Dear Ed …

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Dear Ed

I'm a writer for the online journal Rip Me Off! Your sense of humour and lightness of touch appeals to me. You're obviously skilful, talented and knowledgeable. I'm looking for someone with your skillset to localise Australian text for the US edition of Rip Me Off! The articles are 300-500 words in length and we pay $US5 per article. There are further conditions on the website. Please let me know if you're interested.

Pamelia

Dear Pamelia

I know that I look stupid when my mouth gapes open so, in general, it's a look that I try to avoid. But you've caught me out this time. I like the way you start with flattery, then slap me across the face with a large haddock. It's like Monty Python's Norwegian Fish-slapping Dance, with the skilful, talented and knowledgeable Ed bound to end up in the oily canal sooner or later.

I went onto the Rip Me Off! website to look at your other conditions. For the pitiful, insulting sum of $5 per article, you also expect me to be available between 8am and 2.30pm every weekday and sometimes on weekends! I'm not sure if you've been into a shop lately, but five dollars doesn't buy much. I could buy the Friday and Saturday editions of The Age and have nothing left out of my $5 pocket money, sorry, I mean $5 fee per article. In effect, you are looking to trade years of training and experience for the cost of two newspapers per article.

And you know what really pisses me off about your $5 per article fee? Someone somewhere will take it. You might get a student who will take it "to get experience", when they'd be better off working in a voluntary capacity for a non-profit organisation. You might get a skilful, trained editor who takes it so they can add an online journal to their client list to show that they're no longer in the Dark Ages of p-books. You might get a freelance editor who has had a few quiet weeks and thinks that anything is better than nothing.

Australia is not yet a third-world country. I suggest you come back when the TAFE cuts have truly bitten and the dreams of a generation have dried up and blown away. Then you'll find someone who is skilful, talented, knowledgeable AND unemployed who will be over the moon to work for the royal sum of $5 per article.

May your ship run aground on a reef and your buttocks get eaten by sharks,

Ed