A group for work exchange/work related things? (1 Viewer)

plasticlife

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Hey. I’ve travelled pretty extensively via Workaway, and WWOOF. I’ve found that that platform is perfect for people who are aspiring automatons who enjoy humiliation and mistreatment and generally sadistic dynamics with landowners. I’ve also had some moderately ok experiences. I’ve yet to have experiences like the countless likely bullshit sycophantic reviews I’ve read. On that note, many honest reviews get redacted or removed entirely, or people are less likely to leave poor reviews for fear of getting a poor review. What a useless review system. To that end, as those work exchange sites go, we could use this site as a platform to warn people away from particularly nasty hosts.
 
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roughdraft

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I give this a strong motion of agreement -

I don't know if it's better in South America, I've done this mostly in Chile, some in Argentina, Brasil and Colombia, I have never touched any of these projects in the US or elsewhere.

I''ve so far had one truly great experience, where I went and worked for them again and they're people I stay in touch with, then a couple reasonably good ones that I didn't regret, a couple of others with people who were legitimately friendly and appreciative, though the work wasn't exceedingly meaningful - then a few that were basically as you described, shady people lookin to take advantage - seeking "aspiring automotons", you put it more well than I ever could.

It's also interesting that you described so many reviews and comments as 'sycophantic'. These sites really do highlight a lot of the problems of modern people, sometimes it seems people were trying to find something real and just settled halfway.

Now I've called a couple (only, I admit, and somewhat regret that it hasn't been more) of these attitude-heavy hosts on their shit and left amicably because they apologized and in the end were obviously not *trying* to be shitheads, even got, twice, free "final departure" rides into town and even offered fuckin breakfast after confronting someone. Wild, but I would never count on that again, and nobody should ever be in that position to begin with. Although there's something to be said about using your leverage, standing up for what you know is right (when that opportunity comes by....) and being prepared to walk away if things aren't right.

My empathetic side tells me that there's something to be said about people in general not managing their own stress well, being all up in their own shit and losing sight of things, and they "need" a friendly wakeup call. Granted that doesn't always apply, and it's always unacceptable for someone to seek volunteers and then be a fuckin asshat.

Yes, some people are just wack. There was another case where I didn't even want to hear anymore of their nonsense and vanished without a trace in the middle of the night. It had been 3 bad hosts in a row and these were the dumbest. I think some people are just prone to be shit and they think it's alright the way they are because xyz and there ain't much you can do to assaude them to being rational. I could go on about possible reasons why that is the case, but who am I to judge, and even if there'd be a point this isn't the thread.

-

I admit that I've never left a bad review and it's exactly for the reason you stated, if I leave one then someone else is inclined to leave one for me. It is what it is, maybe it's cowardly, I just don't think it'll be effective/favorable.

Another issue is, for example, I'd heard from someone - showing up somewhere and the person was particularly audacious, saying they weren't going to feed them but they could stay there, basically misleading/false stuff in their profile, hoping "well they came all this way so they'll deal with it" a bait and lure type scenario.

Well this kid didn't do that, he said "Well the fuck is wrong with you, how do you expect me to want to stay here and work for you now?", leaves, then goes to log on (this was on Workaway) to leave a bad review, and the guy had deleted his shit with which they'd communicated prior - and made a new one that only 'slightly' resembled the previous one - then he couldn't leave a review on their new profile because the system hadn't detected messages between *them* or something like that. So unsurprisingly there are loopholes, and that could then lead to endless bullshit traps for innocent folk.

anyway this isn't my blog so enough now - hopefully there'll be something useful to glean from all that. A neutral ground ought to exist to put particularly bad hosts on blast, and this could be the place.

Have you looked at the "Shady & Untrustworthy People" section here? It sort of operates on a similar principle, but on much bigger/more dastardly shit.
 
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plasticlife

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I give this a strong motion of agreement -

I don't know if it's better in South America, I've done this mostly in Chile, some in Argentina, Brasil and Colombia, I have never touched any of these projects in the US or elsewhere.

I''ve so far had one truly great experience, where I went and worked for them again and they're people I stay in touch with, then a couple reasonably good ones that I didn't regret, a couple of others with people who were legitimately friendly and appreciative, though the work wasn't exceedingly meaningful - then a few that were basically as you described, shady people lookin to take advantage - seeking "aspiring automotons", you put it more well than I ever could.

