Job interview day! I have/had two interviews today WHOO. Just got home from one and have another this afternoon. I am ALL DRESSED UP. Which means while I’m sitting here waiting to get back on the road for round two of “like me like me LIKE ME,” Dumbcat wants to crawl all over me and get me all furry. NO NO NO DUMBCAT. I don’t think job interviewers would be overly impressed by my skirt being covered in Dumbcat-fur. Well, they MIGHT. But it’s totally doubtful.
Anyway, the interview this morning seemed to go well, and I’m kind of keen on it, so fingers are crossed. As they have been for over a month now. I would kind of like to un-cross ‘em at some point. SOMEONE OFFER ME A STUPID JOB ALREADY SHEESH. I’m going to get finger-cramps. Or, hey, I’ll also take a non-stupid job! A nice job. A very nice job. That pays money that I can spend on things. LISTEN. The first thing I’m buying as soon as I get a real paycheck? CHINESE FOOD. I am DYING for food that costs more than the store-brand and is TERRIBLE for me. And a bottle of wine. SIGH SIGH YUM WANT.
Job interview two was NOT as good. Let me tell you why. I showed up and it was CREEPY there. Like, I didn’t want to sit down in the office because I thought I would catch MRSA. (I’m not going to say where it was because that’s rude.) Then the first thing the interview lady said (she didn’t even introduce herself, odd) was, “This is a part-time position. Sorry it didn’t say that online. Also, we only pay minimum wage. Still want to continue with the interview?” Um. You couldn’t have CALLED ME AND TOLD ME THAT? (I got the interview after filling out an application online, and through a series of emails, no phone calls. Neither the online job listing or the subsequent emails said anything about it being part-time or how much the job paid.) So I nicely said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I wasn’t aware it was part-time, I really need a full-time position, I’m sorry to have wasted your time,” and she was all “no, whatever, the job listing’s wrong, whatever, see ya.” That was a waste of time, gas, and pantyhose, yo. Although, listen, it’s for the best. Because who wants to get MRSA? Also, I haven’t gotten minimum wage since college. I couldn’t live on it then and I wasn’t paying rent then, I was living in the dorm. I sure as hell couldn’t live on it now. I make almost twice that at my part-time job, come on! I feel TERRIBLE for whoever ends up taking that job, what with the minimum and the MRSA!
Here is a story. BFF works in HR. (Hi, BFF!) BFF said I should periodically check Craig’s List for job listings, because there are sometimes good jobs on there. And he’s right; there are. But also, there are SHADY things on there. That send you emails like “Oh we totally want to hier you click this lienk HERE” (yes, there are actual typos in the emails they send you, very classy) and the link when you hover over it is porn. Thank you, tricksters, for capitalizing on those of us who are not employed and are sad and desperate and trying to become less-so by sending us spammy porn-links and assuming we’re too stupid to know better than to click.
Today, there was a posting that said the following:
FIRST COME FIRST SERVE BASIS – CALL ASAP
WE CURRENTLY WORK WITH STUDENTS FROM: LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES AROUND THE ALBANY AREA!
GREAT FOR BUSY STUDENTS WHO ARE LOOKING TO MAKE EXTRA CASH AROUND THE FALL SEMESTER
NO BENEFITS INCLUDED
Conditions apply – 17 w/ diploma is required
So the first thing I thought, of course, was that this was for prostitutes. Or at least those girls that work phone-sex lines.
Looking for a job has made me jaded and bitter. But I still randomly laugh at things like job postings that I think are for sex-industry workers.
Anyway, this is not ALL about jobs! No no no. Well, I guess the following is kind 0f job related. Someone’s doing a job and getting paid for it, all nefarious-like.
The amazing sj, my master musicologist and all-around kickass friend, alerted me to this story the other day.
Apparently, Todd Jason Rutherford runs a company where self-published authors can pay him for reviews. For $99, he’ll write you a review. For $499, he’ll write you 20. For $999, he’ll write you 50. Well, he won’t. He has a whole stable of people he pays $15 a pop to write glowing reviews of books they haven’t read for authors whose books aren’t good enough to get a good review on their own.
Or maybe they are. Think about it, seriously. Who’s buying these reviews? Who publishes a book, thinking it’s not good enough to get reviews on its own? Do you write a book KNOWING it’s terrible? Why would you do this? No one does this. Or do you write a book, and then it fails to get good reviews, and you realize it’s not going to sell any copies without them so you spend some of your hard-earned money on lies? Also, ALSO, who the HELL is spending $1000 on fifty reviews? If you’re doing this, you have the following problem, which is a saying my dad says a lot, and I got from him: “That guy’s got more MONEY than BRAINS!”
