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Working for free

May 15, 2013

Klub citalaca 011

There are lots of times when it’s really worth it to work for free. Although it might not seem like it at the time.

I was promised a job on a tv show, with an apartment and a great salary. I got the job on the tv show. Just not a salary. Or the apartment.

On the show, I taught a Chinese lesson, danced with Bosnian rock stars, tried to hypnotize a chicken, acted the part of a reality show contestant, blew out candles on a birthday cake in a shower of confetti. I wore crazy outfits and had very big hair. I loved taking the run-down Sarajevo trams up to the huge brown building of the Federal Television Station, nodding to the security guard, paying 50 cents for a sugary coffee from the vending machine, sitting down at the computer to google Bosnian celebrities I’d never heard of, recording my voiceovers a million times, taking Bosnian elocution lessons, editing documentary shorts, overcoming stage fright and just generally joking around.



I had no money. The tv station cafeteria lady was my new best friend. My friend Elma freelanced for a pittance, getting paid by the news segment for her reporting. Dzanko said it was like working in a bakery and churning out buns.

If I had known in advance that they wouldn’t pay me, I wouldn’t have done it. But I’m so glad I did.

Klub citalaca 049

Ironically, two years later, they actually did send the payments that they had originally promised. There’s a two-year backlog. At the time it seemed like so much money; now I earn that amount every 2 weeks. Wealth is so relative.

But I still believe in unpaid work, in some form, as essential to creative development. That’s why I write this blog.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2013 12:46 pm

    Ma vidi ti nje kako to ona samo radi…
    Sretno K!

  2. May 15, 2013 5:49 pm

    What an amazing opportunity!!! It’s increadible the things you’ve done. 🙂

  3. May 16, 2013 2:51 am

    Love that you write this blog! Such a great ending to the post. I know what you mean about the creative life… 🙂

    Stunning pictures. Love the colors from the studio lights and you look gorgeous!


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