Working for Binge

Photo credit: iStock

I get a lot of applications and requests from people who’re keen to work for Binge. These range from enthusiastic new writers to marketing enthusiasts who respect the profession and are looking to break into it officially, to people who glamourise the whole business and only want to be associated with it for what it represents. As the founder & editor, I need to be able to discern between the two.

The ideal candidate

I don’t have a checklist for the ideal candidate. I consider myself extremely fortunate in that respect. Before we launched, I knew people who I thought were perfect for specific roles and they had already agreed to work on the project. All of these people — be it Torie, Sushant or Hitesh — fit their roles both in my imagination and in reality. They were invested in the project from day one, and continue to be invested in it today. I didn’t have to coax them into it or train them to think that way. Passion cannot be taught — you either have it or you don’t. To be succint, our pilot team has set the bar very high, which I will stress is a good thing.

One of the biggest non-negotiables for me — apart from the quality of work — is professionalism. Once you understand that professionalism is mostly about respect for your work and your colleagues, it feels embarrassing to operate any other way. It includes little things that make a huge difference — like adhering to deadlines, responding to emails promptly, returning calls or texts, showing up on time for meetings and being able to work around differing perspectives to achieve a common goal civilly, without lashing out or putting another person down. If you’ve read the About Us page on the website, it says “zero tolerance for office politics”. We mean it.

Experience brings with it many advantages like polished skills, knowing what works, awareness and a heightened sense of professionalism. I like my core team to come from such a place, but I’m very willing to accept submissions and work applications from people who may not be as experienced and still possess similar traits. Age is no bar. You could be 18 or 60 — if you’re good at what you do and have an open mind that you’re willing to expand, please do get in touch with us.

The opposite of the ideal candidate

If your only goal is money, or a byline or recommendation letter, Binge is not the workplace for you. Anyone who gets in touch with us must do so knowing this is a website for journalism about food. If that’s not what you want to do with your life, don’t work for Binge. Simple. But don’t make yourself sound like the ideal candidate, only to become resentful when you’re met with the challenge of meeting standards or adhering to guidelines. Don’t get in touch with us if your ego is bigger than your work ethic. I always reiterate that anyone I work with can never be a rival. If we’re working together on the same project, we’re a team and it’s imperative to act as such.

Projecting your anxieties or even sloppiness onto me or the job is not going to make your life better. Neither is turning work into a “Me vs Binge” match. I’ve had people come on board, work for Binge and try to treat it like their very own backyard. You don’t get to treat something like play dough — twist or shape it any way you like — and still expect to stick around.

For the inexperienced, I can only say: figure out what you want to do with your life without using someone else’s passion and hard work as a sounding board. Don’t take someone else’s hard work for granted. I believe in giving amateurs a chance, but I scan freelance applications that seem shaky with the utmost scrutiny. People can use you as a bandaid for voids and a punching bag for their insecurities very often. Binge is not about trial and error. We’re very sure of what we do and we expect the same surety from anyone who works for us. Experimentation is one thing and a lack of seriousness is quite another. You could be completely new to the field but if you have the drive and potential, I’d be happy to train you selflessly. But if you expect me to mollycoddle you and take on losses (be it of time or monetary) to feed a casual attitude, and then get bitter when I don’t, please don’t apply. I can deal with ungrateful or ignorant, but I don’t do unprofessional or vindictive.

The difference between working “for” and working “with”

I like to treat my colleagues as equals. On a human level, it’s more pleasurable to work “with” someone than to have them work “for” you. However, on a brand level, there needs to be a distinction between people who work “for” the brand those who work “with” it. Sponsors, event partners and other collaborators fall into the latter category.

It’s very different if I’m paying you to add something to my already existing brand. Then it becomes about following Binge’s guidelines and policies entirely. Sure, I’d be more than pleased if you bring along a fresh creative perspective or ideas that are different from mine. Heck, you could even be better at it than me. But don’t email me saying “Vritti, you must do paid reviews” or “Vritti, change the logo colour to green so vegetarians relate with it too”. Don’t expect or try to change how the brand functions or tamper with its value system or identity. We’ve already put a lot of thought into that.

Freelance writers need to be especially careful to not assume themselves to be “collaborators”. It’s the same when I write for a different publication — I happily adhere to their editorial style guide and policies of business. It’s not my place, then, to impose Binge’s guidelines on them. That would not only be unprofessional but also extremely egotistical of me. It’s how I’ve seen my former editors operate, and that’s what got instilled in me too. If you think you’re so good that it’s beneath you to adhere to someone else’s vision, please launch your own brand.

However, when we “partner” with someone, it becomes about two brands reaching a common understanding. In very straight terms, it’s about two brands making creative or monetary gain from the association. Only in that case does it become the norm to reach a happy compromise if at all there are differing ideologies, although we’re very selective with that too and try our best to work only with brands who have similar values.

Get in touch with us using the Contact form on the website or write to Vritti at vritti@binge.co.in.