I realise that by writing this blog post I’m drawing attention to a brand that I’d prefer not to advertise at the moment. But I just have to get my feelings off my chest because I’ve honestly been so bleak for the past few weeks about this issue. There are also lots of worthy, talented South Africans out there who may benefit from the site, who I want to help shelter from making the same mistakes I did. So I thought I’d just share my story and how bleak I am that I no longer have access to UpWork. Who knows, maybe a miracle will happen 🙁
In the Beginning There was Upwork
As many of you know, my husband (pretty much) lost his job last year when the clubbing industry collapsed in Cape Town. I’ve been the sole breadwinner for our new family (we recently got married) and it’s been tough. But, I have a great day job and we’re newly weds so the hard times have been OK as we’re still madly in love and full of optimism. Because of this blog, I’m also given a lot of opportunities but, as we all know, “cash is king”. So I decided to start freelancing this year to develop my skills further and earn some extra monies. I know that the more you do, the more you learn, the faster you grow, the better you are – well that’s my belief anyway.
Upwork to the Rescue
So I joined Upwork; an internationally renowned freelancer platform and LOVED the ease of use. I had 1 client who I helped on a small basis and got him some really nice results. I was pleased, so I took on another client. This client was very nice, but took AGES to get anything done! She had hired me for a 2 hour job, loved it and asked me to do more. So I spent some time trying to setup the tech, created a proposal for her and I logged all the extra time – in Upwork – but she never paid it.
Not knowing what to do, I sent her a sheet with all the logged time on it, hoping that she would approve it and we could move on. I felt that trust was important and being from a third world country, I was skeptical of working and working and working and not being compensated for my time. So I asked AGAIN about the hours to which she replied, ”
So I did!
Immediately after sending the invoice I didn’t feel good about it as I’d have preferred her to just approve the hours within Upwork. But I figured she probably had to request more budget from her boss and just wanted a doc to prove there was outstanding work. But I wasn’t sure (as I’d never freelanced before) so I reached out to Upwork to ask if they had any freelancer support.
BIG MISTAKE! The platform that I had trusted with my personal information and faith had turned on me and I received the following reply:
Under the Upwork T’s & C’s I had broken a rule called Circumvention, a word I had never heard of before and I was banned from the site. EVEN THOUGH I HAD OUTED MYSELF! WHY?!
So I wrote back to them and said, “No! There’s been a big mistake! Help!” And this was their reply:
Upwork’s T’s & C’s say:
THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I DID! I IMMEDIATELY MAILED asking for support and notifying them of what had happened. I even wrote to the client to tell them what had happened and they wanted to help me and apologised for the miscommunication! THE CLIENT TOOK OWNERSHIP!
I know this is such a loser thing to say, but I’m honestly SO HEARTBROKEN over this! I know that seems lame, but it’s true. When you know you’re a good person and you make an honest mistake and you get punished for it, IT’S TOUGH!
What About the Client?
This brings me to Upwork’s ethics. They’re obviously eliminating people who they don’t feel they can trust with money – yet the client doesn’t get kicked off the site! Yes, it means that they can continue to compromise the integrity of the site, but the freelancers can’t! I REALLY feel like that’s capitalism at it’s best, YOH!
Where To From Here?
After suspension, you can keep using the website on existing clients, but can’t take up new work. So it’s ok for them to continue profiting off you even though you’re SUCH a bad person, a liability. And the fact that the CLIENT is so unjust. It really feels like the little guy is getting screwed.
UPDATE: Even though my existing client is very happy with my work, I feel like if I can’t use the site properly then I should close it. So I informed my client and tried to close it – AND NOW IT WON’T CLOSE!!! ARG! I’m just trapped in Upwork limbo!
A part of me feels like this blog post is totally and utterly pointless. But, as I said, this has really made me TRULY sad. I think it’s because I know I’m a good person, a decent person, a hardworking person, a person of integrity and I’m struggling to accept this mixup. How can I be punished for being honest? I guess what they say is true – life isn’t fair 🙁
I know I shouldn’t care, but I do. My honour cares. My integrity cares. I’ve honestly been so down about this because I just pride myself on my work. I believe hard work gives you purpose in this world and knowing that it’s been taking from me has REALLY hurt me. I know this was a rookie error, but I just don’t believe that I deserve the response I’ve received.
I guess somewhere deep in my heart I feel like if I share my story then it will help someone or by some miracle it will even help me. There’s still good left in the world somewhere right?
Anyway, thanks for reading and good luck if you decide to use Upwork. It’s a really great site and if you take pride in your work like I do, I believe you can really help others out there.
Have a happy day.