back to article Sysadmin job ad: 'If you don’t mind really bad work-life balance, this is for you'

Games and comics site Penny Arcade has posted quite possible the worst job ad of all time, for a "Web / Software Developer & Sys Admin" that outlines unashamedly horrid working conditions. The ad starts by saying “this could potentially be the most competitive position we ever hire for,” and then starts its description of the …


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  1. KrisMac

    ..I don't need to apply..

    ...that sounds like that job I'm being paid to do right now!! My current employers just weren't quite so honest about it in the PD though :-(

    I absolutely commend these guys for recognising exactly how tough a gig it is to be that person "at the epicentre of all". Whoever gets the job will have no excuses that they weren't warned about hat they would be walking into, I just hope they have the balls to ask to be paid what the role is truly worth...

    1. AndyS

      Re: ..I don't need to apply..

      The best job advert I have ever heard of, which undoubtedly trumps this article, was for Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole in the early 1900s:

      "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success."

      The story goes that he was inundated with thousands of responses, similar I suppose to the talk of one-way manned missions to Mars in recent days.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: ..I don't need to apply..

        ""Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success."

        The story goes that he was inundated with thousands of responses, similar I suppose to the talk of one-way manned missions to Mars in recent days."

        Shackleton also managed to get his men back alive

        1. asdf

          Re: ..I don't need to apply..

          >Shackleton also managed to get his men back alive

          Only because he happened to bring along the greatest dead reckoning navigator in the history of human kind (of course the dude was a Kiwi).

          1. Getriebe

            Re: ..I don't need to apply..

            ">Shackleton also managed to get his men back alive

            Only because he happened to bring along the greatest dead reckoning navigator in the history of human kind (of course the dude was a Kiwi).


            Also because he was a tremendous leader.

            Compare to Scott ......

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ..I don't need to apply..

            ">Shackleton also managed to get his men back alive

            Only because he happened to bring along the greatest dead reckoning navigator in the history of human kind (of course the dude was a Kiwi)."

            A big part of being a great leader is picking great lieutenants, of course, and being able to manage them so they can use their talents to the full. You only have to look at the recent history of British Prime Ministers to see this (admittedly by negation).

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

              @Robert Long 1

              "Only because he happened to bring along the greatest dead reckoning navigator in the history of human kind (of course the dude was a Kiwi).""

              It's actually "ded" reckoning.

              I know. It looks like a spelling mistake, and it is 99% of the time, except here.

              It's a contraction. The actual word is deduced reckoning.

              I don't know if it's actually true, or if they were a Kiwi however.

              1. asdf

                Re: @Robert Long 1

                >I don't know if it's actually true, or if they were a Kiwi however.

                Worsley navigation skills are the stuff of legend. Maybe I was being bombastic some but as mentioned to travel 800 miles in the worst storms imaginable in a darn near dingy and only being able to take 4 very shaky sextant readings and hitting the island almost exactly where you want is beyond amazing. Take a good look at South Georgia on a map and see what happens if he misses that island at all. They actually ran out of fresh water just as they landed so any delay could have been fatal to the whole party. As for Shackleton's leadership under fire yes it also was incredible. It almost made up for him being such a bad drunk who didn't always prepare the best possible.

          3. Youngone Silver badge

            Re: ..I don't need to apply..

            Apart from Kupe of course. (If he existed).

        2. Kristian Walsh

          Re: ..I don't need to apply..

          "Honour and recognition in case of success."

          That is what makes Shackleton's offer appealing, and it's a marked contrast to IT jobs, which offer only "Blame and humiliation in case of failure".

          They're not even paying well, saying they prefer to put the money into "making the offices a better place to work in". Oh, so you'll be incarcerated in a nice prison cell? Well that's all right, then..

      2. MJB7

        Re: ..I don't need to apply..

        Sadly, that story is almost *certainly* apocryphal. In particular, Shackleton would have been very unlikely to write "Safe return doubtful." - that would be much too negative for him.

        Other points:

        - although all the team that Shackleton was leading survived, there were three deaths on the team laying supply depots that Shackleton's team was supposed to reach after the pole.

