1. Should I construe their failure to contact me about the gig as flattering in the sense that they might have imagined I couldn’t be dragged away from my own fun blog by monetary temptations?

  2. First of all, Tao’s posts *were* read, and I’m not really sure how he would have demonstrated that they weren’t, unless his traffic is ordinarily zero and he was waiting for that one precious hit. mediabistro’s domain doesn’t come up in the list of IPs (our ISP does) which is, I assume, what he was checking.

    Secondly, the last email was not a rejection; it was a wait-and-see. But needless to say, it’s definitely a rejection now!

    Sarah Weinman is guest-blogging GC starting on the 29th. I contacted her several months ago, so this isn’t a recent development.

    And Ron, if you’re interested in the position, let me know and I’ll keep you in mind while we’re evaluating what to do with the blog. We want to expand it and that may mean multiple contributors, but we won’t know until mid-September (which is why I advised Tao not to put all of his eggs in one basket and continue his job search. I guess that’s what I get for being honest about the prospects. Yeesh.)

  3. I don’t know what you mean by, “I guess that’s what I get for being honest about the prospects. Yeesh.”

    I mean, What did you get? You got nothing. No meanness, blame, lies, or anything. Actually, I didn’t post one opinion about Elizabeth Spiers, Galleycat, or Mediabistro, ever, in my real life–or even inside of my head; never thought one bad thought (except against myself).

    It’s cliche, though, for a post like I did to have that message: meanness, blame, fuck-you-and-your-shitty-galleycat-position, etc. So I guess unless someone reads the thing closely, and with an open mind, they’ll just superimpose that cliche onto the post. I’m not saying that’s what you did. Even if it is what you did, I’m not being mean right now. Just stating facts. You were born, you experienced things, and now you maybe superimpose cliches onto other people’s post. It’s okay.

    Maybe you have done that, superimposed the cliche.

    For example, you say, “…it’s definitely a rejection now!” as if my goal in life is to gain power and influence, which it probably currently is. But in the post, I expressed explicitly and in detail that maybe it isn’t. Or rather, I expressed that if it is, then maybe it’s the less ‘considerate,’ more drug-fiendish, earth-destroying, animal-genocide-ish way. Which was what the post was about. It wasn’t a ‘fuck-you-and-your-shitty-galleycat-position’ post. It was a ‘reassess-our-goals-in-life, maybe?’ post.

  4. You stated (falsely) that i never looked at your site, posted private emails (which is completely inappropriate and unprofessional) and also mentioned that you thought about sending the post to Gawker** (and as the founding editor of Gawker, I can tell you from experience that no one sends neutral, arbitrary motivation-less tips to the site) and you were *just* stating facts. Riiiiight.

    In that case, so was I. And the fact is, prospective employers do not generally tend to hire people for reporting jobs when they get the facts wrong, behave unprofessionally, etc. It may be a cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

    If you don’t buy that, then by all means, blog your next four or five interviews and send the URLs to your prospective employers. If you’re right, it should in no way affect your job prospects.

    ** If you’re still feeling the spirit, Jesse Oxfeld writes all of the media-related posts. Jesse @ gawker.com. Send away.

  5. To my knowledge, you did not look at the sample posts. Typepad’s counter said so. I said that. I said, 98% sure. I said, Typepad’s counter says so. Well, turns out you did. So, sorry. You did, then.

    About my motivation for sending the post to Gawker…I clearly stated my motivation for sending the post to Gawker in the post itself: I wanted to send it to Gawker to get more readers for my site, in order to spread the information of my identity. Elsewhere in the post, I expressed that wanting to spread the information of my identity is not unlike being a drug fiend, is harmful to others, and is a shitty, agitating, wretched way to live, maybe (to me, at least).

    Like I said, the post was about “reassessing one’s goal in life,” not “trying to get a job” or “trying to get back at people” or “i should be able to post e-mails and still be able to get jobs” or whatever.

    The cliche you mentioned is a different cliche than the one I mentioned.

