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Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

Fuck UWM and all universities! UW-Milwaukee and their brethren are mediocre. Click banner ads on ClixSense instead; it's a better use of time than a college education in the UW System.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Job Application Party!

Here's a novel concept for your New Year's bash: host a job application-themed party! When each guest arrives, conduct a mock interview of why they would be a "good fit" for your celebration!

For those arrivals not on your guest list, hand them a blank job application and tell them to come back after they fill it out. If you're a web developer, then you might even code your own online Applicant Tracking System mock-up consisting, at the very least, of a web-to-lead form mimicking those hellaciously long job applications which are in vogue. (I'm still resting from tweaking the order form and sending out another batch of targeted resumes and cover letters, so my "party applicant" ATS will be a while from now.)

Do you have any funny stories about screening your celebration guest list? Share them in the comments section! Cheers, and Happy New Year!

BONUS: Download a copy of my Party Application template or the non-template copy, if the template version is giving you trouble.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Year-End Question

Q: Will you post an update sometime soon?!?

A: Yes -- 2013 will feature a thematic change, although exactly to what will remain a secret until its unveiling. Until then, here's to happy holidays and to the best opportunities in 2013.

Monday, October 8, 2012

New Program to Shake the Exercise Industry: "Cool E Fitness"

During my rounds of networking on LinkedIn, I met a fellow entrepreneur named Tim Cooley. He sought my advice on how to maintain his lead in the "Social Springboard" contest sponsored by Grow America and myriad organizational partners. I advised Tim that once he exhausts immediate contacts, his best strategy is to rely upon the massive power of the blogosphere to advertise his project. Is this post an advertisement?

No, it is an endorsement based on my rational examination of the merits of Tim's project dubbed "Cool E Fitness." The following is my summary of how the program works: it creates a point-based rewards system in which participants are credited towards the purchase of a variety of products at assorted price points. The more one exercises, the more valuable the prize one may claim with redeemed points. The tangible rewards are an extrinsic positive reinforcer to offset the intrinsic negative reinforcer of discomfort experienced during and after exercise.

And if that wasn't enough, then let it be known the expansion of this program will create (not-so-absurd) jobs to fuel our economy. Personal trainers, redemption center merchandise shippers, and customer service reps are the most common jobs to be created by this initiative. By my calculations, an expansion into all 50 states will create an additional 12,000 jobs. Winning the "Social Springboard" competition provides the startup funds necessary to hire workers and to purchase licenses to fulfill merchandise and co-promotion contracts.

Please vote for Tim's idea, Cool E Fitness, by noon October 12, 2012. Make history with the inauguration of this innovative fitness rebate program!

Monday, April 30, 2012

"Absurd Job Vacancies" Blog and Domain Names for Sale!

I have created a positive reputation for the "Absurd Job Vacancies" brand but am looking to sell. Because this is not an urgent sale by any means, I will not sell the blog name for lower than $500 without the intellectual property of the blog contents or $1,000 including the intellectual property of the blog contents. What I have written thus far is laden with unique keywords and hence carries value in its own right.

I am also selling the following domain names for the following STARTING prices: $500   $400   $300    $300  $250

Interested parties may bid in the comments section, making sure to enter their own legitimate email address. I will then send a PayPal invoice to the highest bidders meeting or exceeding the aforementioned minimum price(s) for the domain name(s) they wish to buy. Domain registration will be transferred upon clearance and validation of PayPal funds (to ensure there will be no charge backs).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Juvenile Services Chief for Washington Co., OR

Closing Date/Time: Continuous
Salary: $8,944.00 - $10,867.00 Monthly
Job Type: Full Time
Location: Washington County Public Services Building, 155 N. First Avenue, Hillsboro 97124, Oregon

The Director of Juvenile Services Department will plan, direct and review the activities and operations of the Juvenile Department including basic services, shelter care, diversion intervention resource team, general and home detention and conciliation services program; will coordinate assigned activities with other County departments and outside agencies; and will provide highly responsible and complex administrative support to the County Administrator.

