Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"But What Makes Wage Slaves? Wages!"

My Love funds the bulk of my At-Home Dadness, bless her cold capitalist instincts. Now and then, though, I feel a strange twinge. Then it becomes an itch. An itch to contribute something more to the Uncool Household than my mastery of reusing plastic bags to pick up doggie landmines, locating misplaced video game cartridges and shuttling forgotten lunches to the kids' school.

Ack! It's my deeply recessed alpha male/breadwinner gene!

GENE: Hello, Gen-X slacker and friend of failure.

UNCOOL: Hi, Gene. Ha. "Hygiene." That's a dirty word.

GENE: So is "unemployment," you half-wit.

UNCOOL: Hey, I'm self-employed.

GENE: Yeees. You love to work at nothing all day.

UNCOOL: "And I'll be takin' care of business -- every day! Takin' care of business --"

GENE: Spare me the Bachman-Turner Overdrive, you unproductive sloth! Now feel guilty! Guilllll-tyyyyy! GUILLLLL-tyyyyy!

UNCOOL: Jesus, I suck!

GENE: Excellent. Now, scratch your balls, spit and swagger. Think more Christian from Nip/Tuck than Roseanne singing the National Anthem.

UNCOOL: Jam it, a-hole.

GENE: Ha! Now that I likey!

After these pep talks, I often feel compelled to scour online job boards, call old contacts and pound the pavement in search of big bucks for hard work. Unfortunately, my efforts usually end not with paychecks but with the pangs of rejection and remorse over my general lack of skills and talent. Frickin' liberal arts education!

In one of my recent "gotta find extra work" jags, I found what sounded like a promising telecommuting contract gig writing copy for a catalog selling stuff for babies and children. It promised possible future opportunities such as news releases and other types of one-off projects.

The more I re-read the ad, though, the more I became convinced it was yet another Internet posting that essentially wanted a writer on the extreme cheap which pretty much describes all jobs for writers you can find online. This ad just didn't have the balls to flat out say it, instead asking applicants to submit their "salary requirements" -- code for "ask for peanuts and maybe will offer shells."

As it seemed I was destined to get rejected again, I figured at least I'd have a little fun with it. So here is the cover letter I sent in:

As a professional writer (at least that’s what I claim on my “income” tax form) and father of two grade-schoolers, I think I’d be a perfect fit for your business. Why? Just look at these bullet points:

  • I’m used to working on tight deadlines because most of my past bosses were poor planners;
  • the "factual, yet lighthearted, flowing and conversational" writing you desire is my mainstay because I’m fairly shallow; and
  • I’m more than familiar with children’s products as my boy and girl, ages 7 and 9 respectively, love to spend what little money I do bring in.

As for salary requirements, I’m looking for the minimum equivalent of $40 an hour. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a reasonable price given my experience (see attached resume). Also, I’m sure your outfit is more reputable than the zillions of companies that think they can pay telecommuters and online writers a pittance and a bag of Circus Peanuts for their craft. I have that kind of faith in YOU!

Attached with my resume are some writing samples. Please contact me if you are interested in my services or at least if you found this e-mail entertaining.

As for their reply, well, I'm still waiting ... along the interstate on-ramp with the rest of the day laborers.

* * *

Speaking of people who need real jobs, please read "Jon & Kate Plus 8" Must Die -- my thoughts on the most annoying of reality show couples who are seemingly headed for divorce while the TV nation and their eight kids look on. It's only on DadCentric!


  1. You know, of course, that you stole your headline from Groucho Marx in Duck Soup. Professional writers always steal from the best. Well done.

  2. These on-line writing jobs sound pretty good. The on-line Public Relation positions I've found all want me to bring my own pole.

  3. I get those guilt-induced, ball-scratching tinged urges to earn sometimes, too, and I don't even have balls.

    I have a few things I do to help them pass quickly.

    1) Call a working friend and listen to her grip about her job.

    2) Play a quick game of Snood. That always seems to bring me to a zen-like state.

    3) If all else fails, lie down on the couch for a nice midday nap, realizing there is no way I could do this if I was employed.

  4. HeadBang8: That's why it's in quotes. I love the Marx Bros., even Zeppo. Good catch, HB8.

    Mom of 2: Nothing makes me happier than comments that are wittier than my actual post. Not that that is too difficult but, nonetheless, I did do a spit take while reading yours.

  5. I'm with Cat - also you, tho I'm sans balls. Altho I've always had some diddly income from free-lancing and painting, but the stay-at-home ANYONE is subjected to jabs and sneers from "the others". I twisted the guilt into "I'M REALLY the lucky one here! Who else could do a 3-day colon cleanse and never miss work?"

