Classified Defined

How to read between the lines of job ads

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Have you noticed? The whole fucking world is looking for a job right now, here in the midst of all this economic recovery (yeah, right). The worse the economy gets, the more everybody wants to grab his or her own special place as an insignificant cog in the economic machinery and realize that New American Dream: subsistence wages and a cheap apartment on a bus line.

The odds are ugly. Despite the fact that the media suddenly got bored with the whole subject (they, after all, have jobs... sort of), there are still 8 million people officially recognized as unemployed, and another 5 million that even the government considers underemployed. Taking into account the flawed methodology in gathering such statistics, throw in a few million more, then add all the disgruntled, dissatisfied employed folks desperately trying to network their way out of the dreadful jobs they've got. Add 'em up and whoa! you've got virtually 100 percent of the American workforce out there playing a nasty, cutthroat game of musical jobs.

We all know the most important qualifications: age, sex, race, religion, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, credit rating, who you know and how you look. And never you mind the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. No one gives a shit what color your parachute is.

What the Job Ad SaysWhat It Means
Advancement opportunityShit job
Entry levelReally a shit job
No experience necessaryThe mother of all shit jobs
Administrative assistantShit job with a title
Ground floor opportunityShit job with a company that will file bankruptcy within a year
Progressive companyEmployees get to wear jeans every other Friday
Team playerMust deal with dangerously territorial co-workers with rabid personalities
Upbeat personalityMust neither threaten us with any kind of lawsuit nor use the drug & alcohol rehab benefit within the first year
Word processing skills essentialThere's a crippling case of carpal tunnel syndrome in your future
Public relationsReceptionist
Professional appearance important$20 K/year job that requires a $100 K/year wardrobe
Pleasant telephone mannerBe the voice of 1-900-SUCK
Earn up to $300/hour!Be 1-900-SUCK
Salary range $24,000 to $32,000The salary is $24,000
Jeans job!Minimum wage temp job in concentration camp conditions
Will trainPrior conviction of a felony or two no problem
B.A. required, master's preferredMust be an M.A. willing to work on a B.A.'s salary
Civil serviceThis job was filled from the inside six months ago
Women & minorities encouraged to applyWhite males need not waste the stamp
Outstanding benefits packageHealth insurance
Tons of variety!We took all the heinous tasks no other employee would do and rolled them into one job
Top-notch communication skillsTelemarketing
Beautiful offices in attractive locationBrand new ticky-tacky windowless building where the picture frames all match the carpeting
SecretaryWoman-only job with the responsibilities of management and wages of a migrant worker
Executive secretaryThe most powerful position in any company
DedicatedYou're looking at a minimum of 80 hours a week from now until we force you into early retirement
Salary commensurateWe'll pay you whatever the hell we feel like
Salary negotiableWe'll take the lowest bidder
Competitive salaryWe'll pay you up to 10 percent more than your last job, and not one penny more
Competitive starting salaryTen cents above minimum wage
Pleasant atmosphereA staff of pod people
Professional atmosphereZombie pod people
Fun, creative atmospherePod people from hell
Dynamic atmosphereZombie pod people from hell
Gal FridayAnyone who actually applies for this job deserves it
Self-starterOpen to very broad interpretation since no one really knows what this means

From Lumpen (April 1995). Subscriptions: $30/yr. (12 issues) from 2558 W. Armitage Av., Chicago, IL 60647.

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