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After seeing vast numbers of postings on craigslist over the past three years for writers to work for free, or as “apprentices,” or as “internships,” or for the “experience” and after watching Huffington Post be sold for hundreds of millions without paying their writers – I think it is no more than a form of slavery in America. There aren’t unions much down here in the South, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be paid for working to promote companies by writing for them.

In fact, a couple days ago – on craigslist in Atlanta, there was a listing for technical writing which would encompass nearly every single job of writing the manuals for a number of different airplanes. That may have been contract work – but it would mean that somebody made the play for a contract to write those for some large company without having even one writer available to actually do any of the work – and they got that contract. Now, who would do such a thing? And, why would any large company allow them to do it when obviously, if they are listing on craigslist for all those writers – they didn’t have them in the first place when they got the contract for it.

I copied off the listing – it was unreal. And, there is one today that is a real winner – after listing numerous activities required by the “writing job” including promoting their products, books, music publications online and in print, keeping up with scheduling tours and book signings and public appearances, working with public relations activities and press releases along with creating them and tracking them – at the bottom of the craigslist post, it says – compensation – part time and contract work with no evidence they are actually willing to pay anything. Well, if that were the only one like that, it would be one thing – but these are common and more commonly, they are non-paying “internship” or for the “experience” listings.

Strangely enough, if I go to the craigslist for New York or San Francisco or Los Angeles – the writing jobs are not like that. These places have strong unions in place and my guess is that they just don’t put up with it. The other day, I saw a listing on craigslist Atlanta for a writer to do the research and promotional materials for a realtor’s office and wanted it to be, what would amount to a full-time job of it for ZERO pay – just the “experience” as an unpaid internship. What kind of nonsense is that? We don’t live in a communist country where our homes are paid for and our food is given to us. These listings are commonly for companies that are profit-making and for some reason, when it comes to writing the copy upon which they rely for those profits, suddenly it is unnecessary to even consider paying anything to get that part done for them.

And I’ve noticed, editing, proofreading, updating information for web pages, writing blogs for them, doing social networking for them, writing any and all copy for them or for their products, writing instruction manuals for them, writing training manuals for them and anything else is the same way when it is listed in the Atlanta craigslist or some of the other outlets. Why don’t they at least be honest and say on the title – “We want you to work full-time for us and make our business more profitable while we pay you nothing for doing it.”

For some reason – our business leaders in Atlanta and the surrounding areas where I live hold the belief that we should all be grateful to get to work for them for nothing and to not be paid for work but do it simply to have the experience of doing it for them. I guess there are plenty of people doing it that way, too – in the hope that someday they will get to be paid for it. And, the Huffington Post is a good example of what happens. But, I don’t know why it happens. When the money came in the door, the first thing that was dismissed was paying the writers who had made it possible for it to be sold for that value. And, the same thing happens to people in Atlanta who are starved to write and to be heard – they simply get left out of the profit side of the equation. It seems to be nothing short of consistent, too.

If writing and researching, writing copy, promoting business interests online and continually coming up with new and interesting things to say about it that can capture people’s attention is nothing worth being paid to do – then why do businesses need it to be done at all? Why don’t the business owners in Atlanta just do that part themselves and not hire anybody – if they aren’t going to pay people anyway for doing that work? It obviously isn’t held in high esteem among Atlanta’s business community – they pay the trash picker-uppers more money than they would consider paying for writing – why bother listing on craigslist and at various places for writers at all?

– cricketdiane


Oh yeah –

And the only technical skill less likely to get paid than writing is doing logos, artwork, photography, artistic work of any kind for businesses in Atlanta – they think you or I should do that for free and be grateful to get to do it for them as well. That has got to stop. Without artwork, the ninnies can do just about nothing and without written materials on an ongoing basis – they can do just about nothing – profitable or otherwise. The sooner these are considered valued skill sets, the sooner – their businesses will have the kinds of opportunities that could be more fully available to them. Because, believe it or not – when people don’t get paid to work for these businesses, it is the businesses and the Atlanta business community that looks like the backward hicks in comparison to the world marketplace instead of international quality participants. Don’t tell me that nobody pays for artwork or for writing – it is on every single thing that is sold anywhere and everywhere in the US and around the world. This isn’t 1610.


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