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Significant Details: Reading between the want ads

March 5, 2014

There was a “secret language” in use for decades before Twitter and texting turned millions of people into linguistic twits who think they are being cute because they use “words” only the cool kids understand. Hate to break it to you cool kids, but today, even Grandma knows how to LOL.
However, Grandma, like most people, is clueless when it comes to deciphering the time-tested “secret language” still found in most Help Wanted ads. Hiding in the middle of the lame litany of tired phrases and clichés in most Help Wanted ads are some deep insights into the job being advertised, the working conditions being offered, and even the company or business itself.
All you have to do is translate the jargon and bland boilerplate in the ads into real-life language to gain insights that will literally allow you to read between the lines.
When the ad asks for “a team player,” the quick translation is, “we need a spineless ‘yes man’ who won’t rock the boat.” Or, it could mean, “our staff isn’t smart enough to figure anything out individually, so everything is done by committee.”
If you must be “goal-oriented,” you must be ready to be fired for missing deadlines, failing to hit quotas or otherwise not doing anything.
Companies seeking “a self-starter” are companies who will provide no direction, no oversight, no clear goals, no training and not even directions to the restroom.
Likewise, employees who must “work independently” should not have to be told that they can’t play video games when the boss isn’t around, and have to come back to work after lunch.
“Enjoy a challenge?” Great. You will be overwhelmed and overworked from day one by situations that cannot be changed or overcome. “Enjoy working in a salt mine?” is more accurate.
Does that “fast-paced office environment” sound exciting? Does “we will work you like a rented mule” sound exciting? Thought not.
You might think you know what it means to “be able to multi-task,” but what you don’t know is that’s code for “we are horridly understaffed and you’ll have to do the work of three people, make coffee and clean the toilets – once you find the restrooms.”
A company is looking for a “people person” with good “inter-personal skills.” Take that job and you will be dealing with crazy, irrational customers yammering about lousy products and creepy coworkers telling you about their surgery scars, bad relationships, hangovers and stupid, whiny customers.
What could be wrong with joining a “staff with a good sense of humor”? Nothing if you don’t mind having “the office prankster” turn on your computer’s camera so your every move at your desk is live-streamed to the entire company. Ha. Ha.
“Salary depends on experience,” is a nice way to say, “we’re too embarrassed to put the pitiful pay in a want ad.”

(Jon Klusmire of Bishop is a goal-oriented, self-starting team player who can multi-task and work independently in a fast-paced office environment while enjoying a challenge. LOL.)

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