Individuals who are interested in this outstanding opportunity are asked to apply online after creating a master account. Attaching a cover letter and a comprehensive resume to the short form application will take the place of completing a more comprehensive application form. Scroll down to the bottom of the application to attach the required application materials. This position is open until filled. First review of applicant materials will begin March 1, 2012. Please follow the directions in the position profile.

EXAMPLES OF DUTIES: Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Develop, plan and implement Department goals and objectives; recommend and administer policies and procedures.
2. Coordinate Department activities with those of other departments and outside agencies and organizations.
3. Direct, oversee and participate in the development of the Department's work plan; assign work activities, projects and program; monitor work flow; review and evaluate work products, methods and procedures.
4. Administer and direct the provision of juvenile counseling services including program planning, fiscal planning and management, fiscal procedures, monitoring and evaluation.
5. Supervise child custody studies; supervise mediation and conciliation services to the Domestic Relations Court.
6. Supervise and participate in the development and administration of the Juvenile Department budget; direct the forecast of funds needed for staffing, equipment, materials and supplies; monitor and approve expenditures; implement midyear adjustments.
7. Select, train, motivate and evaluate personnel; provide or coordinate staff training; work with employees to correct deficiencies; implement discipline and termination procedures.
8. Provide staff assistance to the Board of Commissioners; prepare and present staff reports and other necessary correspondence.
9. Participate on a variety of boards and commissions; attend and participate in professional groups and committees.
10. Respond to and resolve difficult and sensitive citizen inquires and complaints.
11. Perform related duties as assigned.

• juvenile, domestic and child welfare laws and codes, juvenile and family treatment theory and methodology;
• modern and complex principles and practices of juvenile program development and administration;
• organization and management practices as applied to the analysis and evaluation of programs, policies and operational needs;
• principles and practices of organization, administration and personnel management; principles and practices of fiscal planning, budget preparation and administration;
• principles and practices of supervision, training and performance evaluation; and
• of pertinent federal, state and local laws, codes and regulations.
Ability to: • analyze problems, identify alternative solutions, project consequences of proposed actions and implement recommendations in support of goals;
• effectively administer a variety of juvenile program activities;
• gain cooperation through discussion and persuasion;
• select, supervise, train and evaluate assigned staff;
• design and implement fiscal systems;
• identify and respond to public, County Administrator, and Board of Commissioners issues and concerns;
• interpret and apply Federal, State and local policies, procedures, laws and regulations;
• communicate effectively both verbally and in writing; and
• establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with individuals, whether members of the public or coworkers, from diverse groups and backgrounds.

Any combination of experience and training that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be through professional experience with juvenile and family treatment theory and methodology, as well as knowledge of modern and complex principles and practices of juvenile program development and administration; current or prior management level experience leading the work of staff through training, performance evaluation and counseling; and a bachelor's degree in behavioral, social sciences, public administration or related field.”

This job vacancy posted by the County of Washington in the State of Oregon noticeably lists “typical qualifications” for Director of the Juvenile Services Department, as if there would be much flexibility in the minimum skills and knowledge for an effective agency director within the field. I can imagine a babysitter applying for this position based on the notion that supervising a few monster children and a bunch of well-behaved ones qualifies one as having “administer(ed) a variety of juvenile program activities.” Under such flexible guidelines, any law-abiding citizen could successfully claim that he/she technically “interpret(s) and appl(ies) Federal, State and local policies, procedures, laws and regulations” by virtue of not violating any (or at least not being caught while willfully or ignorantly violating the same). In lieu of this, I suppose that folks who have "misinterpreted" various laws could claim experience operating within a detention environment, a "service" which the JSD provides to young hellions before they come of age to face adult consequences for their actions.

