Job listings sometimes paint a sugar-coated picture of what a position actually entails. Other times they’re a bit too honest.
Take this posting for an open photo editor position, for example.
Time Out New York posted the below listing, which awkwardly appeared to include an internal memo justifying the open role rather than the public-facing description for job applicants. It reads more like a novella in which the protagonist, Melissa, has fallen victim to an unmanageable workload and is facing potential burnout.
The description, which has since been deleted, explains the dire working situation of Melissa Sinclair, photo director at Time Out North America. “She’s been forced to do all of this work herself and is currently completely swamped and overwhelmed,” it reads. ”...I’m concerned about Melissa getting burnt out and potentially wanting to leave.”
The current situation with the photo team in the US i.e. Melissa Sinclair, is not a long-term solution. Currently, we have an agreed budget of $2,200 per issue for a freelance Photo Editor, 10 hours work at $22 p/h, which would normally be completely fine, however the issue is that Melissa physically cannot find good enough candidates to fill these freelance positions, and at the current rate of magazine production, she needs multiples people available to work on multiple cities, simultaneously. Because she can’t find people for these freelance positions, she’s been forced to do all of this work herself and is currently completely swamped and overwhelmed. The design team has had to chip in and help her, which is not ideal, but has been required to get the magazines out the door in time. Joel is in agreement with Tom Hislop that for a considerably smaller amount of money, we could definitely solve this issue by replacing all these freelancers with a single, full-time position. Currently, we’re spending $48,400 per year on freelance photo editors for these cities, 22 magazines in total, at $2,200 per issue. We could definitely hire a photo editor for 40-45k, and having them full-time in the office would make them a far more valuable asset than relying on freelancers. Tom would like to address this ASAP, especially as we have a really busy magazine schedule coming up in October, and our current setup is not a long-term solution. I’m concerned about Melissa getting burnt out and potentially wanting to leave.
Uhhh, yeah, we’re now concerned about Melissa, too. This extremely detailed account of the amount of work with which she’s been “completely swamped and overwhelmed” has all the makings of employee burnout.
For those unfamiliar with the term, burnout refers to “a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Feeling overworked and overwhelmed impacts over half of U.S. employees, according to a recent study reported by ABC.
This tracks with commiserating responses posted on social media. The job listing evoked a slew of reactions, with one person applauding its honesty, another calling the mistake “hilarious” and one remarking on the “grim” reality of what photo editors are paid in New York City.
One sentiment shared by many of the respondents is that Melissa should get a raise.
We can’t speak on behalf of Melissa (or her hopefully-imminent assistant), though we did reach out for comment. Time Out did not respond to an inquiry, either.
But thankfully, there are burnout remedies you can try if you’re feeling similarly crushed at your own job. The Mayo Clinic recommends identifying the factors that are fueling the burnout, seeking support from friends and colleagues and even getting some exercise.
And if you want to help Melissa out, Time Out posted a corrected listing for a “national photo editor.” It includes a much more appropriate description.