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Dirty IT jobs: Grime and punishment

Dan Tynan | April 17, 2012
Flame wars, leakage, nasty Polish texting -- six more tales of dirty duty in IT

"You couldn't pay me enough money to work on vBulletin," he says. "Whoever created that code is some crazy whacked-out psycho."

The dirtiest part of this job? Unless you're being paid big bucks, there's little incentive to do things the right way -- which means leaving a mess for someone else.

"If you're dealing with awful code and you're just being paid to fix one thing or add one feature, you don't have much reason to use any kind of good practices in your own edits or additions," he says. "It's a bit like stopping at a gas station with a filthy restroom. You're not going to spend too much time cleaning the toilet. You just want to get in, do your business, and get out as quickly as possible."

Dirty IT job No. 6: Content hussyWarning: The following dirty job may prove disturbing to readers with more delicate sensibilities. Please proceed with appropriate caution.

There are now more than 550 million websites on topics ranging from apiphobia (fear of bees) to zygomycosis (fungal infections), with everything in between. Someone has to generate copy for all of those sites, no matter how gross it gets.

One of those people is Kari DePhillips, owner of The Content Factory, an online PR and social media marketing firm that offers ghostwriting services for a variety of sites. It's not a job for the squeamish.

"We frequently get weird writing projects, but the weirdest had to be when we were asked to create an entire website about vaginal discharge monitors," she says. "Pregnant women wear them to tell if they're leaking amniotic fluid. On the surface, it may seem as though we were just writing about different types of hoo-ha leakage, but what we were really doing was saving lives. I mean, somebody has to do it."

That dirty job fell to one of her male staffers, a 26-year-old copywriter named Ben DeMeter. But DePhillips' copy-producing career never seems to stray too far from that, umm, area. For example, DePhillips says her first writing gig after college was blogging about adult videos for a well-known men's site while pretending to be a man.

Even after she started her own company, she was hired by a mom-and-pop shop that made large-format stick-on decals. That shop had an order from a fetish site that specialized in female body builders who were extremely well developed in a region of the anatomy not usually on display to the general public. She found herself writing about wall-size images of, well, you get the picture.

"It was like they were injecting steriods directly into their lady bits," she said. "I was happy when that project was over."


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