Photographers Without Borders
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Photographers Without Borders Employee Reviews

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2.0
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The intentions of PWB are pure and wholesome. The initial experience was rewarding, and I was granted a spectacular trip overseas that was also rewarding after a few years of volunteering. But the amount of work that is expected from people who are using their spare time to contribute is highly unreasonable and inappropriate. A lot of intelligent, kind, and giving people were a part of this organization and I loved interacting with them, but they were all eventually put off by the lack of appreciation as well as the toxic managerial style. Leaders were harassed for not getting their work done, which is often immense on done on free time on top of a full time job, all while being praised in the public forum. I know that I am not the only one who feels like they could of worked for PWB for a long time, but were immensely let down by the negative environment.
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1.0
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As a former employee (volunteer) of this organisation I can honestly say that anyone considering working for them be it either paid or on voluntary basis should steer clear while you can. I have not seen or worked for an organisation that is as mismanaged as this one.
Pros
none
Cons
see above
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1.0
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I joined PWB hoping it would give me an amazing experience, and skills that I can take to advance my career. I also joined with the impression that the workload, especially as a volunteer, would be reasonable.

The workload was closer to a full-time job, and I was really incensed to see such a huge demand out of highly skilled people. Videographers/video editors, journalists, accountants, Human resources and public relations experts, editors, directors and producers should not be volunteering their highly specialized skills for the workload that PWB demands. I also felt that with such an insane workload, the recognition for the work done was not fair. I felt like most of the recognition of PWB was given to the CEO, despite the whole force of people working for free to fund her success. I'm also surprised and disgusted that PWB has operated for over ten years, yet they still are unable to pay their staff.


Overall, I was disappointed, and didn't feel like I left the experience with any highly relevant skills. I'm actually ashamed to tell people I worked at PWB, and actively avoid putting it on my resume. All in all, it was a waste of time.
Pros
There were some genuinely nice people on the staff, who got horribly manipulated.
Cons
- The really high, unreasonable workload from volunteers.
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5.0
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I served on the board a few years ago and the one thing I have to say here is that the CEO is one of the best I have ever seen. Sure she has grown a lot, but the point is she is willing and wants to grow. I think she was only 21 years old or something when she started PWB and it’s come a long way since then. Most nonprofits don’t make it after years 1-3. I am a business and leadership coach and unfortunately we see this all the time: double standards for women, and especially women of colour.

Keep going PWB! You’re doing great work, especially now.
Pros
Ambitious goals and great leadership
Cons
Mostly volunteer roles only (but it looks like more paid positions are being added as PWB grows)
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5.0
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I loved dedicating time to work for PWB. This is a great team to work for. Everyone is super talented, friendly and great at what they do. I got to learn so much during my time here and I will be forever grateful of this experience.
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1.0
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This workplace and in particular the management is terrible.

Workload for a volunteer position was overload while it was clear that the higher up reaped the benefits.


Was threatened with legal action for a mistake that was not my fault as a volunteer.


The culture is heavily demanding while others do little to no work.


Avoid at all costs, it's a one person show and you're just someone behind the scenes. There are much better volunteer positions for good causes out there.
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Extremely disorganized. The CEO would be out of the country often, sometimes with warning but often without, and didn't often leave instructions. She would also change her mind frequently on directions in narratives without communicating to the team, and then would be unreasonably angry when we didn't follow through because we simply weren't aware she had changed her mind.

It's admirable that the team at PWB is run mainly by volunteers. However, especially in this economic climate when people are looking for work and desperate to be paid for their skills, it feels deeply unethical to demand what is essentially a full-time job from qualified people, for no compensation whatsoever. A free trip once every few years if the CEO likes you isn't worth the hours of work myself, and other skilled people, are contributing to this organization.
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1.0
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The job descriptions regularly say you work 10-15 hours/week as a volunteer, when it is actually closer to 40 hours/week, and these aren't volunteer positions - these are unpaid positions that are meant for highly qualified and educated people, doing jobs that deserve fair compensation. The management promotes a culture supporting "family" but regularly bullies staff and forces people who are qualified and eager to help, to leave. There is no compensation beyond the possibility of going on a free trip with PWB to work, which is only dependent on if the CEO likes you and the work you're doing.

Pros:

- The people who are attracted to the idea and vision of PWB are driven, ambitious, educated and wonderful people


Cons:

- Volunteering time, money, effort and energy to grow an organization without any compensation, or credit, while the person who founded the company reaps all the benefits of the labor

- Externally positive work environment, internally toxic work environment, with regular bullying, and gossiping, often perpetuated by the management

- Claims to be "woke" - and care about issues regarding intersectionality and privilege, when in reality, the benefits the organization offers is only given to the most privileged people - photographers have to volunteer and fundraise their time and money to shoot footage for PWB, and the organizations have to pay and host the photographer. The organizations with the least privilege are excluded from benefiting from what PWB has to offer.

- No compensation. The majority of these positions are volunteer, while the CEO utilizes
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5.0
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I am so lucky to be able to work with such an incredible team day in and day out. I'm lucky to be surrounded by inspiration, and to be able to use my skills in areas they are needed all around the world.
PWB is truly a dream job and I'm so happy to be here.
Pros
Monthly photo contests, amazing team, workshops abroad, globally-oriented, sustainable development-oriented, anti-oppression, intersectional
Cons
Neverending joy?
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5.0
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Photographers Without Borders is a pivotal place to gain experience and help other photographers' work gain attention.
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5.0
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Working with PWB has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career yet. I feel like I'm actually able to give my opinion and be heard when I have creative ideas. PWB works hard to make every dollar count on a very small budget and offers travel opportunities for staff who have demonstrated commitment.
Pros
Travel benefits, great leadership, great vision
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5.0
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I love working with Photographers Without borders! I have only worked here for 3 months so far but I find the experience very fulfilling. I love attending weekly meetings because the energy and atmosphere of the team is so positive and creative and leaves me feeling motivated and inspired at the end of each meeting.
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2.0
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I worked from Oct 2014 - July 2015 my review strongly matches the other one posted here. I was also refused payment though praised as one of the "hardest working and most passionate"

I also was told because of an NDA I was not allowed to "speak ill of PWB", I never signed anything and could not believe the audacity of the global project manager saying that to me after I had offered to finished my projects and she rejected flat out the offer after begging me to stay on.


Pros: all work is done on own time and from home/not in an office space

get to work with passionate caring open minded people

get to talk and work with people all over the world

can raise awareness for what ever cause you yourself are passionate about

travel opportunities

small work groups - tight knit team


Cons: little to no pay

travelling required - no reimbursement

long/abnormal hours required - Skype calls/meetings with people all over the world in different time zones

horrible management - no accountability - very little actual support

no training - given online manual to follow that is old and out of date or does not match what the Global project manager expects

current Global Project Manager is out of touch, and has not ever attempted managing a project (when I was there but got my projects when I left) but puts demands on the coordinators that she does not understand because shes never attempted the project

unorganized - no structure - have to self manage

promises of payment and benefits are made (job is unpaid but told you will get payment for reimbursement for project coordination)
 - more...
Pros
see above
Cons
see above
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Official response from Photographers Without Borders
21 December 2015
Volunteering for PWB requires an understanding of the complexity of our Organization and of our mandate. We expect your commitment to our Organization, to respect others, their individual experiences and to be able to cooperate in a team environment. It is a very rewarding experience for the right individual and a great place to grow!