Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Sense of Honor

Every time my faith in humanity climbs a rung on the proverbial ladder, someone kicks the ladder out from under me right smack into a ditch. I'm aiming for less negativity in my life, but this is one rant that needs to be put into words.

I've been trying very hard to get some more writing jobs, and God is providing here and there. I get the sense that I need to get my feet wet first, which is what I'm doing. I've been offered my second and third PAID writing assignments, and for this I am very grateful. However, I've been attempting to submit a few things, queries and manuscripts for articles, online. The crowning opportunity was this website called (you'll notice that I did not include the link for this... read on to find out why.) will pay writers in their employ up to $16/page for well-written, researched, thought-provoking essays, etc. My assumption (and let me be the first to admonish myself here for my naivete), was that this would be used for website content for start-up companies, or advertisements on blogs, or company profiles, or something of that sort. The website requires that you take quite a long test -- you have a large portion of multiple choice grammatical questions, then an essay portion in which you are timed and given key words to use. After almost three weeks, I finally heard from the site and they accepted me for employment. I started leafing through the assignments online -- ranging from "needed in 24 hours" to "needed in four days", and with pay rates from $13 - $250 for up to 10 pages worth of work. I was in Heaven...

In one of the Piers Anthony Incarnations of Immortality books, I can't remember which one, a character is getting a tour of Hell. In Hell, all of the inhabitants fully believe they are in Heaven. They're on the arms of exotic, gorgeous dates, dining in posh restaurants with lavish buffets of incredible, mouth-watering food. In reality, it's all an illusion. The character getting the tour can really see that the inhabitants are on the arms of hideous-looking demons waiting to tear them apart, and the "food" they're dining on is, in actuality, piles of garbage and feces.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that the Heaven I was in was actually Hell. is a website that anyone over 18 can place an order with. When it got right down to it, every single post that I read (though worded to make you feel as though you were in a safe, legitimate place...) was written from a client who was offering money for someone to do a paper for them. High school students, college students, Master's Degree students, nursing students, law students. In essence, they were saying, "Here I am at college, doing absolutely nothing to earn my degree, but I have a lot of money so I can get good grades."

My blood. It BOILED. Angry, frustrated thoughts spewed over and out of my mouth. The fact that I sacrificed any sort of a social life for four years so I could get good grades, to keep my scholarships and grants, so that I could continue to go to college and earn a degree... that in itself was hard enough. But to know that, while I was there, and even now, there are kids who didn't and don't care one bit for education, they're just there because it's "the thing to do after high school" and they're too lazy and too spoiled to bother doing any work, and they still end up with good grades, probably graduated higher than I did? THAT, my friend, makes me want to vomit. Projectile-vomit, AT those very "students".

I have worked a job of one sort or another, be it babysitting, fast food, office work, housecleaning, or whatever... consistently since the age of thirteen years old. I busted my butt, in addition to this, to get good grades in high school so that I could get the grants and scholarships to GO to college. Then I did the same thing throughout college, all the while working to pay for books, food, rent. To this day I cannot force myself to eat another package of ramen noodles! And I almost worked for a company that played into the sloth of America...

I was asked to send a reason, via email, for my request for termination. Oh, baby... you better believe I gave them a reason.


There is a sense of honor that needs to be upheld. There is a thin veil of hope wrapped around this, somehow. I think this was a test for me. I know that God knew what the outcome would be, but I needed the test. I needed to see if I would do anything to write for a living (because believe me, I could have quit my job TODAY and made a living off of writing essays for these people, that's how many opportunities were available on that site!) or if I was going to hold out for the opportunities that God is putting in my life.

Thank God I passed the test.

I could let this break me. I could give up looking, or I could sink in the mire of the negativity that surrounds this whole ordeal. I'm not going to do any of those things. I'm going to pick myself up by my belt loops (because I don't have bootstraps), and keep plugging along with my "real life", doing what I need to do to pay the bills, and jumping on every opportunity GOD places in my life to do what He has envisioned for me to do.

By the way, if you're so inclined, go ahead and go to that website, but be sure and tell them what YOU think of them, too.

Stephanie Jean


  1. I've heard about these kinds of paper-mills before. Unfortunately a lot of people in the writing community will turn their noses up at it, and then send discreet messages about how to get in on it.
    It's decent money for writing. And some people don't have anything else and this is all they can do. Like you say, it could be heaven for them.
    If you want to look at it as blood money that you want no part of, that's fine. You're not wrong.
    If you really want to get the word out about this site, you might want to report them to this blog.
    It's primarily set up for scammers who take advantage or writers in one form or another. But if this site really is pretending to be a legitimate nonfiction market and is actually a paper-mill they might want to know about it.

  2. Here's another perspective on it. I don't expect it to change your mind. It didn't completely win me over. It's just something to think about though.
    I do agree with him about "every moment of slack is unpaid time" and I understand his motives about doing this allow him the flexibility to finance his more important personal writing.