They had a post on the Washington Post website last week about long-term unemployment and asked people how they coped. They asked you to include your phone number for a possible story.

So I got this call last night and the reporter (or intern, not really sure) asks me a lot of questions, then asks if I’d be interested in writing a weekly dispatch about being unemployed for the Post.

“I assume this is unpaid?”

He allowed that it was.

“Then I’m not interested. Don’t you think that’s ironic? I mean, I’m an unemployed writer and you’re asking me to write, for free, about being unemployed?”

He cleared his throat. “Yes, I hear you. But we can’t really afford to pay for that.”

“That’s not true, I know that your parent company is doing quite well. Kaplan’s still making a lot of money. And as a writer, I’m not interested in being part of a content farm where writers churn out content for your company for free. No, I’m not interested.”

“I understand. Really. Good luck.”

Heh. Turns out I was wrong, and his paper and their parent company are losing quite a bit of money. I think he’s the one who’s going to need it.

5 thoughts on “Irony

  1. They could have asked some of their opinion columnists to take a pay cut in order to fund you. Charles Krauthammer and Eugene RobInson come to mind. It’s the very least they could do for the unemployed. Krauthammer could always go back to his first profession as a psychiatrist, though I’m not sure his patients would benefit. And Robinson’s response to everything seems to be that if you’re having a problem with Obama, you must be a racist. Presumably, your unemployment is similarly tied to your latent racist tendencies. Don’t try to hide it. Robinson can see right through to your soul.
    Then there is Fred Hiatt. Surely, SURELY, he would like to mentor you to full employment by throwing you a paying gig every once in awhile, right? No?
    Oh, well.
    You could take the American Chemical Society’s advice to unemployed chemists and work for free! It might lead to a paying job. Or, employers could see free workers as a nice perc and NEVER offer a paying job. Still, your words would get printed in the Washington Post and that presumably is worth something to someone looking to hire a writer.
    Isn’t it curious that Greg Sargent is getting paid and you wouldn’t be? Why is it that all of the online news rags and journals only employ MALE bloggers and not female ones? Why didn’t you ask the reporter who called you?
    Anyway, you can give him my name. I’d be more than happy to write stuff for the Washington Post about the wreckage in the R&D industry. It might be the only way the desperate unemployed scientist will get a national platform. I mean, if progressives were worried about it, you would think we’d get invitations to tell our story on virtually speaking. Right? So far, no one is beating down our doors for an interview.
    hey! *You* might want to do it, Susie! You can ask me any question you want about being an unemployed, technical, educated scientist during this recession. I won’t even charge you.
    Unless you’re afraid…
    Go on, I double dog dare you. But if you don’t want to interview me, why not talk to Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline?

  2. I was just listening to a Richard Wolff lecture on Democracy Now!’s fund raising show for WBAI in NYC.

    The average working man’s wages have not increased in real purchasing power since 1978.

    He points out that Americans now work more hours for wages than any other nation in the world. Remember when we were being told the Japanese were overworked? That’s us now, with the attendant social and psychological stresses and ills.

    He said no capitalist business man in his right mind will pay more in wages and salaries when there are large numbers of unemployed; just will not happen, whether they’re good or neutral or evil businessmen. It’s part of the system.

    What Susie was hit with was the fact that they can get others to write for free — and they will find someone. Perhaps more than one.

    We are well on our way to accomplishing yet another Republican/Conservative objective: Cheap Labor. Really cheap, as in free.

    Wolff said one of the major problems with our country’s approach to this change in our economic system was have people deal with it on their own, to approach it as an individual problem. There’s surplus labor in this country and you can’t find a job? It’s YOUR problem, not the system’s; therefore, the leadership doesn’t feel a real need to do anything about YOUR problem. Even though it is a national, systemic problem, and, eventually, it will affect the very fiber of the nation as a whole and perhaps splinter the nation.

    Obama and so many have bought into that view that I don’t know if we’ll get any leaders in the coming generations who understand what is really going on.

    Now, I think Wolff might have been going on to some solutions, but we got only a teaser part of the speech, available for a donation ($150, and you get both Wolf’s book, Capitalism Hits the Fan and a CD of his speech).

    Oh, some changes really, really, really need to be brought about…but how and by whom?

    NPR reported that DC Dems, especially the non-Blue Dogs or ConservaDems, feel Obama does not listen to them or want to hear what they have to say. Maybe someone should tell them they’re under the bus with the rest of us. Heh.

    Wolff has some things up on YouTube.

  3. No, really, Susie. Virtually Speaking needs to talk with one of us *personally*, on the air. Take your pick. There are tens of thousands of us and very few of us are raving Republican nutcases.

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