Class: Management 365: Business and Its Environment.
…write an imaginary job description for a Wal-Mart clerk…based on [Barbara] Ehrenreich’s experience. Refer to the skills and attitudes required, as well as the organizational and social role that is played. Pretend you are a De Tocquville-type observer/ethnographer, not your typical HR person. You’re not trying to make the job look pretty – just to describe what it’s like and what’s needed – in this organizing pattern of crappy work.
Note, if you work at Wal-Mart this post is most likely NFSW (Not Safe For Work). Also note, this post pretty much eliminates me from ever working at Wal-Mart…oh well.
NOW HIRING: Wal-Mart Sales Associate
WARNING: If you are reading this, it is a safe assumption you’re also holding a newspaper in your hands, which may mean you are over-qualified for this position.
- Do you think critically about global, national and local political, economic and environment issues?
- Do you believe corporations cause more harm than good?
- Do you have moral objections to excluding truth from conversations with consumers?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be wasting your time reading on. For the rest of you, welcome to the Wal-Mart family!
- Excellent ability to stand on your feet for 8 hours at a time.
- No moral objections to withholding information about “better deals” at competing stores.
- Short memory, to alleviate frustration of performing the same task over and over again.
- Desire to remain in the same position with no hope for promotion.
- Ability to abstain from alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. Although we admit these items would make your job much more pleasant for you, it would also open your eyes to how crappy your job is when you come off your high. We cannot have any of that.
- Love of the proletariat class. As our wages will guarantee your acceptance into the lowly selective poverty class and as you will encounter many fellow proletariats on the floor.
- Hatred of unions.
- Ability to smile on the outside while crying on the inside.
- Ability to accept and process management instructions, no matter how silly or strategically improper.
As a sales associate at Wal-Mart, you will be expected to peddle our cheaply manufactured and of dubious quality goods to every consumer who walks through our doors. You will not speak of any defects or of stores with better products at cheaper prices. Further the internet does not exist, for any customers who battle you on this “fact”, you will insist that everyone who buys goods on the internet gets their identity stolen.
Also, if you are a robot who has escaped from your scientist, come on down. Wal-Mart is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate. We welcome all beings who are able to conform to our corporate standards without questioning their moral standing!