PR Fail: It’s Another ‘Worst Job Listing’…Or Is It?

Courtesy of our sister blog GalleyCat, we bring you news of a relatively obscure nonprofit called the Dalkey Archive Press, which received a whole lot more media attention than expected this week for posting a ridiculous, nearly insane job listing. The weird part is: we can’t quite decide whether this event amounts to a PR fail or a big win.

The group, which “exists to publish, promote to readers, and preserve modern and contemporary literature and cultures from around the world”, is looking for a couple of good (unpaid) interns who will eventually make up “the pool of candidates” for future leadership positions.

But the given requirements for these positions are a little…unrealistic (emphasis ours):

 ”Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.”

Applicants also MUST NOT have “family obligationsdegrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc.)”

Well, that disqualifies just about everyone, doesn’t it?

See, as ridiculous as this listing is, we feel like it might actually be a PR win for the company. In an interview with Irish Times, press director John O’Brien made a big reveal (emphasis, again, is ours):

“The advertisement was a modest proposal. Serious and not-serious at one and the same time.”

Ah, so it was all tongue in cheek then, was it? As members of the long-suffering Irish clan, we can sympathize: people often misinterpret our jokes, too!

Unlike other entries in the “Worst Job Description Ever” contest, this one doesn’t contain any offensive language, insult any particular individuals, or make light of any recent tragedies. O’Brien said that he’s been “swamped” with applications (in addition to emails calling him an “asshole”). It’s even inspired a satirical “Dalkey Intern” Twitter account with more than a thousand followers.

Yep—we’d call this a very unconventional PR win.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.