Having been in a quandary over how to move into Front End Development for way too long, I thought I’d found the perfect opportunity.
It was advertised as a new remote agency, working as part of a team, of people in a similar situation as myself. Fulltimers working outside the industry, people just starting out, looking to gain experience. An internship was how they put it.
I’ve had thoughts on this before, and it seemed commonplace for interns to not get paid in a monitary sense, but get paid in experience. Training, working in the industry, experience of working on ‘live’ projects….but in an agency, physically from a location point of view. However this opportunity was remote working.
So, Skype call was set up, I had questions and answers ready, but I was invited in with open arms, no questions asked. No reference to my skill level, no question about how much time I could put in, or was expected to. It really was that simple.
OK, cool (I thought). First team online meeting, the new recruits were divided up into teams, and projects assigned. Project managers assigned tasks to individuals, and all seemed positive. Small clients, paying very little (as I understand it), but clients none the less. I was actually going to get to build a live project, from scratch….friggin awesome right?
Well, my day job delayed me being able to put time in, and before I got a chance to sit and start, the backend dev took it upon themselves to start building the front end. Hmmm….So, they wanted to get the front end done so they could get their back end bit done? This is when my eyebrow went up, and questions started to be asked.
It was stated through indirect conversation that we’re all new at this, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn, and cross-team skill share was a keen point, but still…..What was I supposed to do now? My job was being done for me!
Next meeting came up and ideas were discussed, and it came to light that no contracts were in place, time keeping was going to be started (as we were hopefully going to get paid sometime in the future), and the skill sharing was again emphazied. Alarm bells now ringing, but I dulled them out with positivity of being in an agency, and being able to working on projects, and gain that all important experience.
So then this naturally led on to the question about portfolio…and listing sites I’d worked on. Response? “I’ve not thought of that, let me get back to you”. So, let me get this straight, I’m not being paid, not allowed to put the work on a portfolio, and you’re receiving any monies. But I’m gaining experience though, right?! Again, the valuable experience was what I saw through my rose tinted glasses.
After a few days of discussion with my wife, and other online friends, I realised “What am I gaining from this?”. Answer? Experience. But at what expense? Free labour? Time spent, which I could be putting into my own projects, which I can put on my own portfolio, without question.
So it came to the point where I ended it. I thanked them for their time, and politely stepped away.
I might be underskilled, and lacking experience, but I’m worth more than that, and I should be getting something back!
Selfish thinking? Absolutely not.
The right decision? Absolutely!
So, just be careful….what may seem like a great step forward could sometimes lead to the wrong path.