Friday, February 5, 2010

Exploitation Masquerading as a Job Ad

Editing is one of the few professions that requires job applicants, regardless of their experience, to take a test. Fair or not, that is the reality. Virtually every editor job I've applied for entailed a test.

Tests range from a relatively short spelling and grammar test up to what amounts to the prospective employer taking advantage of applicants by essentially getting them to edit an actual written product—in other words, the editor is providing his labor/editing gratis.

In a recent ad on Craigslist, the employer—a "leading publishing company of Urban Fiction" seeking to expand its "Reader Program"—asks applicants to provide certain material, including:

"An analysis of an Urban Fiction book—preferably a [company] title, but an analysis of any Urban Fiction book will be accepted. An analysis is a minimum 2-page examination of any combination of plot development, character development, writing style or themes that make the title successful. Please feel free to include critiques of the above elements regarding parts of the book that were not successful."

Exploitation by any other name . . .