Donate to Absurd Job Vacancies! Donate to Absurd Job Vacancies! Donate to Absurd Job Vacancies! Donate to Absurd Job Vacancies! Donate to Absurd Job Vacancies!


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, June 16, 2013

Hot-Shot Copywriter to Shill PowerPoint Shell

Position: Bad@$$ Content Writer / Interviewer with DeckPresenter

We need someone who can create content like what is seen on:
- mailchimp’s blog
- okcupid’s blog
- seomoz’s blog
- appsumo

You are a rock solid writer, right? Shoot us an application with a short story telling us why we should hire you Forget about your resume and cover letter. All we care about is that you write like a rockstar PS. Did I mention we are a totally fun company that you WANT to work for?!

Brian Curliss: briancurliss[at]

I went on a slog on this blog about the rather unpleasant downsides of including university studies in your intended career path -- hint: it's an expensive detour for a plurality -- and ventured on fanciful side stories or "gaidens" -- directly related to some type of occupation to fit the overall theme -- to keep myself from getting bored. Seeing a job vacancy for content writer motivated me not to apply (for reasons explained herein) but to critique it for the world.

The blogs mentioned in the above job description are narrowly and formulaically focused -- almost autistically so -- on the same tired topics such as boosting web traffic and monetizing page views. Being able to write a dozen or so paragraphs of original, non-syndicated content with cohesion and proper grammar throughout does require a mind for semantics and syntax. However, that doesn't require anyone to be cool, hip, or inspiring. Are those qualities possessed by a "rotten derriere writer?"

Also, what's up with these mascot gimmicks such as chimpanzees and rikishis? Are they implying that MailChimp slingshots email to your contacts like apes fling feces? What are the implications of AppSumo employees being "sumos" -- throwing around their weight; wrestling with deadlines; spending too much time being sedentary to gain the bulk of the sumo without the strength?

The job description goes on to say, "All we care about is that you write like a rockstar." Really? So background checks are not part of the vetting process? And you want an egotistical person to boot? (There is a reason they chose the term "rockstar" instead of "high performer.")

The postscript scares me away from the firm, though -- emphasizing how "totally fun" an organization is usually an indicator you'll work 60+ hours each week. Life is too short to be working longer than 12-hour days! Maybe work four 15-hour days and give yourself every third day off? The schedule would be like this:    Work | Work | Off | Work | Work | Off | Off | Repeat

I've done a handful of minimal-sleep days during inspired writing sessions on unpublished works in development and can tell you that just about anything becomes entertaining or humorous when your mind is clamoring for a rest. Sleep deprivation is documented as inducing roughly 400% greater sensitivity to emotional stimuli as illustrated in the righthand bar chart of proportionate or standardized effect size (as the lefthand chart is non-standardized).

Unless you're in the acting industry, “emotional lability” is a liability! Most people from just about any culture feel uncomfortable around someone with mood swings; sleep deprivation causes precisely such volatility; and organizations which promote longer work weeks contribute to the emotional instability of employees and therefore to irrational decisions, impulsive behavior, and organizational instability.

Imagine five times the emotionality in a challenging setting, and you have a recipe for emotive outbursts. That is when the employer reaches into its fun bags Bags ‘o’ Fun in hopes of eliciting laughter rather than wailing and gnashing of teeth. It is therefore no mystery how so many hectic, high-pressure firms with above-average hours worked per employee may call themselves "fun" without massive disagreement among former employees (considering the current ones would likely be found out if they complained on blogs, social media, or the like).

Any "mean mamma-jamma" content I write is going to be published on my own blog or as a guest contributor who maintains 100% ownership of intellectual property -- not for an organization which would claim ownership and perhaps not even permit disclosure of the actual author's identity. Whoever DeckPresenter finds will need to figure out just how that service is superior in any manner to SlideShare.

Predictable interview question and pithy answer: “Explain how DP doubles your PowerPoint-viewing pleasure.” “By facilitating teamwork?” While that’s not how I would respond if I were to actually apply for the position, such a retort is fitting for the soon-to-be-sleep-deprived-and-emotionally-volatile “rockstar” candidate they seek.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Financial Recruiter for Woodworkers’ Affinity Group

Financial Services Manager-Entry Level Insurance/Finance/Recruiter

Job Description
If you are a competitive, diligent and process-oriented individual who is able to consistently motivate and lead others to success, then join our management team at Modern Woodmen of America! We are currently hiring-on and hiring-to-train confident and ambitious Financial Services Managers to help us build a team of successful Financial Services Representatives. Your efforts will work toward making a positive impact on the lives of our members and their communities.