        - I'm not convinced that Worsley was *the* best dead-reckoning navigator ever. Captain Bligh was pretty good too (for all his other faults). (But yeah. If I was stuck in a 22' lifeboat with the nearest accessible human habitation 800 miles away across the stormiest ocean in the world, with a target only 100 miles long, he's the man I'd want to do the navigating.)

      3. Euripides Pants

        Re: Shackleton's job ad

        Then there's the Pony Express ad:

        “Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows, not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred. Wages $25 a week.”

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Fatman

      Re: ..I don't need to apply..

      Count me as another one who would pass on this job.

      Heart attack and ulcer potential: beyond the stratosphere (more likely LEO).

  2. Combat Wombat

    That ad is pretty honest

    I have been in IT for 14 years and I am getting the F**K out because positions like that are becoming the norm more and more, and the pay is getting worse and worse.

    At least the PA guys are honest

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: That ad is pretty honest

      I've seen far too many ads like this.

      More and more requirements in fields that aren't even related and for the same or less pay. Employers want people who can program AND fix basic hardware problems and want to pay for a Tier 1 helpdesk tech to do it.

      This will NOT end well.

      Oh wait, it's already not going well. How's that cloud thing working out?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That ad is pretty honest

        > More and more requirements in fields that aren't even related and for the same or less pay. Employers want people who can program AND fix basic hardware problems and want to pay for a Tier 1 helpdesk tech to do it.

        The ludicrously specified jobs are generally the product of the inhuman resources department or an employment agency trying to sound technical and failing horribly.

    2. Syren Baran

      Re: That ad is pretty honest

      "I have been in IT for 14 years and I am getting the F**K out because positions like that are becoming the norm more and more, and the pay is getting worse and worse."

      Sounds pretty much like my experience, at least in smaller companies. Not enough work in a single field to justify several positions, so you need an allrounder.

      On the other hand i´ve seen dedicated "professionals" code around some issue for 2 weeks because they didnt know they could have had the same effect by editing a single line in a server config file in less than 5 minutes. So well, unless you get to work in a large company you might well get used fullfilling several roles.

      Dont mind that actually, well, except for the pay getting worse part. Lack of IT-professionals my ass.

      1. Jim 59

        Re: That ad is pretty honest

        Employers are like anybody else, they will "try it on" from time to time, hoping to get lucky. It costs very little to advertise a job, you don't have to actually hire anyone, and who knows, a BEng with 20 years experience might drop into your lap for £10 an hour. Kerching! Now interview 5 more people and get your 5 hours of free consultancy...

        1. Conor

          Re: That ad is pretty honest

          :-( Describes me. Had no choice though. Needed the job, pay was awful, took it. I think a lot of Engineers may underestimate their worth though. How much would you have to pay an accountant for the equivalent of formatting a floppy disk?

    3. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: That ad is pretty honest

      Look at the bright side. It /can/ end well. Such job is the perfect place for the hatching of a brand new and fresh BOFH with all the required attributes.

      The job description means access to any and all part of the infrastructure and ensures future maintenance to be in strictly regulated BOFH hands. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That ad is pretty honest

      It's known as the race to the bottom. The end result will be a job where someone is paid in company scrip redeemable only at a company store.

    5. Oh Homer

      Re: That ad is pretty honest

      It may be refreshingly honest, but the fact that it looks like it was written by a twelve year-old would put me off.

      I've never been so desperate that I'd work for a bunch of children.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't be fooled...

    Those ads sound the worst but in fact the working environment may very well end up to be outstanding. Because in a lot of cases such an ad is written by someone who got so frustrated about several things that he simply decided to speak his mind. "This is what we want, it sounds horrid, but that's what you'll have to do with". And the only reason a person would do that is passion; passionate about the company and the people and he's simply looking for a perfect fit.

    So to weed out all the fakes you start by making it look as unappealing as possible, but only for those who can't read between the lines and actually understand what's going on.

    Of course you should remain on your toes either way because there are no guarantees :-)

    1. Nate Amsden

      Re: Don't be fooled...

      your certainly going to scare away any good candidates, the only ones left will be the ones who can't find a job elsewhere, who have been stuck in jobs where they are exploited. I knew a couple guys like that in the past. It was really sad to see how they always ended up at really shitty gigs. They had opportunities at times but never took advantage of them so they remained at shitty gigs.

      of course the devil is in the details maybe the company only has 5 people in it or something and the IT side of things is trivial, in which case most things are outsourced to various SaaS companies anyway. Maybe the extent of their IT is managing a printer.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Ragarath

          Re: Don't be fooled...

