Beware Overstated Job Ads

It is forbidden to dislike your job. Growing up, I thought “passion” was reserved for girlfriends-on-pedestals, or maybe football or politics or punk rock; but no – to be normal nowadays, you must “have a passion” for your bloody work.

This inevitably leads to job ad dishonesty on an Orwellian, nay estate-agent-y scale. Think about it. Lots of jobs are a bit crap. That’s OK – we all need £$€. But if we’re culturally obliged to “lean in“, to be “engaged” or “fulfilled” or “passionate” about a job, then it becomes impossible to admit that lots of jobs simply do not merit such idolatry in the first place.

Modern world is full of these straitjacket jobs.  Their primary feature is that they think that everybody they hire is untrustworthy and incompetent and must be tightly controlled. 

I was spammed with a job ad recently, for a “Legal Onboarding Senior Analyst”. The hiring party wants a “dynamic, proactive and decisive person” – for a role where, ironically, actually exhibiting any of those characteristics would get you into serious trouble.   

With all the “dynamism” and “proactivity” attributes, and the general corporate logorrhoea, it was hard to know what the hell they wanted, but eventually I figured it out – it was essentially data entry.  

It’s one of those jobs where, potentially, everything you might do, could be wrong. 

You do mundane repetitive admin tasks.  You have no agency or flexibility whatsoever in how you carry out your allotted tedious tasks.  You will be scrutinised by some jowly git with piggy eyes whose existence depends on being able to demonstrate how many “errors” he’s catching.  Kind of person who would be somewhat improved by a daily slap around the ear.  S/he will undermine your mental health.  You will question the point of your existence, but you will have a fancy business card, a reasonable salary and your  folks will be proud of you. 

With age and experience, you learn to translate the codswallop of job ads into their soul-destroying reality.  I’ve often thought of doing a job ads de-bunking website, where I take typical job ads and tear them to pieces, as a service to the young and the gullible.   

You’d be better off, as Frank Zappa said, “working at a gas station” (in Utah).

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