It's also interesting that you described so many reviews and comments as 'sycophantic'. These sites really do highlight a lot of the problems of modern people, sometimes it seems people were trying to find something real and just settled halfway.

Now I've called a couple (only, I admit, and somewhat regret that it hasn't been more) of these attitude-heavy hosts on their shit and left amicably because they apologized and in the end were obviously not *trying* to be shitheads, even got, twice, free "final departure" rides into town and even offered fuckin breakfast after confronting someone. Wild, but I would never count on that again, and nobody should ever be in that position to begin with. Although there's something to be said about using your leverage, standing up for what you know is right (when that opportunity comes by....) and being prepared to walk away if things aren't right.

My empathetic side tells me that there's something to be said about people in general not managing their own stress well, being all up in their own shit and losing sight of things, and they "need" a friendly wakeup call. Granted that doesn't always apply, and it's always unacceptable for someone to seek volunteers and then be a fuckin asshat.

Yes, some people are just wack. There was another case where I didn't even want to hear anymore of their nonsense and vanished without a trace in the middle of the night. It had been 3 bad hosts in a row and these were the dumbest. I think some people are just prone to be shit and they think it's alright the way they are because xyz and there ain't much you can do to assaude them to being rational. I could go on about possible reasons why that is the case, but who am I to judge, and even if there'd be a point this isn't the thread.

-

I admit that I've never left a bad review and it's exactly for the reason you stated, if I leave one then someone else is inclined to leave one for me. It is what it is, maybe it's cowardly, I just don't think it'll be effective/favorable.

Another issue is, for example, I'd heard from someone - showing up somewhere and the person was particularly audacious, saying they weren't going to feed them but they could stay there, basically misleading/false stuff in their profile, hoping "well they came all this way so they'll deal with it" a bait and lure type scenario.

Well this kid didn't do that, he said "Well the fuck is wrong with you, how do you expect me to want to stay here and work for you now?", leaves, then goes to log on (this was on Workaway) to leave a bad review, and the guy had deleted his shit with which they'd communicated prior - and made a new one that only 'slightly' resembled the previous one - then he couldn't leave a review on their new profile because the system hadn't detected messages between *them* or something like that. So unsurprisingly there are loopholes, and that could then lead to endless bullshit traps for innocent folk.

anyway this isn't my blog so enough now - hopefully there'll be something useful to glean from all that. A neutral ground ought to exist to put particularly bad hosts on blast, and this could be the place.

Have you looked at the "Shady & Untrustworthy People" section here? It sort of operates on a similar principle, but on much bigger/more dastardly shit.


Super incredible post here! I have met a couple great people off of the platform, don’t get me wrong. I think the best way to describe my beef with it and others like it is that it has a real capitalist flavor to it that leaves a terrible taste in my mouth.

What you described about people being entitled, lost in their own mind, doing a bait and switch as far as hours were concerned, is really common. I’ve had the thought several times that “This person said they need help with farm work, but what they really need help with is themselves.” And I mean that with the utmost seriousness.

I too have called people out on their shit in varying degrees, and heard such gems as

“Leadership is all about manipulation”

Last place I was at was a “hippie” dude pushing 60 with a “farm” (massive junkyard with a few large planters) that depended on government handouts, and him asking for money from volunteers. Hold on, I’m supposed to cook, clean, do hard labor, and pay you? Nothing wrong with any of this per say but when done with a sanctimonious, self righteous attitude, FUCK YOU. Haha. Sorry for the vent. When I got there it’s me at 28 and three 18 year girls on a gap year. Always making comments about their bodies. Again, I’m not shitting on anyone for their lifestyle, I’m shitting on the human tendency to violate trust and abuse power. Common sense says, don’t make sexual passes at people in your care. Beyond the predatory undertones, he spoke to all of us like we were idiots and complained about the quality of work. I think many hosts have become jaded because their grifty ambitions of for profit business with volunteer labor proved to be an absurd and untenable business model. If people want quality work, they should pay for it, especially if they are a for profit business. It’s telling of where the world is headed that I feel naive making that statement.

