I almost didn’t believe it when I saw a friend of mine post a series of tweets by columnist James Bloodworth. He recently wrote a book about how so much writing these days is unpaid work. He then wrote about how the Huffington Post asked him to do work for them. And they wanted him to do it unpaid.
Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.
Huffington Post – Ugh
Personally, I’ve never liked the Huffington Post all that much. I read stuff on there from time to time, because they have built up such a big following that it’s inevitable that’s where a lot of content will appear. But, it’s never been my go-to place.
I think a lot of that stems from my thoughts on the original founder, Ariana Huffington. She’s one of those famous people that I just feel doesn’t deserve to be famous. It’s kind of like how I know many people feel about the Kardashians!
Now, I know that she rose to fame long before I was aware, but once I was, and I looked back, she just didn’t seem to have a moment where I felt she deserved to have the spotlight. She just sort of snuck in and took it.
So, while I know she sold the site that bears her name, a lot of the ideals, practices, and well, the simple distrust, still remain.
And, stuff like this doesn’t help.
Offering No Pay To Write About Unpaid Work
I mean, they don’t see the irony of seeking someone out to write an article about their book about not getting paid, and then make it clear that they aren’t going to pay him? Yet, you best bet that they’re going to make a profit from it!
I don’t get it.
Actually, I do. Because that’s the way of the world now. The people that have the money are fine to make more, but everybody else gets scraps, or in the case of the Huffington Post, they offer EXPOSURE, and well, isn’t that just as good? (so they say).
Short answer: No. Exposure doesn’t pay the bills.
How Did This Trend Start?
I think that this all started back in the Great Recession. A few years ago. Don’t you remember when people started losing their jobs and their houses and all that, and it somehow became a mainstream line to hear over and over again:
“Well, I’m just lucky I still have a job.”
Think about it. How often did you say that or hear that or read it or see it come up in some form? It was everywhere. And, look what it’s done. It lowered the bar. Down to the ground.
People started saying that, and those that control the jobs heard it, and had their a-ha moment. and they started conditioning people to really believe it. Does this sound familiar:
Boss: “Hey, team, we need to raise your health care contributions this year and by the way no raises this year. It’s tough but we were glad to have you still with us”
Employee 1: “Wow, that sucks.”
Employee 2: “Yeah, but I’m just thankful I still have a job.”
Employee 1: *nods*
And, look, here we still are today. Isn’t life grand?
Are we laughing or crying yet? Maybe both?