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And So it Goes

Speaker 1

Speaker 1
Hello, aloha and mahalo. It is Monday, September 11, day of remembrance for all of us.

Speaker 1
My name is Thomas Farley, F-A-R-L-E-Y-I have a friend who is is dying and he has been dying for many years, but it is certainly the end of the line.

Speaker 1
It will be the end of the line very soon for him, it seems, unless there’s some miraculous intervention from beyond science.

Speaker 1
I and he’s a good man. He doesn’t deserve to die, die poorly like this. I would not trade places with him. I envy him, though, in a way, with the enormous amount of resources that he’s been able to get to apply to his condition. He has a physical disease.

Speaker 1
He has a number of things wrong with them, but they are in the end, all physical.

Speaker 1
He’s had good insurance with Kaiser and I’m sure some of his own money. Similarly, I’ve had good insurance plans and money and I’m actually paid out of pocket for nearly all of my mental health treatment because compared with physical diseases, you cannot get seen by a doctor routinely enough to do any good in mental health. For a psychiatrist. Well, he has Kaiser. I think under Kaiser, probably you wouldn’t be able to see a doctor psychiatrist more than once every couple of months.

Speaker 1
Instead, you’re kicked down to therapists and technicians. So I’ve always paid out of pocket for regular psychiatric treatment.

Speaker 1
So that’s one big difference between mental health and physical health. Another is that routinely, for years now, most of the major insurance companies have provided a 24 hours nurse talk line so that you can talk to a nurse at any time of day except that. And I’ve talked to these nurses on these health lines before. They say they’ve never, ever had a psych nurse assigned to one of these 24 hours help lines. They could have a psych nurse, a telephone line in addition to the physical, the regular RNS.

Speaker 1
They could have that. These groups, Intermountain, Southwest, Kaiser, multibillion dollar corporations, they could pay for a 24 hours psych nurse telephone line so he wouldn’t wind up at the emergency room or some other place victim of suicide. But they don’t because mental health does not exist for these people. They talk about these institutions, talk about the rising rate of suicide, and isn’t that awful? But they won’t fund for it.

Speaker 1
They will not fund for it. They will instead give out some pity, some false pity and give some money to other groups, other agencies that are working on the problem, but they themselves don’t participate. And in the last few years, we’ve all seen how they want to really focus. They really want to throw everybody into two categories that of depression or anxiety. And if you’re not in that category, then good luck to you.

Speaker 1
I don’t want to dwell on my particular problem, although I’ll just say that it’s severe insomnia and nightmares and yeah, you hear about research, say, into PTSD and related, but it’s not really in my opinion. And I’ve been almost become a professional consultant on this subject since I so much want to get better. And I’ve tried everything. So I’ve become sort of an expert on what’s current, and I’ve done everything, including electroshock, or ECT as it’s politely called. Electroconvulsive therapy didn’t work for me, paid for all that out of pocket.

Speaker 1
Physical diseases, especially the physical diseases that happen to a lot of people, that Big Pharma has a market for. Those seem hopeful. As far as research getting spent, I know there’s some incurable, seemingly incurable problems like autism, and so there’s just major diseases, although autism goes to great deal of mental health fields, so it’s inherently not going to see the amount of research or funding to begin with. My friend has got all of these resources now available to him as far as end of life treatments and hospice, just like my parents had hospice and people willing to help stepping in. And there’s nothing for end of life, for mental health problems.

Speaker 1
My condition is not livable, and all I get in a response as far as end of life is that it can’t be that bad.

Speaker 1
And I sometimes say, yeah, you’re right, it’s not that bad. It’s a hell of a lot worse. You live with this, you live with this. But it’s a mental health problem that they can’t capture with a microscope or a thermometer going up or down, or blood pressure they can measure or blood they can sample. They just have to take the word of the patient, and our word doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Speaker 1
And I feel for people with mental health problems that are not as articulate or verbal as I am, that can’t express themselves or they express the hell they’re going through. They really have. That just I can’t imagine the misery funding needs to be addressed for my friend. There’s all sorts of patient advocates available for him. He’s actually had genetic engineering things done for him at Stanford Hospital.

Speaker 1
There’s been housing available for family and relatives nearby, just on and on and on. And I am glad that he’s had that care. It’s extended his life for many, many years. It’s just there is no equivalent in mental health for this. And it just devalue you.

Speaker 1
It devalues a person over and over and over again. You’re not worth it. And if you want something done, you got to pay for it yourself, because we can’t see it, so we don’t think it’s a problem. I’ll give you a simple example of how much I often have needed a patient advocate to deal with people just on the phone, for example. One of the things that really induces my nightmares is being a mean person and having to argue endlessly.

