Job of the Day: Writer-in-Residence at the Mall of America

Could it be you?

Photo: Flickr

Here’s a job that seems like it would be fine enough, until you read the fine print. In celebration of the Mall of America’s 25th anniversary, they are hiring a “writer-in-residence” who will be responsible for chronicling their feelings and experiences “immersed in the Mall atmosphere” for five days.

Writer-in-Residence – Mall of America

Here’s the job description.

The Writer-in-Residence Contest will give a special scribe the chance to spend five days deeply immersed in the Mall atmosphere while writing on-the-fly impressions in their own words. The contest winner will stay in an attached hotel for four nights, receive a $400 gift card to buy food and drinks and collect a generous honorarium for the sweat and tears they’ll put into their prose.

Okay, so far, so good. At the very least, being the Mall of America Writer-in-Residence is excellent cocktail party fodder, a fun story for the kids and a nice bullet point on the resumé, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. It’s sort of like the Amtrak Residency that was on offer a few years ago, except instead of focusing your energies on writing for yourself, you’re essentially writing what sounds like marketing copy for the Mall of America.

Let us look at the fine print.

At face value, writing about the Mall of America and its cultural significance for four days doesn’t seem like a bad gig, if malls, consumer culture, the Mall of America or giant standalone temples to shopping that come with their own roller coasters appeal to you. But if you really read the rules, a lot of the “fun” disappears.

The lucky person who gets this job will have to write in a “common area space” in the Mall itself — a glass cube? a table at the food court? — and will possibly have their work displayed on a giant monitor for all to see. All copy will have to adhere to the “Mall of America’s desired presentation of the Mall or the patrons,” too — pretty standard. Obviously they wouldn’t hire someone for this task that wanted to write a takedown of capitalism as represented by the Mall of America, so I guess this makes sense.

If this sort of thing is interesting to you, by all means, go forth! They are taking applications until March 10, so there’s time yet.

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