Job Search Status Update

Seattle:

  • Managing Editor, Digital Content at Community Health Plan of Washington: Second interview done. Awaiting word. Sent paper thank you letter.
  • Entry-level at Weber Shandwick: Rejected.
  • UX Writer at Amazon: I’m not going to take a test for a job. I have too many years of experience.
  • Copy and Media Relations Manager at YMCA of Greater Seattle: Still awaiting word after second interview. Sent paper thank you letter.

Austin:

  • Web Content Writer/Producer at Apple: Rejected.
  • Social Media Content Specialist at Teletech/humanify: Assuming rejected. Wouldn’t take it now anyway since they’ve waited so long to get back to me. I did thank their CEO on LinkedIn, though.
  • Copywriter at Dell: Rejected. I won’t be applying for any more jobs in Austin.
  • Knowledge Manager/Social Media Manager at Texas Military Department: Rejected. I sent in an Open Records Request for more information on why I wasn’t hired. Awaiting materials.

Remote:

  • Freelance Feature Writer, The Young Leader: Just sent in my first blog post. Awaiting word.

UPDATED: 26 MAR 2015 @ 1031 hrs — Changed Dell status.

Job Search Status Update

Seattle:

  • Managing Editor, Digital Content at Community Health Plan of Washington: Second interview done. Awaiting word. Sent paper thank you letter.
  • Copy and Media Relations Manager at YMCA of Greater Seattle: Still awaiting word after second interview. Sent paper thank you letter.

Remote/Telecommute:

  • Freelance Feature Writer, The Young LeaderGot it! Only one article or blog post a week, though. Good side job. Still looking for full-time!

From an oldie but goodie:

It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is exactly what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as they had to (this is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat). But, of course, this is the very sort of problem market competition is supposed to fix.


The answer clearly isn’t economic: it’s moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the ‘60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.

For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.

Even more perverse, there seems to be a broad sense that this is the way things should be. This is one of the secret strengths of right-wing populism. You can see it when tabloids whip up resentment against tube workers for paralysing London during contract disputes: the very fact that tube workers can paralyse London shows that their work is actually necessary, but this seems to be precisely what annoys people. It’s even clearer in the US, where Republicans have had remarkable success mobilizing resentment against school teachers, or auto workers (and not, significantly, against the school administrators or auto industry managers who actually cause the problems) for their supposedly bloated wages and benefits. It’s as if they are being told “but you get to teach children! Or make cars! You get to have real jobs! And on top of that you have the nerve to also expect middle-class pensions and health care?”

—David Graeber

Graeber, David. “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.” Strike! 17 Aug. 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2015

I love David Graeber’s book, Debt: The First 5,000 Years.

On the objectivity of algorithms:

We also need to recognize the crude opportunism behind some efforts to elevate the status of algorithms.

We are surrounded by systems of prediction and control. The supervision (via super-vision) here is not simply a way of stopping particularly bad acts but of shaping behavior toward certain ends. The better the surveillance becomes, the better the “men behind the camera” can plan, behavioristically, matrices of penalties and rewards to reinforce acceptable behavior and deter terror, crime, antisocial behavior, suspicious activities, lack of productivity, laziness—whatever detracts from the gross domestic product and homeland security. Jeremy Bentham’s ecstatic claim for the Panopticon—“Morals reformed—health preserved—industry invigorated—instruction diffused—public burthens lightened—Economy seated, as it were, upon a rock—the gordian knot of the poor-law not cut, but untied—all by a simple idea in Architecture!”—would not be out of place in the prospectuses of Silicon Valley startups, or spy agency mission statements

Criticism of algorithms must go beyond merely recognizing the emptiness of virality or the numbing self-reference inherent in the algorithmic economy’s obsession with “metrics,” “engagement,” and “impact.” Without robust backstops of cultural meaning, and the fight to preserve them, those at the top of society will increasingly engineer out of daily experience all manner of “inconvenient” cultural and social practices. The least we can hope for is some clear understanding of how the strategies the powerful deploy affect how we see the world, how we are seen, and how capital is deployed. And we must work to recognize and preserve those fonts of value that are so rarely encoded into the algorithms of the everyday.

Computation does not need to be guided by crude profit-maximization algorithms alone. It can incorporate other values.

—Frank Pasquale

 

Pasquale, Frank. “The Algorithmic Self.” The Hedgehog Review, Spring 2015. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.