The painstaking, joyless tabulations that middle-class professional jobs come with are always a treat – halfway between a retirement home for depressed copywriters and a beginner’s exercise in existential philosophy. What does it mean to be ‘result-oriented’? Doesn’t causality dictate that any action, or even inaction on my part produce a result? Paralysed by choice, I have never successfully applied for a position where the job description runs for more than 2 pages.

At least the sometimes salutary takeaway lesson until now has been that a long job description will detail a whole lot of things you have to be good at. But check out this seven-page whopper for a position as a case manager at ACC, the national New Zealand accident insurance provider that’s lately become better recognized for leaking client files, awarding staff bonuses for sending people into abject and immobile penury and of course, making it harder for rape victims for access counselling:

So ACC has actively sought staff who will act without planning ahead, will decide and act without knowing exactly what the effects will be, aren’t upset when things aren’t fixed, doesn’t feel any need to fix them and will be au fait with the risk and uncertainty that results.

On the plus side, they also welcome those who “easily make connections among previously unrelated notions”. Given that some of their claimants who have had head injuries will sometimes do the same, this is a laudable gesture of empathy with those they’re there to serve. Also there’s a bit in there at the end about "learning quickly when facing new problems". Which I guess quite a few people are now doing.

I always expect these sort of human resourcey things to be a bit tedious and full of gobbledegook, but I’m amazed to find one that actively seeks out and exhorts someone to just be pretty rubbish, let alone one coming from a public agency. My elation of personal recognition - that someone is finally tailoring well-paying job descriptions to suit a slightly blazed 17-year-old from Mt Roskill who won’t stay on task, lacks any capacity to plan ahead and isn’t too fussed when this causes chaos - keeps giving way to a crushing sense of pervasive, professional adult dread. I wonder which one will eventually win out?

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The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

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