          I think you missed the Anon check box :)

      2. Bronek Kozicki

        Re: Don't be fooled...

        @Nate here is explanation for downvotes: this will scare away any inexperienced candidates. Experienced ones will recognize this to be a honest description of bog standard job and thus won't scare them away. Such honesty is actually refreshing and appealing, to those in the business.

      3. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: Don't be fooled...

        > your certainly going to scare away any good candidates

        Interestingly one IT shop I worked for in the late 80s took a similar view with its sales positions.

        The SM (sales manager) made the observation that the blacker he painted the picture, the harder the job and the greater the challenge, the more enthusiastic the candidates became.

        The problem was that these "enthusiastic" candidates were complete and utter arseholes: to a man - and they were all men. Their primary personality trait was "I can sell anything" (basically, they'd have won The Apprentice every year running) and everyone else in the organisation should thank me for it.. However, most of them were all bluster and no talent. They would get a "let" on their first-quarter reviews. A "must improve" on their Q2's and be out the door without completing a full year of employment.

        So I would consider an advertisement like this to be a buyer-beware situation. Yes, it might be a truthful description of what the company thinks it wants. But the result will be that it will attract applicants who are completely unsuited to the kind of high-pressure yet humdrum work that understaffed (and by implication, under-resourced) IT support requires.

        If you want a collection of drama-queens, sure. Go for it. But if any place I worked for was to put out a want-ad like this, they'd very soon have two vacancies to fill.

  4. Christian Berger

    Depends on how much power you'll get

    If you are able to weed out all the crap previous people have installed, it can be a rather nice job. After all the main problem of a sysadmin is dealing with mistakes from the past. So if you weed out all those non-working high maintenance shitty solutions and replace them with something sensible, you'll probably reduce that to a 20 hours a week job. :)

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Depends on how much power you'll get

      Yes, but realistically, you won't be able to.

    2. ortunk

      Re: Depends on how much power you'll get

      Thats the moment they tell you they don't need you as much as before...

      Been there, done it...

  5. ADJB

    less appetising job

    Most of the less appetising job adds I see start something like...

    1st Line Helpdesk operative required.

    1. Joe Drunk

      Re: less appetising job

      usually followed by:

      Must be available for on call 24/7 support, rotating shifts and occasional (*COUGH COUGH*) after-hours/weekend work. Must be team player in a dynamic, fast-paced matrix environment. Must be available to travel on short notice.

      See a lot of that in IT job postings lately.

  6. bigfoot780

    General IT

    If it has a plug or battery or wires you have to deal with it.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: General IT

      If it has wires and no plug facilities!

      If there are no office managers or facilities like where I am shrug shoulders and go point them elsewhere. If anyone moans I just go I'm not trained to deal with it, any such actions would violate H&S rules (Well probably for me as I would attack it with a hammer).

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: General IT

      I work in school IT.

      My rules are:

      1) I don't use powertools. Yes, I use them at home. Yes, I feel confident using them. No, I've never chopped my leg off or drilled into a pipe. But, no, I won't use them at work unless you train me and then I'll be asking why you don't train me on something more relevant to my existing job. Especially in a school. There's not much of IT that requires powertools, and what's left (cable-running) can be contracted out quite easily under existing agreements with the people who do our cabling. They know better than me whether they can punch through that wall or not.

      2) I'll "take a look" at whatever you want, subject to normal support tickets, your authorisation to drop other things, etc. It doesn't mean I'll do anything about it, but I'll have a look and tell you whether that's me, site-management, the electrician or whoever needs to get involved. Pretty much I'll get it right, if you bother to listen.

      3) If I say No, don't make me do it. There's a reason I say no, I just haven't bored you with it. It's either illegal, dangerous or stupid to let someone like me play with it, or it's something we really should be paying a proper expert for. Don't make me stop being your friend and have to form my case around whether I should be doing something or not by the letter of the law.

