Friday, April 13, 2012

Them Cheapo Jobs

It's what got me started on this blog, and I have a feeling it won't be the last instance; I've come across (yet another) online job that embodies everything that’s wrong with too many online jobs. 

The listing runs almost 500 words to detail a scriptwriting job that requires expertise in an unusually arcane subject. To qualify, you must be able to show similar work. Must be a good paying job!   

It has all the usual formula stuff: the LONG TERM promise of more work; the plagiarism warning, but with the embellishment that you’ll be reported to “the proper authorities” if apprehended; the WORK FOR HIRE clause also in ALL CAPS, and in case you miss it it’s explicated for you: your name won’t appear anywhere in, on, or near the work and the buyer will own all rights including the right to make money from it.  

So far, though, apart from the overbearing tone, there’s nothing to find fault with. For myself, I’ve had bylines, but just about  everything I’ve ever written for money has been for hire. I don’t plagiarize, so while the warning is insulting, it’s no real problem.  

The kicker comes toward the end (it usually does, doesn’t it?).  think it’s an attempt to induce a sort of long-range hypnotic state: the buyer tells you it’s a VERY EASY job for a great writer like you, and you should bid fairly.  "Fairly” is pegged at no more than $30 per script.  

So what have we got?  
(1) The job may be easy if you’re versed in the very specialized medically-related subject matter; anyone else (whom the buyer tells you he wouldn’t accept anyway) could have one helluva learning curve to climb. But   
(2) If you’re the well qualified writer in (1)  – why should you do it for 30 bucks? Plus which,  
(3) “No more than“  means less than; they’re looking for someone desperate enough to bid lower.  
(4)  Long-Term Relationship: The pay is lousy but there’s more where that came from. I guess like in the old joke, you make it up in volume.  

I’ve seen the “VERY EASY/bid fairly” mantra several times now on a couple of job exchanges. ”This is a VERY EASY 30-page report.” Keep looking into my eyes. “… twenty VERY EASY 500-word articles.” Please don’t ask to be compensated for your work. Even though we’re going to sell it for a profit.  It’s the cousin of the guy who says he could do this assignment in twenty minutes, and would do it himself if only something important didn’t have him tied up.   

This particular job above, they might have trouble filling it even at a fair price. But the other lowball jobs that don’t have that kind of specialized requirement must be finding writers, because the jobs keep coming. I take a little comfort, though, in that things go in cycles. Other types of jobs are starting to come home from Hong Kong and Bangladesh.  Maybe writing, returned from “content” to respectability, could begin to pay again one day. 

Next: Some adult material