April 22, 2015

Pros and Cons of being a "Content" writer

My aunt: “So beta, what are you doing these days? Must be sitting at home and preparing for your wedding?”
Me: “ No, Aunty. I am working as a content writer.”
My aunt: “ So you write? What do you write? Poems or letters, or stories?”
Me: “I write academic content- everything ranging from research proposals, assignments, presentations, thesis, etc.”
My aunt (after being blinded with the science): “Yes beta, I understand. (To my uncle) So she basically utilizes her time at home so that she does not feel jobless.”
Me: “What?”

It is beyond me why people don’t consider content writing as a serious job. Just because I can earn sitting comfortably in my house, with no one to boss around, flexibility in the working hours and taking up tasks at my beck and call, it doesn’t mean that life is a bowl of cherries for me. Content writing is in itself very large. Large, not in terms of area or space or any other physical quantity, but large in terms of variety of projects I get. It might seem that there are no clouds on the horizon, but the reality is little known. Whenever any of my relative asks about my job and I explain them about content writing, they go blank. And in order to cover up their confusion, they tag me as “jobless”. How on earth, is it possible to call a person jobless, when the person is earning more than enough? I fail to understand.

Yes, I do not wake up early (because I stay up late completing assignments), I do not own a set of formal wear (because my work does not have any dress code), I do not know what it is like to work with people (because I work alone), I do not know what it is like to be insulted by the boss infront of the other staff members (because my job believes in one to one interaction). But that does not qualify me as jobless. I work at my own convininece. Probably this suits my lifestyle. I may not go the office like others do, but at the same time, I do not sit idle at home, wasting my time in watching daily soaps. I work. I learn. I experience. For those, who work from home, this post may grab your attention as you must also have faced a similar situation at some point of your life. But for those, who still believe that working from home is equivalent to not working at all, here are a few own-life-experiences that might change your perception.

1.      New project ~ New level of research- Hailing from the field of biotechnology, makes this even worst. With every new project or assignment, newer dimensions have to be explored in terms of content and evidence. Even if a project requires a modest word count of 1000, it takes hell lot of time. But the positive part is that I am able to learn new things, which I didn’t even know, existed.

2.      0% Plagiarism- Plagiarism is the copying of other’s written work. And when you are a content writer, you strictly abstain from plagiarizing the content that you write. The “blue chip companies” penalize you for plagiarizing and it is like asking for trouble, when you do not abide by their guidelines.

3.      The never ending “wifi” problem- For research you require internet and for internet you either choose net pack or wifi. I prefer wifi (owing to its speed and easy access). But when the wifi breaks up, you are in such a quandary! The task has to be completed and that too before the deadline, come hell or high water.

4.      The “terse deadlines”- Every project/ assignment comes with a specific deadline. Some might have ample time but some are super urgent. In case of former, the management of time is feasible but in case of latter, if any of the problems (number 3 above, mood swings, tiredness or lazy day problem) occur and the deadline is missed, then completion of the assignment is like moving up a blind alley.

5.      The “jittery phonecalls”- Working from home leaves only two choices to communicate- either via email/ chat or via telephone. Both the mediums send jitters down the spine because you cannot predict if the team is calling you for a new project or for a rework. The former is definitely a “happy news”, while the latter literally blows up in your face.

6.      The panic attacks- In a situation, when any project cannot be completed because of the problems that arise prior notice, you get a mini panic attack. First, because you will miss the deadline, second, you cannot possible ask for extension at the eleventh hour and last, you would be penalized for the same (which means deduction from the salary).

7.      Lack of appraisal- Unlike other jobs, the job of working as a freelancer, does not guarantee appraisal. The company might or might not praise your efforts. There is not proper feedback channel. The writers are, by default, made to maintain a low profile and the appreciation for the work is kept under wraps.

And the list is never ending. It has been more than one year for me now and I have grown accustomed to the pros and cons of working as a content writer. If I cope with the above mentioned points, the grass on the other side is greener. There is ease of working from home, no specific office hours, more profit less loss and so many more perks.
So, next time, if anybody classifies content writing as “not a job”, argue the toss!

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