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Talking myself out of a job before I even start?

March 5th, 2011 at 07:38 am

That's what you're going to think when I tell you what I did this morning.

I woke up, wide awake, at 3 a.m., worrying that the quota/target my soon-to-be boss lined out for me was unrealistic and undoable.

When we talked on the phone yesterday, he said he was looking for 3 to 4 news briefs written each hour. It's a start-up and he can't afford to pay much now. They are just getting ready to launch. He originally offered me $20 an hour but agreed to $25 an hour but said the higher rate would hinge on my ability to write closer to 4 briefs an hour, not 3.

Well, we didnt' spend too much time on that, but after I hung up, I started thinking of how difficult it would be to write a news brief, following the very specific format he described, in 15 minutes, every hour of every day.

I might be able to churn out 4 an hour on occasion, but to do so consistently is unlikely. Part of writing each brief involves reading breaking news stories online, and just reading and absorbing their key messages would take 10 minutes easily, let alone writing intelligently and persusasively on a particular angle and posting it online using their software.

I want to position myself for success, not failure, and I take my commitments seriously. So rather than stress about this the rest of the weekend, I decided to write him a longish email saying just what I've said here (and more). I realized I was taking a big risk in possibly pissing him off and jeopardizing the job offer I just got yesterday. Or maybe making him think I was difficult to work with.

I got a reply back in maybe 5 minutes. He must've been checking for messges when I sent it. He wrote back briefly, saying don't worry, get some sleep, things will work out just fine, let's take it a day at a time.

I felt so relieved. He seems like a really understanding guy and I am feeling more confident that he will be someone I respect and enjoy working with.

In the meantime, I am halfway through the at-home editing test given to me my big accounting firm seeking a technical writer. The first half had maybe 5 pages of extremely dense copy riddled with all sorts of grammar, punctuation and organizational problems. It took me over 3 hours just to get through that!!

5 Responses to “Talking myself out of a job before I even start?”

  1. LittleGopher Says:

    I've had that "in the middle of the night" experience too. I've learned that I can trust my gut feeling. I'm glad you emailed him, and got a quick response. It sounds like the job may have the makings of a great fit for you! Best wishes!!

  2. Ima saver Says:

    He sounds like a great guy and someone you will enjoy working with. I am confidant that you will do a great job! Glad you e mailed him. Now, quit worrying!!

  3. patientsaver Says:

    Thanks, Julie!

  4. CB in the City Says:

    I have struggled with a similar problem at work. My work (or a lot of it) consists of writing donor profiles, which means going through files, reading contact reports and surfing the web before I can even put pen to paper, so to speak. The people I work for think that I can write a profile in an hour or so, when it actually takes several hours -- sometimes a day or two, to do it right. Sometimes I think, what do they want -- do they really want me to NOT READ the stuff about this person -- do they want me to make things up? In reality, they just don't think about it -- I honestly think they just imagine that I'm pushing a magic button. So I commiserate. People who don't write for a living have no idea what goes into it. I just keep gently explaining what I have to do before I can write a profile that is thorough and accurate. I keep stressing thorough and accurate. Sometimes I feel I'm talking to the wall, but sometimes it gets through.

  5. patientsaver Says:

    CB, I think there are a growing number of websites today where they know they need content, but they really don't care about quality as much. Most legitimate organizations realize that if the quality of the writing isn't there, your readership's going to suffer.

    This is why, in my job search, i mostly haven't bothered exploring the possibility of writing for so many of these hub pages sites and so on....when they pay $10 or $20 for a story, they know that kind of pay wouldn't attract a professional writer but they really don't care about quality, it's all about quantity.

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