Considering the lack of specific experience necessary to evince “knowledge of… practices of organization, administration, and personnel management,” let alone “ability to…design and implement fiscal systems,” I imagine that HR is fairly open-minded about which life experiences count towards these qualifications. While that approach produces a broader talent pool, it also encourages a greater number of unqualified applicants to apply in hopes that they can spin enough hot air out of their non-clinical, non-managerial experiences to at least get an interview. Referring to minimum qualifications as “typical” rather than “mandatory” seems to be an agency rule within the State, as I could not find any statute requiring such a qualifier.

The requirement to “identify and respond to” concerns held by county officials and by the public sounds reasonable on its face until you consider the “identify” part. Shouldn’t the Board of Commissioners and the County Administrator give orders to each director, including this one? Gauging public opinion of the department consists primarily of realizing that most communications from private citizens represent vocal, ranting critics (with the occasional laudatory, raving fan) rather than the silent majority (whose needs and wants are either met by or outside the scope of the department).

Why would it be so challenging to identify these concerns? This explicit reference to communications problems or “issues” within the agency suggests a toxic work environment in which decision makers are reluctant to share information, lest their respective fiefdoms come under criticism. I suppose that a new hire lacking proper department cred will need to use formal authority more often than not in the course of “discussion and persuasion” to draw out the hidden agenda of “concerns” from relevant stakeholders:

JSD Director: “To what extent has my department’s new mental hygiene program for troubled teens reduced middle-of-the-night crank calls to the County Commissioners?”

Chair of the Board of Commissioners: “I’ll tell you after you send me the status report I requested two weeks ago!”

JSD Director: “What status report? You never told me.”

Chair of the Board of Commissioners: “I shouldn’t have to tell you! Your job is to understand my concerns, irrespective of how uncooperative I am.”

JSD Director: “Remember that the ability to understand your concerns was a typical qualification, not an absolute!”

Chair of the Board of Commissioners: “Blast it, HR should just say, ‘Thick-headed people need not apply!’”

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"TEAM Marketing" Wants Your Soul

Job Title: Brand Influencer

Do you have the passion to live life on your own terms? Are you an individual with a strong sense of identity and preference? Do you find yourself constantly breaking away from the do’s and don’ts of social norms; someone with more of a global perspective to the world? If so, this may be the perfect job for you!

TEAM Enterprises is an experiential marketing company who is looking for a full time Brand Ambassador in Portland, OR with an entrepreneurial spirit that enjoys marketing but avoids the mainstream! The position will begin in April 2012 and end on March 31, 2013. The ideal candidate is well connected in their community and has a passion and knowledge of the local music, art and/or fashion scene.

Our Influencer’s will need to remain true to the brand’s core values and focus on establishing the product within the Creative Class, so consumers feel they have ‘discovered’ the brand. To accomplish this, the Influencer would need to forge relationships with the right independently-minded influencers to build a consumer database which would allow them to build brand loyalty. In addition, this influencer must be well versed in event execution, music, and the arts.

-Primary duties include increasing visibility, availability and acceptability of a brand within key retail accounts, targeting a consumer that actively avoids being marketed to.
-Candidate must uphold the core values of the brand; have a strong self identity and personal definition of cool
-Ability to articulate best practices and trends back to the Client
-Ability to work in a team setting, interacting with key agencies/departments
-Must have the ability to gather information, analyze information and report key insights with recommendations for solutions
-Must be a self-promoter

-Knowledge of networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
-Exercises high moral character and social responsibility

Work Experience Requirements:
-Bachelors degree preferred from accredited institution
-Experience in promotional marketing or event execution
-Sales experience a plus
-Bartending experience
-Knowledge of the beverage industry; experience with liquor/spirits a plus
-Typical work week varies from week to week; must be comfortable working nights and weekends consistently"

Considering how the successful applicant will possess both a Bachelor’s degree (preferably entailing marketing internships as part of the coursework) and bartending experience, this “brand ambassador” position is perfect for those unemployed and under-employed college graduates who don’t mind worshiping a brand for a living. Is “worship” too strong of a word? In this context, no: “Uphold(ing) the values of the brand” during “nights and weekends consistently” in exchange for undetermined compensation amounts to selling one’s soul for a brand.

