Friday, April 16, 2010

A Little Unpaid Ranting*

As a part of my continued job search, I scan over the ads of various open positions, including the "gigs" on Craigslist in the area. And I'm just wondering: why is it that, when you're a writer, you're expected to accept unpaid positions with start-up companies for doing straight-up work? I'm pretty sure start-up banks don't wait until they get going to pay the tellers, and construction workers expect compensation for their time whether your building houses a money-maker or a flop. It seems that only "creative" careers can expect to work without compensation until the company they work for makes good.

Sure, a start-up can't pay as much as an established business. They can't afford to. But why should writers get paid nothing to provide the content for a magazine, whether online or on paper. The company which hosts the site still gets paid, and the printers get paid, whether or not there are readers in the end. But the writers, the people providing the actual words, are left to hope that enough funds are produced that they might just trickle on down to us. Doesn't that seem wrong? The point is, it shouldn't matter whether the company is starting out or going on 20 years. Work is work, and it should be compensated as such. Promises and hopes are about as good as Monopoly money, and experience and references only go so far.

Everyone can write. Well, most people can write. And I think it is because of that basic fact that writers are constantly undervalued. Because not everyone can write well, and not just any writing is going to get you the results you are looking for. Why do businesses realize their need to invest in their building, their computers, their accountants, but fail to see the value in words?

*This rant brought to you by Craigslist, and Friday afternoons.

1 comment:

  1. As long as people are willing to work for free, others will look for them.
    Not surprising to hear that's happening on a site where you get to post free ads.