Sunday, March 21, 2010

Job title: Linchpin. Job description: Cogging.

Cockatoo, feeling guilty about her slacker ways a few weeks ago, went on a hunt around Craigslist looking for possible employment. (As in "real employment," not the kind of Demand Studios-type joke-work that anyone could get, but no one could actually live off of.) Browsing around under the writing section, I found a post for a part-time book-report writing gig that included a link to a video existing somewhere else, far away in internet space. Following the link, I came to the video, in which a 40-ish, froggish, smooth-talker-type guy described for about 10 minutes what the job entails: reading business books, writing up notes, and coming up with a PowerPoint presentation following the format the guy outlines in the video.

So basically the job consists of following a lot of directions. The funny thing is, the guys says the first book you'd have to write a report about is Seth Godin's latest, Linchpin. This book is all about learning to be indispensable in today's new economy; an economy where even white-collar workers are becoming increasingly replaceable as their jobs become increasingly codified, standardized, and regimented. Godin emphasizes the need to make your own rules, go beyond the system, employ creativity, and bring your humanity to work - this is how you make yourself irreplaceable, a linchpin. And the guy in the video says at one point that this is actually what they're looking for - linchpins. The thing is, how much self-direction, system-abandonment, creativity, and humanity can one pour into a few pages of MSWord notes and a PowerPoint presentation? Especially when you've been told how many slides you have to come up with and what topic each slide has to deal with? Just doesn't seem to leave much room for linchpiny-ness.

Cockatoo knew the job wasn't for her when she was rereading the book and came across the following quote:

"If you want a job where you are treated as indispensable, given massive amounts of responsibility and freedom, expected to expend emotional labor, and rewarded for being a human, not a cog in a machine, then please don't work hard to fit into the square-peg job you found on Craigslist."

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