Applying for jobs is a total, categoric sham, particularly in postindustrial America. When your country’s chief manufacturing commodity is Gchat conversations, convincing the lizard people plutocracy to underpay you to sit miserably at a desk can be one tall order. Yet, every day, millions of applicants arbitrarily disseminate millions of essentially interchangeable applications to hundreds of thousands of utterly indifferent employers, often in hopes of landing jobs no self-respecting human being would ever in a million billion years want to do. A race to the bottom quickly evolves; the position isn’t awarded to the most deserving applicant, but to the person most willing to debase and compromise himself for the least amount of money. After centuries of this empty bureaucratic charade, one would expect a better alternative to materialize, but alas. It hasn’t. We inherit the broken system, the system breaks us before we can think of addressing its fundamental brokenness, on it persists. Out go the resumes.
I recently moved to Austin, Texas, after arriving at the overdue realization that living in New York City was hindering, not enabling, my growth as an aspiring blogger for Jezebel. (There is a reason Woody Allen doesn’t set his movies there anymore. The faster you realize, the better.) Since moving, I’ve sent out a solid dozen resumes to various companies that, in my opinion, would be open to hiring a person who doesn’t believe companies should exist. Of these, the best application I’ve submitted thus far was for a position at a tech company called OwnLocal, which does something having to do with digital advertising. Being a hip, progressive tech company, their whole thing was doing the application process “a little differently.” In lieu of resumes, applicants must submit a humiliating YouTube clip of themselves expounding the merits of digital advertising to the fictional owner of an auto repair shop who had previously advertised in print media. To give you an idea, here’s my favorite submission by a previous applicant:
Now, at first I thought this YouTube business both cruel and unusual, further punishment added to the already punishing job application process. If the above video was any indication, this was a procedure preying sinisterly on desperate individuals who were primed for unwitting public shame. (Nearly all of the other submission corroborate this hypothesis.) How could anyone watch that video and not feel some crucial part of their faith in humanity catch fire? The unbuttoned button-up. The vertically scrolling Matrix binaries. The wall clocks, un-ticking. Personally, I wanted nothing to do with it. Any company consciously asking these types of people to subject themselves to this calculated brand of devaluation should have its building bombed at the foundation. Without blinking an eye, they were asking full grown adults to waste adult hours on a ridiculous project whose triviality recalled high school busy work. My thoughts on the whole enterprise comprised two words. Fuck that.
Then I thought about “The OwnLocal Challenge” some more. By simply ignoring their request, I realized, I would be passively empowering the company’s stupid, awful hiring protocol. Really, the only tangible way to rebuke their system would be to capitulate to it, to waste my time making one of their stupid videos to shed light on what a stupid waste of time their videos were, for everyone. So I did. I submitted the video, all the required accompanying materials, and I waited for that first view to appear on YouTube. When someone did finally watch it, my god. To steal one second of time from those people was inspiration enough for a year. Feel free to watch my application video below, and to answer the all-important question: would you hire me?