A former colleague and friend once described a job interview he had with a well-known political figure. My friend, who got the job, said that during his interview he was asked, “What do you like to do outside of work?” There was just one acceptable answer in that instance: “Nothing.”
An abandonment of any non-professional interests is also a requirement for an unpaid internship listing in London’s Dalkey Archive Press.
The listing discourages free thinking applicants and those who have ever made a mistake:
Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.
The posting also explicitly states that the successful applicant will demonstrate a lack of personal commitments that interfere with company obligations:
. . . do not have any other commitments (personal or professional) that will interfere with their work at the Press (family obligations, writing, involvement with other organizations, degrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc.)
The “weddings in Rio” line implies that the posting may not be completely serious. Indeed, the New York Observer reports:
“The advertisement was a modest proposal. Serious and not-serious at one and the same time,” John O’Brien, the American director of Dalkey Archive Press wrote in an email exchange with Irish Times. “I’ve been swamped with emails (I wish they’d stop: I’ve work to do), and with job applications. I certainly have been called an ‘asshole’ before, but not as many times within a 24-hour period.”
With postings like that, the expletive is well-earned, though O’Brien adds that in addition to insults, he’s been flooded with applications for the job.
Matthew McDermott is a Unionosity editorial assistant and outreach coordinator. His post first appeared there and is republished with permission.