The article discusses the ambivalences that characterise the intertwinements between precariousness and free work in the Italian academia. On the one hand, we investigated how the free work is configured in the case of postdocs, who perform various additional and unpaid activities - not foreseen in their contract - in which, however, they identify themselves, being passionate about their job. On the other hand, we highlighted the invisible and not recognised work performed by precarious researchers in academia, carried out in the hope of obtaining, in the future, a greater stability and a recognition of competences and skills. Finally, we discuss about how the regulation of postdocs mostly contributes to the non-recognition of early career researchers in the Italian academia.
Keywords: University, boundaryless work, passion, recognition, promise