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Upwork rating algorithm punishes hard work, rewards scammers

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
31 of 69

@Charles K wrote:

Many of the most active forum regulars here are highly educated professionals with long track records, a lot of clients (many long term) and a large percentage of business obtained via invite. This makes them extremely unrepresentative of the freelancer base as a whole.


 Those people did not arrive here like that, you know?

At some point each and every one of them came here, set up a profile, mostly made a few mistakes (I know I made a LOT of them) and figured it out along the way, often learning lessons the hard way.

 

When people like that give their time freely and try to help others to succeed, then "Oh but you don't understand / know what it's like / it doesn't apply to you / you're lucky" etc etc etc is, in my humble opinion, not helping anyone. Nor is sitting in a corner and whining how unfair the world is.

 

People are free to take advice, and free to ignore it, or do the really smart thing and apply what makes sense and discard the rest.

 

People who become successful here didn't get to that point by sheer luck. And I would say most DO "know what it's like" because they've been there and done it and got the T-Shirt. That's how they learned...

 

By and large, those people DO understand, they just learned, often the hard way, how to make it work.

Community Guru
Reinier B Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
32 of 69

I think I may be an exception to the "It takes months to gain traction" rule. 

 

When I joined Elance a few years ago, I got my first job within a couple of hours via an invite from a client, and I was never out of work there after that. The only time I did not work on Upwork after migrating from Elance was the few months when I was working elsewhere, but I almost immediately  got a long term contract when I returned here, and have again never been out of work since. 

 

Yes, I was lucky, but because I was, it is easy for me to understand why so many newcomers get despondent when they do not succeed right from the start. 

Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
33 of 69

"Those people did not arrive here like that, you know?"

 

They didn't arrive with long track records on the site, but many or most did arrive with degrees and past experience that the average freelancer doesn't have.

 

Many also arrived years ago and got established when there was a lot less competition.

 

If I didn't have my education and the jobs I did many years ago, getting started back up here again would have been infinitely more difficult. I won't pretend that it was all a result of my great skill as a freelancer or whatever.

 

"When people like that give their time freely and try to help others to succeed, then "Oh but you don't understand / know what it's like / it doesn't apply to you / you're lucky" etc etc etc is, in my humble opinion, not helping anyone. Nor is sitting in a corner and whining how unfair the world is."

 

Most of the active posters here are not representative of the typical Upwork freelancer. Sorry. They just aren't. I'm not with my two MIT degrees and Elance/Upwork history going back to 2009, and you're not with your $300k earned, and Tiffany is not with her JD and experience as a lawyer, and Joseph is not with his $155 an hour profile rate.

 

We DON'T know what it's like to be in the trenches, because we don't have to be. I've been there years ago, and it's brutal.

 

And we DON'T know what it's like to be stuck with a JSS of 72% and have to claw back without the benefit of being able to show someone a nice resume.


It's all well and good to say that one can recover from a low JSS, but it's not easy and shouldn't be downplayed, especially by people who have tools to make it easier than the average Joe.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
34 of 69

 


@Charles K wrote:

Most of the active posters here are not representative of the typical Upwork freelancer. Sorry. They just aren't. I'm not with my two MIT degrees and Elance/Upwork history going back to 2009, and you're not with your $300k earned, and Tiffany is not with her JD and experience as a lawyer, and Joseph is not with his $155 an hour profile rate.

 

We DON'T know what it's like to be in the trenches, because we don't have to be.


 Don't you dare tell me what I know about "being in the trenches."

Just don't you EVER dare.

I can remember very well what it is like to have everything go wrong and wondering if the small change scraped together will be enough for dogfood and at least some pasta to eat for dinner.

You do not know a beeping THING about the path that brought the people you single out to where they are now. Not ONE beeping thing.

So PLEASE. Unless you know for certain that someone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth and spent their life having everything blown up their backside, do not presume to tell them they don't know, don't understand and haven't been there.

Just don't.

 

 

Community Guru
Reinier B Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
35 of 69

@Petra R wrote:

 


@Charles K wrote:

Most of the active posters here are not representative of the typical Upwork freelancer. Sorry. They just aren't. I'm not with my two MIT degrees and Elance/Upwork history going back to 2009, and you're not with your $300k earned, and Tiffany is not with her JD and experience as a lawyer, and Joseph is not with his $155 an hour profile rate.

 

We DON'T know what it's like to be in the trenches, because we don't have to be.


 Don't you dare tell me what I know about "being in the trenches."

Just don't you EVER dare.

I can remember very well what it is like to have everything go wrong and wondering if the small change scraped together will be enough for dogfood and at least some pasta to eat for dinner.

You do not know a beeping THING about the path that brought the people you single out to where they are now. Not ONE beeping thing.

So PLEASE. Unless you know for certain that someone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth and spent their life having everything blown up their backside, do not presume to tell them they don't know, don't understand and haven't been there.

Just don't.

 

+ As many kudos as will fit onto this page. 

 

However, I seem to remember some of Charles' posts in which he complained bitterly about how difficult it is to gain traction here, which makes me wonder about this new Charles. What happened to the old version?  


 

Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
36 of 69

"I can remember very well what it is like to have everything go wrong and wondering if the small change scraped together will be enough for dogfood and at least some pasta to eat for dinner."