I’ve been places where I felt that the work and treatment could be at least somewhat reasonably justified as showing people how difficult subsistence farming could be, but I think most people go stupid with the power and try to SCALE their business on free labor, rather than SUPPLEMENT what they were already capable of doing by themselves. Really, fuck these people. Typically, it’s these people who refuse to provide any kind of structure, guidance, orientation, for the work performed because they “go with the flow”. That’s fantastic, I love when people live how they want, but having respect for someone’s lifestyle and playing weird manipulative expectation games are not the same thing. I can’t tell you how much rework I’ve had to do due to lack of planning, lack of explanation, and shifting expectations. Not to mention the general lack of fucks given for people’s safety, unsafe conditions, poor instruction creating an environment ripe for injury, etc. Flexibility is required, but what many hosts really seek is a kind of voyeuristic validation in which they enjoy being watched by people while working out what they believe is a master plan.

On the topic of pay and stipends, I was told by a host something to the effect that the payment offer was due to pressure from the government on Workaway. Basically telling them, if you operate a for profit business, you have to offer some kind of payment. How much was the stipend you ask? $200. A month. For 40+ hours 6 days a week, in a shared bunk room, with canned goods to eat from a local dollar store, lol. Can’t make this shit up.

Where you and I diverge is that I’m kind of pulling my hair out and think that generally speaking, people who are 50 and beyond who haven’t worked out their attitudes of entitlement and abusive tendencies due to trauma, and posture themselves as of greater moral fiber because they farm organically, and host practical children from the world over and welcome their total dependence, are basically shitheads and sociopaths and no different than the countless perverted desperate stooges that litter the workforce. I’d argue that in itself is kind of dastardly in a self ignorant way. I’m a bit bitter and hateful at this stage in my life, can you tell? 😅
 
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roughdraft

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people who are 50 and beyond who haven’t worked out their attitudes of entitlement and abusive tendencies due to trauma, and posture themselves as of greater moral fiber because they farm organically, and host practical children from the world over and welcome their total dependence, are basically shitheads and sociopaths and no different than the countless perverted desperate stooges that litter the workforce. I’d argue that in itself is kind of dastardly in a self ignorant way.

i agree with you there, there are cases and cases, they say 'you can't fix stupid' but maybe some stupid people get on with stupid people. not all of them are hyper-predatory or whatever but yeah i wouldn't put it past 'the type'. & there are a lot of people who put on the front "yeah it's a farm" or "organic" but then they're burning trash, or worse, they've barely got an operation going. Yeah, gotta be careful out there

What you described about people being entitled, lost in their own mind, doing a bait and switch as far as hours were concerned, is really common. I’ve had the thought several times that “This person said they need help with farm work, but what they really need help with is themselves.” And I mean that with the utmost seriousness.

I too have called people out on their shit in varying degrees, and heard such gems as

“Leadership is all about manipulation”


1. yeah i have met people who were just looking for friendship, which hey it's kinda like.. fine.. if you aren't going too far off the beaten path, but disingenuous - which is really not fine.

then i knew a couple who were WWOOFing in Ireland and after a couple days they started delegating the girl to babysitting, meanwhile she was just as into the actual farm work as the boyfriend was, so they had to split from there because there was just a lack of respect, and sort of a "catch-all" hey i can get you to do whatever, since you're here, type shit.

another guy told me a story about some woman out near Steamboat Springs who just automatically assumed he would want to spend every waking moment of his free time with her, which was really very sad to me. Assumptions are never good to make, she assumed too much.

Then this same thing happened to me, I worked for somebody in a school, and the work was great and I liked my students - but this guy didn't seem to realize that I'd rather go to the gym *alone* and not spend all my fuckin time and do every activity with him. It was pretty obvious he wanted to parade me around like his American monkey to get attention from women/potential clients, which I had to put my foot down over, because I was putting a lot of energy into the work and needed to do my own thing. Again, just sad, the guy has issues, but I knew I was already doing more than enough *for him*.

2. Unrelated anecdote, I met a guy who managed a hostel who told me that after "so much time trying to be a leader" he gathered that "people don't want to be led, they want to be dominated". I guess it depends on the person, but that comes across as pretty fucked up. depending on how you slice into the rest of this too it can get pretty complicated.
 

plasticlife

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i agree with you there, there are cases and cases, they say 'you can't fix stupid' but maybe some stupid people get on with stupid people. not all of them are hyper-predatory or whatever but yeah i wouldn't put it past 'the type'. & there are a lot of people who put on the front "yeah it's a farm" or "organic" but then they're burning trash, or worse, they've barely got an operation going. Yeah, gotta be careful out there




1. yeah i have met people who were just looking for friendship, which hey it's kinda like.. fine.. if you aren't going too far off the beaten path, but disingenuous - which is really not fine.

then i knew a couple who were WWOOFing in Ireland and after a couple days they started delegating the girl to babysitting, meanwhile she was just as into the actual farm work as the boyfriend was, so they had to split from there because there was just a lack of respect, and sort of a "catch-all" hey i can get you to do whatever, since you're here, type shit.

another guy told me a story about some woman out near Steamboat Springs who just automatically assumed he would want to spend every waking moment of his free time with her, which was really very sad to me. Assumptions are never good to make, she assumed too much.