    The cliche I’m talking about is that both you and Ed (Ed maybe knowingly, for purposes of his site) interpreted my post as a “bitter that I didn’t get the job and out to expose the inconsiderateness of a powerful person post”

    It wasn’t. I thought first if by posting it I would hurt anyone. I thought, only myself. I thought, maybe not even myself, as ‘hurt,’ is a complex word. This is all in the post itself. The blog I have is a literary blog, not a chick-lit blog. Chick-lit, in the way I used it for this last sentence, is concerned with the immediate, already-put-into-motion, unexamined goals (and the troubles in getting those goals) of a person who exists completely inside of a society that is concerned with the immediate, already-put-into-motion, unexamined goals (and the troubles in getting those goals) of itself.

    So stop being all sarcastic and trying to fight me.

  6. I know that when I read your sample posts, Tao, I totally superimposed the cliché that people who can’t even spell a bestselling author’s name properly–and a relatively simple name like “John Twelve Hawks” at that–probably aren’t the best candidates for a professional media gig. Based on the experiences I’ve had since being born, you understand. When you do get a shot at your next writing job, have a friend proof your samples before you send them out.

    Liz makes a really solid point for all of us to remember: getting dooced isn’t the only way a blog can cost you a job.

  7. Tao: Don’t drag me into this. While your post offered an glimpse inside the way the world operates, this isn’t my battle. This is between you and Elizabeth. I’m not the one who posted private emails without permission.

  8. Yow, a clash of Titans.

    I don’t know about Galleycat. Actually, I do. That weblog took a turn for the darkside when it :

    1) ran with a ULA trashing of Tom Bissell

    2) arbitrarily dumped on Kevin Guilfoile because he has friends at Morning News (and elsewhere)who welcomed his well written debut novel,

    3) and most recently thought it was appropriate to run the toxic gossip that only through Marilyn Robinson’s intercession did Sam Chang get the Iowa Writers Workshop director’s position.

    If that crap ran under Ms Spiers’s watch than shame on her and instead of looking for guest contributors she might consider reviewing her publication standards.

  9. Wow, Tao, it seems you’ve stepped on a mini hornet’s nest….

    I don’t really know much about mediabistro because whenever I’ve tried to open internal links from there, I wasn’t able to–my computer screen said I needed to be a member. But I went and looked at Gawker in June, right after I asked you what Gawker was, and, I’ve gotta say, to me, the place came off like The National Enquirer of New York City. As a native New Yorker, I found the site, well, really irritating for a number of reasons. Maybe I need to read it more closely–I don’t know. But from what I’ve seen so far, I really don’t understand why you seem interested in this and a few other places. Oh well.

  10. Wow. This is the most exciting blogging I’ve seen in some time.

    The only experiences that have usurped it was the ‘Anonymous’ attacks on the ULA blog.

  11. to the reader of depressing books:

    you seem to be saying that your post was a deliberate attempt to limit your future professional opportunities and therefore force yourself to adopt a more noble kind of pleasure/lifestyle

    am i understanding that correctly?

    you also seem to be saying that only a careless reader would ascribe another motive (one of “meanness, blame, fuck you and your shitty galleycat position”) to your post

    personally i think that’s bullshit

    but that’s just a gut instinct and we have only your word as to your motivation

    so let’s say for the sake of argument that in fact

    your post was a deliberate attempt to limit your future professional opportunities and therefore force yourself to adopt a more noble kind of pleasure/lifestyle

    that and nothing more

    i can see then that posting the private email correspondence between you and the mediabistro woman

    would achieve that goal

    since it would brand you as unprofessional and untrustworthy and therefore limit your future professional opportunities

    but how does repeatedly making so much of the fact that (to your knowledge) she never looked at your sample posts

    help to achieve that goal in any way?

    it doesn’t

    not from what i can tell

    it does however make the mediabistro woman look lazy, or even vaguely dishonest (by implying that she agreed to meet with you even though she wasn’t that serious about you as a candidate)

    all of which would seem to be superfluous

    to your apparent goal of limiting your future professional opportunities and therefore forcing yourself to adopt a more noble kind of pleasure/lifestyle

    it would even seem to show a hint of “meanness, blame, fuck you and your shitty galleycat position”

    maybe i’m misreading all this in some way

    am i?

    misreading all this in some way?