TEAM Marketing tries to avoid this connotation by stating the successful applicant must “have a strong self-identity and personal definition of cool.” Well guess what, if your definition of “cool” does not match the unnamed brand’s values, then you better change yourself to better fit the brand because the brand will not change to fit you! I suppose this awareness is why the job poster does not disclose exactly which brand the successful job applicant will promote or even the industry thereof, lest a deceitful applicant study the brand’s advertising to infer the essential image the brand wishes to convey.

And yet, the prefatory text states this brand ambassador opportunity “may be the perfect job” for someone who “constantly break(s) away from the do’s [sic] and don’t’s [sic] of social norms.” A reasonable person may then infer that the brand to be promoted is at least somewhat unconventional, if not off-the-wall. The hip and trendy call this “fringe,” and that demographic is precisely who the brand ambassador will target: By marketing primarily to local Bohemians, the brand hopes to portray itself as avant-garde and a voice for misfits who enjoy music and the arts. Just like an independent band which finally “sells out” to a major record label, a too-successful niche marketing campaign will make this brand too broadly used outside the fashionable eccentrics and other early adopters of the brand, thereby making it too mainstream to be hip anymore.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"eBay" Agent for Spastic, Wanna-Be Seller

Job Title: Sell my stuff on Ebay/Craigslist (Middleton)

Date: 2012-03-05, 1:32PM CST

I need someone to post my stuff on eBay or craigslist or wherever. I have lots of stuff to sell! I don't want to deal with determining the price, taking the pictures, responding to the emails or shipping the items. It would also be great if you could organize a garage sale with the items that are left but that's not necessary I might just donate what's left. I have nice things to sell. Everything from home furnishings to antiques, very high end women's clothes & purses, electronics, furniture, etc.. too much to even list!

I'll pay per piece sold, we can figure out a fair percentage. Do you have any experience selling things online? If you're organized, efficient and easy to get along with then send me an email telling me why this would be a good job for you. thank you! Compensation: per piece"

This job vacancy makes it appear as if someone wants to hold an online estate sale without actually calling it one. The successful applicant will be an accurate appraiser who doesn’t bite others’ heads off, or whatever “easy to get along with” means. Any job poster stating such a requirement should describe his or her personality in specific terms to enable applicants to better assess potential fit for the job.

As it stands, it seems as if the job poster will demand accountability despite a marked lack of communication regarding any part of the selling process. If the bulk of the job poster’s involvement will be negotiating a “fair percentage” with the job applicant, without any substantial discretion thereafter, then why would the appraiser / auctioneer need to be amicable towards the job poster? After all, a contract is a contract, irrespective of personality differences after the fact.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wanted: "Handyman" w/ Benefits

"Job Title: cleaning, handyman type stuff (downtown)

Date: 2012-03-06, 6:00PM CST

I need a bit of cleaning, possibly painting odd jobs done at my condo. I'm gay male, looking for gay friendly guy or other gay male. Hoping for regular help, but if you want to just try it out once, that's good too. Compensation: negotiable"

The job poster must be desperate for assistance because his Craigslist post indicates a lack of qualified workers or volunteers within his circle of friends to perform simple cleaning and painting jobs. Then again, this ad might be a front for sexual solicitation. Considering that the job poster wants only homosexual men to apply to his “cleaning, handyman-type” job and is okay “if you want to just try it out once” for “negotiable” compensation, I infer that this “job” vacancy is actually an impersonal “personals” ad more appropriate for the “casual encounters” section of Craigslist. The job poster wants male applicants who swing his way so that they’ll accept a roll in the sheets in lieu of cash for payment.

