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Archive for the tag “compensation”

Searching for fairness in an unjust world

http://copywritercollective.com/howtobeacopywriter/wp-content/uploads/Accountant-Cartoon-728x520.jpgIt is not often that I write a personal account of something. I prefer to see things from the perspective of a journalist or writer – as an outsider, viewing the world from all possible angles. But there are some things that strike you hard, right in the centre. Because you can relate to them more than anything. And sometimes you have to speak up in the hope that someone will listen and things will change.

My attention yesterday was directed at an article that said pretty much everything I have in my mind. Martin Conterez at The Hungry Dog’s Lair wrote an open letter to Huffington Post stating in essence that it is high time that writers are paid for the work they do.

I agree. The work you do should be compensated for. It’s nice to be acknowledged in every way and form. The satisfaction you receive through someone’s expression of gratification is priceless, as is the the much-desired (and needed) exposure by a renowned source. Yet, none of these enables you to survive a month of obligations, expenses and bills. You still need a monetary recompensation of the work you do. Because what you offer is in fact original content. That content that all publications are looking for. But that very “content has to come from somewhere. It has to be created, and creation takes work. It takes passion. It takes blood, sweat, and tears. It takes desire, drive, devotion, dedication, and deference. All of that comes at a cost. A cost to the livelihood of the person creating it. A cost that should be compensated for.”

Martin says it very well. Because although it may take you a few minutes to read something we’ve written, for us “it takes hours, days, sometimes weeks to create a great piece. To make content the world is willing to consume ends up consuming those who create it. And that’s just one piece, that doesn’t take into consideration the years we pour into our craft to become good enough to be featured on a site” with global reach and money. The truth is, such publications do have money, often unduly collected through exploitation and unpaid labour.

The paradox of it all is that, as writers and journalists, we are still eager to write for anyone willing to publish our pieces, usually dubbing this “voluntary contribution” because it is better to be exposed either way in the hope that someone will finally discover you and offer you a worthwhile compensation. Hiding away without any demonstration of what you can do will lead to nowhere.

That, however, does not negate the fact that people need to get financial compensation for whatever they offer. They spend time, energy and focus on something that others will profit from. Isn’t it fair that they too earn their rightful share from that?

Living off a passion

do-what-you-loveIt’s a great feeling being passionate. To have this incessant energy to do more, to want more, to want better. In everything. For every part of your life. The problem comes when you feel the compelling need to make a living out of this passion.

Everyone will try to convince you that doing what you love is all that matters. So you try to do that. But then you will soon come to realise that what truly matters is being able to live off what you do. So you will have to compromise. To reach for things that you didn’t think of previously, but at which you are good at no matter if they simply please you, rather than enthuse you. That is how you learn that elaborating on your passion will sometimes be restricted to something you do for you, to maintain that pure emotion of loving what it is that you do, that you are talented at, and that you enjoy.

It would be great if we could all do what we love most and get paid for it so much that we needn’t do anything else. But unfortunately, you will soon come to realise that that is not how the world works.

Many have argued for or against “finding what you love and making this your work”, but there is a distinct difference between doing something for the pleasure of it, and doing something because you must in order to get compensated for it. The notion alone clarifies the distinction.

Some have even argued that “the goal shouldn’t be to find your passion—as if it has been there, undiscovered, from the beginning—but to create one”. There is an underlying truth in that, because the reality is, whatever it is you do, you should like it even just a little bit. Because otherwise, it is no longer work, but a chore. And there is a whole other definition for that too.

So in essence, you shouldn’t give up on your passion, just don’t expect that it will be easy or entirely satisfying to make a living out of it. Because once money is involved, you always know that the commercialization of this world means that someone else also profits of you. Sometimes without them even doing anything. And then that becomes exploitation. Especially if you’re so adept on exploring the opportunities offered through your passion that you’re willing to do it for free, in the hope that once out there, someone will notice you and come calling. You just need to be careful and aware that certain distinctions in life are made to be kept. Not everything is as easy or as blissful as it seems in theory.

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