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Unexpected consequences

Posted by davidvc on January 22, 2007 at 2:50 PM PST

When I lost my job at a startup that imploded (another story for another day), I did some serious job searching. This was in 2001, at a time when jobs were very sparse indeed -- I had some friends out of work for over a year; others took up jobs selling shoes or running movie projectors at the local cinema. I posted my resume at many different sites. Somebody warned me at the time this was a bad idea, but I really wanted to find work.

This still comes back to haunt me. Here's an excerpt from an email I got today. I think I must have mentioned back in 2001 that I liked to work from home...

Welcome To Stanford Executive Recruitment

Thank you for your interest and inquiring about telecommuting job positions
with us in the past. We have pre-selected you to fill various client positions.
We have you on our independent contractor available agent list to contact you
for any new project notifications per your request.

Job Type : Entry to Mid Level Classification

Typing Clerk Position:

Customer names, phone numbers, addresses, reason of visit, comments, time of
visit, and any pertinent information that will help the client understand the
details about the customer needs in order to retrieve records faster.

Job Requirements:

Typing Speed of 35 - 40 wpm or greater

Must be able to toggle in between screens.

Yipes, data entry! I did that back in the eighties. Even then I knew how to toggle between screens and typed around 75 WPM. Just reading this took me back to those days.

One of my favorites was working for my Dad and Micropaleontology Press, then part of the American Museum of Natural History but now an independent entity. I was entering in thousands of microfossil species names from a paper catalog into their database. I loved it because the names were so incredibly long and complex, and it required complete focus. Names like "Lagena Semistrata" and "Syracosphaera" would fly off my fingers.

By the way, these microfossils can be quite beautiful. If you want to see some of them, my Dad has posted some photos of them on his Flickr site. Gorgeous!