Friday, November 21, 2008

Hired Hands

Like Jane Fountain, I am very interested in online forms on government websites as an expression of the Weberian bureaucracy of the "virtual state." So I couldn't resist applying for a job in the Obama administration, specifically in the Department of Education, even though I have little intention of leaving my present position as Writing Director of the Humanities Core Course, to see how candidates for non-career appointments for the positions that aren't covered in newspaper headlines are categorized and vetted. (Click to enlarge.)

It's interesting to see the wide range of degree backgrounds that they imagine successful candidates as having, although "rhetoric" is not a viable choice (although "creative writing" in which I actually hold a degree is).

Management experience, private sector experience, government experience, and non-profit experience were all given drop-down menus, although candidates had few opportunities to write in answers that might explain the applicability of their qualifications. Ironically, I didn't see "community organizer," a profession that Obama made famous, among the choices.

What I find particularly interesting is the e-mails that I am now receiving from John Podesta hawking the offerings at So it appears that the Obama administration -- much like the Obama campaign -- is still using its websites to harvest e-mail addresses for automated messages and form letters.

(I feel that I need a new category for my blog entries on my various human subjects ventures that I have recorded here, in which -- unlike my academic work -- I am the sole experimental subject. The "experiment" tag could cover my experiments with being a poll worker, a CIA and army recruit, and other alternate identities. Of course, this is a growing genre on the web, as the popularity of personal tests of expertise or stamina -- like the "Monkey Chow Diaries" -- shows.

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