    You will recruit representatives and train them to be high-performing financial professionals through careful supervision and instruction – involving them in the community and developing both their personal and professional knowledge. If you are a communicative, amiable and determined individual who wants to pursue a business management career with a stable and secure industry leader, then Modern Woodmen of America may be the right place for you!

Job Responsibilities
As a Financial Services Manager for Modern Woodmen of America, you will attract, select, train and supervise your team members to help them attain higher levels of success. You will instruct them on proper customer dialogue and interaction as well as educate them on our product line and the benefits of our services.
Additional responsibilities for the Financial Services Manager include:
   - Identifying and developing strong future leaders
   - Commanding the aspirations of your team members
   - Continuing to grow your own leadership skills personally and professionally

Job Requirements
Modern Woodmen of America is also seeking a financially stable individual who either has a proven history of sales management, managerial success in the financial industry, or is willing to undergo extensive training in order to effectively develop into this position.
Additionally, the Financial Services Manager should:
   - Have or be able to attain applicable industry designations
   - Have or be able to attain Series 6, 63 and 26 licenses
   - College graduate or some college preferred
   - Have at least three years of continuous U.S. residency
   - Be a U.S. citizen or hold a permanent resident visa
   - Read, write and speak English fluently

At Modern Woodmen of America, we recognize how hard our team members work in order to provide our members with the best products and service possible. Therefore, we are pleased to offer our Financial Services Managers extensive training, competitive compensation and an excellent benefits package.
Additional benefits available to the Financial Services Manager include:
   - Medical & Dental Insurance
   - 401(k) Retirement Planning w/ Company Match
   - Non-contributory retirement plans
   - Group health and dental benefits
   - Group term life insurance benefits
   - Optional group disability insurance benefits
   - Laptop provided
   - Social Security and Medicare taxes paid
For more information on Modern Woodmen of America, please visit our career website at

Company Overview
Modern Woodmen of America is a fraternal benefit society based in Rock Island, Ill. Modern Woodmen serves more than 760,000 members nationwide, offering life insurance, annuity, investment* and banking products, along with fraternal member benefits for families and their communities.

Acknowledging the above job description is for a financial services manager, my observations which follow are valid for a number of related occupations: hob-knobbing and rubbing elbows with the dominant consensus builders in your community is akin to being a politician in that you’re trying to win others’ trust and authorization to take some type of action on their behalf. Although being financially stable -- often measured by having a credit score of 700 or above and an earnings-to-debt ratio of at least $5:$1 -- is a personal characteristic necessary to seem competent and unlikely to misappropriate your clients' money, already having a positive reputation within your community of marks target geography is critical so others will refer new business towards you.

In the case of a financial recruiter, you manage others’ money as an organizational and/or personal trustee; in the case of a politician, you do that via appropriations and vote on other legislation. Being family-friendly and without any substantial legal history is pretty much a requisite unless you’re a financial manager in the slums; in that case, good luck finding the wealthy residents while keeping your nose clean -- most such property managers or “slum lords” live outside the districts of their properties.

It is time-consuming and potentially expensive financially to maintain a community presence sufficient to portray yourself as not only trustworthy but more integrated into the communal fabric than your competitors. The person who is content to read alone Friday nights – let alone the individual for whom a social life is necessary only to earn income at some job or another -- need not apply.

The successful finance recruiter is capable of changing the mind of the person who says, “Thanks, but I have enough friends.” The wealthy person must be persuaded that you are an all-weather ally and not just the latest fair-weather friend to have drinks on his or her tab. Conversely, the finance recruiter will need to dispense with lower-income folks as expediently as possible to minimize time spent on low-return clients.

I find it interesting how the selling of oneself to the customer as not only a competent service provider but also a worthwhile human being is quite achingly, in-your-face obvious within the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) industries. Those are expected to be the greatest economic powerhouses for concentrating wealth in the coming years -- and considering the increasing diagnosis rates of developmental disorders as well as documented reduction in social capital associated with the same, I can see why it will become more difficult to find truly capable FIRE workers instead of those who might merely look qualified on paper (have a finance degree, know insurance marketing tactics, etc. but don’t have many friends). Then again, the Internet has facilitated the exchange of so much previously isolated information such that some portion of the labor force will research and rehearse those mannerisms which they might not naturally acclimate to but need to demonstrate to win others’ confidence.

At least equally important is the locale in which the incumbent will work: aside from the idealistic college kids at UW-Washington County, West Benders generally hate dislike people they don't know. Therefore, I estimate the person to be hired as MWA's next financial recruiter will in fact have been active in multiple West Bend social circles for some time.