1988 Writers Guild Strike and the Current Position of Freelance Writers for Hire

Unappreciated and underpaid? Many fellow employees can relate.

In fact, March 7, 1988 the Writers Guild of America (WGA) called a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). This dramatic halt in performance was due mainly to producers demanding writers accept a sliding scale on residuals (amount paid to the writer for reruns), writers’ shares in foreign rights and creative control in their writing. Over the span of five months, Hollywood lost an estimated $500 million that extended from the summer into the fall of that year.

The Fact of the Matter

It is not unusual for employees to feel frustrated with working conditions. Business Insider published an article stating 37% of average employees would not say they are satisfied about their job.

  • Younger employees (ages 20-29) are more likely to feel unsatisfied about their job (44%)
  • Older employees (ages 50-59) are most likely to feel satisfied at their job (67%)
  • The top reasons for dissatisfaction are compensation and boss
  • Employees earning more than $100K are only slightly more likely (69%) to feel satisfied, than those making less than $50K (52%)

The Comedy of Misery

It’s so common, in fact, that we often make light of the frustrating circumstances of a pointless job. Remember the movie Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman? James McAvoy plays an office worker who is fed up with his boss and his miserable life until the day he can become a glorified gun slinger. Fed up to the point that he—well, I won’t spoil the ending for you if you haven’t seen it.

Or what about Office Space, a popular comedy on the ridiculous, mundane and frustrating experiences of work. From being cornered into working Saturdays to an invisible employee with a stapler obsession, Office Space is a movie that turns a bad work environment into a big comedic joke. Weeds (a Netflix original show) shows every corporate job (i.e. not selling “weeds”) as a pointless and poor-paying endeavor that everyone is simply programmed to be a part of.

Freelance Writers for Hire: A New Calling

Companies that are looking to save money without losing quality, turn to content provider sites, rather than hire a full-time position. These businesses understand that content marketing is an important part of drawing in new customers, and they are looking for top-notch writers to complete their orders.

Not everyone jumps ship to become a freelance writer; some writers write articles on the side and some write in conjunction with other freelance jobs, but many find full-time freelance content writing to be a sufficient source of their sole income. Dedicated freelance writers agree–the freedom and flexibility of content writing is what we love most. Those with jobs outside the home love the added income writing adds when they have the time to do it.

Don’t expect content writers to go on strike, though. Different places pay different rates and have different clients and writing expectations, making the work environment the writer’s choice. There are plenty of options and a wealth of online resources to keep you growing as a freelance writer in your career-minded pursuits.

Alethea M is a corporate blogging guru and freelance writer for WriterAccess. She often uses interesting facts from her article research to impress friends at dinner parties. Her husband is her biggest fan — though this may be because her writing income allows her to share in bill-paying each month.


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