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For writers with sufficient glibness, there are many ways to make a buck without breaking too much of a sweat. These include:
Producing product or image pamphlets for corporate products and
It's often best to start small here and build up, but jobs in freelance corporate communications writing are lucrative. I personally began my career in corporate America back in the last century, writing about the effect that cable modems would have on high speed gas and electric home meter reading. I had been in the company for a week. I called the chairman. "What effect will cable modems have on high speed gas and electric home meter reading?" I asked him. "I have no fucking idea," he said. "What should I say in the article?" I inquired. "Make it up," he replied, and I knew that I was in a zone I recognized well and was quite prepared for after a decade in the nether regions of show business.
Lifestyle pieces for women's magazines mining one's own
sexual/social/marital/professional experiences for $3 per word
Again, you have to know the right people (many of whom read this Web site), but once you're in the possibilities are virtually endless. Have a goiter? Willing to have your picture taken and talk about the heartbreak of people who are rude to people who have goiters? There's a magazine for you to pitch about it. Hate your dog? Wanna say why? Could mean five grand for you, if you know the right editor. Are you cheating/being cheated on by your significant otherness? Again, turn that experiential trash into cash.
Being the Q in the Q and A
You have to pick your subjects well here. Like, engaging with local politicians is probably more trouble than it's worth; you could end up having to educate yourself about traffic patterns and library funding. But a Q&A with a personal stylist or publicist looking for personal publicity? Or a cable news mini-star out marketing his or her vile persona? Piece of cake, baby, and probably a nice fat sinecure for you, once the word gets out that you could make Michael Chertoff look good.
Hey, if you can get somebody to publish your random thoughts on stuff that everybody has thoughts on, you're really getting somewhere. This is to be distinguished from media reporters; as I will outline below, the job of reporting is far too lowdown in bullshit potential to be all that alluring for the truly ambitious.
Bad money, but if you're nasty enough, lots of power. Try to establish yourself as someone qualified to rattle on for screen after screen with no reporting involved. Several years ago, when I was writing for Esquire, I determined very early on that those who had to report on their subject 1) took a long time to do it, 2) had to talk to a lot of people they wouldn't normally be interested in, and 3) worked too hard for their money. Consequently, I determined pretty much from the get-go to do nothing but spin out a fine blend of hostility, speculation and wind as long as a publisher would let me. I'd like to think that was an early adopter of the zeitgeist that now runs much of the Internet that matters.
This would include a) novelists who write a novel every five years, 2) ghost writers of diet or religious books, 3) superagents whose sub-agents do most of the heavy lifting, 4) super-executives whose subordinates do most of the heavy lifting, 5) super-editors whose sub-editors do most of the heavy lifting, 6) itinerant lunchers who make sure they're at Michael's on Wednesday, because that's when this site writes about who was at Michael's. There are quite a few people who lunch in midtown whose career is primarily based on where they are seen lunching. You want to be one of those.
There are a ton of media jobs in my new book 100 Bullshit Jobs... And How to Get Them, including advertising executive, spin doctor, media trainer, as well as a host of other gigs in broadcasting, cable and journalism. Buy the book. Everybody else is.
And that concludes the half hour I had to spend on this. Except to say that we're having a party in celebration of bullshit and the jobs that are replete with it on the 14th. Here's the info...
Celebrate the release of 100 Bullshit Jobs...And How to Get Them June 14 at mediabistro's next Edit Staff Party in New York
Stanley Bing is a columnist for Fortune and the author of a host of best-selling books, including What Would Machiavelli Do?, Throwing The Elephant, Sun Tzu Was A Sissy, Rome, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the First Multinational Corporation (Atlas Books) and most recently, the ground-breaking 100 Bullshit Jobs... And How To Get Them (Collins).
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