#pitchmyvagina

There are a lot of things I like about freelance writing, mostly the flexible schedule and the ability to do it in my underwear, but there’s one thing I really, really, really hate:

Pitching.

Pitching is The Worst, in title case. It’s not just the fact that you have to have the right idea and the right style, it’s that you have to tell the right person all about your right idea and right style in the right way.

So you spend your time crafting the perfect pitch, and then nine times out of 10, IF an editor gets back to you at all, the response is “thanks, but I’ll pass on this one.” I get it. Tons of pitches come in. An editor doesn’t have time to reply to everyone in detail.

But you know who else isn’t mired in time? People who are pitching stories. Which brings us to the right etiquette: I’ve heard editors say they would never run a story or work with a writer who pitches multiple outlets at once.

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When I’ve applied for jobs, I don’t wait until one company rejects me before I send my resume to another. I’m in a long-term relationship, but when people are dating, or whatever people do in the Tinder/Match/rightswipe age, they don’t wait until one potential connection fails miserably before texting the next one, do they?

I don’t think I could take trying to date on top of everything else. It would be like trying to pitch my vagina.

 

 

let’s create an old white man sexist jackhole bracket, and other good ideas

Huffington Post senior political reporter and politics managing editor Amanda Terkel today tweeted about a disturbing conversation she had with a professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Ms. Terkel has not, thus far, named the professor. There are many calls for her to do so and I echo them.

However, should she choose not to, as is her right, I suggest we create a bracket of all the male professors at Medill (and for good measure, probably white and of a certain age) and let students and alumni vote to narrow down the candidates.

(Grammarly wants me to replace the period at the end of the previous sentence with a question mark. No, Grammarly, that is not a question, it’s a declarative statement. Adding a question mark would make it upspeaking. Clearly, you have a sexist algorithm that wants to force me, a woman, into upspeaking). 

Obviously, said bracket would group all men (again, presumably white and of a certain age) under the collective umbrella of rude, sexist, unenlightened, unaware of privilege, etc. etc. so on and so forth.

But we’re all cool with that, right?

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(just gonna assume you’re all doing this. don’t know who that blonde is, but she can take off).

My first instinct was to tweet this idea, but I figured some people just wouldn’t appreciate a good* sexist white man joke/feminist barb**.

So I decided to blog it instead.

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* The definition of good being subjective

** Is it a feminist barb or a barb at feminism?

 

honesty isn’t the best policy?

I am currently seeking work, and as any of us who have ever looked for a job or assignment knows, it’s an incredibly time-consuming, tedious process. Nearly every book, article or expert I’ve consulted on networking, however, advocates for the “informational” conversation: “Dear So-and-So, I’m so interested in hearing about your career path…” Often the advice is to not even mention a job possibility in initial correspondence. As someone with a fondness for efficiency and a low tolerance for bullshit, I find this advice suspect.

Can anyone provide legitimate insight as to why a more direct approach is not generally advised? Not “Hi, we went to the same school, will you hire me?” of course (though that would be really nice), but “Dear So-and-So, I am interested in Position X at your company. Would you be willing to have a conversation with me about your experience and my background to determine if there might be a good mutual fit?” or some such.

Frankly, any time I say that I am interested in “learning about your experience” or “finding out more about your career path,” I, A) am certain the recipient can see right through that claptrap, and B) feel as if I’m representing myself as a wide-eyed “newbie,” rather than as the experienced professional I am.

We often talk about being straightforward and asking for what you want, especially “as women,” but there’s so much advice out there to beat around the bush. What’s wrong with saying “I would appreciate your help/advice/insight in service of a goal?” Isn’t a direct approach more efficient and productive for everyone involved?

studies are important

Just received an email with the subject line: “Study: Freelancers Are Undercompensated.” I would like to commission a series of equally worthy studies:

– Do Cats Like Shiny Things?
– Are Men Fond of Fellatio?
– Are Horsies Pretty?
– Is Drinking Water Good For Your Health?

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cover letters: a study in honesty

Dear Prospective Employer,

Greetings! I am copying and pasting this cover letter, with minor edits, in the hope that you will deign to pay me just enough money to keep a roof over my head for doing what used to be the job of 2.3 people.

Your advertised position makes me want to put my head through a brick wall only a little bit, and I feel confident in performing eight of the 11 tasks required. However, I have more than a decade of experience in tasks 1-6, which the attached work samples will demonstrate. I also hold an advanced degree.

Most likely, Prospective Employer, you will not look at the aforementioned work samples. Instead, you will most likely hire someone younger, with less experience and more followers on Instagram. Someone, perhaps, more like you. I would appreciate the opportunity to tell you to your face why that is, in fact, a load of hooey.

Should you have the courtesy to reply to this letter, I will look forward to a continued and productive correspondence. But I have my doubts.

Yours sincerely.

P.S. Neither a “beer fridge” nor a “pet-friendly” office is a legitimate work benefit.