Then this same thing happened to me, I worked for somebody in a school, and the work was great and I liked my students - but this guy didn't seem to realize that I'd rather go to the gym *alone* and not spend all my fuckin time and do every activity with him. It was pretty obvious he wanted to parade me around like his American monkey to get attention from women/potential clients, which I had to put my foot down over, because I was putting a lot of energy into the work and needed to do my own thing. Again, just sad, the guy has issues, but I knew I was already doing more than enough *for him*.

2. Unrelated anecdote, I met a guy who managed a hostel who told me that after "so much time trying to be a leader" he gathered that "people don't want to be led, they want to be dominated". I guess it depends on the person, but that comes across as pretty fucked up. depending on how you slice into the rest of this too it can get pretty complicated.

I think that many people who believe that are totally lost in the material world and conflate influence and material wealth with holiness/ascendence. There may be truth to what both of them said, I just don’t care, and fuck them haha. If they were just full on psychopaths they’d be a lot more powerful, I suspect. I have loose ambitions to form a community, and while I acknowledge my own shortcomings of which there are many, particularly in my treatment of others that are dependent on me, I’d never think to be that cynical about it. It’s been so frustrating me because I would love to be able to help people who are in those positions more, but the whole prospect is indicative of a codependent mindset that I don’t want to live out. The whole tone of what I’m saying is ultra harsh, forgive the salt, just extremely jaded.
 

Eng JR Lupo RV323

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Yeah this is a fantastic suggestion. If people aren't able to review these places out of fear of receiving negative reviews yourself (I've never used those sites but it sounds like blackballing yourself?) That's kinda fucked. I feel like this platform could work really well as a sort of "yelp" in a sense. Operating like the shady & untrustworthy section. Can't exactly say some of those cases aren't bias but as additional people chime in on those cases and back up the claims, the more they begin to take shape and carry some weight. Seems like we could set something like that up with reviews of said worksites that y'all are on about. I know they wouldn't be able to utilize the loophole @roughdraft outlined. All in all it's a really good suggestion imo. What's your opinion, @Matt Derrick ?
 

Matt Derrick

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i mean, to be totally honest, when 1 out of 10 woofing experiences i hear is positive, and it's basically been that way since as far as I can remember, it sounds like the whole damn thing is broken and probably shouldn't be participated in at all.

but, if people wanted to make posts alerting others to bad actors in this realm, it seems like the sub-forum Work Exchange Housing in the Where to Sleep section of the forums would already be the most ideal place to post something like this.
 
D

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I've had mostly good experiences with helpx.net but you do need to complete your due diligence! Don't just email people and go there. Figure it out:. How are you getting there, how are you getting back, ask them specifically what kind of food is being offered, where are you sleeping and get them to take photos of the place and send you pictures of your sleeping arrangements.

I will say that it's still not largely accepted in North America but I'm not exactly sure why. I can't put my finger on it. Like i said I've had amazing experiences in Scotland, Portugal, the Netherlands and England. I've had okay ish experiences in Ireland, one negative experience in Amsterdam and an absolutely horrific experience in Spain. The guy in Spain was American and thought it was like an actual job and belittled anyone than didn't want to work 14 hrs/day. That's a job fuckhead, pay me!

My problem was as a noob I didn't fully ask the hard questions about the terms and conditions of the exchange; then when I got there I was too scared to speak up and leave.

Now that I've gotten a few years of travel under my belt I know what to ask for and what to expect. I also have an escape plan if shit goes south. Make sure you have FUCKIN' bus fare to leave town if he/she is an asshole! And for God sakes don't be afraid to speak up if you feel you're getting exploited. It's a WORK EXCHANGE, not slave labor.

For me the max I will work now is 14 hrs/week for a bed or 20 hrs/week for a bed and food. Again, do not be afraid to speak the fuck up and have an escape plan ready! You can indeed have an amazing time but read the profile thoroughly and know what you are getting yourself into.

