Returning to the scene of the crime

As you might have noticed, I haven’t been posting for a while (did you miss me?). Part of it was laziness, part of it was being busy looking for work. I actually thought I had addressed the second issue, but it seems I was wrong.

A brief explanation: I have basically had two jobs in my adult life. The first started as a temp situation that turned into a 22-year stay. The second was just a casual conversation about additional freelance writing assignments that blossomed into 12 years as a writer/editor. Both positions ended through no fault of my own, the first for a re-organizational downsizing, the second when the newspaper was taken over by another publication. point is, I’m not used to looking for work and this process has been an education, to say the least. A lot of friends have offered well-meaning suggestion, but they operating under what has become outdated methods. “Networking” is the key word; unfortunately, most of the people in my network are in the same situation: veteran writers who have few options since traditional newspapers are circling the drain.

Image result for seoI must be on about a half-dozen job sites, looking for various combinations of writing and editing. Problem is, very few companies seem to be interested in a) the type of writing and editing I’ve been doing for the past decade-plus; b) anything but writing specifically in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and numerous analytics; and c) paying a decent wage.

Here’s a representative posting for the second point:

Responsibilities include:

  • Top editing every piece of content that gets published on the site daily, including headlines, making sure each piece is optimized for SEO
  • Leading key editorial initiatives, acting as a project lead
  • Writing newsy content and/or longer features on a weekly basis
  • Working closely with all members of our team including audience dev and SEO, presenting weekly reports to the editorial team on traffic and strategy based on post performance
  • Being the “standards keeper” for our editorial content, ensuring consistency across teams

And here’s an example of the last item:

– Complete a minimum of 2500 words per day (6 days per week).
– Your starting pay will be $0.50 per 100 words.

Just for context, that’s about 10 pages, double-spaced.

So if my math is correct — and that’s never a given — that’s $12.50 A DAY. And how much do you think the rate of payment will increase? Even if it’s doubled, that’s $25.

Look, I get it: there’s a ton of competition out there and companies are fighting to pry eyes away from other sites. Plus they want to save money. But I find it incredibly disheartening and not a little bit insulting that this is what potential employers are offering.

You know what, folks? You get what you pay for. I’m sure there are a lot of students who are looking to pad their resumes with “professional writing” credits. All this comes with a price when it comes to quality, but, sadly, it seems that fewer and fewer people care.

Does anyone know if Trader Joe’s is hiring? I already have a Hawaiian shirt.

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