Speaker 1
And if anybody’s dealt with any customer support, any healthcare organization over the last many years, you’ll know that it is impossible sometimes to get across what you’re trying to say to a person that keeps falling back on a script will not transfer you to a supervisor about the websites and email addresses that they hand out that don’t work, telephone numbers they never call to make sure that they actually work. It just goes on and on. Well, that all forces me to get service, forces me to be a mean person with these people. And I don’t want to be a mean person. It’s toxic.

Speaker 1
It’s toxic to everybody, but especially in my condition. And I can’t tell them that that just engendering more and more nightmares. And it would be great if I had a patient advocate that would be able to speak for me and would be able to sit for hours and hours on a phone trying to get something arranged and it’s just not possible, not even with paying for it out of pocket. These people don’t exist. And it is very frustrating every step of the way you’re told that your condition doesn’t mean anything and it is indescribable as I try to make myself, as I try to make other people comfortable with me.

Speaker 1
You can’t mention, for example, that you have violent nightmares anymore. They’ll call the cops on you.

Speaker 1
People today are so scared by corporate media that they associate mental health with violence when in fact the mental health are far more likely to be victims of crimes than actually committing the crime. But corporate media doesn’t want to hear that. And it is the more and more I try to make other people comfortable around me, the less credibility I have, the more well spoken I am, the less people think there’s anything wrong. If I keep up appearances, then just what’s the problem? And I’ll try to say, well, how many times do you have to watch your mother or your best friend get chainsawed to death?

Speaker 1
Well, it’s not real. No, it actually feels real. And shock after shock and this has been going on since 1988 with me and it just breaks you down. I probably have less than 4 hours of sleep every night and tell you this is how these professionals, they just want a measurement. How many hours of sleep are you getting?

Speaker 1
And their limited thinking is insane. Well, four or 5 hours, it doesn’t matter. It’s the quality of sleep. It’s all broken up. I’m pacing around at 233 30 in the morning, waking up every other half hour.

Speaker 1
It’s the quality of sleep. But they can’t measure that. They have to rely on your word. And your word doesn’t count. Your word doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Speaker 1
Well, we’re sorry for you, but there’s no at this point I’ve tried literally everything, including, like I said, ECT. And that program when it first came out, using the Apple Watch, which is a dedicated Apple Watch and a dedicated iPhone that goes with it called nightwear. I’ve written a multi part review on YouTube about it that also failed.

Speaker 1
But in the end in the end, my friend has a ton of services he’s going to have measured, respectful, end of life experience, I guess you would call it. But no, I’m going to have to take care of things myself. And it’s tragic, but it’s consistent with the disregard that mental health gets in this country. I’m not sure it’s that much better anywhere else, and I don’t have any suggestions other than fund, but it’s all about money, and so I just don’t especially Intermountain. They’re an incredibly toxic group, incredibly damaging to mental health people.

Speaker 1
And you can read on my website,, what they did to me, how they treated me. I think a real fundamental problem in healthcare is how the line personnel, or the people responding to their Twitter and social accounts have no idea what duty of care means. We are patients first and then customers. This is not a typical industry where you have a customer. No, we’re patients first.

Speaker 1
When you extend the duty of care, if you have to explain what duty of care means to somebody picking up the phone, they need some real training or they need some days in the hospital tending to patients. Once you accept the duty of care, again, it’s just not my dad was a brilliant physician, brilliant doctor, and his colleagues were all well mannered, neat, professional, all of them caring. And they accepted the responsibility for a patient once they took them on. And once a system takes them on, like Inner Mountain or Kaiser or what have you, that duty of care is extended. That umbrella applies to everybody under their name.

Speaker 1
Well, that’s enough for now. I wish I could give you some hope, but there really isn’t any. Not at least for people with my condition. And I think that they would actually prefer a lot of us just to die off so they don’t have to deal with them. I think that’s what’s going on with a lot of the homeless, with mental health problems.

Speaker 1
It’s just get these people off the books and we can go back to treating people for just anxiety and depression and everybody else is on their own.

Speaker 1
But if you know more about the subject, let me know. But there’s no dignity in this, not for people with mental health.

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These Are the People I Deal With

I don’t expect anyone to read this except for search. And I don’t expect anyone to sympathize with my complaints, either, because this is the way the world is arranged. I’ve was raised to be a nice person but there are too many mean people to overcome. This is not something I can win. And, given my constant nightmares since 1988, not something I can cope with.


This weekend at a community picnic, I was introduced to an old cowboy who asked me what I did for work. I told him that I work part time online, at which point the conversation quickly drifted south because of him. He told me that the greatest computer was between our two ears, the human brain. And I said, I agree with that.