I have to wonder whether “painting odd jobs” includes body painting and whether “cleaning” entails a sponge bath. To his credit, the job poster seems to be open to applicant personality: If the applicant isn’t a “friendly guy,” then he’ll accept some “other (unfriendly) gay male.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Liquid Application Quality Assurance Technician

"Job Title: Process Technicians (West Madison)

Date: 2012-03-06, 11:03AM CST

Our client, a West Madison manufactuing (sic) company, is seeking a Formulations Technician. The Formulations Technician is responsible for assembling, operating, and cleaning processing equipment, preparing coating solutions and other formulas; and performing various analytical tesitng (sic) including but not limited to particle size testing, moisture analysis, and equipment cleanliness verification. Typical processing duties include precise measurement of components, close monitoring of processing conditions, accurate calculations, troubleshooting problems in the process, and working closely with clients. In some cases, processing will take place in a cGMP environment. This will require, in addition to the above, following detailed instructions and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Following initial training, the Formulations Technician is expected to be capable of independent assembly and cleaning of the research coating equipment efficiently and accurately. Additionally, the Formulations Technician should be knowledgeable in the variables to be taken into account for process conditions and their effect on the product. The Formulations Technician should be proficient in the operation of this equipment and able to troubleshoot when necessary.

Essential Job Functions:

-Disassembles, cleans, and reassembles coating units and areas

-Operates equipment in assigned suite (e.g. Coating or Capsule Filling)

-Validates label and lot number information

-Verifies tasks performed by others

-Identifies deviations to process under their control and labels containers with its contents, lot number, weights, etc...

-Transfers solvents from large to small containers

-Stages materials and/or equipment for processing

-Mixes coating solutions and other formulas

-Performs simple math calculations

-Maintains accurate records

-Creates reserarch (sic) reports and batch records

-Works with controlled substances

-Follows all cGMP practices, policies, and procedures

-Follows all safety practices, policies, and procedures

-Other duties as assigned

Job Qualifications

-High school diploma or equivalent required

-Strong background in chemistry/biology preferred

-Knowledge of current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) preferred

-An understanding of the purpose and content within the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDSs) preferred

-Proficiency in Microsoft Office required

-Ability to follow oral and written instructions

-Ability to read, write (legibly), and speak the English language at a level necessary for efficient job performance

-Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with team members, co-workers, and/or clients.

-Ability to lift up to 55lbs. and move objects weighing up to 150lbs.

If interested in position, please reply with resume and visit our website at and complete our online application. After completing online application, be sure to submit to our Fitchburg, WI office. Compensation: $12-14"

The successful applicant will be more effective at “analytical testing” than the job poster is at typo testing! The process technician requires the brain of a mechanical engineer and the brawn of a porter but pays the wage of a package handler. Someone who has a “strong background in biology/chemistry” would be better off working for a research lab and eventually becoming a principal researcher. Besides the better pay, there tends to be better job security: When is the last time you heard of scientists being laid off? By contrast, factory closures have been a long-standing pattern within the U.S., and the process technician finds even more ways to automate manufacturing and hence to produce more factory layoffs – all for $12 to $14 an hour. On another note, how infuriated would you feel as an applicant to be completely familiar with the position but be disqualified via the “legible handwriting” test?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Shut-In Caregiver

"Job Title: Paid Roommate (Madison, WI)

Options in Community Living is a non-profit agency in Madison, WI supporting about 100 adults with developmental disabilities. Support occurs in their home, apartment, and/or in the community, and can include personal care, lifting, bathing, emotional support, and community events. An insured car may be required in some households for certain shifts. Duties, shifts, locations all vary from person to person, so contact Kate to find out how you can make a difference in someone's life!

Are you energetic, positive, a good team-player, creative, and looking for a live-in position? 2 downtown men need someone to live in, work and stay overnight. Hours: Sunday 5-11pm and overnight, Monday-Thursday 7-9am and overnight, Friday 7-9am, Wednesday 3-11pm. Weekend hours also available. Encourage their involvement with meals, cleaning, and grocery shopping; prompt personal care duties and routine, help with medication, and help them get involved in the community while maintaining safety for one of the men who can't be alone. An insured car is required. EOE

8 hours are unpaid sleep time each overnight.

