By Kristopher Jambers
I don’t know about you, but I’m used to writing and receiving remuneration per word. That’s the industry standard in my 10+ years of experience as a freelance writer. And let me tell you, this company does NOT follow that standard. But that’s not the real problem, the bigger elephant in the room is their entire business model. So if it’s not yet clear, this company hires writers to compose U.S. college entry essays for Chinese applicants, and the actual pay, on average, is 3 cents per word (rather than a misleading hourly figure). Now that we have that out of the way. If this is what you want to do with your talent, you can quit reading.
However, there are a number of reasons this is a horrible idea, and I wanted to share some more information about why I would NEVER EVER consider this kind of work. And you shouldn’t either if you value your time and professional credibility.
- My ethical/legal objections: It’s cheating. It’s also fraud. If the essay is mailed anywhere in the states, it’s mail fraud. This kind of writing is actually illegal in 17 US states. You can find more information about that as published in the New York Times. It’s common knowledge, you can educate yourself on the topic.
- My practical objections: I want to work with and trust professionals when they say they earned a degree. But these kinds of services undermine the academic system. It makes the degree you spent so much time working on less valuable in the long run. It’s like taking an equity loan against your own degree. You get paid for the knowledge you earned, but you undermine the value of your asset over time. Is it really worth it for you, for us as a society? Quick example: the last two doctors I’ve seen (in the U.S.) did not speak enough English to make themselves understood, despite graduating from U.S. medical schools. Do I want to contribute to this? If so, do I want to contribute to this on a pay scale at or below minimum wage, with wildly unpredictable work availability? I’ll leave the decision to you, I already made up my mind.
- My professional objections: I refuse to accept the notion that this is the best I can do with my skillset and education. It is just ironically apparent to me that my time is worth so much more than this. I could invest in SEO skills, write a book, travel somewhere, and do reporting that I could sell to major newspapers. Even in the pandemic, writing opportunities are everywhere. And this low-hanging fruit is so low that it has started to rot.
Now you have made it to the end. We covered ethical/legal objections, practical objections, and professional objections to taking on this kind of work. Now you can decide for yourself what you want to do of course, but these are my objections. Hopefully, now you are aware of the consequences of working with any company like this.