  6. Your genes talk to you too? Mine say stuff like : "you're supposed to love this life of a SAHP (stay at home parent)"

    I wish I was paid a scintilla of what I am worth.

  7. I wrote something for 10 cents a word recently. That felt like shit. I hated myself the rest of the day. But then I remind myself I can barely spell so wtf am I complaining about.

  8. My husband wishes I had a cold, capitalist instinct. Alas, I prefer to be "self employed."

  9. Guess I'm going to have to buy you a round at the meetup.

    It's on me. No, really.


  10. Meh. Writing's overrated. That's what I tell myself as I sell other people's writing 12 hours a week. Work 40 hours?! Who are you kidding?! Pa-shaw (if I were a writer, of course, I'd know if pa-shaw was spelled correctly).

    When I got out of college with my shiny journalism degree and was begging anyone for a job, my Mom, also known as She Who Was Not A Qualified Writer Like Her Daughter, got a job writing copy for a business incentive gifts magazine. Oh, I helped her. Yes I did. Oddly, she didn't take me on the fancy trips she got as a perk of that job.

    Words. Who needs 'em? I've probably left too many here now, so I'm off to Dadcentric!

  11. Tightwad i STILL looking for a job!!!

    holy crap. HOWEVER, he is working his butt off around the house, and for that I am thankful.


  12. Just spend My Loves money and be done with it. Since I've been laid off and had absolutely no interviews, I've decided my mission is to spend what little money he has just so he knows I have total faith in his abilities as a breadwinner.

  13. and herein shores up every reason why you are someone I would throw down cheap beers with any fucking time.

    off to read you jon and kate hate.

  14. Ah, but what if you were paid what you were worth?
    That is the question. Truly, I know I am not, but because of what I can do (amazing now that it seems) it is worth the pittance that they pay me! And no, I still do not make a livable wage fro Stamford.
    And when are we doing the next meet-up? it is time for me to come!

  15. I have thankfully supressed that gene into submission. I still work, but financially it is more of a drain than anything. I'm much happier here at home dealing with school drop off and whatnot rather than being part of the traditional work force.

  16. Hey, everybody!

    I just wrote a post on my blog about a similar topic. Go and check it out...


    Just read through this post and your segment on Dadcentric re John and Kate. I am not sure what I enjoyed more, but your response to one of your commenters on Dadcentric definitely got my attention. :)

    Also, not sure if you saw my e-mail, but I am wondering if you are still in for the vlog next Wednesday. When you have a chance, let me know.


    PS: It will be shocking if this company does not reply to your application. They do not know what they are missing.

  17. I go with the "it takes a village" concept. Some of the villagers go out in the field, and some of the villagers stay in the wigwam. It's not a big deal.

  18. $40/hour isn't unreasonable, but god knows there are more than enough Craigslist postings offering $18-$24/hour to make you want to throw up your hands and walk away.

  19. I'm not a struggling writer... I'm making it big with the $5.00 CHECKS i'm getting with my ads on my blog!!! hehe

    and the stuff when I work my corner... ha!

  20. As on online writer, I make millions in under 20 minutes a week from the comfort of my own home.


  21. I gave you some awards over at my blog! xo

  22. You ask for too much. I will give you a job writing my blog for me, and I'll pay you in pretzels and PBR.

  23. At least you have a talent to bring to the table. My unemployment has shown me that the only thing I'm really good at is controlling the remote for the tv...

  24. Two things.

    First- Dude. You're effing hilarious.

    Second- I really wouldn't be surprised if they were amused enough to give you an offer.

    Third- While being a stay at home parent doesn't bring in extra money, being there for your kids is *way* more valuable and important than extra money. I'm about to have to go back to work and *wishwishwish* I didn't have to leave my kids.

    Oh. That was three. Shit.

  25. Want to be a stay at home dad for my little guy too? Since it is impossible to get into any of the daycares in Stamford.....

  26. If you took in 10 more kids at $4 an hour you could totally have the mad income AND a godgiven reason to drink yourself into a Lindsay Lohan-approved rehab center. AND your own reality show.

  27. I just came across your blog this morning - great stuff!

    I had to comment on this one because, well, I totally commiserate. I'm a freelance writer myself - and I was just on one of those virtual pavement-pounding job-hunting sprees yesterday, debating whether working for a pittance is better than not working at all.

    It would be fantastic to be completely satisfied with the "staying home with your kids is better than any career" mantra, but while there's a lot of truth to that, a fat paycheck here and there would certainly enhance the experience. :)

  28. I’m used to working on tight deadlines because most of my past bosses were poor planners;

    Damn! Now you know The Eagle's secret!!


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