The Worth of a Paycheck

glenn-carstens-peters-203007-unsplash

Last year I was asked if I wanted a job writing content for a “crafting” website. It was really a black hole into ads, affiliates, and pop-ups. And. I. made. it. You know, with SEO terms and such.

They were darned good, too.

I’d say it paid the bills, but it didn’t pay much of anything once one accounted for stress, time away from my other duties, and the housekeeper I enlisted to supposedly help with the second problem in this series of issues.

After the company in charge kept increasing demands far too many times, we mutually split ways. I was so relieved.

Lately, however, I’ve come to miss having money. As such, my tired mom brain theorized, Surely, there are other jobs out there like that one. In fact, people kept telling me I was way underpaid. I’ll bet I can get a better writing job for more money!

Oh ye that scoff, you are, perhaps, correct to do so.

have found some better-paying listings. Problem is, those ones want full time -often in an office. I like not putting pants on when I write.

Others, well… WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!

This is the exact job listing I found for a deluded company online that uses Unsplash images for their company webpage. Yep. FREE images for their official webpage:

We are looking for content writers that can write 600-750 word articles that are applicable to a wide range of categories (technology, business, health, family, etc..) Our writers work when and where they want. This is a very flexible position that allows writers to write as many articles as they want. Writers need to be able to write at least 15 articles (600-750 words) per week in order to be accepted for this position.Writers will receive a keyword used for SEO purposes as well as category and it will be the role of the writer to create a well written article that matches the category and naturally uses the keyword throughout the article. As mentioned before, there is a lot of flexibility with this position and all that is required is good quality work.

Writers will be compensated $10 for every article written with bonuses available for reaching specified milestones.

Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of grammar and spelling
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Fluent in the English language
  • Copywriting
  • Ability to navigate Google Sheets and Google Docs
  • Honesty and self-discipline

They also want you to sign over the deed to your car and house, donate plasma in the guise of a “company party,” and sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of the Welcome to the Family packet.

I may have made up that last paragraph.

For the record, I was paid twice this shystery company’s proposed amount, for five articles of 500 words, that could be typed and submitted whilst in my pajamas. I did not have to be fluent and excellent and grammatical, though I naturally am. I was simply told to write “with voice.”

Unfortunately, the job market underpayment plot thickens…

My searching brought me to a few online freelance writing sites like Indeed and Freelancer. On there, one hiring entity offered $1 per 500 words! The joy! And the (mostly Indian, by their profiles) writers were lining up like thirsty desert nomads.

If you are a writer, don’t agree to jobs like this. My four-year-old deserves more than $10 for 600-750 words and at least 15 articles per week. Everyone deserves more than $1 for the same. And so do you.

 

Glenn Carstens-Peters

One Country

“Over hill, over dale, as we hit the dusty trail…”

I can’t remember a time when my husband didn’t like discussing politics. Even at 16, he and his best friend would incessantly “converse” about an issue, its counterpoint, its counter-counterpoint; ad naseum.

“Stand navy, out to sea; fight our battle cry…”

Driving in the car together at 19 years young, we would occasionally listen to AM Talk Radio. Callers to the program voiced something, anything; and inevitably got cut off by Rush Limbaugh yelling. I had never seen the man; yet saw his red face, smelt his heated breath, and felt his spewing spittle.

“From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli; we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea”

The introduction of social media, overall, lent a paper-thin mask to that same sort of angry vitriol I heard over a decade before. In our 30s, now, I see good people typing political observations they’d never say to their own mothers.

“From north and south and east and west, the coast guard’s in the fight…”

My own “news”feed is often split down the middle. One man literally wrote that anyone approving the separation of children from parents is a piece of shit; a relative, meanwhile, pointed out that children are being used as free tickets into the U. S. of A. I get the feeling my “friends” would start a nuclear meltdown if accidentally mixed in the same chamber.

“Off we go, into the wild blue yonder -climbing high into the sun!”

A person in the military standing next to their boots and backpack on a sidewalk

This past Sunday morning our family watched the live feed of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing from their tour in California. Theirs was a patriotic program to honor our nation’s birthday, today. Anthems played, singers sung. I typed, using it all as pleasant background music. Then, the choir began singing each song of the various armed forces. I looked up.

“Then its Hi! Hi! Hee! in the field artillery, shout out your numbers loud and strong!”

Apparently, representatives of the various armed forces were attending the concert. The front rows of folding chairs held uniformed members -but they weren’t sitting. As was standard, each was standing in respect. Each man or woman in smart, white shirt and tie was at the appropriate attention.

“…First we fight for rights and freedom, and to keep our honor clean…”

Most were smiling broadly. All were singing. The camera panned over the crowd and I saw happy, proud people raising their voices together with the choir and band. I was struck by exactly what it meant to dress a certain way and take a certain oath and stand when expected and mouth the same words: Unison.

“Sail on to victory and sing their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!”

Uniformity is often said like it’s a bad word, a disgusting one. A That’s it, young lady, we’re washing your mouth out! word. Instead, I saw it for the word it really wants to be: teamwork, unity, cooperation, selflessness, union, LOVE.

