) I would not want to toil 60 hours per week without monetary compensation. I'm in my mid-60s.

I definitely would donate time to assist people who might benefit from my professional experience.

Based on the help and wisdom you impart on this forum, Livesoft, I suspect that you are more than willing to spend time helping others.
Last edited by kenner on Thu May 29, 2014 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by Raybo » Thu May 29, 2014 8:50 am

By work, I am assuming you mean full-time. If so, no.

But, if it was something I enjoyed (speaking, programming, bike touring), could control my own time, and do it only when it suited me. Maybe.

I do volunteer at Alcatraz (anyone need a personal tour?), but that is, at most, once every two weeks.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by cheese_breath » Thu May 29, 2014 8:51 am

This will probably become a very controversial thread if moral issues are brought in. Your profession is noble, but so is caring for your family. You seem to be hinting at the age old question, should I sacrifice the few for the good of the many? This implies you don’t have the resources to meet your family’s needs and work without pay at the same time. I suspect almost everyone will give the “family comes first” answer, primarily driven by emotion. But instead of giving an opinion, I would like to pose a couple more questions. If you don’t pay for your family’s needs, is there someone else who will? If you don’t work on curing diseases is there someone else who will?
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by Ged » Thu May 29, 2014 8:51 am

You have to take care of yourself and your family before you can take care of others.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by HardKnocker » Thu May 29, 2014 8:57 am

Nope.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by mhc » Thu May 29, 2014 9:01 am

Since the question is "Would you work without pay?", the answer is yes. I have in the past and still do. Usually, I call it volunteering. I have worked in a homeless shelter, taught classes, coached a team, ... without pay.

Since I am not financially independent, I still work for pay to save for retirement and pay the current bills. I have to balance working and volunteering. If I could, I would volunteer full time.

Nice guys finish first!

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by rkhusky » Thu May 29, 2014 9:05 am

I would, once my other obligations are taken care of.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by Andyrunner » Thu May 29, 2014 9:05 am

livesoft wrote:I help develop drugs for infectious diseases and cancer. I have the opportunity to work without pay. Should I do so even though I need to pay for my children's college expenses as well as my normal living expenses of shelter, food, clothing, health care, and transportation?

Would you work without pay?
Will it advance your career? I'm assuming it will be a good on your resume. Will you gain good contacts? These are questions I would have. Your work without pay deal might change in 2015 with Shared Responsibility taking effect (unless your job roll is specifically classifed as a volunteer).

Also depends if your working for a non-profit or a for profit company. Being you develop drugs, I would assume someone will get royalties...will you be missing out on this?

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by mmmodem » Thu May 29, 2014 9:17 am

I'm one of the lucky ones and am actually working my dream job. Well just barely, I love what I do which is making precision optics for space flight telescopes. My dream is to have my name immortalized on a tiny laser etched placard to float eternally through the emptiness of space. I also love the challenge and interactions I get from work.

I would work for free and I plan to volunteer my time when my family financial obligations are met.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by pennstater2005 » Thu May 29, 2014 9:21 am

Is this at a different company then the one you currently work at? If it's with the same company could you just take reduced pay?
Last edited by pennstater2005 on Thu May 29, 2014 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by goodenyou » Thu May 29, 2014 9:26 am

I work without pay every single day. Most of it is not by choice. There are a lot of people (and insurance companies) who refuse to pay for medical services.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by abuss368 » Thu May 29, 2014 9:27 am

A lot of speculation.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by rob » Thu May 29, 2014 9:29 am

Assuming this is not a charity that you believe in -> Does the guy in charge also work for free? How about the electricity for the building? I can be fairly confident that I know the answer to the first and can guess the answer to the second..... Do you have an ownership right in the business - because working for free in that case is just a different form of payment.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by cfs » Thu May 29, 2014 9:32 am

There are only two answers

Here is the simple test: Do I believe that this type of work is involved in a just cause?

Did you answered yes? - Then It is okay to do it for free.

Did you answered no? - Then don't do it, even if getting paid.

Thanks for reading.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by MathWizard » Thu May 29, 2014 9:41 am

livesoft wrote:I help develop drugs for infectious diseases and cancer. I have the opportunity to work without pay. Should I do so even though I need to pay for my children's college expenses as well as my normal living expenses of shelter, food, clothing, health care, and transportation?

Would you work without pay?
No.

I assume that this is a serious post.
Working without pay is volunteering. If it truly is work without pay, and you are not the owner, then I suspect the
employer would be in violation of min wage laws.

If you are financially independent, then it would be feasible for you. However, I assume that not everyone there is working
without salary.