      I have, in my time, dealt with just about everything: CCTV, access control, boiler control, burglar alarm, fire alarm systems, phone systems, TV aerials, burst pipes, fish tanks (don't ask), you name it. I don't see some of those types of things as "IT" at all. The difference was, nobody said "YOU WILL....". The problem was mentioned to me. It was asked of me if I could have a quick look and give an uninformed (but more informed) opinion and get someone out of a hole. It was almost always "Hey, stop work for a second, can you help us here?" rather than anything to do with my actual job and that was almost always understood. I said I'd take a look, I made my recommendation on the basis that I assume I have ZERO knowledge outside of my area of expertise whatsoever, and then it's up to you what to do with that information.

      I'm not going to sit and watch the whole place shut down because a low-voltage mag-contact tripped on a door and keeps setting the alarm off when it takes two minutes to unscrew the thing and fix it myself. But equally, I'm not going to start digging into things that we should just be getting a support contract for, or that site managers should be doing and have the time to do.

      As far as I'm concerned, a job is also part of your life. You have friends at work. Those friends should (hopefully) include your boss or close peers in some way. As such, a lot of things that have nothing to do with actual work crop up and consume precisely nothing of your time to talk about. You spend longer gossiping about the clients/customers than you do sorting such things out. This is what all that "non-IT" stuff comes under. This also includes when I get my boss bring in his daughter's laptop, or introduce a parent to me because they are having severe IT problems at home and can't afford a technician to come look at it. I'll do it, but it's all favour-based. I don't mind that, because with a favour, I can just say no (but chances are that if I say no, it's because you're being unreasonable). But when it comes to being an everyday part of my job, you've gone beyond "favour" and into something else and my contract needs to reflect that (note: not necessarily salary, just contract).

      However, when it comes to what's on paper, the phrase "and other reasonable duties" does not include an awful lot of stuff that you might think it does. Honestly. Try me. I just left a job because of such utter mismanagement of staff over a long period. It culminated in a lot of silly junk like it was just expected that I (on my own!) would fit 120kgs of (60") interactive touchscreen PC + electric bracket on the wall, a wall made of plasterboard, a wall the school planned to hold that board but with ZERO provision from the builders for it (not even an internal wood support or anything), for a TV that the builders refused to lift between them (let alone fit!), that the site managers had already pointed out that they would NOT be touching (literally "It's not in my contract, and it's dangerous"), that's going to sit above the heads of children with an electric motor whizzing it up and down the wall, and take responsibility for it because "it's IT". Er... no. Sadly not. And I'm doing YOU a favour by refusing (and, yes, I've worked in some places where it looks like the last IT guy was the worst DIYer in the world and never said no to anything).

      I was expected to control the school boilers because "it has a computer interface". Er. No. I have no idea what modifying pump duty or any of the dozens of other internal settings actually does on this £100,000 boiler (of course I have a rough idea, but I'm not going to risk a huge gas boiler, with huge pressurised water pipes running around a huge school on it), nor why I should be the one changing them, and the boiler engineers we have support contracts for are the ones who know this inside-out, and you won't provide training or recognise it as an official "duty" of mine to somehow maintain these boilers. I'll provide the PC, you get someone else to actually put in the settings. At worst, get them to ring me and we'll do it together over the phone. You want me to change an obvious temperature target on a one-off in the interim because the school is freezing? Fine. But that's about it. And don't come crying to me when the gas bill doubles overnight or the pipes burst.

      IT is just one of those professions with an awful lot of "creep" to it. I'm sure doctors and even teachers feel the same when it comes to basically performing social work, fitness-to-work evaluation, psychological and stress training, etc. There's a certain amount I'll do "as a favour". And then there's stuff that you need to change my contract for. So that when it comes up that I don't have enough time to do everything, you have to either take that stuff away from me, or give me some more help.

      ((Or I leave because you refuse to recognise that I got so far behind waiting for other work to be done that I just spent three weeks hiring my own electricians and chasing them in order to correct the mistakes left by your project-managed builders, that you refuse to get back in to correct their mistakes because you talk to them like they were on your shoe and so they block every avenue you try. Just so that you could actually power up a laptop in a classroom, that's how bad it got in some cases. And then have the cheek to ask why the IT is behind schedule by a **day** or two...))

