The machine of positive reinforcement is at full throttle when it comes to designers and what is considered “spec work”, a concept so detested by designers at all levels, while at the same time hurling at stakeholders and clients words like “Value” as a sacred cow who we all should bow down and protect at all costs.
The truth is that very little people actually care about value, and they are constantly get stared down by “real designers” who would never work “for free”, making sure to point out that that’s how we devalue the whole industry and this is why clients are unwilling to pay for quality design.
On the other hand, we praise those designers who “hacked” the system by working at no cost for somebody like @garyvaynerchuck or another big name for X time, then hitting an amazing position at the big name’s company.
Or the person who did a 3 months UX redesign of a popular product, posting it on Medium to roaring praise and deafening virtual hand claps, gets the attention of the product team of said company, and gets a junior position there, and then updating us, in an party emoji filled post, full of hope and optimism for the future, encouraging the reader to do the same.
Value is like energy
Remember the whole “Always under promise and over deliver” thing? That’s actually the mental frame you should use when approaching work. When you hit a good job agreement, no matter what is the currency you’re getting paid with and you over deliver, the dividends you might miss in the short ride will accumulate in the long run.
People are people
At the end of the day, people are just people and they want to work with people who they’ve enjoyed working in the past, currency is nice, but experiences matter more and that means you getting paid in equity / barter / ect might be more beneficial for you in the long run, and for me, that is what matters in the end.