Economics are how we allocate resources in this society. We might not all agree what is most important, but we do
vote with our dollars. If the place needs to ask people to work without pay, then it probably is not viable long-term.
Likely it would be better for you to move on to another company that is viable, since then there would be a greater likelihood
that your efforts would be going towards a viable goal.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by Rob5TCP » Thu May 29, 2014 9:42 am

I have, though it was only 1 of my clients.
They REALLY were a poor non profit. I would work 5-6 hours and send a bill for 2
(or frequently forget to send the bill). My billing rate for them was less than half my usual.
When they became larger, I was less generous. In the beginning, I saw the salaries
and even the head made a fraction of what I did.
I believe in what they do, but now they have a large endowment and I charge them
50% of my regular rate, but all hours are billed for.

Ironically some charities I offered free time and all they wanted to me to do office work
or do data entry. That would be a complete waste of my skills.
For some reason, one non-profit had someone (who they paid about $175+ per hour for the same skills),
so they didn't need me to do it for free?

Go figure?

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by House Blend » Thu May 29, 2014 9:43 am

livesoft wrote:Should I do so even though I need to pay for my children's college expenses as well as my normal living expenses of shelter, food, clothing, health care, and transportation?

Would you work without pay?
I thought you were already financially independent. In any case, why bring up the expenses unless you actually need more income? Maybe it's the ambiguity of "need".

For me the answer to "Would you work without pay?" is a qualified yes, and soon will be not just hypothetical, although I'll probably do a stretch of phased retirement first.

The yes part concerns the research projects and partially finished (grad-level) monographs. I'll be working on those and keeping up in my field with or without salary.

Teaching undergraduates for pay? Administrative duties? No way. If I could avoid those two duties there wouldn't be much point in retirement at all until dementia or physical disability sets in.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by munemaker » Thu May 29, 2014 10:18 am

livesoft wrote:I help develop drugs for infectious diseases and cancer. I have the opportunity to work without pay. Should I do so even though I need to pay for my children's college expenses as well as my normal living expenses of shelter, food, clothing, health care, and transportation?

Would you work without pay?
You really need to provide more information.

Is this volunteer work part time on the side of other paid employment? If you are speaking of volunteering full time, do you have the means to sustain yourself and your family? From your comments about college and living expenses, the implication is you do not. So if you do not have the means to support yourself and your family, how can you consider volunteering full time?

If you do have a source of income to cover your expenses, then it becomes a personal decision on what you want to do with your life and your time.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by hsv_climber » Thu May 29, 2014 10:22 am

Why can't we just call it "volunteer"?

Many of us have done volunteering in the past and plan to do it in the future.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by MathWizard » Thu May 29, 2014 10:24 am

I'm going to qualify my previous answer.

After I'm FI, I will work (rather than sit in front of the TV), but I will not work for someone else for free.
I will however work for myself for free, as I already do.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by Tanelorn » Thu May 29, 2014 10:32 am

Isn't this the equivalent of dumping cheap labor on the market for cancer researchers (or whatever)? If too many people take less than a fair market wage, the market wage will fall and discourage others from pursuing this career. It's not clear to me that that's good for the long term health of the industry, in the same way countries get in spats over dumping cheap goods on foreign markets to drive the local competition out of business so they can monopolize the sales (at higher prices) later.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by linguini » Thu May 29, 2014 10:40 am

I would not work for less than is required to support myself and my family. But I also volunteer in my spare time by applying the same work skills I use in my career to charitable organizations. After I have a suitably large enough income stream through investments, I would love to "retire" into full time volunteer work. I'm not sure if that means the answer is yes for me?

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by Rodc » Thu May 29, 2014 10:42 am

dbr wrote:I put in many hours a week working without pay, but the job is not the job I had when employed and probably doesn't really exist for pay as such. Maybe that is not what you mean.
Me too as I do a lot of volunteer work.

In your case I would probably not go to no pay for something very similar to what I could do for pay.

If I did not need the money and the no pay situation had much less stress that might fall into some class of "not similar".

If not only did I not need the money but I had so much money I could not figure out what I would even do with more money, that would also factor in (I might give up the pay so another person could get hired for example).

A side job for a small amount of time might also be another class of situation.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by DTSC » Thu May 29, 2014 10:48 am

A completely practical question: You don't "owe" your children a college education, but what will you live on? How will you pay your bills?

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by Gattamelata » Thu May 29, 2014 10:49 am

livesoft wrote:I help develop drugs for infectious diseases and cancer. I have the opportunity to work without pay. Should I do so even though I need to pay for my children's college expenses as well as my normal living expenses of shelter, food, clothing, health care, and transportation?

Would you work without pay?
For me it really depends on the circumstances.

I have worked without pay in the past, helping to build startups with people I knew to be ethical and reliable and with whom I had worked in the past. I was ultimately in these cases compensated with founder status, but there was a considerable period without pay.

