At the moment, I'm looking for a little extra income, so I'm reading job ads. I'm looking for a good job where I'll be a valued employee and where the pay is fair for the work required. I'm realizing there are some common terms signaling jobs that won't meet those requirements.

Here is some of the commonly-used jargon hinting at why the job is to be avoided.

"Fast-paced environment." Translation: Most people who take this job on are overwhelmed by the volume of work and frequently end up putting in unpaid hours to get caught up and so end up quitting or committing suicide. If they don't go postal first, that is. 

"Team player." Translation: You'll be making coffee or picking up dry cleaning for your superiors and/or you'll be asked to leave your ethics at home when you come to work and/or you'll be asked to pick up the slack for incompetent coworkers.

"Detail-oriented." Translation: The job is complicated and you can expect little help from anyone.

"Self starter." Translation: Expect little in the way of direction, though you can still expect criticism if your decisions differ from what theirs would be.

"Flexible." Translation: They need some patsy who's willing to work any shift and on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve/Day, and New Years Eve/Day.

Did I leave any out?

Tags: employment, jargon, job

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Yeah that one is quite ambiguous.  Clearly they want you to think they are competing for good employees by offering better pay.  That may even be what they actually do mean.

Or it could be competitive in the sense of helping them compete by keeping their costs low.

"Financial freedom." Translation: This isn't a job at all. It's self-employment masquerading as a job. Probably multi-level marketing like Amway or Tupperware. 

"Rapidly growing company." Translation: They're new, heavily in debt, and don't have a lot of money to spend on salaries when it could be spent on marketing and advertising.

"Organized." Translation: Because we need SOMEONE to be. It certainly ain't us!

"Work from home." Translation: Since our finances are on the verge of bankruptcy, we can't afford to give you an office to work out of and, even on the off chance we're honest, you'll have lots of problems getting paid. If we're not honest, which is more likely, grab the Vaseline, bite down on a rag, and bend over.

"Great customer service skills." Translation: We have a lot of unhappy customers that we don't like to deal with. That's gonna be your job.

Unseen that one is a winner.

Customer facing skills required.

If a company doesn't list its name, I'll reply with a request for their name "so that I can research you a bit before we talk." If they reply with their name, I'll go to the scam report sites and glassdoor.com to find out what they're like and what working for them is like. And of course, I'll google up their own website to see how they present themselves. On Craigslist specifically, there are a lot of employment scams and fly-by-night companies. 

I would love to see legislation requiring a nationwide standardized employment application so that I don't have to fill out the same information over and over and over for companies that probably aren't going to hire me anyway. If they have some additional questions not covered by that application, so be it, but it's ridiculous that I have to enter my name, address, education, and work history repeatedly. 

Worse are the sites that do me the "favor" of reading my submitted resume and filling in the blanks for me. They work great for name, address, phone number, email address, but beyond that, they often read my resume wrong, putting information in the wrong blanks, which I then have to fix. Worse than that are the ones that don't even let me edit that information.

All this needless repetition and wasted time makes it impossible to reply to more than 2-4 businesses online on any given day, depending upon how time-wasteful the process is.

I'm thinking of doing it The Old Fashioned Way by bypassing their jumping through the hoops and simply emailing or snail mailing my resume to the HR departments of the same companies. Some will ignore that approach, I'm sure, but some may read the resume and invite me for an interview. Then if I have to fill out a paper application, I know that they were at least interested enough to extend the invitation.

Message me more specific information, please. I'll look into it.

Unseen that Old Fashioned approach would not get you an interview at my company.

Most of the jobs anyone would want are not advertised. Here is a way to find work that puts you in the drivers seat.

  1. Go to Google Maps, center it on your home or location you would want to start from.
  2. Under the picture on the left hand side, click on "Search Nearby"
  3. Put in whatever industry you have an interest or advanced training, For you, Unseen, let's try photographer. 
  4. My search came up with 421 results. Now, lots of them are suckers--I just don't imagine you being happy working at the Walgreens photo counter for example, or JC Penny. However, there is still a solid list that you could sort by ease of travel, say along a bus line or something. 
  5. Straight cold calls can be difficult, but manta.com is the online arm of Dun & Bradstreet, one of the organizations that gives credit ratings to businesses. Ignoring the credit rating stuff, which you would have to pay to get, it does give you names of owners and principals of companies. So instead of talking to the secretary and asking her if they have work for a knowledgable photographer, you could ask for Mr. Smith, the owner.
  6. Manta is also searchable by industry and location, but you need to put in the NAICS code (North American Industrial Classification System)
  7. Call the companies using more open ended questioning, don't just ask if they have a job. Have a 10 second description of your talents, and let them have to say to themselves that they don't need a good photographer with 15 years experience--blah blah blah.

Using this system, you avoid jargon, start out with a human conversation that is lead by your own wishes and abilities. 

There will be lots of rejection, but if you get to 30 tries without one potential opportunity, I owe you $10.

Right now, I am imagining Max Headroom (Unseen's icon) working at JC Penney. 

You've outlined a way you would find work that meets your goals. It may not fit mine.

My photographic portfolio is almost entirely naked girls. LOL

Writing is probably a better, though lower-paying, alternative. Even there, though, my recent (last 20 years) experience is almost entirely erotic fiction and political blogging.

Frankly, I'm not looking for the best paying, highest-responsibility, job I can get. I just want supplementary income that doesn't take over my rather quiet life. I know one should have a goal when searching for work, but my goal isn't a specific line of work, but a job that satisfies the requirements given in the second sentence of this paragraph. It could be in retail, customer service, writing, or almost anything.

JC Penney may not last out the year, given the rate it's been mismanaged lately. Perhaps you were joking.

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