published Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Laugh Lines

They said it

Notable quotes about work:

  • "Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?" -- Edgar Bergen

  • "Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work." -- Robert Orben

  • "Going to work for a large company is like getting on a train. Are you going 60 miles an hour, or is the train going 60 miles an hour and you're just sitting still? -- J. Paul Getty

  • "When you hire people that are smarter than you are, you prove you are smarter than they are." -- R.H. Grant

* * * * *


What they say vs. what they mean.

  • Entry-level position: You'll be making minimum wage.

  • Entry-level position in an up-and-coming company: You'll be making minimum wage; we'll be bankrupt in a year.

  • Profit-sharing plan: Once it's shared between the higher-ups, there won't be a profit.

  • Competitive salary: We remain competitive by paying less than our competitors.

  • Join our fast-paced company: We have no time to train you; you'll have to introduce yourself to your co-workers.

  • Nationally recognized leader: Inc. Magazine wrote us up a few years ago, but we haven't done anything innovative since.

  • Immediate opening: The person who used to have this job gave notice a month ago. We're just now running the ad.

  • Casual work atmosphere: We don't pay enough to expect that you'll dress up, although a couple of the real daring guys wear earrings.

  • Competitive environment: We have a lot of turnover.

  • Must be deadline-oriented: You'll be six months behind schedule on your first day.

  • Some overtime required: Some time each night and some time each weekend.

  • Flexible hours: Work 40 hours, get paid for 25.

  • Must have an eye for detail: We have no quality control.

  • College degree preferred: Unless you wasted those four years studying something useless like philosophy, English or social work.

  • Career-minded: Female applicants must be childless (and remain that way).

  • Apply in person: If you're old, overweight or ugly, you'll be told the position has been filled.

  • No phone calls please: We've filled the job; our call for resumés is just a legal formality.

  • Problem-solving skills a must: You're walking into a company in perpetual chaos.

  • Requires team leadership skills: You'll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or respect.

* * * * *


What they say vs. what they mean.

  • I know how to deal with stressful situations: I'm usually on Prozac. When I'm not, I take lots of cigarette and coffee breaks.

  • I seek a job that will draw upon my strong communication and organizational skills: I talk too much and like to tell other people what to do.

  • I'm extremely adept at all manner of office organization: I've used Microsoft Office.

  • My pertinent work experience includes: I hope you don't ask me about all the McJobs I've had.

  • I take pride in my work: I blame others for my mistakes.

  • I'm balanced and centered: I'll keep crystals at my desk and do tai chi in the lunchroom.

  • I have a sense of humor: I know a lot of corny, old jokes, and I tell them badly.

  • I'm willing to relocate: As I leave San Quentin, anywhere's better.

  • I'm extremely professional: I have a smart phone and an iPad.

  • My background and skills match your requirements: You're probably looking for someone more experienced.

  • I am adaptable: I've changed jobs a lot.

  • I am on the go: I'm never at my desk.

  • I'm highly motivated to succeed: The minute I find a better job, I'm outta there.

  • I have formal training: I'm a college dropout.

  • I interact well with co-workers: I've been accused of sexual harassment.

  • Thank you for your time and consideration: Please reconsider.

* * * * *

Too truthful

An applicant was filling out a job application. When he came to the question, "Have you ever been arrested?" he answered, "No."

The next question, intended for people who had answered in the affirmative to the last one, was "Why?"

The applicant answered it anyway: "Never got caught."

* * * * *

Spy time

A man applied for a job as an industrial spy. Together with several other applicants, he was given a sealed envelope and told to take it to the fourth floor. As soon as the man was alone, he stepped into an empty hallway and opened the envelope. Inside, a message read: "You're our kind of person. Report to the fifth-floor personnel office."

* * * * *

Fit description

Employer to applicant: "In this job we need someone who is responsible."

Applicant: "I'm the one you want. On my last job, every time anything went wrong, they said I was responsible."

Laugh Lines is compiled from various sources, including reader submissions and websites. Origins are included when known.

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