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submitting 24 short-form (250 word) articles per day (Monday-Friday).

6,000 words a day. 21 day working month (about right). 126,000 words a month.

Pay will be $1560 per month.

$ 01.2 cents a word. Call that one pence GBP per word. Dear Lord that’s bad.

29 thoughts on “Job ads”

  1. As I repeatedly point out there’s no reason we have to like market outcomes. We do have to put up with them however…..

  2. Just copy Guardian articles and put the adjectives and adverbs into different permutations. It might be fairly easy to write a program to do the first draft with a human casting an eye over it before submitting.

  3. That sort of nonsense was why I got out of the translating game. The mental effort and time expended was not worth the terrible money.

  4. It’s more the 24 articles a day that sticks out for me.

    I’m not a professional writer, and I don’t know the subject matter, but that seems..tricky..
    At least if you’re going for quality and actual content, instead of pure quantity.

    But even then.. I don’t know if even the greatest hacks can keep that up for a month, and stay sane.

  5. 6,000 a day is pushing it. I’ve recently finished a job (on top of much else that I do) of 2,500 a day and that was trivially easy. But only because I knew the subject inside out. Some days that would rise to 4,000 for technical reasons. And that was pushing it for a morning’s work (8 am to 12). In theory that would mean another 4,000 was possible in the afternoon but mentally almost certainly not.

    For actual good writing, not blather, most editors would probably think the cap is around 2,000 a day. Back in the days of pulp writing 5,000 a day was considered top notch productivity. But that’s also what gave (as the pay rate was 1 cent a word in 1950s money) the sort of writing style L Ron Hubbard treated the world to. Twain’s “Sorry I haven’t the time to make this letter shorter” comment on steroids.

  6. 6000 words a day is a fair bit to type, never mind write.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would bother. Surely Maccy Ds pays better?

  7. I’ve said this before, Tim. The way to make money is not to do what you enjoy & then try & find someone who’ll pay you for doing it. Odds on there’ll be a lot of people enjoy what you do, trying to do the same thing. So it sells for peanuts
    One does it the other way round. One looks for what people want & can’t get. Learn how to provide it & sell it to them. The enjoyment comes from counting the money.

  8. Well, yes, tho’ that’s not one of the jobs I’m thinking of applying for. The actual work I am doing pays around 30 x that – although for smaller volumes.

  9. The sort of writing I do, the fewer words the better, and it takes more time to get down to those fewer works. Things like:
    Go to the start menu (picture), scroll down to Windows Tools (picture), click menu on Active Directory (picture) select Run As Admin (picture) enter your admin user details (picture)… and we’re already on three pages.

    Edited down to:
    Start -> Windows Admin Tools -> Active Directory: Menu -> RunAs Admin -> your admin logon details.
    A single line. I got our “create a new user” documentation down from 30 pages to four, with the additional detail that the condensed version functions as a flight-deck checklist, whereas you would get lost trying to follow the the bumph’d version.

  10. Presumably the hirer believes this is possible based on previous experience (maybe pushing the envelope a bit each hire). Perhaps amongst all the youngsters with useless degrees sat in their parents’ basements there will be some who could do this, at least for a while. I don’t suppose many shits are given about burnout. Job security is zero because there will be “AI” apps that can do this soon, if not already.

    Tim, your comment at 11:53 is 153 words and is clear and informative. I bet you banged that out in seconds. Another paragraph plus intro/outro, some tidying, that’s one of 24 done. Maybe it would take you longer to write empty shit.

    There are some commenters here who could make a fortune at that word rate if there was a market for old man rants.

  11. At that rate, the standard would be extremely low. Surely anyone who is capable of writing at that rate would be able to get a better paid position.

    For bankable standard technical report writing, I quote at 4 hours per 500 words, fully justified and referenced. I might be able to get it closer to 3 hours, but I prefer to err in my favour. I’m very pendantic with my writing which slows me down relative to others.

  12. I’m very pendantic with my writing which slows me down relative to others.

    I’m very dyslexic with mine. Makes it very slow if you give a shit.

  13. jgh, you’re my kind of tech doc writer. I too go for the menu > option > item style of minimal text instead of lots of pictures etc. I know the target for my docs are other sw engineers so know that they know their way round the systems. I got simple text files with checklists/bullet points rather than wordy Word documents. It would be different if you had to write tech docs for the general public. Clue: You don’t.

  14. Out of interest, how do you lot feel about YouTube instructional videos for IT stuff? Personally they drive me round the twist. Especially if delivered in a dialect of Indian. !0 minutes for something could be done in four lines of text & few screenshots rather than have to watch it through half a dozen times. But nobody seems to write that like that for the simple stuff I need. Or never comes up in searches, anyway. Is it just YT crowding it out?

  15. @bis

    Some tech-support style youtubers make their “thing” showing what you need to know in 15 seconds or so… but many more try to lengthen out the video presumably because it pays better on google’s ad algorithms. I’m not sure how the guys who make the short vids get monetised but they’re a damn sight more useful.

  16. Ottokring: translating still pays good money but you have to use some form of memory software (Trados, DejaVu, etc.) And have a good portfolio of customers as well, of course.

  17. The dumbing down of technical guides to the level of end user standards (especially a picture for every step stuff) is always puzzling, I presume it’s because they didn’t hire a proper technical writer or let the technical staff do it themselves and just got a change mgmt person who doesn’t understand what’s being described to do it
    I’ve seen guides where explaining 1 function takes up more space than you should need for the entire guide.

  18. @BiS
    Agreed. I want to find one thing out & need to flick through 10′ of fluff to get the facst.

    Imho, all tutorial videos should be scrapped. I can read at 5x the speed they can speak and skim out what I don’t need.

  19. @Raffles
    But considering the number of YouTube vids are sent to me. (Mostly telling me something I didn’t want to know about & taking 10 minutes to impart information would be a couple of paragraphs in text form. Generally they get deleted on receipt) I suspect that people today prefer information to come via video rather than read. In which case the market may be in making short vids rather than writing short articles. And thus the money.
    Tim needs to buy a new shirt & brush up his performance art. Like I said above, the trick’s to give people what they want, not what you want.

  20. Agreed. I want to find one thing out & need to flick through 10′ of fluff to get the facst.

    With Prof Potato Elynomics vids you need an “i” in there somewhere

  21. . . . taking 10 minutes to impart information . . .

    You can at least increase the play speed. I did that when I was watching Scott Adams’s videos; even during lockdown I didn’t want sit there for 45mins.

    Tim needs to buy a new shirt & brush up his performance art.

    Some time ago I did suggest to Tim that he could make money on YouTube. The reward rate per views for ads on business related content is the highest and some folk make good money. But you need reasonable production values and it’d be Tim vs tech, so a challenge. Frequency of “fuck right off, matey” and “cunts” might lead to demonetisation.

  22. I’m sure that all you chaps write clear, lucid and concise instructions… Unfortunately, from my pre-retirement life, I reached the conclusion that most hardware handbooks were translated from Chinese into English by someone who spoke neither language.

  23. Agreed, Baron. The manual for my Japanese car being an egregious example – it reads just like they gave it to someone internal rather than pay a professional, which for an important document on a £40k purchase, that they’re going to need 100,000 copies of, strikes me as a false economy.

    [pendant]Twain’s “Sorry I haven’t the time to make this letter shorter” comment on steroids.
    If Twain said that, he was quoting Blaise Pascal (1623-1662):
    “Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.”[/pendant]

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