He then went on with a whole series of statements and questions that were aggressively going after. I think I think when I start talking about computers and what I do online, it’s so far out of reach of most people that they think that I’m trying to be smarter than them, or somehow they feel inferior. I think that’s a great deal of it. They have an inferiority complex to anybody that’s working with computers. They act as if I’m trying to prove that I’m smarter than them, when in fact, I usually don’t start the conversation at all because I’m so far out of reach with what I’m doing, with what most other people do that it’s not even worth bothering to talk about.

Like all of the work that I’m doing with AI and Chat right now. And it’s very discouraging because I had a friend say to me recently that it was possibly economic, because not everybody can afford a computer or the resources that I have, and that’s not really the case at all. I should probably stop at this point and refresh everyone’s memory that early on, before the Internet went commercial, back in about 94, 95, with the advent of Mosaic. Mosaic was the first graphical based Internet browser that you could see images with that became relatable to people. Images provided a boost to advertising, but librarians had been on computerizing, their catalog, card catalogs, for years before.

And so when personal computers came out, they started populating libraries with them. Especially, really around 84, when IBM came out with its own personal computer for the masses. There was this Charlie Chaplin advertising campaign that was hugely successful. But years before, Apple had been trying really, really hard to place computers in the school to get these lucrative contracts, and they did a good job. They started about 1980 with the Apple II.

So by the end of the 80s, computers were basically in every library and school. And so everyone’s had an opportunity since then to use computers in one way or another. Night school classes, adult education classes since really the late 80s, early ninety s. And I’ve actually been on computers since 1978. Over 40 years.

Everybody’s had a chance. But an idiot like this that I was talking to, he doesn’t want to go to the library. I’m sure he hasn’t been to the library in decades. He probably can’t remember when he checked out a library book last. I have many computers.

I think I have two desktops, two laptops, two tablets. I also have a library card from Pahrump. A library card from Goldfield and a library card from Tonopah. And I am in those libraries, actively. I’m checking out books.

All of those libraries have a computer. I think it’s just laziness on most people’s part and not having an interest. It’s easier to put down somebody for what they do than to ask about it or just say simply nothing at all. These are the people that drive me crazy. There’s so much amazing stuff going on and I don’t mind if they’re not interested, but it’s the librarians that I’m infuriated with.

They’re the gatekeepers in education and they don’t want to know about Chat or AI. So it’s not really economic. It is a deliberate decision on many people’s part not to engage, not to learn, to let the things go by. And people that are actually interested, that are burning to create, that are trying new things, that are experimenting with new things, those are people that are something to be put down on because I think it might remind them of how little they want to know, how content they are with their own little world. And that’s fine as long as you don’t go out and bully people or put people down.

This is the way I can make some money. I can make this money part time. I’m doing a good service and yet I have people people commenting who don’t even know the basics of writing and business writing.

Self-sustaining freelance writers are maybe four or 5% of the population. That’s it. Everybody else is doing a second 3rd, 4th job to enable their hobby or their passion the and as far as nonfiction writing goes, nobody understands that. As far as business SEO, there’s nobody that I know, haven’t known for a couple of decades that has any idea of what I’m doing. But if they ask, if I try to explain, it’s just an immediate putting down of what I do.

It’s just this prejudice against the unknown, which is really the root cause. If you don’t know something, if somebody knows something you don’t, you don’t want to hear it. Instead of asking questions about it or letting it go, they want to put it down because they’re bullies. That’s all they can do. They’re trolls.

And maybe it reminds them of the fact that they’re dead to the world, that they have no interest in inquiry.

Anyway, I just wanted to put down what I have to deal with almost every day in my effort to be creative. I really have to keep it hidden. Can’t discuss it because it’s like we’re going back to the Dark Ages. One idiot, in fact, who’s in charge of something historical, he was talking about computer literacy, computer literacy in such a way that I asked him this:

You’re not holding out computer illiteracy as a point of pride, are you? And this guy’s a former engineer and he thought about it and said, that’s a good question, actually. I am. This is a living, breathing, talking luddite. He doesn’t want to learn.

He wants to put down people for learning. We’re going to go back 300 years into the Dark Ages when people were prosecuted and killed for trying to learn things, for trying to advance science. We’re going to try to discredit them. Or Mao’s Cultural Revolution, in which anybody with higher learning or higher ambition was killed. That’s what we’re going to get.

We’re going to go back to the Dark Ages and then we’re going to take 300 years to come back again. At the end of the Dark Ages, they had to reinvent all the math that the Greeks had done, what, 1500 or  2000 years before, because people were criticized and killed for trying to learn new things. And now we have people writing about chat and AI who don’t actually use it, haven’t experimented with it, but don’t want to learn. They just want to put it down. So it’s frustrating, but that’s the world we live in.


editing writing job application tips revising writing Uncategorized Review

Updated on May 25, 2022

Sorry for not updating in a while but everything remains the same. Apply directly at an employer’s website and not Indeed, and focus on what search engines want, the kind that rate and rank your resume first. That’s what Indeed does and all the major Fortune 1,000 companies do. First read is always done by a robot and not a human. Also, try my trick which is outlined down below in the text.

