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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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 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.

I would expect that one of those glamour shots photographers would be able to charge a premium for a Real Porn Photographer.

Turn those lemons into lemonade, brother.

The system I described can get someone a fair shot at having a real human interaction from which a job might result. Without the bullshit of an implied contract that is inevitable when ads are placed. What better way of getting a fair wage for work performed than to start it off with a conversation rather than a form?

JC Penney was one that came up in my search for photographers.

Photography, specifically, is kind of a strange industry, even if your strategy is sound.

I'd get $2000 jobs that netted about $1200 after paying the model and other costs several times a month, but Ohio is the pits for finding open-minded models. Not like the West Coast. The amount per hour was insane, but of course it wasn't a 40 hour week, which was fine for me: plenty of time for creative writing.

It's similar here for regular commercial work, but you tend to do that contracting  under your own business name, not as someone's hire. If you have to make overhead investments, they are your liability as well. Even if you have an in with an agency, it's not your total source of income or even necessarily your main.

It's just that photography, on the whole, is rather multifaceted, and what makes perfect sense in one facet can be total nonsense in another.

If you want a photography specific piece of job application jargon:
"No photographic experience required" often means "No photographic experience wanted because we don't want to pay you like you're qualified, and we don't want your sense of standards and quality getting in the way of puking out product".


I like this idea.

"Work effectively under pressure and maintain a positive attitude " - Hope you have a source for cocaine.*

* A study showed that while cocaine users' private lives were a mess, they were on the whole more effective in business than non-users.

"Driven" - We're looking for someone who obsesses about their work, because you won't be receiving any encouragement from management.

That or "Only people suffering from workaholic OCD can possibly make a go of this job."

Overqualified. "Sorry, you're too smart to work here, as you'll see how we're screwing you over."


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