What are you resorting to in this down economy?

I used to scoff at freelance writers who would take crummy assignments for low pay. It seemed demeaning to me. Writers are professionals, and we should be paid like it.

Well, these scoffing days are now officially over. For the last two weeks, I’ve joined the ranks of what are known as online content writers. Think of it as working on an assembly line, only for a writer.

Basically, I’m taking on $12 assignments to write short “stories” — usually about 400 words or so — about bland topics such as pillow cushions, motorcycle goggles and windshield repair. I crank these out, get my $12 in Paypal and say goodbye to my stories. There are no bylines on these. I do imagine, though, that they are flooding the Internet right now, adding to the impossible amount of junk floating around in cyberspace.

I bring this up not so you readers will pity me. I’m fortunate, I know, that I still have a full-time writing job at publishing company. The economy has played havoc with the freelance writing I do on the side to help support my family, but my full-time employer, the one who doles out the health insurance, hasn’t kicked me to the curb yet.

I am interested, though, in knowing how you’ve lowered your own work standards during this recession. Are you now taking on jobs that you never thought you’d have to tackle? Are you working harder for more money, grateful that you have work at all?

Let me know. I have the sinking suspicion that we are becoming a nation that’s now willing to work harder than ever for less pay than we’ve ever considered fair.