What I’m listening to: Life by The Avett Brothers
It’s been a busy week after a hectic, travel-filled weekend. Friday was a maelstrom of stuff happening at once. I’ll go into that another time, but getting back to work on Monday was a bit of a relief. Who looks forward to work?
We freelancers do, don’t we? Well, unless the projects we’re facing suck, that is. Thanks to Paula Hendrickson, who sent over today’s nominee for Worst Job Ever, it’s time again for another episode of This Job, Not That Job.
While Paula sent two, this one in particular caused my blood pressure to jump:
We’re looking for writers to help create category descriptions for our Top 100 retailer clients. This is an ongoing opportunity for writers who can follow instructions and write quality English text. Your job as a writer is to create 250 – 300 word category descriptions for popular retail categories. Writers who apply early have the chance to establish themselves and consistent team players, gaining access to long-term work with exciting clients…
Payment: 4.5 cents – 6.0 cents USD per word
Here’s the first clue this job sucks — when you click on the Apply link, you have to first give your name, email, and create a password before you can see the details. Oh, but wait! You don’t see the details. No no. The next screen asks for your personal information. Why would you give all that to perfect strangers? Because they’re promising you’ll work with Best Buy and Bloomingdales, silly!
This is an ongoing opportunity for writers who can follow instructions and write quality English text.
Two (or three) things wrong with this sentence. They can’t possibly expect quality English text when they’re targeting foreign writers with these ridiculous rates. Maybe 4.5 cents per word is a fortune in a remote island nation, but here … well, you just try buying something with that. Go on. I’ll wait.
Then there’s the promise — the dangling carrot — of ongoing work. Right. So you can continue to underpay me for a longer period of time just because you can give me this “opportunity”? Do they not know that McDonald’s pays more? That minimum wage is actually worlds better? That paying for the electricity it takes to run the computer long enough to make less than twenty dollars a month would make this job more expensive than doing nothing?
Lastly, we have the insult:
…writers who can follow instructions…Writers who apply early have the chance to establish themselves and consistent team players, gaining access to long-term work with exciting clients…
Just watch how quickly those instructions become a moving target. You wrote category descriptions of 300 words each because that’s what was assigned? How could you not know we wanted 800 words? Or product descriptions? Why aren’t you psychic?
Oh, but you have the chance to “establish” yourself AS consistent team players (do we get to make the same typos?)… And you get to work with “exciting” clients…. No you don’t. You get to work with an a-hole who thinks so little of you they won’t pay you what your skills are really worth. Bastards.
Oh, and they’re promising you 4.5 cents to an earth-shaking 6 cents per word. Which begs the question: Why 4.5 cents? Why not 4? Or 5? Was it just too expensive to ask for that half-cent more? And what does one have to do in order to reach that dangling, albeit limp and rotting, carrot of 6 cents? Who warrants that?
The answer: No one. No one warrants that kind of abysmal payment. They think you don’t deserve an entire nickel. No matter what promises they’re making about you rubbing shoulders with household name companies, remember this – 4.5 cents. Per word. For category descriptions. So in essence, you could make about $11.25 a week if you bust your ass. Wait, no. You could make $13.50 a week. Gee, that sounds better?
Hell no it doesn’t. It sounds awful. It is awful.
We can do better. Like so:
Eating Well is a bimonthly national food magazine that focuses exclusively on eating healthfully. The magazine covers nutrition with a newsy, science-based approach. Recipes emphasize high-quality healthful ingredients, simple preparations and full flavor. The magazine welcomes ideas from new writers.
Pay rate: up to $1/word
Wow, at those rates, you might actually be able to afford to work!
Writers, what’s the worst job offers you’ve seen recently?
How low is too low for you? What’s your pain threshold?