      If it's not explicitly in my contract, expect it to be a favour you ask of me. If you ask nicely, it's not a huge burden, and I feel confident doing so, I might even take it on full-time. But don't just expect me to jump because you have "and other reasonable duties" in my contract.

      1. Allan George Dyer

        "fish tanks (don't ask)" Re: General IT

        Then let me guess... someone asked why the screensaver was stuck on.

      2. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: General IT

        I work in a school too, if it has batteries or a power plug, it gets dumped on our office. I feel your pain (even lived some of it) about all the other stuff you're asked to do, but how, if you work in a school do you have time to write 1300+ words? It's longer that the advert and the article.

        I'd give you two pints, but can only put the icon in once....

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: General IT

          Currently owed more holiday (including carried over from last financial year) than my notice period.

          Unreasonable working environment (somewhat because of the above).

          Resigned from job.

          Got home.

          Had email job offer within 3 minutes of being home (including Wifi login time) - starts next year

          Am now enjoying reading TheReg and commenting on posts while looking for short-term contract work (two offers already).

          Oh, and I type damn fast, as the guy who got a 38-page treatise on why the DPA stops me giving him the administrator passwords found out when he tried to argue law / case law with me. (Note: Not my successor, and I did do a handover!)

      3. Piro Silver badge

        Re: The thing that gets me...

        But powertools make everything more fun!

        Our IT tool collection is extensive.

        Drills, cordless, corded SDS, hole cutters, countless manual tools.

        Not long ago I was sawing wood in front of the server rack.

      4. AceRimmer

        Re: General IT

        "But don't just expect me to jump because you have "and other reasonable duties" in my contract."

        Unfortunately, there is a reason why it's in your employment contract. You belong to them and if they ask you to jump then you either jump or face the possibility of it being used against you in a court of HR

        Thats one the benefits of contracting... my "very specific" business insurance does not cover me when undertaking any tasks not specified in the contract

    3. gotes

      Re: General IT

      Don't forget buttons & switches!

  7. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    I'd rather have it honest up front rather then...

    ...promising flowers and then dropping a pile of shit on you after.

  8. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    I've done that job for the past 15 or so years of my life. That is a young person's job. Dear me, I'm too old for that shit now. </18 with 12 years experience>

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    That's the question. Responsibility *without* authority to change is BS

    But there is a also what has been called "The sickener factor."

    It's designed to discourage you before you start the test. It's to test your determination to succeed, despite apparently insurmountable odds.

    Think of it as the inverse Koboyashi Maru scenario.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It could be worse..

    It could be worse.. You could be working for Macquarie Telecom in Australia. They rave about how their staff engagement is awesome and the company is all hip. yet it's all about stack ranking, smoke and mirrors and poor work life balance. To put some icing on the cake they also have really poor management teams and exces who are just yes men.

  11. NogginTheNog

    Good luck to you Penny Arcade

    We are quite literally looking for a person that can do four jobs: Web Development, Software Development, Sys Admin, and the (dreaded) GENERAL IT

    And what you'll get is someone who may be pretty good at one of them, and average (at best) at the others. Or maybe just average at all of them. They'll be overstretched, pulled in many different directions, and you'll end up with a pile of shit held together with sticking plasters. Hey maybe you have that already?

    Hire a developer AND a sysadmin, and sort your infrastructure out PROPERLY.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Good luck to you Penny Arcade


      I used to do web development, many years ago to earn money.

      The vast majority of my life, I've done network management.

      All my life, I've coded in just about every language imaginable.

      Only one of those is actually my job, would I want to be my job, or could be my job at any one time. Sure, if I was in a startup and I was the only IT guy, I could see that working for a little while until we stabilised. But as a career? No.

      I can just imagine it - "Put down that Javascript, we need an extra socket over here, and then clean up Fred's Outlook storage will you? Have you coded up that internal tool yet?"

      Hire a network guy. Hire a web developer. Between the two of them the rest will fall into place and you'll have two people's knowledge on it, while the important stuff (the website and the network) will have experts dedicated to them. Anything less than that is being cheap.