As for me, I have totally given up on securing editing and writing work online. I’m something of a developing digital artist and although I may starve to death before making any money at it, my mental health cannot tolerate being ignored by employers whose positions I am totally qualified for. Watch 30 seconds of this video and then tell me what task is so complicated that I can’t figure it out.

I’m convinced that in the writing and editing field, any American applicant is immediately disqualified since they will want more money than a contract worker from the Philippines or India. The world is all about money and it always will be. I have had two good bosses in forty years of work and I hope that eventually you find your two. Good luck.

Updated on January 27, 2022

Finally! The resume business is now explaining what applicant tracking systems do with a job seeker’s resume and how to optimize a resume for ATS.

I’ve long known that most big companies dump a resume into a giant database rather than having people read them all. Only those resumes matching certain ATS criteria get sent on to HR where they might be read by a real human. But how do you make your resume friendly to these proprietary algorithm?

Look around the web for information on ATS and get educated on how to write for it. I’m using a resume building service called Jobscan. Upload a resume to get a numerical score on how your application matches up to a job posting. It looks promising but it will be a few weeks before I can review it. (Unsponsored external link)

Until then, remember nouns, not verbs, and to always call out quantities. You didn’t do a large amount of writing, you did 123 posts or pages. (Make up a number.) Indulge in Geek Speak to the max, knowing that ATS keys on abbreviations and acronyms that you would otherwise never use in regular writing.

Update: I used their service once or twice then quit after I got familiar with what these internal job search engines want to see. A good company.

Good luck!


Updated on September 20, 2021 — Total Fail

NB: Full Article Below This Update released a video several weeks ago which stated there was a worker shortage. Nonsense. What’s lacking are employers willing (or perhaps able) to pay a decent rate. Raise wages and qualified people appear from everywhere. Truck driver shortage? Pay truckers twice as much today and driving schools will fill tomorrow. Exceptions exist where lengthy training and education are required like vets and car mechanics.

Confirming my opinion was a business consultant on local Las Vegas television yesterday. He was commenting on employers bemoaning a lack of workers in nearby Henderson. The consultant said that a healthy business futre was only possible with better jobs and much, much higher wages. Exactly,

Employers always claim they can’t afford to pay more. To whom? Sometimes it’s more about delivering a dividend to their stockholders than paying a janitor at their hotel chain. Like Bezos.

Bezos thinks building rockets is more important than paying his Amazon workers another dollar an hour. He admitted as much last week when he thanked workers and customers for subsidizing his space program. Well, we all have hobbies.

If an employer was truly concerned about their employers then they would pay the so called living wage. They would lead their industry instead of paying the bare minimum now required by law. This is what the Justice Department asked AT&T to do back in the 1970s regarding equal employment hiring. Lead your industry by going beyond our rules instead of following what we have on paper now. With apologies to their stockholders for diminished returns due to overhauling their practices, AT&T complied and moved all of America toward more equality in hiring.

As I describe below, your greatest obstacle to getting interviewed is by asking for a decent wage. Forget that. Ask instead for a ridiculously low wage just to get someone to respond. Once you get an interview, state that your low rate was based on expectations of quick advancement, profit sharing, a 401K or whatever.

When the employer says they don’t offer squat, say you’ll have to ask for more money. But get in the door. This is a rigged, liars’ game from the start so don’t feel bad about fudging a single part of your application. Be completely honest with the rest of your app but watch out for the obstacles I write about below.

Bottom Line is a waste of time by itself but it may provide enough information for you to contact an employer directly. That might improve your chances. See how I did that below.

First Things First

First things first. Do not apply to any company at that hides their website or company information. See the graphic below. If the “Company Info” field is blank, run away. That’s a sure sign of scammers and con artists and the lowest paying employers. Any good company will proudly describe itself.

If you try to find this missing company info on your own, you may find that no website exists and that the company posting may be operating for unknown and possibly scurrilous reasons. Some are linked to money launderers or thieves who may put you on their payroll temporarily just to get your banking information. Do not give these so called employers personal information like your resume. Don’t.

And don’t expect to root out scammers. They don’t. They get paid by the employer, including bad employers and crooks. In fact, in their latest Terms of Service, puts the following in bold type:

“Indeed does not guarantee the validity of a job offer and cautions Job Seekers to verify the validity of a job offer before taking an adverse action regarding their current employment situations. Job Seekers are solely responsible for verifying the accuracy of any Employer or job offer.”

Wow. That’s how little they care.


