Yes, it's absurd. Some people think they're gods who get to decide what's a real job - and what's not. Highly manipulative, usually to get $$ out of it. Oh, the irony. By the way, I'll link my novel snippet below. Feel free to read - or ignore, that's perfectly alright!
It seems to be common knowledge in psychology that people respect things they pay for. Writing included. I know because I wrote sixty articles for a national newspaper in South Korea. Pro bono (for free, opinion pieces to gain exposure for my novel). Cheers!