Job Descriptions

A good job description has the following:

  • A clear, concise summary of what the company does
  • A clear, concise summary of what you would be doing in this job
  • Clear, reasonable qualifications for the position / work
  • Clear, reasonable responsibilities listed for the position
  • No mentions of traits or qualifications that are not concrete (e.g. sense of humor, perseverance, determination…)

A bad job description doesn’t have the above.

“Don’t settle for bad jobs.”

Michael Vinh Xuan Thanh, “How to Spot Toxic Software Jobs From Their Descriptions.” Medium. August 28, 2019.

The Work vs. The Job

“Many people conflate your work with your job, but they are completely different things.

Your job is the daily tasks you are assigned to complete. Many people think checking these boxes off in a timely manner is their only responsibility…

…Work is all the tangible and intangible things that happen while people are performing their job…

[For example, managing your boss is work.] Your boss pays you to handle setbacks; she doesn’t need to know about every single setback or hiccup. Constantly bringing up negative developments makes you a Bad News Bear.

So what should you do instead?

Fix the problem. Resolve the issue. Mitigate the damage. And then, once the storm has passed, work into a conversation how a setback happened and you resolved it. This way your boss sees only sunny skies.

Also, on the flip side, all good news travels up…Everyone likes to hear good news. Especially good news that they can then give to their boss.”

—Kyle, “#RealWorkTalk: Work vs. Job, Part I.” Capital Hill Style. March 27, 2019.

Strikes me as true of everyone, not just bosses. No one wants to hear about your trials and tribulations. Handle it, and be the little ray of sunshine in everyone else’s life when you’re up for it.

Are you angry, frustrated, sad or feeling some other strong emotion other people may not like? Channel your anger into motivation. Personally, I favor running until exhaustion and sleeping. Or for downer emotions, just going straight to sleep.

No one wants to hear about your problems or listen to you complain. Everyone has enough of their own issues to deal with. Bringing them up only when you need help means you’re more likely to get the help you need.

The Abolition of Work—Bob Black

“You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid monotonous work, chances are you’ll end up boring, stupid and monotonous. Work is a much better explanation for the creeping cretinization all around us than even such significant moronizing mechanisms as television and education. People who are regimented all their lives, handed off to work from school and bracketed by the family in the beginning and the nursing home at the end, are habituated to heirarchy and psychologically enslaved. Their aptitude for autonomy is so atrophied that their fear of freedom is among their few rationally grounded phobias.”

—Bob Black, “The Abolition of Work and Other Essays.” Port Townsend: Loompanics Unlimited, 1986.

Eternal Employment: Do Whatever You Want in a Swedish Train Station Forever

“In 2025, applications will be accepted for the job of a lifetime—literally. A fair starting salary, with annual wage increases that match those for Swedish government workers, vacation time, even a pension, and the job is yours for as long as you do it. So what’s the job? Anything you want.

Each morning, the chosen employee will punch a clock in Korsvägen train station, currently under construction in Gothenburg, Sweden, which will turn on a bank of bright fluorescent lights. Other than that, “the position holds no duties or responsibilities besides the fact that the work should be carried out at Korsvägen. Whatever the employee chooses to do constitutes the work,” reads the job description. The employee can also choose how publicly visible or anonymous they would like to be while on the clock.”

—Noor Al-Samarrai, “Atlas Job: Do Whatever You Want in a Swedish Train Station Forever.” Atlas Obscura. March 4, 2019.

What would you do?