Yes, it happens. Unfortunately, it is happening more as companies are taking advantage of employees who fear they will lose their jobs if they don't comply.
I typically don't write about workplace issues on my blog. However, in the past couple of years, younger engineers have asked me to be mentors for them. I would be an awful mentor, if I didn't warn of this ridiculous practice that some employers utilize.
If you are asked to work for free, you should immediately do the following:
1. Say no. If you are not comfortable saying no, it's time to start working on a walk-out plan.
2. Update your resume. Whether you say no or not, your company is on a downward spiral of abusing and disrespecting you and you need to be ready to move.
3. Update (or create) your LInkedIn profile. The job I have now is the result of a recruiter finding me on LinkedIn. I make a habit of keeping my profile up to date and engaging with recruiters on a regular basis, even if I'm not actively job searching at the moment. They always appreciate honest feedback when a posting does not work for me and they always keep me in mind when they are looking to fill other positions.
4. Start keeping records. Chances are there are other actions happening that you may not agree with or that make you feel disenfranchised. I hope you will be comfortable contacting your HR department for help. If not, this information will come in handy when completing your exit interview with the company. If you leave, let them know why―honestly and respectfully.
Are there times when your employer is justified in asking you to work for free? Perhaps. If you were properly trained and made mistakes that lead to re-working and impacted schedule and budget, you should be a professional and do what you can to fix the situation. Make your work product the best possible. But notice I said, "if you were properly trained". This includes having appropriate oversight for the task you are performing.
If in doubt, talk to HR. Don't let millionaires force you to sacrifice so they can have a higher profit.
#31DayBlogChallenge day #4 is done!