the dangers of applying yourself

banditIt starts in pre-school, the prodding and pushing and browbeating. If you want to get anywhere in life, they say, you must apply yourself. Don’t you believe it.

I found out the hard way. See, I’m on a mission to dig up a little freelance work, i.e., I’m applying myself. I’ve spent days on the internet tracking down likely possibilities, but may as well bang my head on the desk for all the progress I’m making.

First off, I’m convinced every emailed cover letter and resumé goes straight to They’re never heard from again. By anyone. Anywhere. Either companies are routing incoming email to unmonitored mailboxes or they’re clueless. Okay, a toss-up.

Even more exasperating is the shakedown and that’s a polite way to put it. Blatant extortion is closer to the truth and it’s not uncommon. Companies you’d never think of as shady are everyday, garden-variety muggers. Mental Floss, for instance. They’re dirty, lowdown thieves and occupy the top spot on my shit list. Check out their legal disclaimer (ha, legal, good one):

“All submissions made to mental_floss become the property of Mental Floss Inc and may be used without further permission by the submitter and without compensation to the submitter. If you do not agree to these terms, please do not submit anything to mental_floss.”

In other words, hand it over or piss off. They don’t beat around the bush. The stilted language is supposed to make them look professional, I guess, and make our eyes glaze over; maybe even intimidate us into submission.

Literally. Then your work  becomes their property — lock, stock, and barrel. You, in turn, get bupkis. No credit, no money, no thanks, no nothing. I can’t think of a sleazier way to come up with ideas. When someone sinks to that level, a career change is in order. Switch to debt collection or repo man, the lack of principles will be a plus.

The application process, ladies and gentlemen, is a mugging. I don’t recommend it. Get names and titles, valid email addresses, refuse to submit work that isn’t copyrighted, trademarked, patented, notarized, and / or certified … then watch your back. Corporate America is not to be trusted.

You should start a blog. It’s a nice, safe place to submit your copyrighted work.

snake oil

copyright © 2015 little ittys

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