    (by the way, i’m commenting here and not at your own site

    because there seems to be a registration and/or login process for commenting on your own site (at least, on the main site, although not on the site with the six sample posts)

    and since i wasn’t already a member it just seemed easier to comment here)

  12. Couple of things:Fran: I haven’t written Gawker since September of ’03, so whatever your feelings about it, I have nothing to do with it anymore. And per your comments on Tao’s blog and DW’s comments above: I don’t have the time to interview people for the hell of it and I don’t know anyone who does. I don’t even like doing it, mostly because it takes up time that I need to do everyday production stuff and increases the probability that i have to spend half the weekend in the office. And right now I’m hiring for four different positions/projects so my time is stretched incredibly thin. Maybe if we were a big investment bank, bringing in candidates arbitarily and shuttling them through HR wouldn’t be a big deal. But we have a staff of 20. We don’t *have* an HR department. a bad interview is just as big a waste of my time as the candidate’s.

    Because Tao showed the initiative to inquire before I started looking and was fairly aggressive about it, I brought him in, because as with everything we do, if we were blown away by someone, we’d *create* a position for them. (In fact, that’s how I got my previous job. New York magazine created a position for me when Primedia wouldn’t allow them another staff slot.) And we’d add contributors if they were incredibly prolific, even though we’ve already got a primary. And as it stands, we may be hiring two contributors for GC anyway. So all this stuff about “dishonestly interviewing someone for a position that didn’t exist” is absurd. Anyone who’d do that would have to have a hell of a lot of spare time on their hands and they’d have to get some twisted thrill out of conducting interviews. Again, I don’t know *anyone* like that.

  13. Elizabeth:

    In your first email to Tao, you said he was in luck because you were presently interviewing potential galleycat writers for a fall relaunch. Then Tao described what happened during the interview (and it’s possible his account is incorrect here):

    “‘as soon as possible,’ she says, ‘so that if that works out, you can then guest blog for a week, which you’ll be paid for; and then we can give you a one-year contract'”

    And then in one of your later emails, postinterview, to me you sound as if you are now trying out a new employee, and then you go on to say “we may add additional contributors”–that you wouldn’t know until mid-September or so, and that if you were him, you’d continue looking elsewhere.

    I specifically started my post to you stating that Tao started the whole thing, and you did not advertise this position as far as I know. So what has happened is partly his responsibility. However, going on what Tao posted, I think the change in your tone and content from before and after the interview is apparent. I don’t necessarily think there’s anything “wrong” with that change; that happens a lot with job interviews. That does seem to be one of their primary purposes after all: for employers to get a feel for applicants and for applicants to get a feel for employers. If one or both sides changes their minds or doesn’t take to the other side, that’s the way it goes. That’s what a rejection is.

    I never said you did this “dishonestly”–maybe you’re just more casual about hiring. I don’t really know. You injected the word dishonest in there; I never even used it in my other post. I don’t think employers always do this kind of thing dishonestly; sometimes I think incompetence is responsible; other times both things may be responsible; and still other times maybe something else.

    But even if you don’t do that type of interviewing dishonestly, incompetently, or whatever, that doesn’t necessarily mean other people aren’t doing it in those ways. I see a lot of incompetent crazy dishonest behavior in the world. Maybe you and I are living in different worlds. Or maybe I’ve been around more than you have or in different places–I don’t know. In my other post I was trying to illustrate this problem I and others have seemingly encountered while job hunting. I spoke in general terms and even asked you if you had encountered that–I didn’t “accuse” you of doing it, at least I didn’t mean to do so.

    IMO, a significant number of job ads in newspapers today are just phantom ads–they don’t have real job counterparts. If I were the only one noticing this, I would say it’s probably my imagination. But I’ve recently heard others repeatedly complaining about the same thing. Some of these employers even interview people while there are no actual jobs available–and probably never will be. It’s almost as if companies occasionally must find work for their human resources departments in the slack months when they’re not actively hiring. Only they don’t communicate this fake crap in their ads.

    A friend of mine went on an interview for a “job” she saw in a want ad, and as soon as she got there the interviewer indicated the job didn’t exist; he could have said that long before the interview and should have never taken out an ad for a specific position, IMO. Your dogmatically declaring this “absurd” won’t necessarily make it untrue. I haven’t been snitty with you; I agree with you in part. I don’t think posting your emails was the correct thing for Tao to do in this situation. I just sent him an email concerning this, for chrissake.