And as for review, don't be afraid to leave a bad review. If they're an asshole (like American dude living in Spain) don't be afraid to let the world know. I have over a dozen positive reviews on my profile and ASK for a positive review if you've done a good job. So I'm not afraid of some dipshit trying to smear me. However I'm in the position now where I will thoroughly do my research and if it seems shitty I won't even waste my time going there. In the case of the Amsterdam woman she lied about the working condition and so I left a bad review for her. She blew up my email calling me all sorts of names and I corrected her on her false advertising. In the case of the Irish guy he didn't lie, more like he didn't exactly tell the whole truth about what was expected of the workload. It was like " oh do this and this, AND this task etc etc". Not mentioned in the ad.

Hope this helps.
 

plasticlife

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I've had mostly good experiences with helpx.net but you do need to complete your due diligence! Don't just email people and go there. Figure it out:. How are you getting there, how are you getting back, ask them specifically what kind of food is being offered, where are you sleeping and get them to take photos of the place and send you pictures of your sleeping arrangements.

I will say that it's still not largely accepted in North America but I'm not exactly sure why. I can't put my finger on it. Like i said I've had amazing experiences in Scotland, Portugal, the Netherlands and England. I've had okay ish experiences in Ireland, one negative experience in Amsterdam and an absolutely horrific experience in Spain. The guy in Spain was American and thought it was like an actual job and belittled anyone than didn't want to work 14 hrs/day. That's a job fuckhead, pay me!

My problem was as a noob I didn't fully ask the hard questions about the terms and conditions of the exchange; then when I got there I was too scared to speak up and leave.

Now that I've gotten a few years of travel under my belt I know what to ask for and what to expect. I also have an escape plan if shit goes south. Make sure you have FUCKIN' bus fare to leave town if he/she is an asshole! And for God sakes don't be afraid to speak up if you feel you're getting exploited. It's a WORK EXCHANGE, not slave labor.

For me the max I will work now is 14 hrs/week for a bed or 20 hrs/week for a bed and food. Again, do not be afraid to speak the fuck up and have an escape plan ready! You can indeed have an amazing time but read the profile thoroughly and know what you are getting yourself into.

And as for review, don't be afraid to leave a bad review. If they're an asshole (like American dude living in Spain) don't be afraid to let the world know. I have over a dozen positive reviews on my profile and ASK for a positive review if you've done a good job. So I'm not afraid of some dipshit trying to smear me. However I'm in the position now where I will thoroughly do my research and if it seems shitty I won't even waste my time going there. In the case of the Amsterdam woman she lied about the working condition and so I left a bad review for her. She blew up my email calling me all sorts of names and I corrected her on her false advertising. In the case of the Irish guy he didn't lie, more like he didn't exactly tell the whole truth about what was expected of the workload. It was like " oh do this and this, AND this task etc etc". Not mentioned in the ad.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for your advice but as I stated, the experience you had with the Irishmen has been the norm. Bless up to anyone getting on the platform, recognize in the case of predatory individuals protected by a slanted review system, one can only do so much vetting.
 
D

Deleted member 25988

I deleted myself
Thanks for your advice but as I stated, the experience you had with the Irishmen has been the norm. Bless up to anyone getting on the platform, recognize in the case of predatory individuals protected by a slanted review system, one can only do so much vetting.
Yeah I agree. Thats why you just gotta have an escape plan if necessary. I would also say to email the other reviewers for the property. You can get a good insight into what it's like and decide whether you wanna go there or not. Worst case is you get there, it sucks so you gotta pack up and maybe tent for a night of two or stay in a hostel til you pick something else. Been there done that.

And when you find a good one keep going back! I've been to the same place in Scotland now three times and to Portugal I've been been twice. Theyre now some of my godd friends and it's always a good time. Even with the bitch Amsterdam lady I made a couple of good friends from a festival we did and am excited to go back if covid ever dies down...
 

roughdraft

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seconding all of what @fhertfuier5ty345b34hj has said and a tiny update ->

I just hopped back on and saw some updates to this particular site that I use; found that Workaway - nowadays - allows reviews to be posted "only to staff" and iirc it has always been that they shut hosts down and "do investigations" after 2 or 3 negative reviews

anyway I don't know about WWOOF specifically or using these "official sites" in the USA, but using Workaway in South America has been more positive than negative for me, and I sort of see a parallel between what fhert fuier is saying about his time o'er in Europe with HelpX; simply put I wouldn't pidgeonhole yourself, just branch out, shit can be a loooot more different
 

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