Do Employers Look at Indeed Applications? is a total fail. Since I was qualified for every job I recently applied for, it must be that I was overqualified or asking for too much money. I suspect the latter. requires that you state the hourly rate you are seeking in your profile. That rate or amount then gets put into all the applications you submit unless an employer asks otherwise. In my case, I wrote down what I started at with my present company five years ago. I think that’s where most of my job applications ended.

Even when an employer says they pay $20 to $30 an hour (internal link), they are probably rejecting everyone who asks for, let’s use a number, $15.00 an hour or more. That would explain why and how an employer can reject applications without ever looking at them. Backing that up, my writing website traffic is near zero except for the unusual but consistent bot hits from China. Obviously, no one is or was looking a my portfolio website.

I was rejected for 17 jobs. I received only two notices which said I was not selected and only three notices that an employer had viewed my application. I asked customer support how I can be rejected when an employer never views my application. The answer was astounding.

Customer support says a viewed application notice gets sent only if an employer clicks a button on their dashboard. It’s not required by Indeed. You will never know whether an employer actually looked at your application unless you get that rare viewed application notice.

Do People Really Get Jobs Through Indeed?

Probably not. Indeed won’t say; they have never stated how many people get hired through them. They probably don’t care since it is the employer who pays them. Indeed thus requires little from the employer since the employer pays the bills.

As I have written before, Indeed leaves their site open to scam artists and to employers that pay writers as little as one cent a word. The applicant isn’t top of mind. Indeed does have excellent customer support for applicants but all of their answers dead end with the employer deciding the rules.

In The Old Days you’d send off dozens of resumes in the mail, never to hear back. Oh, you’d get a form letter rejection now and then but never more than two or three.  Back then, I kind of understood. To send rejection notices, an employer had to pay a secretary to stuff envelopes, label them up, and then pay postage.

Today, all an employer has to do is to click a button to send a rejection notice. Yet they don’t. Thanks.

To recap, Indeed’s main mission is to get more employers onboard and not to help find you a job. They don’t advertise to job applicants, they advertise to employers. Your success is not their success. You don’t pay them. Or, do you?

I’ve yet to determine this but it is possible makes money by selling demographic information about applicants to various groups. Not personal info, I hope, but as much information as they legally can. That would provide these greedheads more money and explain why there are so many steps to doing things at Indeed.

Why is Indeed So Bad?

I became so frustrated with Indeed that I went outside their system. I was rejected for a job through that matched the exact skill set I have. This job was was at a content creation company for law firms, just like the company I worked for at the time.

I looked at that employers’ website and found a client listed as a customer. (Companies love to list important clients.) I then looked at that client’s website and picked a page at random. Yikes! It had typos and misspellings and bad syntax. No SEO optimization apparent in the text or headings. There was absolutely no way I would have accepted this from any of my writers. I emailed my corrections and suggestions for that page to the person who ran this content creation website.

The owner responded quickly but was mainly interested in how I found his client. He said his hiring team would contact me if they thought I was a good fit and of course they never did. I did see web traffic to my site increase immediately after contacting him so I know some people visited.

This is probably the best approach: use to see who is hiring and then hunt down the email of someone who owns or operates the company. Send in some work tailored to that employer. Linkedin may help to find contact info but it gets crazy expensive if you want to message through them.

Full disclosure. The law firm featured by this content creation firm was a bankruptcy outfit. Those law offices tend to be mills and they don’t have much money. Not enough to afford my old company and we we certainly wouldn’t have put them on our home page as clients. Perhaps my effort was doomed from the beginning but at least I got a response from the company I actually targeted.

Is There Anything Else Going On?

Many companies must publicly post job openings even if they have someone in mind for a job. This is typical. We want to give the job to Marvin who has worked with us for five years in another department but our corporation demands we post the job opening to satisfy equal rights requirements. This is a huge and hidden part of hiring and employers will never admit it. Posting to gives these companies a way to fulfill corporate dictates. Yes, it’s a rigged game and it has been that way for forever.

How do I get Hired Through Indeed?

You’ll never get someone to review your application if they don’t want to pay the decent rate you are asking. Then again, do you want to work for a dirtbag company that doesn’t pay what you are worth? Keep looking at if desperation forces you. Or isolate hiring companies through them and then contact those companies directly. Better yet, use a different job board. Common among them all? None of them will ever say how many people get jobs through them. None of them. Again, is a total fail.

Who’s Hiring You?

This makes a big difference but I don’t know how you can easily determine this. If an outside contractor is hiring people then you shouldn’t worry. If the hiring team is two or three people tasked with the chore within a company then I would be uncomfortable. If you are too smart the job may go to a dullard who won’t eventually take over their job. Which you should be planning to do. Fear of competition is rampant among poorly led groups.

There’s a scene in A Bridge Too Far in which a superior officer tells a young soldier, “You happen to be somewhat brighter than most of us. Tends to make us nervous.” Indeed. We all rank each other on intelligence on first meeting. An outstanding team leader will hire people smarter than they are. Most team leaders are not outstanding.