Compensation: $10.75/hr, benefits, free rent"

Seeing how this “paid roommate” position is really a live-in caregiver, I’m surprised that no particular license is required as part of the applicant’s qualifications, especially when one of the care recipients “can’t be alone.” Why does the job poster require the successful applicant to be creative? Because assisting with daily life activities can get old pretty quickly, even for someone who is “energetic (and) positive.” Occasional changes in routine help make these job duties less tedious. However, there are only so many ways to make wiping someone’s behind and other “prompt personal care duties” any fun.

Monday, March 5, 2012

New York Philharmonic Chaperone w/ PR Duties

"Job Title: Communications Assistant

Posted on: February 28, 2012

Posted by: New York Philharmonic

New York Philharmonic seeks a Communications Assistant to provide general support to Communications staff including specific responsibilities for the following:

-Coordinate photography and video for organization, including scheduling and working with house photographers and media photographers for concerts/events; obtain clearances for photography at concerts/events and other media requests; choose photo ‘selects’ for publicity and marketing uses and service photos as needed; schedule portrait sittings for new Orchestra members; maintain Orchestra Portrait Gallery; coordinate annual Orchestra Portrait.

-Review major papers and online news sources daily for reviews, feature articles, and other significant pieces pertaining to the New York Philharmonic, its musicians, and others involved with the Orchestra. Distribute pertinent clips via e-mail on a daily basis, and compile all press activity.

-Brainstorm and develop media pitches for Philharmonic subscription concerts, special events and other activities; help cultivate relationships with key journalists; arrange interviews. Specific responsibility for radio broadcasts, listings/photo placement, season previews and holiday guides.

-Coordinate interviews for weekly radio broadcasts and podcasts (e.g. arrange interviews with guest artists, key internal figures).

-Assist with logistics and implementation of major events (e.g. opening night press reception, season announcement press conference, galas, etc.).

-Writing assignments as needed, such as some press releases (radio broadcast releases), social media platforms (Tumblr, Twitter) and other press materials.

-Coordinate electronic distribution of press releases through Swiftpage using HTML template. Responsibility for maintenance and organization of media database and lists (ACT).

-Each member of PR staff to equitably share in the responsibilities of concert duty for concerts and events throughout the year, including ‘all hands on’ events (such as Parks, Opening Night, etc.).

-Miscellaneous duties as required.


College degree with minimum of one year office experience (preferably in PR/communications). Ability to work in deadline-oriented, multi-tasking environment. Good writing skills and organizational abilities. Professional manner and a sense of ‘appropriateness’ in representing the Philharmonic. Proficiency with Photoshop, knowledge of HTML, social media, video shooting/editing and general tech ‘savviness’ preferred. Knowledge of classical music preferred."

The successful applicant will possess an intimate understanding of the Philharmonic’s image and philosophy in order to have the necessary propriety when communicating on behalf of the organization. I believe that the minimum office or liaison experience should be specified as being acquired in a mid-size or large department to ensure the new hire will be someone who has maintained not only composure but also a cheerful demeanor in a high-volume communications environment.

This poise under pressure will be especially critical for when the communications assistant “equitably share(s) in the responsibilities of concert duty…and events through the year.” This “concert duty” involves logistic and chaperoning, not performing, although “knowledge of classical music” will help the evening more tolerable as the communications assistant counts heads for the twelfth time and herds everyone onto the tour bus. Mercifully for the successful applicant, the communications assistant will not be required to perform at these events, and hence he or she will not need to rehearse or otherwise sacrifice time best spent playing phone tag with press contacts and revising press releases.

The “miscellaneous duties” requirement could be a deal breaker considering the prima donnas who abound in the “fine arts.” Let’s hope the communications assistant won’t have to fill in for the makeup artist or hair stylist! It’s difficult enough to find qualified applicants who not only know video production, digital editing, and the various social media outlets but also exhibit enthusiasm for classical music. I’m sure whoever is hired as communications assistant will have his or her hands full managing pressure from Philharmonic performers who lobby to have their respective photos chosen for publicity.