toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

December 18, 2006

job ad buzzwords

Priscilla is a single mom who, like a lot of women, was introduced to the Internet by her young son. She is currently looking for a job and thinks that the Internet is fantastic for refining a job search and researching buzzwords.

"My son nagged me for ages to get online at home," laughs Priscilla, "and I finally relented when I realized how useful the Internet is going to be for my job-search."

"I still read the newspaper ads, of course," says Priscilla, "but the Internet is so much faster. My main problem, though, with both newspaper and Internet job advertisements, is that I'm overwhelmed by all the jargon and buzzwords.”

She has simplified her job-search by finding out exactly what some of these buzzwords really mean.

"On the Internet I can refine my job-search by excluding certain buzzwords that I know are misleading," explains Priscilla, "and you can't do that with newspaper ads."

"A popular buzzword is team player," says Priscilla. "Unfortunately, just about every workplace these days seems to be run on team principles. If you are not willing to sacrifice your individuality for the common cause of the team - as I am - then you will not make a good team player. I don't apply for such jobs but I bet some really nasty people apply for team role jobs and actually win them."

“The trick for them is to pass the interview, get the job and then make everyone on the team miserable,” laughs Priscilla.

When Priscilla sees the team player buzzword, she reads a menial job, a job unsupportive of your well being and advancement.

"The only people who thrive in team environments are the manipulative types who get everyone else to do their work, and the sweeties who effectively have the same motive," says Priscilla. "So when a job advertisement includes the buzzword team player, I know they are looking for someone submissive and easily bossed around."

What about attention to detail? In the publishing and banking profession we are required to be hawks, but Priscilla wonders why it is required so much of other professions. And how does one gauge whether one is good at paying attention to detail?

"Everyone makes mistakes," says Priscilla. "and most workplaces have some sort of quality control in place to pick up errors before they cause major trouble. So why is it necessary to advertise for a hawk-eyed person?"

Priscilla believes that either they are discriminating against people with poor eyesight or the work is so boring that previous employees have fallen asleep on the job.

“Of course, recruiters these days cannot be blatantly discriminatory in their advertisements,” says Priscilla, “but if you look closely at advertisements you can read between the lines about the type of person they want, such as young environment or recent graduate. Nobody over 30 is going to want to answer an advertisement geared towards a younger applicant.”

Conversely, mature person turns off the under 30s although maturity, per se, has nothing to do with age.

Leadership skills is a buzzword that often describes a tough person, someone capable of firing their own mom. So, someone with the quiet leadership skills of a Nelson Mandela wouldn’t stand a chance.

“And that’s a shame,” says Priscilla, “because that’s the type of leader workers do admire.”

”I don't enjoy working late," says Priscilla, "so I avoid any job advertisement using drive, initiative and deadlines as buzzwords."

"Smoking is prohibited in all workplaces and public venues so I wonder about advertisers who feel it necessary to add non smoking workplace to their spiel," says Priscilla. "I think it could be a disincentive for social smokers to apply. The employer hates smokers!"

Priscilla admits that she spends more time surfing on the Net than using it for job-hunting, and this is probably true for anyone who uses the Net to find a job.

"I'm mixing business with pleasure," laughs Priscilla, "or should I say 'background researching' the job-market."

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