 

I'm sure you do. Many people do.

 

But I wasn't talking about life in general. I was talking about this platform, right now, and what newcomers to this platform have to deal with that established people do not.

 

And most of the regulars here have no business telling others not to be upset about being stuck with low JSS (often due at least in part to questionable Upwork policy) or pretending that it doesn't matter. Because it does matter -- to them.

 

P.S. I don't expect my posts here to be popular (they rarely are) but to be clear, I am NOT saying that the successful people here didn't earn it, or anything similar. The outrage is a pure straw man.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
37 of 69

Charles K wrote: The outrage is a pure straw man.

 OK, so now you decide that you can tell me whether what I am feeling is real or not? The fact that I am extremely upset about the stuff you have spouted is "a straw man?"

 

Seriously?

 

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
38 of 69

@Charles K wrote:

"I can remember very well what it is like to have everything go wrong and wondering if the small change scraped together will be enough for dogfood and at least some pasta to eat for dinner."

 

I'm sure you do. Many people do.

 

But I wasn't talking about life in general. I was talking about this platform, right now, and what newcomers to this platform have to deal with that established people do not.

 

And most of the regulars here have no business telling others not to be upset about being stuck with low JSS (often due at least in part to questionable Upwork policy) or pretending that it doesn't matter. Because it does matter -- to them.

 

P.S. I don't expect my posts here to be popular (they rarely are) but to be clear, I am NOT saying that the successful people here didn't earn it, or anything similar. The outrage is a pure straw man.


 The newbie-daunting challenges that are specific to UW, have confronted every single one of us. Some of us have been better equipped on arrival than others to contend with those challenges successfully, which is a function of the experience we brought with us. So those who are new to UW and new to freelancing are up against a double learning curve. If they also happen to be new to earning their living, i.e. fresh out of school, then it's a triple curve. Some of us have navigated those paths sequentially instead of simultaneously. Nonetheless, we know things that newbies don't.

 

One of the most important things I've learned is that it's a waste of energy to be upset about things that are facts of life. I count UW's policies and procedures, including the JSS and how it's calculated, among those facts of life. From our perspectives as freelancers, it's a flawed system, and I wish they would change it--primarily along lines you have clearly articulated. I also wish there was a way to incorporate my own contract for services into Upwork contracts, so I would have some measure of meaningful payment protection against unscrupulous clients. (The time tracker is pointless for the work that I do.) I wish the milestone system were less cumbersome and more flexible. I wish the Message Center functioned in a way that is actually useful. I wish the tone, tenor and overall professionalism of UW's official communications approached the level of its best freelancers' and clients'.

 

I could spit in one hand and wish in the other, and see which fills up first.

 

It's natural (and probably healthy) to experience frustration when encountering professional obstacles that seem arbitrary and unnecessary. I would never presume to tell someone what they should not should not feel. But I have advised posters here--and will again, I imagine--to keep their feelings about it in proper perspective and focus on running their business in a business-like way. That includes learning as much as possible about the UW ecosystem and figuring out how to thrive in it--or decide it's not for them. It's often not what they are looking for, but it's a lot more useful than sympathy.

 

Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
39 of 69

Very well said, Phyllis.

 

Petra, that's not at all what I meant. Probably best to just drop it at this point.

Ace Contributor
Joseph C Member Since: Jan 1, 2018
40 of 69

@Charles K wrote:

 

They didn't arrive with long track records on the site, but many or most did arrive with degrees and past experience that the average freelancer doesn't have.

 

Many also arrived years ago and got established when there was a lot less competition.

 

 

Most of the active posters here are not representative of the typical Upwork freelancer. Sorry. They just aren't. I'm not with my two MIT degrees and Elance/Upwork history going back to 2009, and you're not with your $300k earned, and Tiffany is not with her JD and experience as a lawyer, and Joseph is not with his $155 an hour profile rate.

 

Upwork is a work marketplace. Whether working virtually or with a "brick and mortar" workplace, we all have different amount of experience and backgrounds and skills and abilities.  The fact that some of us "got in early" or have had a longer established background simply means we've climbed further ahead of the curve -- but it's the same curve that had us all inexperienced and stuck and hopeless when we started out.

 

A teen just starting out with an entry-level job should not directly compare himself to a (seemingly) comfortably established "old timer".  There's no way to match in terms of compensation, of work opportunities, of the credibility he has, or the list of experience and successes.  It's just not realistic.

 

But aspiring to achieve that is the right thing to do -- and learning how to do it (by learning from the successes and failures of those that have gone before) is the right path.

 

On the flip side, the "old timers" are under pressure from the lower wages and fresher education of the younger workforce.  The only way to keep moving up is to figure out ways to go up the value food chain to command higher rates.

 

 

 

I've worked to get my rate up to where it is -- not just on Upwork, but over my entire career.  Compared to my peers (in "the real world") with the same background and expertise, I'm actually about the middle of market rate.

 

I don't think it would be right to call it lazy, but I do think it's right to frown upon a passive approach waiting for jobs (or invitations) to arrive.

 

Decades ago, the president at one of my first jobs pointed out that we don't get rewarded for being comfortable.   That's stuck with me.  However, with the passing of years, I've realized that I don't have to be soaking in discomfort, either.  The trick is to work your way out of unnecessary discomfort.

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