What That Job REALLY Is…

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(Comedy in DC will be back in two weeks. Tiff‘s out west, so I’m stepping in with something a little different…)

Let’s face it: we’ve all perused the various online job postings recently, looking for that ‘perfect’ position we all secretly crave. But sometimes, when you go to interview or after you land that dream job, it’s not what you expect. Looking back, you wonder how the position you’re in could even possibly match the posted description that initially caught your eye.

Wonder no more. I have compiled a list that describes what those common terms you see in most want ads really mean. And I’m sharing them with all of you today, because job seekers need all the help they can get deciphering such descriptions like:

An up-and-coming software company with an innovative profit-sharing plan has an immediate opening for a [insert technobabble IT title here]. We offer great benefits to a self-motivated individual in this exciting and professional work environment.

Qualified applicants will be deadline-oriented with an eye for detail and good communication skills and the ability to handle a heavy workload. Problem-solving skills a must. Some overtime required. Send resumes to noaddress@notarealsite.com. No phone calls please.

Now, match up that description against what I’ve found to be the TRUE definition, and what does that job really say? Here’s some common phrases and what the company really means:

ENTRY-LEVEL POSITION
You’ll be making salary money that equates to less than the hourly minimum wage. Don’t worry, there’s a profit-sharing plan.

PROFIT-SHARING PLAN
Once it’s shared between the higher-ups, there won’t be a profit.

AN UP-AND-COMING SOFTWARE COMPANY
We want you to get your hopes up, but there’s no way in hell we’ll be the next Microsoft.

COMPETITIVE SALARY
We remain competitive by paying slightly less than our competitors.

JOIN OUR FAST-PACED COMPANY
We have no time to train you; you’ll have to introduce yourself to your co-workers.

IMMEDIATE OPENING
The person who used to have this job gave notice a month ago. We’re just now running the ad.

SELF-MOTIVATED
Management won’t answer questions.

SEEKING ENTHUSIASTIC, FUN, HARD WORKING PEOPLE
…who still live with their parents and won’t mind our internship-level salaries.

COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT
We have a lot of turnover.

ABILITY TO HANDLE A HEAVY WORKLOAD
You whine, you’re fired.

MUST BE DEADLINE ORIENTED
You’ll be six months behind schedule on your first day. Better be able to handle a heavy workload…

SOME OVERTIME REQUIRED
You’ll be working late into the evening and most weekends, too. Oh, and without extra pay.

FLEXIBLE HOURS
Work 40 hours; get paid for 25. Some overtime required.

DUTIES WILL VARY
Anyone in the office can boss you around.

MUST HAVE AN EYE FOR DETAIL
We have no quality control.

APPLY IN PERSON
We get to look at you first; if we don’t like what we see, you’ll be told the position has been filled.

NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE
We’ve filled the job; this is just a formality.

SEEKING CANDIDATES WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE
You’ll need it to replace three people who just left.

PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS A MUST
You’re walking into a company in perpetual chaos.

REQUIRES TEAM LEADERSHIP SKILLS
You’ll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or respect.

GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want and do it.

SALARY WITH EXCELLENT BENEFITS
You’ll work your 40 and some overtime required. That way we avoid paying time-and-a-half for the hourly kids. And you get free cupcakes in the morning! Just get in before 8 am – that’s when Joe comes in and scarfs them all down…

Got some more “true” job definitions to add? Throw ‘em down in comments.

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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