Free Advice Friday: This Job Not That Job

It’s Friday. After the week I’ve had, I’m tempted to spell it “fried-day.” Glad the weekend — and a holiday — are upon us.

Since my brain is already out of the office for the week, let’s have some more poking-fun-at-bad-jobs time. Once again, this one is from Paula Hendrickson, our resident celebrity writer and all-around fabulous person. She’s also the driving force behind our upcoming Writers Worth Month. It used to be one day. Now, it’s a month of good stuff and worth-inducing love.

But before we get to the love, we have to wade through the trash. Paula sent me an email with a number of bad offers. This one, while seeming on the surface to be decent, doesn’t pass the final sniff test:

We’re looking for an editor deeply passionate about dogs and about publishing amazing, informative content. At (website link hidden), we’re building the go-to guide for dog parents, providing actionable knowledge that is not only wise and calming, but also uplifting and actionable. The perfect editor would be an enthusiastic dog parent excited to play a major role in creating the best online resource for themselves and others like them!

Responsibilities (a bulleted list of requirements…)

Skills

  • Expert speaking, writing, and reading English fluency
  • Significant experience assisting a fast moving tech company
  • Comfortable helping to define and refine the writing workflow
  • Extensive experience applying SEO best practices to web content
  • Experience with authority sites creating affiliate content

Commitment
We are currently working at a two ~2,500 word articles/week pace, but we’re looking to scale this to 10 articles per week in March, continuing to scale toward 30 articles/week by the end of the year. Exciting! We expect you to be able to review about 2 articles/hour at first, then 3-4 articles/hour as you become more comfortable with our systems. We’re looking for an editor looking to to grow long-term with our team!
We expect there to be about 10 hours/week of work for the editor to start, with the potential to grow to 20-30 hours/week over the next few months.

Process
Please submit examples of your written work and your editorial work along with your dog’s Instagram account. If interested in hearing more, we’ll send you an editing test with more info.

Sounds interesting, but wait. What’s the niggling feeling in the back of your brain? Right there. Your instincts are telling you something is amiss. Let’s look at what that might be. In fact, things seem to be going well until we get to this line:

Expert speaking, writing, and reading English fluency

Oh yes, they did. They just lumped you, a skilled, experienced writer, in with anyone who can speak English.

Significant experience assisting a fast moving tech company

Wait. What? This is freelance, isn’t it? what kind of “significant experience” do they mean? And “assisting” in what way? Let’s just overlook the lack of hyphenation, though we really shouldn’t. They should be able to string together sentences correctly in their own ad, don’t you think?

Comfortable helping to define and refine the writing workflow

Okay, I get it. An editor. But this part? Sounds like you’re completely on your own with the process. “Helping” usually means “We’re just going to let you do this part.”

We are currently working at a two ~2,500 word articles/week pace,

Wow! That’s a lot of writing.

but we’re looking to scale this to 10 articles per week in March

Ten? So 25,000 words a week? Do I get time to sleep?

continuing to scale toward 30 articles/week by the end of the year

Answer: No. No I don’t get time to sleep.

Exciting!

Not for me, it isn’t. But then again, you want an editor. All I have to do is coordinate the workload.

We expect you to be able to review about 2 articles/hour at first

Huh? You want me to edit 5,000 words an hour?

then 3-4 articles/hour as you become more comfortable with our systems.

Just. Back the truck up. Right there. So up to 10,000 words an hour. On your system. What the hell are you going on about?

Please submit examples of your written work and your editorial work along with your dog’s Instagram account.

Okay, we’ve just stepped into Crazy Town. Why would my dog have an Instagram account? He can’t type! Oh wait…. you want my Instagram account featuring my dog. Because now you think I have to prove I love animals, have a dog (why is this a requirement?), and have an account to use for promoting this company….

If interested in hearing more, we’ll send you an editing test with more info.

The fuck you will. I won’t be taking an editing test. My cover letter can tell you all you need to know about how well I can write and edit. And by the way, how much are you paying? Huh?

Okay, since this one is just batshit crazy in its requirements, fake enthusiasm, and insane workload, we’re bypassing it for something a bit more legitimate.

Backcountry Magazine(see their website for complete details and requirements)

Send us researched, original ideas with a strong backcountry hook, from current events to prolific characters to unique destinations. We are always looking for Feature ideas, as well as Destination stories for our Route Finding Department. Pitch us Profiles and Newsworthy items, Mountain Skills pieces, and Accounts of avalanches and other mountain mishaps as well.

Our standard payment for manuscripts is $0.35 per word.

While the payment is low, it’s for a set number of words. It’s one assignment. Not 4 per hour.

Writers, what’s the worst gig you ever saw?
What’s the worst you’ve ever applied to?

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Comments

  • Paula Hendrickson April 15, 2017 at 10:47 am

    I wish I could say this was the worst gig I’ve spotted, but as bad as it is, it’s not the worst.

    One of the many things I hated about this job listing was how vague it was. It SAID it was for an editor, but some requirements sounded more like marketing and management duties, and it also seemed like it was saying the candidate would also be doing some writing. I honestly don’t think they know what they want.

    And ANY job ad that tells you how long something “should” take is one I’d run from fast. When they focus on time, they typically don’t care much for quality. They want fast filler because they aren’t willing to pay for good work.

    Besides, even if I allowed my dog to have her own Instagram account, she’s just block these bozos. (And anyone who’s seen my Instagram account knows she’s pretty much taken over.)

    Reply
    • lwidmer April 15, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      That’s what I didn’t like too, Paula. The vague mentions of other things that go well beyond editing.

      Yes, the “should” take X amount of time pronouncements are huge red flags. That means they have no clue, but will expect miracles even if the requirements are impossible to handle.

      LOL Your dog is smart. 😉

      Reply