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Not so much, right?

A sample of headlines in Craigslist’s job feed:

and my favourite:

  • NANNY NOW!!! (the ad is all in caps too. Easy on the coffee there, Mommy.)

Dear, dear employers: I understand that you’re urgent, you’re busy, you want hardworking, reliable employees, preferably sober. But the combination of ALL CAPS and multiple exclamation points does not really make people want to work for you. As it has been said time and time again, using either in writing is like shouting at the reader. And for some reason, many of you like to deploy them together.

If a job seeker is reading one of these ads, do you think they want to be shouted at by someone they don’t even work for yet? Duh, no. Next. Ease up and sweeten up.

If you’re having trouble finding good staff, perhaps reflect on your netiquette and punctuation habits. Better yet, hire a professional who knows how to turn off the caps lock key. They teach us that, y’know. In writer school.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by the ampersand.

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But I’m having one of those days when I just don’t want to be a writer (or editor) anymore. When you’ve gone out, gotten some experience, gotten some training, and gotten an earful of cheerleading about “knowing your worth” and “charging accordingly for your services” and then turn around and go out there only to have employers cringe at you for asking said professional wage, well, maybe it becomes time to pack in the delusions and pick another job.

All writing is only so much content creation and all editing a glorified manual spell-and-grammar-check, right? Who needs to pay anyone to do that? I’m sure someone is already working hard at an SEO article content generator anyway, and everyone already has MS Word, which will check your subject verb agreements quite handily.

Yes, yes, persistence and positive attitude. Stay on course and work hard, something is bound to happen. Don’t give up on your dreams. Chase them rainbows. Says my persistent, hardworking inner pessimist, “Know when you’re bloody well licked.”

And just as I finished writing this little screed, I got a phone call offering me a regular freelance editing gig with a magazine/publisher I really like, and at an acceptable wage.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Update: I also got a little raise from my other freelance gig. I can’t remember the last time someone offered me more money for doing anything. Feels pretty sweet.

It’s not as though there is a dearth of interesting topics to write about. Transportation, the Olympic$, the Climate Change Dividend, even the asylum next door – all kinds of people are doing interesting things and events are going on all around us. People are blogging about them too. Every day, something new to know.

As for me, I signed the papers I’m over the shock. And here I am again: my own boss and cruise director, tasked with doing something useful, not just the dishes. That means thinking up my own projects as well as mustering up the courage to go after all the opportunities that cross my desk. (At least the ones that don’t look too dodgy.) Sometimes when there is a legitimate posting, whether it comes via the Editors’ Association mailing list, Craigslist, Jeff Gaulin or Freelance Writing Jobs, I talk myself out of it before even applying. This habit must be stopped – if I plan to make any money.

I like money.

Writing for money is hard work – I’m not kidding – if you plan to get paid for it. It feels like that today at least. Getting a job was a way to get money that I needed at the time, but it’s the easy way out. You don’t have to think for yourself and the cheques come regularly.

My sister, a creative chick who’s been at the freelance game for awhile, said to me, “You have to stop working the backup plan and the safety net, and go do it.” She’s absolutely right. There is no happiness in mere acceptance at the workplace, I need to go achieve something and make a name. It would be easier to just fit in, but that is not to be.

I’ve seen this ad for a writer’s assistant on Craigslist a couple of times now. Typically it offers no pay, but promises to provide “valuable experience” working with 2-3 professional writers. One line in particular puzzles me: “Although there is no direct remuneration for this particular role there will be opportunities to work on some projects that may offer payment.” What does this mean? Do you get tips for blowjobs? Can you keep the change from Starbucks runs? Will you dance the hokey-pokey while they throw quarters? Also notice the hedging – although there WILL be opportunities, there are only SOME that MAY be paid.

I have heard of this type of arrangement before, where an established writer takes on a new writer and helps them break into the business of selling novels or screenplays. But I think it’s more common in the US (read:***Hollywood***) and perhaps includes room and board in the bargain.

I’ll bet I get to provide my own rent with these people.

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