If you do get into an interview, keep up! If you can’t keep up, fake it. Faking it, after all, is a vital part of keeping up. I’ve written on this here, (internal link.) The accompanying video shows two master showmen battling to lead the conversation with each keeping up.

Here’s a Really Wild Idea

I didn’t try this. Put down a really, really low rate of pay to see if someone interviews you. Get in the door. Then announce you were only planning to accept that rate because you assumed numerous valuable benefits like medical and a generous 401K plan were included.  If they say no such benefits exists, then say you will have to ask for more money. I don’t know, that’s just me speculating.

Another wild one? Set yourself up as employer to find out how this racket works. I put so much good faith time into exploring their job board that I sometimes pondered if I should approach their system as an employer. Of, course, I wouldn’t want anyone to think I am offering a legitimate job. Still, I think I might gain more insight as an applicant if I offered a job as an employer. But, again, one can’t fraud.

Side Note for Newcomers to Online Job Hunting

You are competing against the entire world for much online work. Overseas workers with a good command of English drive down the wage floor to levels impossible for Americans to live on. I have nothing against foreign workers, simply realize that this is a major part of your competition. I know a writer in the Philippines who is a fine, hardworking man who supports himself and his wife on wages that wouldn’t pay my rent. And I don’t live big. He has a right to earn. Just understand that your pay scale may be fixed at the rate of the world, not necessarily America.

Truth be told, many American employers are already on foreign worker job boards and may not be on at all. At times I have been asked to look for new writers through job boards in the Philippines. Sigh.

What About Those Skill Tests?

The tests are odd and I don’t know if they improve your chances. Indeed’s advertising says they allow an applicant to show off what they know. Maybe. Maybe not. The writing test is so crippled that it certainly won’t help.

The writing test at Indeed had no relation to real world online writing under deadline (internal link) and I did poorly. Sorry, Indeed, I’m the expert here and you know nothing about how freelance online editing and writing works. Indeed says you can’t retest so a poor score will dog all your applications. Great. Still, I think there is a way since I stumbled into a retest opportunity just as I was leaving for good. Excuse me but I can’t remember the path I took to get there. Should be hackable.

The SEO test was more realistic and I scored extremely high. Still, the questions were out of date and written by someone who isn’t working in the field. Even though I only know about SEO on the front end, the written page, what I can do studying ahrefs, I knew enough. But it is always disturbing when you know more about a subject than the person who wrote the test.

Should You Have A Work Website?

A portfolio website showing your best work is a good idea. It’s less messy than attaching files to emails if someone is interested in you. Actually, everyone needs a simple work website to look professional, even if few people look at it. What you are really interested in are the statistics a website provides, to see if you get traffic from any of your applications. It was very depressing, however, to go through the entire hiring process to see almost zero hits to my website.

What Should You Concentrate on Now?

I would look at how you get your information to stand out when it is dumped into a searchable database which focuses on keywords. Your lovingly crafted resume is just another text file to these employer databases which use bots to ferret out a likely candidate. This article looks pretty good on this vital subject. It’s to an external, non-sponsored site:

P.S. Anything you know about SEO will help building a real world resume. Remember, nouns, not verbs.

I’m Desperate!

Aren’t we all? My brother has spent the last several years delivering letters for the United States Post Office. It’s hard work out of doors when the weather is severe, but it was steady work while he completed his doctorate. Yes, he finally got his degree but he continues to work for them.

USPS has been constantly advertising for help for over a year. Here is a link:

Last Word!

Good luck to you. Unfortunately, finding even part-time work is now a full time job. Job searching is insanely frustrating and yet we have few choices.

For background, my first paying job was at 16. This was part time during high school. I’m 63 and my last job was also part time and that job lasted five years. During those 47 years of full time and part time work I had two good employers, one of them actually great. That’s it. A total of ten good years and two good employers over 47 years. I think that correlates with what most people experience.

Next to Next Last Word

NB: Are you an employer who has used If so, I would really like your opinion.  Thanks in advance:

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Content Mills

I’m seeking additional writing or editing work and have again run into the content mills.

I’m using as a job board which seems reasonable considering their size, however, they, too, list employers who offer as little as one cent a word and those with completely insane expectations.

I’ve written on what else you should be doing if offered an insulting penny a word (internal link). That employer says a person can make up to $35.00 an hour but then you find out that all beginning writers start off at $7.50 for a 750 to 1,000 word article. I doubt anyone has ever seen $35.00 an hour. A complete con game.

Another employer offers a “non-negotiable” $25.00 for every 1,000 word article written. Well, I’ve done that with, although they paid $35.00 when you supplied your own photographs. You could pick the topics you wanted to write on, all of which were about everyday consumer items.

