It’s Halloween in my part of the world and people are talking and tweeting about costumes, pumpkins, and assorted spooky things.
Some of the most bone-chillingly scary things I’ve seen this month are job descriptions.
I’ve come to think of them as Dementors.
Harry Potter fans will get the reference. For the rest of you, Dementors are “dark creatures that consume human happiness, creating an ambiance of coldness, darkness, misery and despair. Because of their power to drain happiness and hope from humans, they have been set the duty of being guards at Azkaban, where they prevent the prisoners from having the will or ability to escape (wikibooks)”.
These things will literally suck your soul out through your mouth (or eyes, in the case of Dementor job descriptions). Dementors look like the offspring of Ring Wraiths and Death himself. In The Prisoner of Azkaban, after a close encounter with a Dementor Ron Weasley says, “It felt weird, like I’d never be cheerful again.” (If you didn’t get the Harry Potter reference or the Lord of the Rings reference, get yourself to a library and start reading immediately!)
That is exactly how some of these job postings feel. There is no humanity, no life. It is impossible to imagine laughter or fulfillment.
I wonder if the good people writing these job descriptions realize how awful they sound, or that there is another way. Maybe there are job seekers who light up inside when they read the list of responsibilities. I hope there are. I hope it is a case that I’m simply not the target audience, but I’m not so sure. The entire process of finding work and hiring new employees seems to have serious design flaws, but that’s an issue for another day.
In the Harry Potter world, chocolate helps witches and wizards recover after an encounter with a Dementor. Friends are a big help, too.
I was reminded about the power of friendship yesterday after spending a little time with evaluator colleagues Chris Lysy and Elizabeth Grim during the Halloween Cartoon Crowdcast Special Chris hosted. You can check out the results of our fun on Twitter.
Whether you’re venturing out into the dark and dreary Halloween night or skulking around job boards, bring some chocolate and friends. Really, it helps.