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.

The problem is not that much of the jargon is cover up for bad things; the problem is that much of it doesn't mean anything at all. You walk into an interview having to show your entire hand when the interviewer doesn't show you so much as a single card. I've seen a couple of postings where they company didn't even disclose it's name or the exact position for which they were hiring. They find out if they want to hire you, but you have a damn hard time figuring out if you even want to work for them. I think they just bank on the fact that many people are desperate to work any job at the moment.

When I was last looking for jobs fresh out of school, the common combo was "Entry-Level Position: Two years relevant work experience required". This was for true entry-level, wet your toe in the industry work and not grooming for mid-to-high level positions.

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 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.

Do you need (or specifically want) to be working for a company? There are other options out there for supplementary income. For instance, my brother has found companies which farm out writing tasks which he can take on as piecework from home. He says the works is easy, and the pay is low, but better than minimum wage ($12-15/ hr if he works it like a regular 9-5), and he has no real boss or work drama beyond accepting that this is the assembly line work of the writing world.

Might not be the sort of thing you are looking for, but unconventional options do exist. It's hard to tell which are legitimate and which are not though.

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

I'll check with my brother in a couple days. He's out of town at the moment.


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