Thursday, December 31, 2009

Your next job? Think outside the box

Say you've been looking to return to journalism, like I have, and you're starting to get antsy (or frantic) about the now-growing gap in your resume. Let's take a look beyond the legacy media at some of your (ah-hem) best options:

* Become a celebrity blogger. You remember Paris Hilton, socialite, reality-show star, actress and businesswoman? If you're a fan, you could follow her for a Web site that features all Paris all the time. It's a paid gig (thank goodness!) that requires HTML and SEO familiarity, as well as Twitter and other social media skills. And you need to be something of a paparazzi, as "candid photos, candid videos" are desired.

Just submit a couple of writing samples and links to any online work, and you're golden. Don't bother with a resume; none is needed, according to the ad.

* Move from news writing to porn writing. That may be off the mark a bit, but I recall an ad a few months back that promised more money per word the more risque you were able to write. More recently, an ad titled "Fun Job for Out of Work Journalists" offered to hire copy editors and development editors to work on erotic romance novels. The pay was awful -- $17.50 for copy editing a 10,000-word book -- and in addition to having a "good grasp of grammar" and meeting deadlines, you had to "feel comfortable with frank language and graphic sexual descriptions."

* Oversee social media for big names in the defense industry. These pop up with regularity on job boards. A recent one, for instance, sought "a creative and innovative editor to moderate discussion forums and manage reader comments on web sites targeting the Middle East region." You had to be adept with Facebook, Twitter and multimedia, and fluent in Arabic. Oh, and you had to be able to qualify for a security clearance, too.

* Volunteer. Occasionally a job looks promising in an ad, but come to find out it offers no pay because a nonprofit is looking for volunteer help. This is admirable work, of course, helping to produce, for instance, a monthly newspaper to aid the homeless or to spread the word on a group looking to empower inner-city girls.

Call me selfish, but I can't think about doing anything unpaid until I find paying work.

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