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„Der Paul war der Dolmetscher bei einem Choraustaustasch zwischen den St. Nicholas Singers aus Northwich, UK und unserem Kinderchor, den „Kolibris“, hier in Koblenz, Deutschland. Ohne ihn hätten wir es nicht geschafft! Er war fleiβig, sympathisch und sehr effektiv.“
Ulrich De Waal, Chorleiter, Koblenz-Pfaffendorf, Germany, April 1976

Working for free? Why? Er… why not? PDF
Tuesday, 12 January 2010 00:00


Ever thought of working for free? Lots of people do. Do we really need to be paid money for our work? After all, if we are paid money, we have to give some of it to the government in the form of income tax and other stoppages. So, why not work for payment in kind? This can work out to be quite valuable and also great fun.

Since I retired in 2005, I have pretty much only worked ‘for nothing’. First of all I renovated a house in Ronda for an English lady in return for free board and lodging and other treats.

I repeated the exercise two summers ago for a friend from my student days who lives in Luxembourg. A month decorating a large house from top to bottom was rewarded by board and lodging, slap-up meals out, trips to the opera, concerts and a summer romance!

I regularly did odd jobs for an American lady who lives in Ronda. In return she kept an eye on my apartment, when I was away, checked my post and welcomed visitors on my behalf.

Other unpaid but well-rewarded work has included translating restaurant menus, one in exchange for a patio table and four chairs (I needed the furniture; he didn’t!). The other menus were done in exchange for slap-up meals for two. I have also written articles for a newspaper in exchange for free advertising.

Before I emigrated to Spain I spent a half day doing odd jobs for a lady in Cheshire paid for by a nice meal out, and did some remedial work in a kitchen for someone else in exchange for a rather fine coffee table.

In 2008 I taught two Spanish classes to expatriates in Ronda in exchange for… whoops! I only got a free cup of coffee?! Oh, well, I enjoyed it (the teaching AND the coffee), so no pasa nada.

Working for free? It makes a lot of sense, especially in a recession. However, if people want to pay me cash instead, that’s OK too!

© Paul Whitelock


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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