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I would like to lodge a complaint.

I understand that Craigslist is a (sort of) free public forum where one can solicit jobs, sex, or furniture. The beauty is that anyone can access it within a community. In Portland, it was often a useful tool, providing either hours of entertainment reading the “missed connections” section, or by helping us to find actual jobs. One of the most fun and consistent small gigs I have originally came from searching the writing/editing section, and I’m grateful that Craigslist as a whole isn’t just filled with leather-loving fetishists or people looking to sell their old duck masks. But here in Oklahoma the online community that once worked for me has become the online equivalent of a telemarketing call, only I, stupidly, wind up calling them first.

I might be a little slow on the uptake, but it took me a few minutes — and a few well-crafted cover letters — to realize that most of the offerings under the Oklahoma City Cragislist’s writing section look the same. They all have different titles, each short, enticing, and vague: “Production Editor,” “Editorial Assistant,” “Content Writer,” etc. The posts themselves are all eerily similar, single-paragraph descriptions that are all horribly, horribly written. Think missing punctuation. Think run-on sentences. Think cover-letter phrases like “hard worker,” “team player,” and “great opportunity.” Of course, I applied to more than one of these.

Usually when I apply for a job, I follow one simple rule that holds true in any field, and that is to research the company. I pride myself in a nearly Law & Order-caliber investigation of the business, the potential employee who put up the post, and any information on current or past projects that they have worked on. I can take even the smallest specific tidbit and figure out potentially which company is hiring. (“A mid-level ad agency in downtown Portland who focuses on small, community-centered projects” that was looking for a secretary was one of my tiny victories. On the interview the woman sitting across from me admitted that I had none of the experience or skills that they were looking for, but that the cover letter had been so personal and well-researched that she had to meet me. Thanks, but I would have preferred a simple, “We’ll be in touch.”)

These OKC Craigslist ads also universally boast one charming feature. The numbers that follow the kicker information for “Compensation” always read like anEbay auction gone awry. 29,296-66,266. 30,866-64,836. Are they surveying land? Where are these numbers coming from?

It doesn’t matter, because I’m not going to find out. Less than an hour after I sent off my first batch of letters and ‘mes I received an email. A form email. Sent from a nondescript robot named James, located at the headquarters of jobannouncenow.com, or so his email would have me believe.

“All applicants are required to post their resume first,” it read and offered a link. “If you have already done so then the available jobs are located under the corresponding Reference Codes.” Wow. How personal. Although I hadn’t “already done so,” nor was I about to, I clicked through. The link led to a website called, I shit you not, PostResumeHere .com. It’s a resume writing service. I wrote my own resume (and cover letter) thank you very much. In fact, I offer to do that for people for $50. And I post that service under gigs offered —> writing and editing on the very same Craigslist that James the Robot’s boss is using for job-related spam solicitations.

Let me just say that I now hate PostResumeHere.com and their robot staff. For days I received emails from the company offering me help getting a job, not all sent from the lovely, impersonal James. Thank you, but I don’t need to know about “exciting opportunities in your area” or “great careers in your field today!!!” I need a one-time, contracted writing job, where I polish copy for a website, craft a press release, or rebrand a company. Most importantly, I need to use the resulting product for my portfolio. Do you have a portfolio, James? No. You have wires and an automatic send setting. Shut down.

Got bones instead of buttons? Drop me a line, AinsleyDrew at gmail dot com. Thank you to everyone who donates! Oh the humanity!

If you need words, we got ’em. Hire us.

My better half.

Thank you for responding to my plea for a computer. I still haven’t found one yet, but I appreciate all of your ideas, inspiration, and sympathy. If you happen to find aLenovo Ideapad S10 lying around, and it happens to be pink, you can, you know, send it my way.

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