    At the same time, I think your blowing this a bit out of proportion–you seem to be a pretty public figure on the web, and it’s not like you revealed your bra size in the emails. I didn’t think you came off nasty to him or anything, but I do think you seemed to be avoiding him, giving him a little of the see-ya-later that employers often give when they’re not interested.

    I know you haven’t been in charge of Gawker in a while–that’s why I specifically said above that I first saw Gawker in June so you wouldn’t think I was taking a dig at you or blaming you for that site’s content now.

  14. i think i was the one who injected the word “dishonest” in there

    my point was not that elizabeth actually was being “vaguely dishonest” (the wording i used)

    but rather that the reader of depressing books was trying to imply that she was with his post

  15. Ooops–to be clearer, one of my sentences above should have read:

    “It’s almost as if companies occasionally must find work for their human resources departments to do in the slack months when they’re not actively hiring.”

  16. I think it can safely be said that a lot of inferences were made, by Tao and the readers of his post, that weren’t necesssarily intended, which shows that even if you see an entire email conversation posted (which, for what it’s worth, I think shows a lack of common sense and professionalism), that doesn’t necessarily mean you know every single thing the person writing it was thinking. That pretty much holds true in personal or professional correspondence, so this incessant reading into the emails is a bit silly. Obviously, employers can’t always tell job applicants every single thing they have planned, because either they don’t necessarily know or because they want to keep that information private until the time is right.

    Whatever the case, Elizabeth posted on Monday that Galleycat would resume regular posting on the 29th with a new guest editor, and now we know who that is, so I think the answer to the original question, “So what’s going on at Galleycat?” has been answered, for the moment at least. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that that question, along with several others addressed here, could also have been answered by someone just asking rather than these bizarre attempts to infer things (like whether someone has visited your blog or not – it could have been read from elsewhere than a mediabistro computer, etc.)

  17. I’m feeling spectacularly honest right now. Balls-out angry honest. That kind of honest where I really don’t give a shit about who I offend.

    And you know what? Both patries here are fucking wrong. Whatever his intentions (and let’s face the fact: his post was a sensationalistic effort to shamelessly draw attention to himself and dig up the MB-Gawker rivalry bullshit for kicks), it was wrong of Tao to post private emails in a public place.

    But it was just as wrong for Elizabeth to string Tao around and not give him a definitive yes-or-no answer — the way that any HONEST employer would handle the situation. I don’t care if you’re human resources or not. If it is one of your responsibilities to hire someone, then you damn well do the fucking job.

    Back in the dot com days, when I was younger and more foolish, I was faced with the strange new situation of having to employ staff members. I was obviously no expert and had no experience, but you know what? I went through the process. And I personally emailed or sent a letter to all 300 people who applied. Because no matter what the hardship, it was the decent thing to do. And let me tell you I put in a lot of unpaid hours to do that.

    If the impression was to keep the option open and string Tao along, then that’s bullshit too. Because what Elizabeth might not understand is that Tao may not be aware of the lackluster quality of his samples or the fact that his work isn’t really the right fit with what Elizabeth is looking for. Why then not articulate this in very specific terms? The honest thing would have been to let him know about it and say specifically, “Your content isn’t what we’re looking for at Media Bistro, but thank you for applying.”

    I’m further appalled that everyone here wants to be pussies around here and flatter Elizabeth because she’s some Big Media Person, and because there are may or may not be lucre or a future gig in staying neutral. I’ll settle for the pure adjective “dishonest,” while also specifically pointing out that Elizabeth’s actions were probably not intended that way.

    Even so, it’s still wrong. And Fran is quite right to point out the practice of employers who collect resumes and, in particular, the highly unethical tendency to give interviews when no position exists. I’ve actually seen that happen and I’ve been appalled — particularly since I know what it’s like on the job seeker’s end. The job seeker has no job and spends meager funds to spruce himself up, pay gas money, and the like — not knowing that this is a scam and a cheap and easy way for people to “get a sense of the market.”

  18. >> I’m further appalled that everyone here wants to be pussies around here and flatter Elizabeth because she’s some Big Media Person, and because there are may or may not be lucre or a future gig in staying neutral.

    Oh, is that what “everyone” was doing? Good to know.