If I were financially independent, it would alter my thinking a bit, but I would call that volunteering, rather than working without pay. That way the people I'm working for understand that I regard it as service rather than employment. The obligations are different, in my opinion.

It would also depend somewhat on the reason for no pay. Is it temporary? Is there a promise of back pay? Are benefits provided?

My principal regrets about periods when I've worked without pay is how it impacted my retirement savings - ineligibility for IRAs and a lack of employer-sponsored plans.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by 6miths » Thu May 29, 2014 11:08 am

I have worked without pay in the past and agree that I would consider it volunteering. Taking time off work (at financial cost) and incurring expenses to do work in Africa and other low resource settings has always had its own rewards for me and has helped keep life in perspective. Recently, I 'retired' from making the 'big money' and now work for pay that is at a rate of maybe 5% of what I used to make in dollars. But now I am doing what I really enjoy and feel like I am making a much larger contribution. I thank the Bogleheads and my parents (values not monetary!) for helping me get in to a position where I actually had the choice.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by DVMResident » Thu May 29, 2014 11:14 am

Livesoft, we work in the same field. Most projects go nowhere. Additionally, there's a lot of peripheral issues like politics, grants if you're in academia, etc that take up a huge amount of time and effort. I also have a family.

First, I would take care of my family and myself. In this case, I would not work without pay.

If I was fairly confident my family was set, I would consider working unpaid (start up? non-profit? orphan diseases projects?) only on my own terms: work on projects that were (1) well funded, (2) have the potential to make a big difference in people's life, (3) had momentum, and (4) were unique (as many people are working on the same targets, especially in oncology). I'd probably work in the lab 2-3 days a week and do data analysis/write reports at home to avoid the day-to-day politics. If the projects were not stimulating or were dragging for non-science reasons (e.g. politics, funding), I would leave and do something else.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by bloom2708 » Thu May 29, 2014 11:18 am

I would say "Yes" if you can wake up and every day can be a Saturday.

Can you wake up and choose to "work" if you want to or choose not to?

If not, then I wouldn't do it.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by FelixTheCat » Thu May 29, 2014 11:37 am

Is the company going to give away the drugs for free? I doubt it. Why should you work for free?
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by dbr » Thu May 29, 2014 11:50 am

bloom2708 wrote:I would say "Yes" if you can wake up and every day can be a Saturday.

Can you wake up and choose to "work" if you want to or choose not to?

If not, then I wouldn't do it.
Of course a lot of volunteer opportunities can involve commitments that don't allow one to just not show up on any given day. The opportunity can be worth it.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu May 29, 2014 12:02 pm

mhc wrote:Since the question is "Would you work without pay?", the answer is yes. I have in the past and still do. Usually, I call it volunteering. I have worked in a homeless shelter, taught classes, coached a team, ... without pay.

Since I am not financially independent, I still work for pay to save for retirement and pay the current bills. I have to balance working and volunteering. If I could, I would volunteer full time.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by kidfresh » Thu May 29, 2014 12:04 pm

I worked for no pay, although most of my room and board were paid for, in Thailand for a small consulting company. The idea was I would get experience in a start-up environment, probably be hired eventually, and there was also potential for lump-sum earnings from freelance work.

I would not recommend it. The obvious reasons not to work for free is that you don't live for free and the company presumably doesn't run for free.

Most importantly to me is that if you're not being paid, your time is pretty close to worthless to your employer. I had to do all kinds of crap that never would have made sense from an efficiency basis if I had been paid even $10/hour. While working for free may get your foot in the door, I found that it failed to compel my employer to find valuable/meaningful work for me to do.

The start-up venture ended up failing anyways. I came away from it all having spent considerable amounts of my own money and didn't make a dime. My inner Buddhist accepts that it was a valuable experience - because failure and mistakes offer lots of learning potential and because I was able to live in Thailand for a year and gain SOME good work experience (much less than I had imagined though). But, still, I would not recommend you repeat my mistakes.

I will fully admit that my experience is probably a worst case scenario.

As for volunteering, if that's what we're talking about, of course you should. Sadly, many things worth doing in the world are not financially lucrative. But if I've learned anything from the Bogleheads, it's that counting your money should only occupy a small space of your mind so that you have the time and energy to go do the other things you find meaningful.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by Bracket » Thu May 29, 2014 12:32 pm

livesoft wrote:I help develop drugs for infectious diseases and cancer. I have the opportunity to work without pay. Should I do so even though I need to pay for my children's college expenses as well as my normal living expenses of shelter, food, clothing, health care, and transportation?

Would you work without pay?
Is the company that will not be paying you going to make a profit from the sale of the drugs you develop for free? If so then I would say some of that profit should be yours.

