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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, 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.

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