Singles ads are notorious for their sneaky little phrases that mask reality. We all may have learned – perhaps the hard way – that “big boned” generally means obese, “homebody” means couch potato and “mature male” often translates to a guy who is roughly 103. Those seeking “adventuresome” men or women are usually out for kinky sex while a guy who “knows how to treat a woman” probably drags her around by her hair.
Help wanted ads are much the same way. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics telling us the nation’s unemployment rate was still jammed at 9.1 percent as of August, plenty of people who have not yet given up on the job hunt are surely finding their own array of sneaky phrases. As a freelance writer who is always scouring job ads, I have learned to quickly dismiss potential prospects that contain a number of catchy lines.
“Great exposure in international market,” means no pay for writing bobblehead descriptions for a website based in China. “This is a very easy job,” means very little pay, or a rate of about 0.07 cents per word. Any ad that proclaims a job is perfect “for the right person” is sometimes seeking a person who thinks it’s right to be subjected to slave labor, work weekends, evenings and Christmas Day, and count parking the boss’s car as part of their duties.
Tricky phrasing is especially apparent when it comes to job descriptions. No longer is a sales clerk a sales clerk. The position is spiffed up and now called a “store associate” or “retail ambassador.” A busboy has become a “table purification expert” while the poor sap who gets stuck refolding towels after customers unfurl them all over the home department is a “replenishment-merchandising associate.”