Ask Esther // 24

Hi Esther,

How do you tell if a job is dodgy?

I may soon be offered a marketing copywriting role that I’m not sure I feel right about. The opportunity to build my experience is fantastic- the company is a tiny start-up, so I’d be responsible for almost all content production, along with proof-reading and sourcing freelancers. It’s a job I know I could do well, and the pay is OK, nothing special. However the company is very new (in business less than two years), which makes this whole gig feel risky to me, and I’d essentially be doing the work of a senior writer on junior pay, with a junior title.

Do I jump at the chance to gain some decent industry experience? Or do I trust my gut, which is telling me that something’s off here?

Help a clueless junior out, I have a giant sign that says “ROLL ME, I’M NEW HERE!” stamped on my forehead.

Your gut tells you that there’s something dodgy, and you should trust your gut. Always.

So if it means that you’re considering leaving a stable job for this role, I wouldn’t.

However, if you’re not working and you think you can gain valuable experience, it might actually be worth taking on. The three to six month probationary period cuts both ways. You can always list the job as a contract or freelance assignment or delete it completely from your cv. That’s not ideal, and I would only recommend that you take this if you’re unemployed and there’s nothing else on offer.

No smart business will pay you more than they have to, especially during the start up years. It’s actually a bad sign if the salary is over market rate. It means they’re idiots. And it doesn’t matter what title they give you, and as long as they don’t underpay you.

The depth of your experience and the work you have produced determines your level in the marketplace.

Who are their clients? What’s their work like? What type of work will you leave with in your folio?

You can learn a lot very quickly by being thrown in the deep end in a smaller company, if the people are talented and the energy is good.

But if your gut says don’t do it and you sense that there’s something really wrong with the place, steer clear.

You can ask Esther Clerehan anything about putting your book together, getting a job, what salary to ask for or what to do when someone steals your ideas. Go on, Ask Esther. There is no other creative recruiter with more experience to educate us on the art of the job hunt. You can email her here at junior at (wtf null@null lifeatthebottom

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 04/10/2012
Category: Ask Esther
Tagged: .