Unreasonable Words: Job Ads

Russell Baker, the retired NYTimes columnist and droll memoirist once quipped:

The young cult of sociology, needing a language, invented one. There are many dead languages, but the sociologists’ is the only language that was dead at birth.

Fun, but not quite fair. A lot of academic prose seems, if not dead, at least deadly. Sociology can hardly be any worse than the 1980s vintage Lit Crit I slogged through.

But either Sociology or Lit Crit are paragons of Strunk and White clarity compared to most HR writing. A few excerpts that caught my eye as I trawled for some freelance gigs this morning:

From an education start-up’s site:

  • Experience with specific tools, such as Hadoop, Mahout, Hive, Drools and MapReduce, is a big plus.

Sounds like failed names for aliens in a B-movie. “Hadoop!, I told you never to spray Drools with MapReduce when we are outside the Hive. Foolish, man, what have you done?”  “But Mahout, I was just trying to …,” Sound of crashing asteroid cuts off dialogue. Blackout.

Even if I knew what any of these things were, I’m not sure how I’d mention it on a cover letter. “Good at Drools?”

And then there’s this gem from E-lance (a workplace version of Match.com).

We are looking for an english native speaker for Article Marketing, and internet marketing which includes writing and SEO

Job description:

We need a regular writer for various writing needs like article writing, review writing, web content etc. Should have a knowledge about SEO writing. This would be a long term relationship if satisfied with your initial work. The payment is $1 per 100 words, and the articles would be varied from 300-500 words.

The payment would be done for each project initially, but can be changed to weekly or monthly as we learn how to work.


US Native Writers. This is very mandatory, and please don’t contact if you are not.

Please send your sample articles.

You should do 100% unique work based on internet research. Copyscape is considered as one of the MOS for uniqueness.

All orders should be delivered considerably fast, like should be available to deliver 10-15 articles in 1-2 days. But this doesn’t mean that there would be that much…

Native English speakers who do “100% original work based on internet research” …sounds like a big chunk of the undergraduate population of North America. And a penny a word, for delivering “considerably fast,” what a deal! In fairness, this isn’t HR start-up gobbledegook. At least I can understand what they want, and it doesn’t seem to involve Drools.

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