Michelle Goodman’s Good Advice

Michelle_Goodman_headshot_1.JPGHere at FBLA, we try to be sensitive about the topic of lay-offs. Oh we thought we were so clever when we chose Memorial Day (get it?) when we posted about the whopping 3,000 jobs lost in the newspaper industry. Who knew that only a couple of months later we would be talking about 13,000 jobs lost.

We would like to point out that Mediabistro has a pretty kick ass job board.

We also came across Michelle Goodman’s piece in the NYT about when to work for free:

“We really love your work. And we have a great opportunity for you at our exciting new media venture.”


“We’re launching a new Web site/magazine/start-up and we’d love to have you do some consulting work for us. For free.”

My hopeful would-be client will then explain that his or her company is poised to be the next Google or that some former “Apprentice” contestant who’s long since faded into oblivion is on the advisory board. All this is meant to butter me up for the next line, which happens to be the sentence in the self-employment lexicon that I hate the most:

“It will be great exposure for you.”

No one ever filled a gas tank or bought groceries with exposure. The 20.9 million Americans working as consultants, freelancers, small-business owners and independent contractors are not keeping a roof overhead by getting paid in exposure, or “PIE,” as I’ve taken to calling it.

But writers, illustrators and other creative types aren’t the only ones who routinely get asked to donate their time and talents to clients devoid of outsourcing budgets. Business consultants, virtual assistants, bookkeepers, programmers, publicists and all other manner of self-employed professionals get offered platefuls of PIE, too.

Read the rest of the piece here.