How far do reviews go, anyway? I think anyone with half a brain takes reviews with a grain of salt, especially if they’re written by someone you don’t know. The New York Times article with the SHOCKING REVEAL of this practice says about a third of all reviews written online are fake. People seem surprised by this. I was more surprised by people’s surprise, to be honest. I assume most reviews on public sites are one of two things: a., fake (written by a friend/family member, someone with an axe to grind, either pro or con, etc.) or b., biased. Aren’t all reviews biased, anyway? What works for one person doesn’t always work for someone else, whether you’re reading reviews for books, makeup, food, or lady-pens. (Please click this link; it’ll make your whole day. BIC! You made PENS for WOMEN? What the hell are you thinking? Our delicate fingers can’t handle a NORMAL pen? Our delicate eyes can’t handle all those bright whites and blues of typical pens? This is ridiculous. This link makes it a little better. My personal favorite is the tampon one.)
As a book reviewer sometimes, it makes me sad that some of us are actually READING these books and giving them HONEST reviews while some people are getting PAID to LIE. Sure, that’s annoying. But we don’t live in the most honest society. People lie. Is this so shocking? Is it really? Does anyone read the reviews on Amazon and think, “OH THIS WILL BE AWESOME” when confronted with a shit-ton of five-stars for a book about alien swampmonsters?
Here’s my thought. Take it as you will. Let’s say you’re looking for a new book to read, and you’re scanning through Amazon. (I don’t know that anyone really does that when looking for a new book – at least among my friends, we all have to-be-read lists as long as our whole LIVES. I have a pile of books to be read that will take up probably the next six months of my life.) If you want to read the reviews of a book – well, great. You can. But first, try this. Read the blurb. Look at the cover art. Read a little about the author. Does it seem like something you might be interested in? Well, great. You can give it a shot, if you want. If you want to do further research, blogs tend to be a little less biased (well, if you find a good blog) than Amazon reviews. (And I find that Goodreads reviews are also less biasy than Amazon reviews – there’s still bias there, but Goodreads readers tend to be, for the most part, pretty intelligent, booky people. I like to read their reviews. I do scan the star-system over at Goodreads when I’m thinking about a new book, sometimes. I like to see how other readers have rated it. It doesn’t change my mind, but I’m curious about it. (Bonus points if my friends have read/rated it.)
Trust the reviews written by the people you know and trust. I trust that Susie and sj aren’t going to steer me wrong. They know what type of books I really enjoy, and they know what I hate, and they are my friends, and we have similar taste (well, we don’t always like the same things, but we have high standards in what we like, and that goes a long way.) I have a handful of other review blogs that I read and make me add books to my pile – I don’t want to list them all here, because if I leave someone out, well, I don’t want to hurt feelings. But there are probably 7-10 blogs that I read that I know write consistently intelligent, well-thought-out reviews. I still read them to see if the book is something I’ll be interested in – I’m still not going to be interested in a book about, say, golf, or boxing, or something (well, unless it’s REALLY well written, I don’t rule anything out in the world, life’s too short) but if they give it a good review, and it’s something I’ll be interested in? Odds are good that’ll make it onto my to-be-read list. My friends C and R also know when I’ll like a book and I trust their recommendations. BFF has similar taste and recommends me books (I’ve lost count of the times I’ve mentioned “I’m reading (whatever)” and he’ll say, “ME TOO!” This also works for television shows. We’re well-matched, me and my BFF.)
So, yes, I listen to the people I know and trust. Here’s a secret, though, ready? Guess who I know and trust most? Me. I 99% of the time know, going into a book, if it’s going to be up my alley or not. Not whether or not it’s going to be the book that CHANGES MY LIFE or whatever, but I know if it’s got all the hallmarks of being something I’ll enjoy. An author who’s written other things I like, or subject matter I like, or published by a publisher I know and trust – I trust my judgment, and I don’t pick a ton of terrible books. (I’ve also gotten better at just stopping when they’re so so bad. Again, life’s too short and my TBR list is too long for bad books.)
So! There is CHICANERY in the book-review world! I totally thought, for a minute, “huh, I could use $15 a review.” I AM POOR GIVE ME A BREAK. Then I decided, nah. My good name and being able to sleep at night is worth more than $15. (Although, listen, I don’t hate the guy who started this service. He’s apparently making $28,000 a
year month (THANK YOU SJ! You know, I meant to say month? But I think I couldn’t wrap my mind around that kind of money, considering I’m living on store-brand Cheerios at the moment.) And people are paying him to provide this service. He’s not the asshole here. The authors who are paying someone to lie up their book? Those are the assholes. Sorry, authors, it’s true. If you wrote a shitty book no one can/will write a good review for? That’s on you. WRITE BETTER BOOKS.)
(The title is a Nietzsche quote. I’m not really all that upset. Don’t fret. I didn’t believe most of the reviews to begin with.)