Fiverr: working for 5$ an hour in our globalized creative industry

Fiverr,

You’re like this terrible ex that no one needs

but which keeps on coming back

and I fall

desperately in your arms

and write stupid prose

as if you were

him

May 2021. I opened my mailbox, there’s an urgent red letter.

I knew, by the color only,

That it is not a celebration.

The Gemeente of Amsterdam

Wants me to pays for water and trash taxes.

I collected those throughout the years.

This accumulation of denials from 2018

Is a spicy bill of approximately a thousand euros.

Graduating in 3 months and without had any chance to find a waitress job,

Covid,

Led me to figure out another plan.

That’s how I met you, Fiverr.

It took me a little while to understand how you worked, what you were,

Also to believe I could possibly make any benefit from you.

You and your cheap services.

5, 10 to 15$ maximum.

What ethics, what a market.

But I had no option, so I gave you, gave myself a chance.

I had to think :

How will I capitalize on my nationality (French Language, French Accent),

My creative skills?

What are my assets?

In the same manner that I would publish a sexy selfie

I published my gigs.

I waited for a little bit and soon enough,

Orders started.

I could not believe it myself but yes,

I was working for less than 10$ an hour

Fulfilled by it.

After years of art school education

Trained to work for free

Seeing my practice as a hobby

That might never pay my bills

I was happily surprised

When one of my first clients asked to pay for my poems.

60 dollars were delivered to my bank account.

I felt for a moment that I could finally pursue my writing career,

Finally!

Although not exactly the way I imagined it.

How unused I was to believe that my skills and creativity were to a certain extent, valuable.

The thought that some people appreciated the skills that I possess,

Left me feeling weird, loved.

It is as if I have been so well trained into believing that passions

Won’t pay the bills.

Creativity’s unrecognition within society is

The biggest joke of our contemporary existence.

Fiverr, you prove us right

Not everyone has taste,

Not everyone can write,

Not everyone can create.

People need our skills.

I had made 60$, not a thousand.

Had a long way to go in order to pay the Gementee,

A way to realize that this globalized industry puts every creative into a competition

With prices so close to

An absurd minimum.

It got me… pretty delusional.

But was I getting any better offer?

No, so I kept on working for you, dating you Fiverr.

There’s something terrible, cynical, exciting about your ticking clock’

Always fearing a bad review.

Fiverr, you’re like, a black mirror episode coming to existence,

And I partake in it.

Am I, finally, the main character?

On a Wednesday morning, a stranger contacted me

Begged me to write her final dissertation paper

For her Hebrew bachelor.

For 80$ and three days — I accepted

“It had to be a performance”, I thought.

To pay someone so little

To write about a subject that I have no expertise about

For me to accept, and I did it though.

Strange how I now look at every transaction in an artistic manner

As to excuse the contemporary tone of this poorly paid and digested labor.

I am privileged to accept this condition,

To work in this globalized creative industry that does not pay millions,

Enabling the enrichment of creativity in poorer countries,

where working for 5$ a day is, perhaps, a great deal -

Somewhere else denying the fundamental work, pressure, time, and value

That designers and artists need

I am partaking in this,

As a resulting product of this complex new system creatives found themselves in

A grey landscape where the impossibility to be acknowledged and paid properly

Leads us to accept unethical ideals

All of this for our practice

Our expertise to remain.

Fiverr,

You’re this terrible ex no one wants to hear again about,

Still yesterday I accepted to read two sentences of a text

With my best french accent,

It’s so easy to love and hate you, constrained

Leading me to think of new systems

Regulations that will ground our practices

Hoping one day that they can be valued

Sustained.

French visual artist and writer based in Amsterdam. To contact me, morganebllrt@hotmail.fr