I’ve come to believe that most employers are completely…utterly incompetent when it comes to dealing with workers whose lives (health insurance, vacation, work hours, compensation rates) they don’t control.
It’s not completely their fault…the culture of work (at least in the U.S.), is, even with all the changes we’ve experienced in recent years, based around the idea of employees depending on employers for fundamental elements of their life like health insurance (which is one of the reasons the ACA is such a massive deal.) So I get it…I get that most employers don’t understand what working with freelancers really means, and that individual managers and executives likely have to make pretty big mental and even emotional shifts when engaging with their traditional employees vs. freelance or contract workers.
Even with all that understanding, I’m over the “promises” some clients will use to eek out extra work.
We in the freelance community will bemoan the sin of promising exposure as payment for free labor, but make no mistake, “free” is a diverse concept. While it might be more offensive when requested flat out, there really is no different between a promise of unpaid exposure to start a project, and the dangling of “future work”, or even full-time employment for higher priority, a few “enhancements”, or a bit of crept scope.
If we’re going to be honest, whether a client is intentionally lying or conveniently dancing around reality, they’re coming up short of a truthful business arrangement, which is all that matters to you as a freelancer.
I’ve noticed this issue to be much more prevalent with startups and new entrepreneurs…which makes sense considering how much they frequently have to convince themselves of the fantasies of their own markets and hype themselves up around potential opportunity (realistic or not) of even their own efforts.