“We live in fame or go down in flame…”

Thank you, Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Thank you more, proud members of the fighting forces in attendance. Thank you all for feeling so strongly that I couldn’t help but cry in response.

One nation. That’s what we are, and the goal we always need.

 

 

Disappointments and, Well, Life

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Life sucks.

It usually does, of course, but I’m focused on specific vacuum-like attributes this morning.

Two nights ago, I was finally enlightened as to the funeral program for my recently-deceased grandmother. I’ve been saddened about her passing, to say the least, and now feel somewhat like I’ve been punched by a random, vindictive leprechaun as I walked innocently down the street.

A certain relation of mine took over the funeral plans. I realize I’m a grandchild. Though, really, that’s only in name. A few legal and medical sources confirm I am hardly classified as a child anymore.

After typing up a rather satisfying, flaming, angry writing vomit session; I still feel upset. At least I didn’t actually publish it though, so we’re making progress.

To top the icing on the cake of the day that had already been filled with “normal” Mom Life stresses, I learned that my writing entry to a contest had not made it past the first cut.

Now, I’m never over-confident about my skills. I’m very good at self-deprecation and an extreme sort of humility and poor self-esteem and whatnot. What really got my yoga exercise pants in a twist was reading through the snippets that did make the final cut. I don’t mind losing (much), if the winners are worth losing to.

I like to think I’m collecting data on what might make my story accepted the next time I enter when I bitterly read through the competition. However, in this case I’m left scratching my head. In fact, this is the third time I’ve submitted to this blogger, so it’s more like I’m smacking my head with the keyboard.

What can I do differently? Suck more?

This is the part where we remind the audience that I’ve been trying to be a good little girl and eat healthy and exercise. So, I haven’t had fall-back options like binge-eating Valentine’s chocolate and staying up all night staring blankly at a computer screen as I type angry words about a certain in-law and a certain contest.

Chocolate was 70% off at Walgreen’s. It’s not like I overspent, at least.

I’ll ‘Twas You

Don’t get me wrong. I think Clement C. Moore threw together an excellent bit of rhyming in his day.

My favorite parts are the classic words one just doesn’t hear anymore; like sash, lustre, and droll.

That, and the specific stanza

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

But, I just can’t stand reading it anymore.

Okay, okay -I can tolerate once. Only the original version, however.

I have a medically-certified reaction to knock-offs. The doctor was a questionnaire online and the tests run were a personal evaluation of how much I wanted to throttle the author of each parody -but, still certified.

“‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving / and all through our den / Not a turkey was clucking / Or even a hen.”

My body jerks, like a convulsion. I’m reminded of the times I felt sick but was straining to not vomit, like during pregnancy.

My blood pressure rises. My fingers begin twitching, itching to banish the sorry knock-off to the Downvote Pit of Internetland forever.

I’ll rip their attempt at poetry from their webpage, light it on fire, then burn down the rest of their creative works to keep this brainlessness under wraps.

Or, I’ll realize what’s going on by the second line and simply not read it.

Either-or.

Grey Thursday

Suess

So, when all of the food
Had been swallowed and chewed,
The guests left the dishes and host
With their brood.

And, forcing employees
To all do the same,
They shopped and they grabbed
And they spent without shame.

 

Please, stay home on the holidays. Popular greed is robbing store workers of time with family.

Forget What?

September 11th in the United States of America was an emotional day for those alive and cognizant enough to recall it.

I was there. Or -rather, I was alive. I was also way out West watching on a small television during choir class with a group of peers, most of whom had never seen New York in person.

Ironically, it was a Spirit Week of sorts and the theme for the day involved wearing army fatigues. Looking ’round the room, I couldn’t shake a premonition of impending conscription.

However, life moved on for us. The world moved on.

I’m not saying we were not impacted.

For one thing, I felt a general coming together of peoples everywhere. The stranger at the store was a person for a while. A random guy on the freeway had a family. People thousands of miles away were in real pain, as they literally dislodged a spouse from the wreckage of an office building.

We have become more “connected” since then with the prevalence of social media and the ubiquitous use of cellular phones.

Just this year, these media were used to post même after image after poem after video about the twin towers.

Over and over I saw: Never Forget.

Forget what?

The last time my social media feed exploded was during a recent political event referred to as the presidential election. And guess what? It was ugly.

Strangers at the store? Cousins were enemies as my aunt-in-law literally unfriended and blocked her own nephew because of differences of opinion.

A random freeway driver? My neighbors wouldn’t talk to me in person because a close relative posted a picture of him wearing a hat about making America great.

People thousands of miles away were openly mocked, cursed, mud-slinged, disparaged, insulted, and intimately speculated about. Cities accused parts of themselves for viewpoints and states glared at other states.

Never forget, huh?

Unity must be a fleeting mistress in the face of actual tension. Or, perhaps she’s been silenced over a decade of numbing, self-pleasing behavior as we disparage the world and feel hopeless about solutions.

Whatever the reasons, I am saddened by it all.

If you want to never forget, at least make it real. Make it about doing something better, helpless, selfless, and loving and not about some sort of online potlatch of pictures.

For those who do, thank you. Please, keep on doing.