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Monday, June 12, 2006
"The girl can't help it!" or Stanley Bing tells us how to get "100 BULLSHIT media jobs" (AHAHAHAHAHA!!)
In his new book, Stanley Bing lays out just which media jobs are full of bull
By Stanley Bing – June 12, 2006
A:Talk on phone, take percentage
$$: Seven figures is not out of the ordinary, and the lunch action is astounding.
Skills Required: Shine people on or cut them dead, depending on the situation. One must possess a serious love of bullshit in all its many forms.
Duties: Make sure no client of yours ever takes it up the butt.
Let every eye negotiate for itself and trust no agent. —Shakespeare
Famous Examples: Swifty Lazar, who will be remembered for his Oscar parties; Norman Brokaw and Lou Weiss of the William Morris Agency, who I believe knew Jolson; Binky Urban, whose name comes up more often in New York book chat than Proust's or Jerry McGuire.
How to Get It: To become a successful agent, all you need to do is get a foot in the door at the very lowest level and then show yourself to be a meat-eating barracuda from the get-go. A lot of agents, although not as many as in the past, come in through the mailroom. Others start as assistants and very quickly begin to take on unknown and marginal petitioners, one of whose success will immediately reap huge career gains. You don't have to be all that educated, either. Just smart. Or not. There are certainly a lot of stupid agents.
RELATED:Essay: Bullshit Media Jobs
I'm not currently represented. I'm with the William Morris Agency. —Larry Gelbart, to Johnny Carson
The Upside: Lots of people groveling as you eat your gravlax. A sense of achievement in the success of others, as long as you're getting a piece of it.
The Downside: People sucking on your face all day. And there comes a time when Steve doesn't seat you at the right table.
The Dark Side: You die alone and unmourned.
Where You Go From Here: Upward and upward into the stratosphere of the profession, where the lines blur between superagent and producer and lawyer.
A.Take breakfast meeting with writers, assign ideas generated by others, hound writers for manuscripts, have lunch, hound writers for manuscripts, have drinks and dinner. Repeat as necessary.
$$: $16,000-$450,000, depending. The lower you are paid, the less bullshit your job is; conversely, the more you make, the more access you have to the highest, rocket-grade bullshit imaginable.
B: 15-104. What a range! Entry-level editors must rewrite and proofread manuscripts (like this one instance for), and field angry phone calls from authors and agents so that their bosses can talk to other people with bullshit jobs (see Best-Selling Author).
Skills Required: There are still some book editors around who actually mark up manuscripts, but the truly successful ones wouldn't risk inkstains on their Armani cuffs. The great ones operate in pure ideas and conjecture—like which to order for lunch at Michael's, the sweetbreads or the Cobb salad? Occasionally, they will weigh into the process by barking, "Where's my book?" The great book editor is at once a gifted salesperson, an arbiter of taste, a babysitter of lost souls, and a closet boulevardier. God bless them, both of them.
No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft. —H.G. Wells
Duties: Ability to "read" a 300-page book before lunch, while answering emails on his Blackberry.
Famous Example: Maxwell Perkins, a towering figure of the 1920s and '30s, whose aggressive yet thoughtful shaping of the great modern authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolf, hewed solid monuments of literature out of flaccit, egotistical lumps of prose. The fact that Maxwell Perkins existed has made it possible for generations of book editors who came after him to feel good about their profession.
How to Get It: Take a job for no money upon graduating from an Ivy League school; live at your parents' house for three years until you make a living wage; then inherit a best-selling exercise book from an editor who's left for a better bullshit job.
The Upside: Meet Oprah.
The Downside: You are seated with James Frey and Nan Talese at the PEN dinner.
The Dark Side: Must eat at Elaine's.
Where You Go From Here: Elaine's.
Celebrate the release of 100 Bullshit Jobs...And How to Get Them June 14 at mediabistro's next Edit Staff Party in New York
Stanley Bing is a columnist for Fortune and the author of a host of best-selling books, including What Would Machiavelli Do?, Throwing The Elephant, Sun Tzu Was A Sissy, Rome, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the First Multinational Corporation (Atlas Books) and most recently, the ground-breaking 100 Bullshit Jobs... And How To Get Them (Collins).
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