A few years ago, sitting across from a former boss at a Chicago restaurant, I was informed by the Man he was thinking about hiring a large number of Filipinos to write for him. He could get five of them for about $2000 a month. That’s what I was making. Just me.
When perusing so-called freelance writing websites, I discovered just how dime-a-dozen writers can be. I don’t want to call so many of them whores, but…$1.25 per article? That was the brokered price, so the writers actually took less. I wouldn’t take $1.25 per tweet.
Recently I was informed of open positions at a ubiquitous online university. Sixty grand. Benefits. Work from home. Sounded like a dream and it was. Part-time internals considered first, later I was told they had 3100 applicants for 315 jobs.
The first time I heard something like that was 2005. I applied to a local TV news station for a low-level, low-paying news teaser writer spot. The man on the phone replied, “I don’t know why there are so many applicants for this job.”
Last fall, when inquiring about the status of my poetry manuscript, the publisher informed me my book was one of 916 being read and considered. I have not heard back again.
A state university in Indiana is offering professional teachers with advanced degrees a whopping $26,000 per year. Hey, plus benefits! Slightly more than the assistant manager at McDonalds, who doesn’t have crushing student loan debt.
Previously, in 1999, before the world changed, before dotcoms busted and hiring freezes hit, I was getting interviews and job offers at great places before I had even finished college. After that, they wanted 5-7 years experience at entry level.
Fourteen years later, it’s pretty much stayed that way: professionals fighting for entry-level positions. Severe competition is the new normal, and it’s sure hard to feel special when every pond in the world is now a great lake. I don’t want to get into a treatise on globalization. Not even sure how I feel about it other than so far not so good, “inevitable” as it is.
But it is concerning knowing how secretive the US government is being about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would pretty much complete the globalization process by applying free-trade principles to relationships with Pacific countries like Japan, Australia, Peru, etc. SuperNAFTA means ponds are about to get bigger. Given our experience of globalization over the past decade or so, it’s not surprising the highest levels are concerned enough about public opposition that they’ve classified the information. It’s huge news in Japan, I’m told from the Japanese nationals running Kentucky factories.
In terms of careers, there really were good old days. Now and in the future, it appears if you’re not at the absolute top of your game, you float to the bottom with the carp. There will be no middle.
Depressing post this turned out to be. Keep your head up.