How job descriptions lie (and how to read between the lines)…

I have a friend who could potentially be looking for a new job. Of course, in this day and age you can’t actually say you’re looking for a new job if you already have one, because people in the job you’re already in might get a little bit weird.

These days you must suffer in silence, search in snatched moments when the boss’s back is turned, carry on pretending that everything is just as great as it always was when really, under the guise of talking to your mum about her terrible deep vein thrombosis, you’re running outside every twenty minutes to take a call from yet another recruiter who found you online and thinks you might be reeeeeeeally suitable for the role of Angora rabbit snack coordinator in a pet food company (when you’ve clearly specified on your blog that you’re allergic to your own fucking mohair winter jumper and you’ve previously only ever worked in a bank). It’s ridiculous. It’s time-consuming. We’ve all been there.

Out of intrigue I performed a few searches on behalf of my friend, just to see what’s out there. Occasionally I do this. I like to see what other people could be doing with their lives. It’s interesting, really, to see what other humans demand from other humans.

I had to write job descriptions once, in a temp role in London. Did you know that some companies actually hire people for the specific purpose of making jobs inside their shitty companies sound better? I wish I could remember the exact wording of the job description that enticed me to apply for the role of writing job descriptions in their soul-munching firm somewhere on Wanker-in-a-suit Street, but needless to say as soon as I arrived I realised why they needed me. I also realised you can’t polish a turd.

Anyway, I found a job that my friend might well be quite qualified for in a “well known and established tourism company” and read the demands quite carefully. I was soon forced to admit that he would die there within a week. Having been “on the inside” let me tell you what I saw.

Previous experience delivering solutions in a telephone based customer focused environment essential.

This means that to take on this role you must be comfortable having no friends and no holidays of your own, while you offer advice to strangers who also don’t quite know what to do with their lives but are calling you because you allegedly know about holidays. You must also have previous experience being encased in a glass cabin, unable to escape while a pasty-faced girl called Violet cries incessantly in the next cubicle over a man she simply can’t leave because she loves him (even though she hates him).

Superb communication skills both written and verbal

This of course means that you must be able to answer emails without using multiple exclamation marks, the smiley face emoticon or swapping the word their for there. You must also be strong enough to tell sobbing Violet to shut the fuck up ‘cause no one wants to hear about her boyfriend.

Goal orientated, resilient and determined to succeed

Even when Violet’s been sniffling for three hours and you’ve downed five secret vodkas from a hip flask disguised as an adult sandwich container you must be able to pick up the phone and comfort a fuming man called Alfred who’s lost his spectacles because of something YOU didn’t do on a holiday your company arranged before you were hired.

Able to put 110% into the role

You must never go home. In fact, you must forget you even have a home, or a girlfriend, or a life. If you’re needed on the phone you must be ON the fucking phone and god forbid it rings when you’re on the toilet because you know weeping Violet’s gonna grass you up for not listening to her story about how her boyfriend never takes the bins out. 110% means EVERYTHING. You must have nothing left to give, by the time you leave the company. If you do have anything left, you must leave it at the door of your boss’s office who will inevitably tell you you didn’t try hard enough to make things work (and that he’s been shagging a very happy Violet for three years).

Don’t worry, I shall continue the job hunt on behalf of my friend as I know he deserves and will ultimately be hired for a great company, with no ridiculous demands on his life whatsoever (maybe). You can’t help but be a little bit suspicious, though, right, having been on the inside?

Is there a moaning Violet next to you, today?