    I guess you’ll have to take my word for it when I say that I genuinely believe that the reader of depressing books is the more odious of the two players in this little drama.

    I’m also wondering if there can be such a thing as “unintentional dishonesty” … but that’s neither here nor there.

  19. “stringing him along” would imply that I had no intention of ever hiring him, which isn’t true. (I don’t have any intention of hiring him now, obviously, but that’s a moot point.) He seemed to be sitting around waiting for a response instead of interviewing with multiple places, which is risky, and I didn’t want him to be stuck without any form of income if it turned out we didn’t need another contributor. This is a part-time freelance position, not a full time job. I recruit for the blogs the same way I recruit freelance writers: we have an exploratory get-to-know you conversation, I ask for samples of their work product, and then, if I don’t think they’re right for what I need at the moment but may be in the future I tell them that. I could tell them no but that would not be an accurate description of my position. I CLEARLY told Tao (and, hey, you have the actual email! how convenient!) to continue his job search–which directly refutes your implication that I was “stringing him along.” And to use your language, I’m “damn well” sure that that was more than fair.

    And I have no idea what would give you the impression that I’m a “Big Media Person”. Your electrical bill is probably larger than my editorial budget and my interns at New York mag had bigger cubicles. So I find it laughable that you think people would be holding their tongues for fear of some backlash. (Like what? A negative blog post? God knows that would be devastating. For two seconds.)

  20. The site I created with the sample posts was created in secret. No one knew about it, except for Elizabeth. Each time someone–anyone–looked at the page, typepad said so.

    Typepad said to me that the page did not get any hits, ever, that were not my own. Never, typepad said, nothing, ever. I trust typepad (98%, I said) because it is a machine, and machines are pretty honest, I think.

    When I called Elizabeth, she told me she hadn’t looked at the site yet, but would. After that, a week passed. Typepad during this time said to me, no hits, nothing. I believe that if I never e-mailed again after that week, the entire thing would’ve just been left unresolved.

    Is that dishonest or whatever? It doesn’t matter. The post started and ended with thoughts on how to live, how to view ‘set-backs’ and ‘failures’ and whether or not one can view a thing as ‘harmful,’ and whether or not ‘harmful’ is actually good, if you take into account the life without ‘harmfulness’ and if you take into account death. The post was not concerned with identity, etc., except during the middle-part, in order to give the discussion a sort of context.

    Is it wrong to post private e-mails? Legally, I don’t know. Maybe. What if I destroyed Elizabeth’s career somehow, and she had to live in Alaska by a frozen river. Is that wrong? I don’t know. Some people can find solace in a frozen river by Alaska. Some people’s happiness ‘level-off’ after a certain level of power and money. I addressed this in the post itself. I addressed everything in the post itself.

    All the comments here, on this page, exist within this strange world where the goal is for everyone to ‘get ahead,’ for everyone to stay out of everyone else’s way so that the most number of people have the best chance at ‘getting ahead.’ Whereas the post itself exists somewhere outside of this strange world, and examines it objectively. I wish all the discussion here were about that.

  21. Elizabeth: Tao specifically asks for a “time-frame” in his email to you. You give him a non-specific period of a month, while also suggesting he find employment elsewhere. It’s clear within the tone of your email that you had no real intention of hiring him and that you were looking for someone that more fit MB (hence, the reference to the lady with “some experience”). Or at least that’s the sense I get. And that’s fine. But you can’t have it both ways.

    The question I have is why you didn’t just flat out say this. Some people need something more concrete. You talked with Tao and probably had a good sense during your meeting of whether he would be a good fit or whether he would indeed unearth the subtext of your communications. But it seems to me that Tao needed to have the point rammed into his skull with all the subtlety of a redcoat firing off a report in a clean room.

    As to the “Big Media Person” quip, I figured you’d have a greater sense of my intended hyperbole, but the truth of the matter there has been discussion in this thread (and elsewhere) about others courting you for the job rather than specifically addressing the issue.

    Of course, with Tao’s latest response, it has become quite clear to me who the more odious person is.

  22. >> Whereas the post itself exists somewhere outside of this strange world, and examines it objectively.

    Except that the post was at least partly about how hard it is to “get ahead” when people won’t read your work and respond to you quickly enough.

