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Technolo-gee: Adventures in the Online Job Market

By Dave Palmer

Modern society is increasingly turning to electronic solutions for nearly everything. Whether it be shopping, banking, or communicating, we hear the same mantra: It’s faster and more convenient. Job hunting has, of course, been relegated almost entirely to the online world as well. The same idea of greater convenience, easier connection to leads, and the ability to more readily build a network of connections calls to job hunters like the siren song of old. Just never mind those jagged rocks you’re heading for.

And those jagged rocks in reality is these questions: Whose convenience is the online job market really targeted for? Is it the convenience of the job hunter, or the convenience of human resources departments at any one of the places one might consider applying for employment?

Given the experience I have had in the past few months on the job market, it would seem that the convenience factor is entirely for the human resources department with zero attention paid to any sort of convenience for the job hunter. And why not? After all, companies have learned to run as lean, mean fighting machines since the banks crashed our economy in 2008. Employers would much rather have people groveling at their feet begging for a job in desperation than to provide anything as progressive as a living wage, insurance benefits, or job security. It is decidedly in their best interest to keep people worried about how long it will take them to get a job and to loathe the process of job searching so much that they will never be inspired to quit for any reason.

Below, you will find a small sampling of some of the horrors that await job searchers in the online market, all deviously devised by employers to keep their current employees in line, and those in the job market hopelessly spinning their wheels. That is, until they come out of nowhere to give them the same sort of faint glimmer of hope a driver stranded on the side of the road might have when a tow truck appears out of the clear blue sky to charge them $150 to get them home.

Name and current address:

Okay, this is not so tough a hurdle to overcome, unless of course your parents gave you the unfortunate first name of Hannibal, or you just so happen to be homeless because you can’t find a job.

Telephone number and email address:

Things are getting a little tougher for those who aren’t already in possession of these things. Sure, an email address is easy enough to create, if you have a home internet connection. Some libraries have taken to charging for internet access due to budget cuts, and if your phone got cut off because you couldn’t pay the bill…seems that it’s best we move on.

Provide your complete job history with the names of your supervisors and their telephone numbers:

This is not a question that an ordinary resume can tackle. For this, you need a CV. Oh, wait, I was told that my resume should only be one page, yet you seem to want five. But, if you call me to the interview and I lay five pages on you, you’re only going to look at the first one. And how in the heck am I supposed to get my supervisor’s telephone number? I can give you the number to the place where I used to work, but that supervisor has been transferred three times. Or quit. Or promoted. Or living in Outer Mongolia. This sucks. Next!

List all of the places you have lived in the last ten years.

Really? REALLY? I can give you the address where I live now, and maybe the address of the place I lived before this. (After all, it was with my parents.) But, every place for the last ten years? Maybe I can get that info from the Secretary of State…oh crap, that kind of report costs money THAT I DON’T HAVE! NEXT!

Please take the following personality tests, which are split into three parts. Each part lasts 45 minutes, and you can only take pee breaks for 5 minutes in between sessions. Answer each question honestly, there are no right or wrong answers.

Okay, maybe you should start laying this “personality test” on some of the people who are already working for the company. Maybe your high turnover rate is because they are the cantankerous assholes that no one can deal with. Seriously, why does your company feel it’s necessary to examine potential job candidates for personality traits? You should be able to suss that out in an interview. Unless, of course, your goal is to conduct as few interviews as possible…

Please upload copies of your birth certificate, current driver’s license, social security card, a voided check, a voided deposit slip from your savings account, college transcripts, and a family photo with you in it as a baby. P.S. The files can only be one of the types we specify, so you have to buy the right program so you can make us feel like we’re not the only ones suckered by a sales pitch.

Okay, so I made up the post-script, but what’s not written in the general text can usually be found in the sub-text, and sometimes can be found in the sub-sub-text. Such as, if you don’t have a scanner, a computer, and all of the modern gizmos and programs you need at home because you can’t afford them, we probably don’t want to employ you anyway.

No wonder Uber is starting to take off.


By day, I am an educator of our future, by night a part-time musician and independent mind. Based in metro-Detroit, I take pictures of society with my cerebral cortex and convert them into a sildeshow of the world the way I see it.

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