Friday, June 30, 2006


My rant of the week: Auditions for a no-pay job

If you've been reading this blog or you know me IRL, you know I'm a sucker for celebrity gossip. One of the sites I regularly visit is dedicated to celebrity babies ... 24/7 about kids who wear $400 sweaters and travel on private jets with nannies and bodyguards. I read this mindcandy while my kid runs around the house wearing 4th generation hand-me-down clothes from some kid named Max, who's probably in college now. (Truth be told, I'm a proud, cheap Yankee, but I digress.)

A couple weeks ago, I read this post advertising for new contributors. Ok, so you're a good writer, you're up on celeb gossip, and you know your spelling and grammar. Well, if you want to write for this site, baby, you have to audition. That's right. Don't bother sending story ideas -- "Do not e-mail me unless you have a sample story." Oooookay. That's called an "on spec" submission for you young whippersnappers. But wait, it gets better. Your sample stories have to be the "freshest." (All of us who write for women's magazines are reaching for the cans of FDS we keep at our keyboards.) And penultimately? You must be reliable. If you can't keep up the pace "you may not want to bother auditioning."

Ok, the ultimate is this: "Please note that there is no financial compensation and you are not allowed to enter giveaways and contests, but you get to be part of the ONLY website dedicated to celebrity babies and their famous parents."

Wow. Sign me up. (slapping forehead) That's right, I can't sign up. I have to audition.

Linda and I have been talking about how writers get (and feel) devalued in our society. If you're a professional writer, you're forever hearing, "Oh, I'd like to write if I had the time." (I'm a snark, so my response goes along the lines of, "And I'd like to [fix computers/operate on hemmorhoids/run your organization] if I had the time." Or you get lumped in with the writers who are willing to donate their time and talent to be "part of the ONLY website dedicated to celebrity babies and their famous parents."

You know, I'd hazard a guess that this site's hosting is paid for. Someone's getting income from the dozens of ads for baby slings and children's clothes on this content-driven site. Let's get real ... people are going to the site to read the content. Yet the content writers don't get paid. Does anyone see anything remotely insane about this?

If you click on the link to audition (or send Danielle a nasty note), you'll see that the subject line that appears automatically in your e-mail is misspelled. Danielle, you're fired!
Wow. I can't believe that anyone on this planet would think that a compelling incentive for writers would be to offer them exposure on a website about babies who could buy and sell your ass twice over.

Like you always say, Diana: People die from exposure.
The sad thing is, someone will take this gig, making it ever easier for people like this to continue asking writers to work for no pay.
Henry, that's probably part of application process. You don't catch the misspelling, you don't get the job. I mean exposure. Ding!

I just read the "job description" again. Geez, the tone is just SO obnoxious. I'd be annoyed getting that from a magazine that actually paid.
Diana, she also wrote that she won't tolerate "plagarism." What is that? Some newfangled dance the kids are doing these days? I certainly would not want to commit this faux pas should I decide to "audition" for this awesome opportunity.
The site design looks like it was done by someone's little brother during study hall. That alone would have told me it was probably low or no pay.
The site was probably designed by a celebrity baby. You wouldn't believe the things they teach in private preschools nowadays.
Exposure? WhoooHoooo! Wait a minute... I just found your blog via my friend Toni -- had no idea, but I lurve it already!
Thanks, Angela!

Forget exposure! I think Toni should pay me fifty bucks instead. ;->
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