The Dalkey Archive Press is a small but influential book publisher in Illinois. The company is hiring several new staff members in its London office, and the job listing they wrote for these positions is being called “the worst job description ever” and “the world’s wackiest job listing.” Looking for a low-paying job that forbids you from having any personal or professional commitments outside the office. And don’t even think about attending a wedding in Rio, you hedonist slacker.
Here’s the job description (emphasis mine):
- The Press is looking for promising candidates with an appropriate background who: have already demonstrated a strong interest in literary publishing; are very well read in literature in general and Dalkey Archive books in particular; are highly motivated and ambitious; are determined to have a career in publishing and will sacrifice to make that career happen; are willing to start off at a low-level salary and work their way upwards; possess multi-dimensional skills that will be applied to work at the Press; look forward to undergoing a rigorous and challenging probationary period either as an intern or employee; want to work at Dalkey Archive Press doing whatever is required of them to make the Press succeed; do not have any other commitments (personal or professional) that will interfere with their work at the Press (family obligations, writing, involvement with other organizations, degrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc.); know how to act and behave in a professional office environment with high standards of performance; and who have a commitment to excellence that can be demonstrated on a day-to-day basis. DO NOT APPLY IF ALL OF THE ABOVE DOES NOT DESCRIBE YOU.
Yep, you read that right: If you apply for this very low-paying, and possibly even unpaid, job, you should have zero other personal or professional commitments, period. Sounds reasonable!
And about that “rigorous and challenging probationary period”: Here are the grounds for immediate dismissal listed in the ad:
- coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.
The press’s founder and publisher, John O’Brien, is preparing to step down. He tells the New York Observer that the posting was “Serious and not-serious at one and the same time.” He says he takes internships seriously, and “take on only people I think might be a future employee.” He says he’s been flooded with applications. Well, at least they know what they’re getting into.