Monday, 7 February 2011

The best writing job ever – by which I mean the worst

I don’t know exactly what it is that draws me time and time again to trawling the Internet for writing gigs. Could it be the great clients I’ve met along the way and even the not so great? Maybe. Could it be the rich diversity of business requirements across three continents? Yep, that would be part of it. But it’s also the occasionally breathtaking, stupendously ridiculous ads that are out there if you lift enough rocks.

This ad that not only took the biscuit, it licked off the cream in the middle (the metaphorical biscuit was a custard cream), put the two pieces back together and then replaced it in the packet. It went something like this…


Hello there!

I have received a lot of replies to my job advert and after going through all the resumes and replies I have chosen a couple of writers [if ‘couple’ meant a dozen] that I think would fit the job well. For a job like this, a small amount of training is required. I know you are an experienced writer and all, but I require you to read an e-book that is similar to the content and tone I'm after. This position is a very laid back job and brings you great pay and incentives. You get to write about what you know and love, which itself is something you can’t put a price on.

So in order to be one of the chosen few for this job I need you to:

1. Get this e-book called – [Naturally I Won’t Be Advertising It Here!] which you can find at: [http://one-born-every-minute] I know that it costs around $10 and I'd like to provide it to you for free. But I simply can't due to copyright laws and creative commons laws. I’m sure you understand as a writer and wouldn’t want your work stolen or given away. The writer of that e-book is actually a great guy and a friend of mine [they might even share the same name...] so by paying for it you are helping out a fellow writer. And you’ll be able to afford two copies of his book in only one paid hour working for me. After the trial, I mean.

2. When you get the book, I need you to read it quickly - it’s pretty short so don’t worry, but it's still worth $10 of anybody’s money. Then write at least a 300 word article that summarizes what the e-book is all about, for the readers of my site [http://client's-nearly-empty-website]. And I need to know exactly how long it took you to write the article.

This will be your training and a test for this job – that way we save time. Training isn’t paid for - that way I save money. Good luck everyone and remember to submit the article to me by the 5th of February to be in with a great chance of employment. I’m expecting a lot of entries so write quickly and let’s do business! lol.

And the client very kindly put everyone’s email address in CC so we could write to one another about what a great opportunity this could be. Not.

Here is my reply:

This is the most entertaining job offer I've had in a long while.

If I may:

1. Creative Commons specifically allows for the distribution of copyrightedworks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_License

2. Plumbers don't so try-outs, carpenters don't do try-outs and shop assistants don't do try-outs. Neither does this writer. Money should flow to the writer and not from them. The idea that a writer ought to pay for the privilege of trying out (i.e. writing a piece for free) is ludicrous.

So thanks for the opportunity, but I'll pass this time.


I'm guessing the would-be client was too busy with their other writers to respond.

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