Goodbye Content, I’m leaving you… to love you more

Goodbye Content… They say you’re the king, but you haven’t made me feel like a queen for a considerably long time. You made me feel like a beggar, instead. So, that’s all from me.

OK, I admit this a little bit dramatic entrance to a highly personal post. You may ask: “If you’re leaving content, what is this you’re writing?” Let me clarify what I mean with the word content. I actually love “content”; however, I’m fed up how the content business (well, particularly content business in Turkey) is carried out. The business are like they’re in agreement to devalue content as much as possible.

What’s happening?

We’ve been discussing this with my boyfriend a lot. He is a seasoned developer. Since many developers have found jobs abroad, their business is thriving for junior developers. Even the ones with the slightest experience can start a job with high salaries.

That’s not the case for content, it has never been, and it will probably never be. Let alone the salaries remaining stable, the balance between the working hours and payments is long gone. Employers offer salaries just a little bit above the minimum wage for full-time jobs.

It sounds strange to say like that, especially for European countries where general welfare is promoted. However, in Turkey, where the purchasing power is low, there is an inevitable gap between salaries, and most people go to university and get a master’s degree to earn more money.

I’ve been working on almost every kind of content, from translation to web content and even social media on every topic from entertainment to health care (360 degree content specialist/expert, so to say) for over 13 years. After I became freelancer for good five years ago, I wrote and translated many things in order to diversify my income so that I could stand tall on my feet.

One of the biggest problems with the business is that there is almost no seniority. Even if you’re a senior writer and you get a job under “senior content something”, neither the salary nor the attitude say so.

If you’re a content writer, you are a small part of the SEO team and you have to always comply with them, no creativity.

If you’re a translator, you work work 2–3 months for a book only to get a small amount of money and God know when. Even the ones in their 50’s and 60’s get the same terms with juniors (although there may be some exceptions.)

Let’s rewind

I started to read and write when I was three. Since then, I was into books. I wanted to write my own book and work at a publishing house in the future. That was sort of my “ikigai”, my purpose that I opened my eyes for every morning. When I grew up and became a university student, I started to feel down for not having found a job at a publishing house.

On my second year, before the second term, when I was all alone at home, I felt bad, so bad, asking myself: what am I going to do with my life? I decided to go from passive to active in summer time, and at the summer school I decided to take a creative writing course from an American instructor who turned out to be an extremely sweet person.

And in my third year, as I was talking with my German instructor and telling her my goals, she told me that one of her cousin’s friends owns a publishing house. I became an intern editor there. Everything seemed to go in the right direction. (Except that the publishing house was a religious one. They once deleted a cross a person was wearing in an English psychology book. After some time I resigned they published a book on “curing homosexuals”. Much later than that, I found one of their psychology books at a friend’s house with footnote of their own, saying Darwin was a drunken fat man. Anyway.)

After I graduated, I found a full-time job at a publishing house. I had mailed tens of publishing houses, but only this one gave me a response, which I would learn later. I learned a lot while my soul got almost twenty years older, as I was trying to survive the mobbing of the owner. Still, I could force them to pay my insurance (in Turkey, employers pay your insurance), and make them pay my full salary (they were giving it with an envelope and always with some of it missing.) Later, the boss went bankrupt.

At that time I was so ambitious that I didn’t even think about giving up. That vibrant 20's… I won’t tell everything in detail. I went in and out of jobs, including freelance proofreading and translations. A couple of years later I started working at a health content website where I got used to the digital content and I kinda liked it. Our content we created there 7–8 ago still ranks high on Google Search. But it was never enough for the boss. The business went down because the boss was ripped off.

Lastly, I’d like to mention probably one of the last things that made me lose my patience. I joined a short story contest and I won the 2nd prize in 2012. I was fine with my position until the coordinator of the contest and one of the juries told me that I was entitled to the 1st prize but their friend needed money for alcohol. And the two men laughed. My already trembling faith in my “ikigai” went down at that point. And I became a content worker who only worked for money, which, as I said above, never came in satisfying amounts.

Today’s harsh reality

We are in a situation of pandemia today. So, the reality harsh enough to strain our psychologies. We had partial lockdowns in Turkey. I’m writing this post hoping this is the last one. My anxiety about future is the highest of all my lifetime. No, I’m not scared of the pandemia itself. On my 36th birthday, I once more ask the question I asked when I was 24: what am I going to do with my life?

I have some plans in my mind to alter my course of life. The psychologists advice us not to make long-term plans or make big decisions during this period. But my problem began long before Covid-19. Now that I’m in my late 30’s I feel the question above is pressing me more. And I seem to have lost my “ikigai”.

This virus may seem like a curse at first glance, but it helped me to see I was struggling in vain with useless daily jobs to make money and pushing the real me aside. I haven’t felt more anxious in my life before, and I was even diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, my gut tells me that these are the labor pains of a new beginning.

I don’t have in mind to tell my plans in details because I want to execute them when the time comes and share them with you. For now, I decided to write only in English (except Origamidekor, my origami project in Turkey). And I decided to write only for my self and my projects.

My other posts will luckily won’t be as “boring” as this one. I will share my thought about movies, series and books, and sometimes I will write essays about daily topics (be cool, you’re in safe hands, I’m a philosophy graduate.)

So, goodbye Content, I’m leaving you… to love you more and embrace you more!

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