August already.  Does that mean I have to start thinking about the end of the year, like when the big jolly giant dressed in red comes to visit? Or should I just continue entertaining the young one by day and working in the moonlight, taking each day as it comes?

This is actually my last blog for two weeks because I’m going on my staycation.  As my other half pointed out, it will be a big effort not to feel like our summer vacation is a ‘two-week weekend’.  So, things need to be as different as possible to feel like we’ve had a break. My PC will be put away, just in case I am tempted to have that ‘freelancer’s peek’.  At least I will still have home comforts every night and I won’t come back to a grumpy budgie because we had disappeared for a bit. 

Apart from praying for a bit of normality, I had to say a prayer this week for a bit of reality.  One evening, I was doing some administration, checking sites I’ve registered with to find work.  A couple of sites (who shall remain nameless, but those in my profession may guess) are notorious for their reputation of having work but very poorly paid rates.  I have not had much success with them, and to be honest, went on them for a bit of experience, building up my profile, with the hope of nothing in particular coming out of them. 

Anyway, some of the jobs advertised were just too cringeworthy that I could only pray that even the algorithms would see sense at some point.  A job editing a PhD paper (a piece of work that can be 50,000 – 80,000 words) had a fixed rate of $8 – that’s the total payment. I kid you not. 

And then there was the one where someone wanted you to write their book of up to 60,000 words. They were offering a fixed grand total of $200 and would give you all the ideas to write it.  Now, some starting out might think that reasonable, but when you read on, you had to write, research and edit as well.  And just for good measure, they would retain all copyright (their idea, fair enough) without so much as your pointer finger getting a mention.  I wouldn’t be expecting a co-authorship if it was a ghost writing contract, but I would expect some kind of recognition in the acknowledgements for a ‘substantial contribution to the book’!

Then again, I don’t have much ghost writing experience, but if you were going to do pretty much everything, would it not be better to try and write your own book?

Now, maybe the website operators themselves don’t give clear instructions as to how to construct a job description properly, e.g. hourly vs fixed rate.   But if they did, and they are the correct figures, I don’t think many editors would sell their soul that far, even if it meant ‘getting their foot in the door’.  There are limits.

Another far-from-reality dose came into my junk email.  A company contacted me about SEO and meta tags and interlinking and blog posting and whatever else would electronically impress me.  They then asked for my URL so I could have a free report done.  Em, no. No, thank you.  The diplomat in me would say that these ‘marketing consultants’ are just trying to do their job and drum up business, but you’d think after four years of this same company constantly cold calling me on and off they’d get the message.  My mind-o will not be changed-o, no matter how many meta tags, interlinks and blog posts you can decorate my Christmas tree with.  Damn.  Did I mention the ‘C’ word.  And I tried so hard all through this article . . .

Don’t get me started on life insurance, bit coins and dodgy LinkedIn connections. 

Geez, I need a staycation.  Have a good two weeks and I’ll see you on my return.