    If not, why else would you keep harping on the “fact” that she never read your sample posts? I posed this question above and now I’ve posed it again. Care to respond at all?

    Any response, I realize, would probably only be disingenuous anyway — as disingenuous as the assertion that the post “exists somewhere outside this strange world.”

  23. Ed, I think you’re right about both parties fucking up here. I normally try to analyze a situation/discussion/argument logically (too much science in my background, it seems). Didn’t mean to give the impression that I was being polite to Elizabeth because she may be “somebody.” I don’t know enough about her to form much of an opinion, though I do think she probably needs to focus more on what’s specifically at hand w.r.t. mediabistro, she sounds like she may be spreading herself all over the place.

    And I think she should have seen (maybe she did), that whatever his reasons, Tao really wanted to work for her and is obviously disappointed now, even though he may say otherwise, IMO at least. She should have made it her business to NOT string him along because he was seemingly so eager. Employers should treat even potential employees like individuals–I’m tired of everyone being just another candidate, just another face, just another number. If I’ve been tame here, I just didn’t want to get too heated at someone else’s site–that hasn’t served me well in the past!

    From the very little I know about Tao so far, I must admit that I like him. I don’t like some of the things I’ve seen him do, however. He pisses me off sometimes. I wish he would have made a better choice here, and it upsets me that he didn’t for my own personal reasons. If you keep doing too much shit, Tao, my opinion might change real fast. I have very little tolerance for my species. But, then, maybe you don’t care what I think–I don’t know. Maybe you shouldn’t care.

    Ed, I also think you’re right about that sense of the market thing–that’s a good way to put it. What I find particularly disgusting is, what do these people doing the fake interviews give a shit if job hunters are blowing what little money they have on applying to nonexistent jobs? The interviewers HAVE jobs already. Especially today, there often may be just as many unemployed people actively looking for any kind of work than employed people actively looking for better positions (anyone have any statistics on this???). So many people seem to be scrounging round the ground now for chrissake. But must others kick them in their asses to boot?

  24. “If not, why else would you keep harping on the “fact” that she never read your sample posts? I posed this question above and now I’ve posed it again. Care to respond at all?”

    First time I mention it in the post, it is to show why I am e-mailing her again. (Maybe she didn’t get the first one?) Second time I mention it is to show why I called her. (Maybe she didn’t get any of the e-mails.) Third time I mention it is to keep the reader of the post updated, I guess.

    Look. You’re trying to prove that I’m wrong and bad, a bad person. I admit that I am almost always wrong and a bad person. I am insecure and unable to read people. Oftentimes, when people are being polite with me, I misread that and end up hurting myself and annoying and agitating other people. So, yeah–I’m a bad person. So what. If you want to physically hurt me, I’ll be at the opium reading Saturday night. I mean, I’m evil. Okay. Now what.

    I am not being disingenuous when I say that I believe that the worldview and philosophy of the comments in this post are different from the worldview and philosophy of the post that these comments are about. I am also not being disingenuous when I say that I am not ‘against’ anyone, ever, in the world. I don’t think anyone here is ‘bad.’ I don’t care, ideally, about my own identity and the identity of others–in terms of differentiation and hierarchy or whatever, I try not to care.

  25. My, my, I l turn my head a moment and this thing goes off the rails.

    A couple things (or more): publishing private e mails is discourteous. To say, “I don’t know,” is idiotic. To ask if it would be wrong to destroy someone’s career and blah blah blah and answer, “I don’t know” is not cute, funny or ironic. Autistic perhaps.

    Having already disavowed knowledge of two seemingly (to me ) obvious things, this writer has the audacity to opine: “All the comments here, on this page, exist within this strange world where the goal is for everyone to get ahead, for everyone to stay out of everyone elses way so that the most number of people have the best chance at getting ahead.” If I could figure out what the fuck that meant I have a feeling I wouldn’t like it.

    I would publicly like to thank Ms Spiers for not hiring this person who not only seems to operate with an opaque lexicon but whose grasp of the protocols of decency and courtesy are made more remarkable by his apparent indifference to such.

  26. WOW. This would make a great essay on how not to get a job.

    Can I inject some happiness into this thread for a moment and say that I’m really, really looking forward to Sarah guesting at GC?

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