Every day I receive around 14,000 emails from persons or organizations in the business of helping the unemployed find jobs. Some of them lead me to a site on which I can apply for various, uh, positions with a single click, others to sites that want me to fill out a questionnaire. In view of the fact that approximately one prospective employer in 100 acknowledges my having responded, I no longer bother with the latter.
One interesting thing I’ve noticed in the course of my seven months of job-hunting is that the traditional graphic designer is a dying breed. In his or her place, we now have — stand clear! — interaction designers and user experience designers, the referenced experience presumably being the target audience (I cannot be compelled to say “end user” — I cannot!) looking at that which has been designed, and then clicking somewhere.
Yesterday, I believe I hit rock-bottom for the week, as I discovered a job posting that specified that the successful candidate would “leverage user-experience and graphic-design methodologies to help re-imagine new human-centered user experiences, products and services through collaborative problem solving with a multidisciplinary team." To which my reaction (as a few of you, to whom I apologize, know already) was: Leverage this, you language-sullying, soul-sucking fuckbags.
Give those who use language as a tool of obfuscation, bamboozlement, and hoodwinkery a very wide berth. Never trust anyone who uses leverage as a verb. Blow loud raspberries at any public speaker who deploys the locution “I’d like to take this opportunity to…” Never trust anyone who uses the word synergy more than once per decade. Never trust anyone who says utilize where use (rhymes with bruise) would work just fine. Be very wary, Larry, Terry, Jerry, and Mary, of anyone for whom methods just isn’t good enough, and only methodologies will do.
It starts at the top. American politicians are apparently vigorously warned never to use words that Joe the Plumber might not recognize, but the problem clearly isn’t one of multisyllabilicness, as they are expected to end their orations with such gaseous fatuities as, “May God bless the United States of America.” Never just America, you see, and never the USA, but always all nine syllables, to up the, uh, portent quotient. God help us, and shame on you, Mr. President, whom we know to know better.
I had a job interview in the San Fernando Valley 72 hours ago, with a company whose offices are in a business park in Van Nuys, which has been called the Valley's version of Queens. The company’s reception area’s ghastly bright blue walls contained monstrous cornball art in frames that wanted to be perceived as very ritzy. The receptionist made me affix to my breast a sticker specifying my name and whom I was there to see, even though it turned out that I wasn’t actually admitted to the offices proper, but interviewed in a lightless, depression-inducing conference room adjacent to the reception area. I was this close to ripping the sticker off, asking the receptionist to tell the human resources manager who’d invited me in that I’d sooner starve than work in such an environment when the art director emerged and turned out to be an extremely nice guy with whom I felt an instant rapport, even after he said, “Tell me about you.”
In my celebrated one-man show, Wm. Floggin’ Buckley, I asserted that calling it Human Resources rather than Personnel was the height of pretension. How very far we’ve come.