The employer I just mentioned, however, goes right into fantasy land with their requirements and expectations. They strongly prefer a writer with a JD degree for their legal content creation company. It’s their first question, “Do you have a JD?” That’s right, they want someone with a law degree to work for $25.00 an article.

Now, that might not seem too bad if it takes you an hour to write a thousand words. But no one can do that unless they are a practicing paralegal or a lawyer in the state that the topic is about and working in the field of law that the topic centers on.

Only a practicing professional in Montana working in, say, elder law, could dust off an accurate 1,000 words on that subject in one hour.

The company I work for generates content for law firms across the United States and Canada. A 750 word blog post for our writers takes between two hours and seven hours. (Two hours is exceptional.) It all depends on the writer but mostly on the research involved. They are expected to write on almost any legal topic for any state, putting the law into plain language for a client’s customers to read.

We supply at least two references or leads for the writer to begin work and they usually develop several more on their own. I do any revising and editing. We do not kick back work to a writer, it ends with me. They do not have to lose money if their work needs rewriting.

More likely this employer is paying less than ten dollars an hour for someone with a JD. This company is big and they should know better but I know better, too. I’ve been writing and revising and editing this kind of content for five years. It takes research and time and multiple drafts by our writers to produce clear, accurate, quality writing. The content mills know this, they just don’t want to pay for it.

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Assessment Tests

Rockhounding site here:

Assessment Tests

From my writing website:

Assessment tests are often required but results depend on the writing style and preferences of the test writer. Or the guide they use. CMOS? AP? MLA? Importantly, will the tester tell you the guide used for developing the answers? Or is it, again, the writer’s own preferences?

I stand on my published writing before any assessment test. Do you like my writing or not? That’s fair, isn’t it? No problem if you don’t. Yet, I recently had to take an assessment test.

This was a timed test on grammar problems. Eleven minutes. This lack of time kept me from looking up solutions to these difficult, unusual thought experiments.

Editors like myself rarely spend time researching usage, we just recast a sentence. That’s far quicker than musing over conflicting opinions and guides. In this test, however, we were supposed to dawdle on things like whether “womens” or “women’s” was correct in a particular sentence. Good grief. Just revise. And get on with the rest of your work.

Their first question probably revolved around a semi-colon. I don’t use them in business writing since they slow things down and make things less direct. Although I admire how Melville and Tolstoi used them to string together 150 word sentences with six tangents. Want to hear something shocking?

I sometimes substitute a comma when a semi-colon is called for.

That’s when one of our writers pens an otherwise well-crafted or intriguing sentence which only needs to move faster. Jazz would have never developed if musicians always stuck to playing the correct notes. More eccentricities? I don’t use dashes, parentheses, or italics. I let our writers use them but only to a certain extent.

Did you notice my comma after the word parentheses? Most people don’t add a comma after the last list item. I do. I want every item in a list clearly delineated from each other. That’s how I punctuate. Unless a boss, editor, or client prefers otherwise. They know their publication best and how they want it presented. Their call. But back to the test.

The test writer consistently used “of been” instead of “have been.” That’s a style question, not a grammar problem.

Question seven moved me on before I was done. Technical problem.

Question eight referred to Catalan. Odd. I thought the area Catalonia, like in Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. The test writer then called the people catalans, not capitalizing the “c”. That’s like calling a Californian a californian. Yet there was no way to point out this mistake, instead, the grammar problem in this question was about something else. I’m being graded by a writer who can’t capitalize?

Question ten had problems in the text underlined and noted as “A” through “K.” “Select which ones have a problem.” “K” had a problem but there was no “K “radio button to click. The button list only ran through “J.” Another technical problem.

Five professional editors would grade differently with this test. Does CMOS, MLA, or AP agree on everything? Of course not. And if you are working for a publication that has its own style sheet, well, it may not agree with any of these guides.

For comparison, the writing test I took five years ago for InFocus required twelve hours to complete. They paid me for my time and I wrote a number of papers on subjects they chose. An extended essay test. I’m still working for this honest and professional company.

An eleven minute assessment test is better suited to math or other fields whose problems have definite answers. In writing there are grammar mistakes that all can agree on but there are also thousands of instances in which writers or editors will disagree. There’s an art to English that an assessment test cannot assess.

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Why Do You Have Ads on Your Site?

The most unprofessional thing a job applicant or anyone showing off their work can have on their website are ads.

It is absolutely devastating to see fine writing or photography mixed in with ads that talk about emptying your bowels every morning.

There is no money in placing ads. None. Not for the small guy or gal. None.

Belive me, I tried everything I could think of when I was actively producing In 2001 it had over two million hits. Those were good numbers back before everyone got online. Yet ad revenue barely registered. There is a far better solution.