      What you'll get, of course, is some intern-like guy come in and do it for a year so they can say they worked there and move onto something more stable (and almost certainly containing only one of those roles - it's a good way to "shift" career: Get hired as an all-rounder, then you have professional experience in four different roles that you can say were your primary focus, then get hired somewhere else on that basis at any of those four career paths, and maybe even get there with almost zero knowledge or experience of that particular role).

    2. toughluck

      Re: Good luck to you Penny Arcade

      I can't agre enough. Especially when looking at this:

      - Annual Salary: Negotiable, but you should know up front we’re not a terribly money-motivated group. We’re more likely to spend less money on salary and invest that on making your day-to-day life at work better.

      Improving day-to-day life at work? That still requires money that I would spend on things like a car, a good lunch, etc. The job should be paid no less than 4 salaries minus overhead of 3 extra people, so it should be something like 200-300 thousand dollars. And frankly, the ad reads more like expecting someone to come in to work for some 20-30 thousand.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Good luck to you Penny Arcade

        "no less than 4 salaries minus overhead of 3 extra people, so it should be something like 200-300 thousand dollars"

        Yeah, if you can do all 4 of those jobs, full time, at least 40 hours per week for each job.

        On the other hand, it's four part time jobs which, while having variable hours per job, will probably add up to at most, two full time jobs.

        There seems to be a lot of prima donnas posting in this thread.

        1. toughluck

          Re: Good luck to you Penny Arcade

          By all means apply. The problem is, they've got millions of readers and PA has a budget of several hundred thousand dollars, perhaps into millions now. The job will definitely suck hard. Of course it won't be a 160 hours per week job, they will expect you to squeeze the 160 hours into 40.

          Sure, prioritization, but I seriously doubt they have a ticketing system and any SLAs. You'll likely be doing a few things at once, like trying to work out the network because there are some looming problems that might bring down the whole operation and fixing a printer because the printouts for the next month's presentation come out a bit too dark to the art director's liking. Guess who will demand you drop everything and solve his problem immediately. You'll end up fixing the network after hours, which nobody will notice since you're directly managed by people with no IT experience whatsoever.

          If you are professional, if you prioritize and never take overtime, you'll have a working network, but you'll be kicked out because of ignoring the key person in the company. Hint: in a small organization, they are *all* key people and their problems come first. If they retain you, expect no raises because you're not doing your job well.

  12. Crisp

    4 Jobs rolled into one!

    So that's like 4 paychecks rolled into one, right?


  13. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    They clear studied C. Northcote Parkinson

    This ad is a page out of The Short List. The aim is to frame the ad in such a way that you only get one candidate,

  14. BongoJoe

    A different field

    I a not sure if this qualifies for the Worst Job Description ever, but it did make my chuckle (it was in a newspaper in the Lower East Side, New York, decades ago)

    "Blind sculptor seeks volumptious model."

  15. Swiss

    Recent add asking for IT grad, with CISCO CISM, Micro$oft MCSE for the princly salary of 19.5K per annum.....

    I wonder if they got any replies?

    1. Happy Ranter

      I had an agency email to see if I was interested in a job like that. They want an IT degree (no idea what that that is) CCNA, MCSE, Checkpoint certified and in depth knowlege of Windows 2000 server for 20k pa depending on experience

      I sent them a 2 word reply

      the 2nd word was "off"

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Was the first word "switch"?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The point of ads like that is to show they have advertised the job in the domestic market for the required time period and haven't found anybody so now they can get someone in from overseas cheaply.

      I've seen the same sort of advert with the dead giveaway of a language requirement - must speak fluent Mandarin for example, or required to speak 3 Indian languages.

  16. Kurt S

    Well, it's Penny Arcade...

    ... what did people expect? A 'normal' job ad?

    1. toughluck

      Re: Well, it's Penny Arcade...

      Sure. A 'normal' and 'boring' job ad, outlining the actual challenges and any items specific to the job.

      Once you accept a funny ad, expect your job to be funny (but of the black humor variety). Oh, and prepare to accept funny money for that, too.

  17. Wattsy

    Sounds like a normal sys admin job to me. My current position has also somehow crept to facilities maintenance (smallish company) so not only do I get to be the hub of everything technological I also now seem to be the guy people comes to to unblock the bog when some of the employees have double dumped without flushing.

