Many of us do things that aren’t particularly healthy. Sometimes these bad habits are not only unhealthy, but completely unproductive, too. For example, my RSS mostly contains blogs and news sites I follow to keep up on the topics I write about. But in among them, for some reason, I still keep a few feeds to writing job boards. Normally, I skip over the low-paid and no-paid ones pretty quickly and move on with my day.
But lately, I’ve seen some where the requests are so egregious I feel I need the respond to the poster. But in the interest of not burning bridges, I won’t.
Instead, I present to FreelanceSwitch: The job ad reply I wish I’d write. All names have been changed to protect the annoying.
I am writing to you regarding the job ad you posted on DesperateWriters Message Board seeking a news writer for your site.
First off, let me say that I agree with your assertion that Popular Media Blog Inc. is not of the highest quality that it could be, despite being one of the most popular sites on the Internet. I agree it is about time someone created a site with higher editorial standards.
I am a professional writer with several years of experience covering the industry that your site reports on.
While the strict minimum of five 500 word posts per day that you demand does sound challenging, I am also looking to push myself as a writer. Besides, sometimes I miss the high pressure environment from when I worked at a daily newspaper.
However, I feel I would not be showing the proper level of experience and professionalism you request of applicants if I did not point out the slight factual error in your ad.
When you state that “like everyone else, we can’t afford to pay you,” I assume you consider Popular Media Blog an exception, as they use salaried staff writers and pay for freelance contributions.
You do state that working for you will provide exposure, but I once had a colleague who tried to pay his rent in “exposure.” He’s now awaiting a court date to deal with multiple obscenity charges.
Following said colleague’s unfortunate experience, I’m afraid I am unable to work for the exposure that you’re offering.
Alright, I’ll cut to the chase, here.
Normally, I wouldn’t spend my time writing a smug, condescending reply to yet another “job” posting seeking unpaid labour.
However, on top of being the eighth ad seeking writers for free that’s come up in my RSS reader today, your wording really rubbed me the wrong way.
I mean, do you seriously expect an “experienced” and “professional” writer to give you several hours per day to keep your site updated? Never mind that you casually mention that there’s no payment three-quarters of the way into the ad as if that’s to be expected.
To your credit, I do notice that on top of exposure, you’re also able to offer media passes to industry conferences on the other side of the country. That is, as long as the chosen writer is able to foot the bill for all travel and accommodation expenses.
Now, you do mention that payment might be available in the future. May I suggest that you repost your ad when this future arrives. I’m sure in that instance you’ll need to hire an assistant to go through all the applications you receive from actual experienced and professional writers who aren’t being sarcastic jerks.
I wish you the best of luck.
P.S. I do like your choice of WordPress theme. I’ve thought it looked good on the other dozen blogs that use it, too. I guess trying to find a web designer who’d work for exposure didn’t pan out too well, either.
Robert Janelle is a ragged video game-addicted journalist in Canada with an affinity for all things paisley. Described as being rather loud and skittish, he generally can be found consuming caffeine in large doses, organizing (or re-organizing) things and playing with two annoying (but adorable) kittens.