Get a sponsor. Get someone who likes your work to pay for your internet hosting for one year. You can find that person, I know it. Hosting shouldn’t be more than ten to fifteen dollars a month, less when you pay a year in advance. Or rather, when your sponsor pays.

I had a business pay me $1,000 a year to be the sole advertiser on privateline. That worked out very well.

Hosting back then wasn’t more than two hundred dollars a year so I appreciated the extra money. I crafted a modest and unobtrusive image and link that appeared on each page and that was it.

All artists need patrons. Even Michelangelo and Mozart could not have produced the work that they did without their patrons. Some of you have hundreds of likes for a particular post. Find those people. Make an appeal.

Your website is your job portfolio, it has to be professional. It might be a showcase for your art, again, it has to look professional, as good as what you create. Even with this silly personal website of mine, in which I am not trying to impress anyone, I still don’t run ads. It’s out of respect for you as the reader. And ads are damned ugly.

Please, get rid of the ads. Many of you are doing fine work and it’s despoiling to see the weeds among the orchids. Get a sponsor, I know you can find one. Your art deserves it. Good luck.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

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An Excellent Guide to Writing Cover Letters and to Making Pitches

Format Magazine is out with a great page on pitching editors:
(external link)

They advise most of what I’ve recommended over the years but I’d add a few things.

Consider making two or three pitches in an e-mail. An editor knows in a sentence or two if your project is intriguing, why spend four or five paragraphs developing your thoughts when one or two will do? Since you have the editor reading, pitch another topic.

Fewer than one in ten cover letters leads to acceptance, get efficient at writing them and realize they are as hard to craft as the article you are proposing. Learn to accept rejection, and what is even more frustrating, get used to absolutely no acknowledgment at all.

Consider carefully what you might get paid. If the magazine pays only $100 or so, is it worth your time? If the article will require travel, your own photographs, and 2,500 words, it may make more sense to pitch another publication that will let you at least break even.

The time you spend writing for very little could be better spent making pitches to a magazine that will reward your effort. Unless you are resume building or just enjoy writing on a particular subject, always angle for better paying work.

Regarding book proposals, I’d say to query with a one page letter before writing a full proposal. A complete proposal will take you at least a month to write. See that a publisher is interested first rather than commit to what might be a doomed project.

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One Cent a Word?! What You Should Be Doing Instead

This recently hit Craigslist. It’s entitled “Ghost Writers Wanted.”  I thought it the bottom of the wage floor at one penny a word. But then I remembered I wrote another post which looked at 6/10ths of a cent a word. (internal link) Still, bottom or not, this is the kind of work to avoid:

I am looking for a few quality freelance writers to produce eBooks on a wide variety of topics. Books typically range between 10,000 and 15,000 words and vary in content from how-to and self-help to romantic fiction. Qualified candidates must be able to research topics quickly and turn in non-plagiarized content within 7-days’ time. Writers are free to pick up as many or as few topics as they like with no minimums required. No experience necessary. Pay is $1 per 100 words. Please send along a 300-word writing sample outlining the basics of the paleo diet, or samples of your non-fiction, non-poetry work to see if you are a good fit for the job.

You don’t get a byline. Someone else takes your work and stamps their name on it. You are far better off writing for free than doing such dead-end work. Non-profits, NGOs, and weekly community newspapers will assuredly let their volunteers claim a byline and recognition. That helps with resume building. But doing original writing and research for a penny a word will only leave you broke and disheartened. Work on your website instead.

I’ve written before on the collapse of the wage floor (internal link). How today’s writer competes with anyone who has a net connection. This job offer shows that we’ve hit the basement and, Fukushima style, are continuing to descend.

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A Plea From Facebook for Editing Leads and My Response (You’ve Heard This Before)

I don’t have any leads, sorry. If you don’t have one, my best advice is to work on a website that shows off your writing and editing skills. You need an online portfolio that a potential employer can look at any time of day or night.

In years of pursuing freelance editing and writing work over the internet, I can say that online work is as difficult to find as employment in person. Perhaps more difficult because you are now competing with people across the country and perhaps the world, anyone with a net connection.

I’ve had success with and Craigslist. One area to look at in general are firms that employ overseas writers, people for whom English is a second language. Their copy always needs to be cleaned up, so that it appears to be written by a native speaker.

I wish that I could wave a magic wand for you and make those leads appear. But I am still searching for that wand myself. Persistence over time is what has produced leads.

Truthfully, I would make more money if I went back to retail sales, working at brick and mortar places that produce a regular paycheck. I’ve traded that certainty and income for the freedom of freelancing, however, and I am so far satisfied with my arrangement.

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Poll: Would You Consider LinkedIn For Seeking Freelance Work?

LinkedIn starts at $24.95 a month. Would you consider it for seeking freelance work? If you are using it right now, and you’ve been successful, vote yes.