Poking fun at low-paying "employers"

By Katharine Swan On Tuesday, May 15, 2007 At 10:49 AM

This ad on Craigslist has apparently been making the rounds. Thanks to Kristen King for sharing the laughter.

If you ever see a genuine ad that says basically this same thing without the humor and sarcasm, run the other way as fast as you can:

Vaguely defined writing/editing/translating job for virtually no money

Are you young (inexperienced), motivated (willing to do anything for a byline) and creative (full of ideas I can steal for fun and profit)?

We are a start-up company (basically, me and my laptop working from my parents' basement) looking for eager (dumb) writers, editors and translators (university graduates with useless degrees and no jobs) to produce and manage content for an exciting new group of internet ventures (read: excuses to sell ad space... we, that is I, could care less what the actual content is).

Writers: You will be expected to produce 300- to 500-word articles, each hour on the hour, 10 times a day, seven days a week, 53 weeks a year (that's one extra week, in case it happens to be a leap year) on a subject that you have expertise in (tying your shoes, breathing, astrophysics, general wankery, etc.), duly researched and cited according to APA, Chicago, MLA, and Ulan Batur Goatherding News styleguides. A minimum of three expert sources, each with conflicting opinions, must be interviewed. Also, please suggest 20 alternate headlines, in iambic pentameter. Note that none of these will be used. Articles may or may not be attributed to you. Compensation: $1,000 per article (Note: the preceding dollar amount employs British-style punctuation, so the comma is actually a decimal point. I know, you went into writing because you aren't very good at math. It pays a dollar an article... which is why you should have tried harder at learning the multiplication table, or whatever.)

Editors: You will be expected to take the voluminous stream of endless banging on of typewriters produced by our team of trained monkeys, and make it legible and interesting to all demographic groups, from three-year-old bedwetters to 80-year-old bedwetters, and everyone in-between. Basically, you will turn shit into Shinola, and you'll always be behind schedule, for which we will berate you constantly. All corrections will be entered on paper, with our own proprietary set of 537 copy editing symbols (really, just a bunch of random squiggles we doodled on cocktail napkins after one too many martinis.) You only get to see the list once, and must commit it to memory, failing which you will be flogged in public. For your own safety, you will be asked to remove your belt and shoe laces before each 16-hour shift, and keep away from pointy objects. Compensation: The thrill of seeing your name in print, and all the hot gruel you can eat (limit to one bowl of gruel.)

Translators: Have you ever seen a web site that used some online service to translate text from English to French, with horrible results? Well, we want you to correct them all. When you're done (there's only a couple hundred, or thousand, give or take), send us all of them. Compensation: We'll see if any of the sites like your version, and if they're willing to pay for it, we'll send you the full amount, minus a small brokerage fee (99.9 to infinity percent). We can't guarantee you'll be paid, or that any of your work will actually be put to use, but won't you feel better knowing your translating skills aren't being wasted? (That was a rhetorical question. Sarcastic too.)

Please send your CV and a 500-word sample article on a subject that interests you (which you agree to let us, that is me, post up--without paying you--whether or not you are hired).

Location: My dungeon, I mean, office
Compensation: As little as possible, without it being considered slavery (usury, maybe...)
Telecommuting is ok.
This is a part-time job.
This is a contract job.
This is at a non-profit organization.
This is an internship job
OK for recruiters to contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
You may contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
PostingID: 330703256

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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