The Joke Is On Us


David As A Lego Figurine
Has the jobless recovery reduced people to….things?

When I first read this article on Workopolis, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke, published early as an “in-before-others” prank. After reading this article again a few times and performing a Google search, I realized this was for real.

A 20 year old woman by the name of Leah, looking for work as an account services intern, created a Lego figurine version of herself in the hope of standing heads and shoulders above the job search crowd. The figurine comes complete with package advertising, such as “2014 Intern Agency Set” and “Build The Perfect Accounts Service Intern!”.

As a job-seeker, I understand the importance of getting the message out there that you are looking for work. I also understand that there is a bit of show-and-tell at interview time to promote your abilities. It’s a tough economy out there and there are lots of job-seekers and very few available jobs. My job search videos, blog, and Kijiji and Craigslist ads, my LinkedIn page, my about.me page, and my prolific posting on job-search comment boards like Workopolis is advertisement for my desire to work.

The line I draw is the marketing myself shtick. I don’t support the selling yourself mentality because I’m not a consumable product or service. Despite my tongue-in-cheek depiction of myself as a Lego figure in this blog, I have a lot more respect in myself than to regard myself as some sort of toy. I’m a person with feelings, ambitions, desires, and opinions. I’m more than the sum of my parts.

I don’t need to market myself. Anything you need to know about me is on my resume and through my amazing references (one of which happens to be my most recent former employer). Yet selling and marketing oneself is what job-seekers are expected to do. We’re told to put action words in our resume and cover pages to catch the attention of employers, action words I might add that sound suspiciously like marketing blather — strengthened, aided, encouraged to name a few. We must create a 30 second elevator pitch which, interesting enough, is  defined as “a succinct and persuasive sales pitch”. You know, for a product or service. A thing.

The author of the article thinks this is an awesome thing to do. I don’t. I personally find it horrifying. Why? Because there is a bitter irony in seeing job-seekers like Leah promoting themselves in the image of a consumer product. It reaffirms the belief the corporate world has of its employees in this Age of Austerity. They see employees as unfeeling things with no rights, whose purpose is to serve until they are no longer of use, then they are disposed of and replaced without hesitation.

That’s no joke, and not in the least bit funny.

Thanks for reading!

David.

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