Woodstock — “There, I sent it,” stated Devon Benoit after clicking SUBMIT on an online job application. His tone was cheerful but his facial expression was a mixture of confused curiosity and incredulity presumably inspired by his extreme lack of related training or experience.
The job title was Virtual Interdepartmental Assessment Assistant, and the location was downtown Tokyo, Japan. Benoit’s current job title is Customer Service Representative at a call centre, X-Force Genysys Incorporated (or XFGI) in Woodstock, N.B. He handles complaints regarding two brands of electric toothbrush.
“I didn’t meet all their requirements,” Benoit admitted in regards to the Tokyo gig for which he’d applied. “In fact I don’t really understand the job title. But you gotta aim high to reach the stars. I’m not qualified for much so I gotta apply for stuff where I’m not technically fit for the job. That’s how you get qualified.”
The Assessment Assistant opportunity was not the only position he’d applied for that day. Other applications included Lab Assistant, Microscopy Coordinate Designer, Pulmonary Frequencer, and Systems Architect, each of which came with a long list of qualifying criteria filled with words that Benoit had never read before in his life.
Upon request, Benoit allowed The Manatee to browse his “sent” mail folder for job applications from previous days. Clear trends were discernible in the data, as Benoit seemed to stick to a theme for each 24-hour period. Tuesday had an odd sexual tone as he applied for positions such as Topless Masseuse, Open-Minded Girl, and Professional Cuddler. On Friday the list displayed temporary artistic ambitions manifesting in roles such as Seasoned Actor for Action Sequence, Guitar Virtuoso, and 3D Character Design. The previous Thursday seemed to show a drunken attempt to get top-level science jobs from around the world, where all the long words were misspelled and the cover letters primarily conveyed a sense of self-pity.
“I don’t have my passport yet,” Benoit admitted, “but I make it clear in these overseas applications that I’m willing to get it if they give me the job.”
The most obvious trend in all the data is the fact that Benoit almost never applies for a job for which he’s truly qualified. “I think I already hit all that low-hanging fruit and now it’s time for me to level up, so to speak,” he explained. “If you got the right personality they’ll hire you anyway, I figure. You gotta show that you’re positive, forward-thinking, keep those spirits up.”
As his shoulders slumped and the wind drained from his chest it seemed like this last task was just one more for which Benoit was dangerously unqualified.