Beware of Upwork.com

If you’re considering signing up on Upwork.com, or moving your Elance.com account over, be wary. As for me, I’m not planning on signing up on Upwork again.

Upwork.com recently absorbed Elance.com. I used to hire some people from Elance, so I clicked the button to move my account over.

First, they got my name wrong and wouldn’t let me change it without an ID verification (it had the name of a previous employee for my now ex-company under which I’d set up the account). After an email with a support rep I decided to close the ex-company’s account and create a new account for myself.

After closing the account, I received this email (with the name of my old company, not “[company name]”):

We wanted to let you know that Upwork has closed or suspended the account of [company name], a freelancer you work with.
Unfortunately this means that your contract with them has been terminated as well.
While we can’t discuss why the account was closed, please be assured that our focus is to ensure a safe and trusted workplace for you. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have questions feel free to contact Customer Support.

I’m assuming that Upwork intended this message for my vendors and customers, not for me. Would you want your customers getting that email? I wouldn’t. I won’t make a new account on there – if I did need to use it, I certainly wouldn’t want to add any customers or vendors as potential targets for slanderous email.

How to compose a message without seeing your inbox in Apple Mail

Of course you’ve read all the email advice from David Sparks and LifeHacker. So, I’m assuming you’ve turned off email notifications and badges and set Mail to only fetch manually.

But, how do you compose an email message without getting ambushed by your inbox appearing?

I use this trick in Apple Mail to keep my in boxes accessible but hidden, and compose a new message without having to see my inbox:

  • Open Mail *
  • Select an empty mail folder ** (I add one to my favorites bar so command-8 selects it. On a related note, I close the email sidebar and have my frequently accessed inbox and archive folders in the favorites bar).
  • Minimize the Mail window (command-M or click the yellow button). This puts it down in the right side of your dock (or bottom if your dock’s on the side). This means when you bring Mail to the front, your in boxes will stay minimized. No ambush.
  • To compose a new message, click-hold on the Mail icon (the app, not your inbox) in your Dock and select “Compose Message”. You get a new message window, and no in boxes. Compose (body, subject, then address, of course, per MacSparky’s excellent advice) and send.

* At the time of this writing, I’m using MacOS 10.10.4 with Mail 8.2.
** This prevents inbox ambush if you do accidentally un-minimize your mail reader window.