Disclaimer: This story has absolutely NOTHING to do with my time writing for TREMG News. I wrote this story after taking a “paid” job at another website (for obvious reasons, the name of this website will remain anonymous.) I have genuinely enjoyed every moment of working here at TREMG and I still do! This story involves working for the other job I’m juggling.
Scrolling through Indeed and Linkedin, I say to myself, “It’s time to look for a career in writing blog posts”. As I search for results, I find that only copywriting and paralegal jobs are available. Having not met any qualifications, I text my friend regarding my struggle. “Nobody can make a living as a blogger, the workload is too easy”, he says to me. I thank him for his advice and continue my job search.
To my luck, Indeed yields a job that not only meets my qualifications but involves writing about a topic I enjoy: anime. Being the nerdy kid I am, I submitted an application immediately with a writing sample to stand out. Within a few days, to my astonishment, the staff was impressed with my credentials and writing sample and welcomed me aboard.
“For this job, you will be writing articles about whatever anime topic we offer you”, says the manager. “These articles must be at least 800 words and must be submitted within about 4 hours. Are you ready to begin today?” “Yes I am”, I respond with elation. I finally get to make a living writing about a topic I enjoy, I say to myself. I’m so excited!
My manager provides me with the task: “Create a Top 10 list of the strongest characters in Yugioh!”. As most 2000s kids, YugiOh! was practically a staple of my childhood and I knew exactly which 10 characters I would use. Now how to rank them, I pondered to myself. After spending an hour formatting my article, I begin to discuss my reasoning behind the character’s strength. My article ran over 2 pages long about the length of a typical college paper. I check the time….
1:00 PM! Shoot, my article is due in less than an hour. I submit my content on the website quickly….only to have it kicked back. I contact my manager about this problem. “You made quite a few errors in this piece”, reports the manager. “Let’s have a Zoom discussion about your mistakes”.
The Zoom meeting is scheduled for 1:00 PM. “Good afternoon, James, let’s begin”, says the manager. “First off, you need to format your work properly. This text here needs to be in this font and you must incorporate keywords at least 10 times throughout your piece. You may have to revise your whole article to accommodate for these keywords”. I explained to the manager that the online submission tool is very finicky as well as including images. “Are you sure I have to save article images on my computer? It’s using up a lot of my storage”, I ask the manager. “Yes, our system does not recognize image URLs so you will have to either download or save the image on the computer. Understood?”. I nod my head yes.
“Excellent. The second issue with this article is that you did not include enough images and social media posts. You also need to include at least 12 pingbacks to other articles. The articles you ping can only be on this website and must have relevance to the content you’re creating. The images must be at least 1800 by 800 pixels or the system will not accept Is that clear?”. I nod my head yes,
“Okay, and finally, you need to properly credit the source of the image. Sometimes, you may have to search around the database to find the full name of the company, but I’m sure it’s there somewhere. Make these revisions and we can submit your article. Is it clear?”. “I understand, thanks again for letting me know”, I say as I sign off the meeting and revise my work.
First, I revise my article to include keywords. Doing so created a reverberation around the article that skewed the article’s main idea. Now I have to change my wording and ideas, I complain to myself as I make the revisions. As I save my work, I realize that I have no longer met the word count. I formulate and add a few extra ideas to meet the word count and proceed to my next revision.
I need to include 12 pingbacks of other people’s articles. As I search around the website, I find that bloggers have written about completely different topics and nothing was relevant to my ideas. I must’ve searched for almost an hour and a half before finding one article using the same keyword. I then tried finding articles with similar sentence structure to mine and I eventually found a handful. I hope I don’t get convicted of plagiarism, I say to myself as I hyperlink the articles.
Finding images was just as frustrating as the pictures either could not be saved as pictures or did not meet the size requirement. Finding social media posts relating to my content was also difficult as many posts contained profanity which was not allowed at this company. I then needed to search the database for the proper syntax and address of the image to incorporate into my article. After almost 4 hours solely on revisions, I have finally submitted my first article!
The next day, my manager asks to meet me again on Zoom. “We are pleased with the effort you put into this article and would like to offer you a contract”, he says. “We will be expecting you to compose 4 to 5 articles per day of similar structure. As such, you will be paid $12 for every article you submit. If this contract is okay with you, you can start next week”. “Sounds good”, I said nervously, knowing I couldn’t ask for more money.
After the meeting, I contacted my friend again. “Guess what?! I just got a job writing about anime. I get paid about $150 per week. Do you think I should’ve asked for more?”. “I wouldn’t”, he replied. “I told you that blogging is a very laid back job with almost no effort. Nobody can live off such a simplistic task”. “Yeah, I guess you’re right”, I say as I finished the phone conversion and prepared for the weeks ahead.