In my case I would not work for free at my current job in my current situation. I don't love it and I need the money I earn to, you know, pay for stuff. If I won 10 million dollars today I would quit tomorrow and switch careers. At that point, being financially independent, I would not care whether I was paid or not, and would be more interested in doing something I love and making a contribution to the field.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by billern » Thu May 29, 2014 12:37 pm

kidfresh wrote:Most importantly to me is that if you're not being paid, your time is pretty close to worthless to your employer. I had to do all kinds of crap that never would have made sense from an efficiency basis if I had been paid even $10/hour. While working for free may get your foot in the door, I found that it failed to compel my employer to find valuable/meaningful work for me to do.
This would be my main concern. I see this even for people who paid employees who just aren't being paid market wages. Their employer knows their capability and, presumably, their worth but they are asked to do menial things from time to time because they are cheap labor. The easiest way to get out of this trap is to get paid more.

If you want to be charitable, take your wages and savings and donate to a charity you believe in. There is also nothing wrong with volunteering your free time, just don't make it your job.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Thu May 29, 2014 1:32 pm

I have often said that one particular job that I had years ago was so much fun that I almost felt guilty being paid for it. If a similar opportunity presented itself and I felt I didn't need the money, I would consider it. I don't have the energy that I did 30+ years ago, so I would only do it part-time and on my own schedule.

If I did not enjoy the work itself or had a real "need" for more money, I would not consider working without pay.

Edit: Also, if others were being paid to perform the same job by the same entity, I would not do it without some compensation.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by HornedToad » Thu May 29, 2014 1:50 pm

Unless the company is extremely small, you can make better use of it than they can. Therefore, take the paycheck and donate 100% of it to the charity of your choice. If the company has charitable matching, then it's even better....

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by retiredjg » Thu May 29, 2014 2:01 pm

livesoft wrote:Would you work without pay?
If I wanted to be involved in that pursuit and if my financial needs were met....yes, I'd work without pay.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by KyleAAA » Thu May 29, 2014 2:02 pm

Are you referring to volunteering? Then yes, I would volunteer.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by livesoft » Thu May 29, 2014 2:15 pm

HornedToad wrote:Unless the company is extremely small, you can make better use of it than they can. Therefore, take the paycheck and donate 100% of it to the charity of your choice. If the company has charitable matching, then it's even better....
My spouse thinks along the same lines: She can make more money working and send it to charities than the value of her time for the charities. That is, her contributions can pay for 2 or 3 people doing what she would be able to do volunteering.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by livesoft » Thu May 29, 2014 2:41 pm

KyleAAA wrote:Are you referring to volunteering? Then yes, I would volunteer.
Actually, I was really referring to drug companies giving away their drugs for free to people with infectious diseases or with cancer.
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by pjstack » Thu May 29, 2014 2:55 pm

Well, what have you decided to do?

(I don't believe you are actually asking for advice. How the heck would any one of us know what is best for you?)
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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by rkhusky » Thu May 29, 2014 2:57 pm

livesoft wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:Are you referring to volunteering? Then yes, I would volunteer.
Actually, I was really referring to drug companies giving away their drugs for free to people with infectious diseases or with cancer.
Thought you might be referring to this post: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=140106.

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by linguini » Thu May 29, 2014 3:30 pm

livesoft wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:Are you referring to volunteering? Then yes, I would volunteer.
Actually, I was really referring to drug companies giving away their drugs for free to people with infectious diseases or with cancer.
Like pharmaceutical assistance programs? I'm not sure how that is related to working without pay. :confused

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by retiredjg » Thu May 29, 2014 3:56 pm

linguini wrote:Like pharmaceutical assistance programs? I'm not sure how that is related to working without pay. :confused
I'm not sure either, but livesoft derives great joy from being inscrutable, so we should do our parts to help him be happy. :D

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Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by hicabob » Thu May 29, 2014 4:27 pm

I have worked without pay before - most of us who have started companies have done so, but hopefully not for too long.

If doing it altruistically, I would expect others in the venture to also do the same - I would want patent/royalty rights and would only do so if I had nothing else I would prefer to be doing.

asset_chaos
Posts: 1405
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:13 pm
Location: Melbourne

Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by asset_chaos » Thu May 29, 2014 4:45 pm

I'm a scientist too, and the science part of my job I'd do for free. Certainly I've worked the science part happily for much less money than I'm paid now. But the other parts of the job, budgeting, people management, internal reorganization meetings, chasing funding, marketing, for those they have to pay me. In a way I consider the pay to be for all parts of the job that I don't particularly enjoy and that the other parts I'm doing for free anyway.
Regards, | | Guy

rixer
Posts: 618
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:18 pm

Re: Would you work without pay?

Post by rixer » Thu May 29, 2014 4:48 pm

I won't even work FOR pay.

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