    Swing and roundabouts, one minute designing a new AD domain the next fixing a broken door handle. Still, its better than being a manager IMHO.

  18. Arachnoid

    More for less

    Is the present norm for any industry and the state of the economy or price differential with the competition is usually the things employers put the blame on.

    We are shortly going to annualized hours which sounds good in theory on paper re work life balance but Ive seen it before and its just a way of getting people in on extra days without paying anything out then giving them a day off mid winter.We are also expected to do more technical work plus our normal manual roll and "eagerly" participate in 5s TPM and many other assorted improvement schemes [which will now most probably fall on our days off].

    Yay for progress and not even a mention of zero hours contracts by anyone yet.......

  19. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    A worrying thought

    How can we be sure they are even being honest about the job? Maybe they are actually putting a bit of a positive spin on it. The only good thing is that once in the job, if you are able to do it, then you probably have the company by the short and curlies and can demand whatever financial reward they can stand.

    I had an offer a few years ago which included the clause that I could be summarily dismissed without compensation were I to be deteained under section 7 of the Mental Health Act. (Note to the company, I still have the peperwork.) As they also wanted me to sign away my rights under the Working Time Directive, I declined their offer.

  20. toughluck

    I wonder who will fall for that ad

    I read PA regularly and I appreciate their comic strip, but this ad really shows how easily you can lose touch with reality. I'm sure Mike and Jerry are perfectly happy to work their asses off for a measly reward since they own the operation and I assume they'd be happy with it even if they only barely broke even. But working behind the scenes, however important your job is, you'll never get the accolades and you'll never be in the spotlight, while you're still expected to put all of yourself into the job. Might as well get paid for it, no?

    What would be the perks? Being able to talk to the owners? Play video games with them? Seriously? If that's supposed to cover for the ridiculous salary, they're really stretching it.

    Problem is, it's a McJob. Expect poor pay, worthless experience and constant patting on the back, telling you how important you are to them. The problem with experience is that it will never be appreciated properly. It will be appreciated by other small operation webcomics, who will line up to fleece you at the same job just like PA is likely to, but any serious employer might actually balk at this, fully expecting that you just goofed off at the job. Finally, for all the work you put in there, you'll be laid off if they're ever merged into something larger.

    1. Squander Two

      "Problem is, it's a McJob."

      Since McDonald's are now recognised as one of the best employers in the country, it's really time we retired that terminology and started calling them "IT jobs".

  21. Jim 59


    I read an old advert from Leak (the British Hi Fi company) asking for a design engineer. It ended something like this "...if you do not feel confident to carry out the work, please do not waste Mr Leak's time".


  22. IT Hack

    Method Madness

    I remember an ad for a infrastructure programme. They were looking for a project manager with Agile and Waterfall experience to consolidate some data centres.

    Of course I applied for shits and giggles but nothing came of seemingly went to the great job waiting room in the sky...aka "the role is on hold".

  23. WalterWonkite

    Well, it's Penny Arcade...

    IF he can't find anyone the role will go to an Indian outsourcer for half the cost, mind you his environment will be in tatters afterwards!! LMAO!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The funny thing is that Penny Arcade also run The Trenches (, which purports to highlight the unacceptable working conditions in the games industry. THAT IS SOME IRONY ALL OVER YOUR FACE

  25. Not That Andrew

    The most ridiculous job ad I've ever seen was for someone with at least 5 years experience in ALL of the below

    1) AutoCAD

    2) Writing AutoCAD extensions in AutoLISP

    3) C++

    4) Oracle Database administration

    5) Windows Server administration

    6) Solaris or Linux server administration

    1. mikecoppicegreen

      Reminds me of a job I once applied for - under 25 year old graduate with 5 years sales experience :)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting posts here.

    I was aware of kind of taking the mickey out of the work. Maybe someone can compile a dictionary with key-words and how they are interpreted by employers vs techies.

    "a people person" : this means we have "normal people" (who gt treated normally and deserve a pension) and "techies" (who should just be doing. Just be fixing) who must be personally accused if something does not work.

    "passion": we take all the decisions to buy (inspired by advise from 12 year old cousins and sometimes even professionals), you must feel passionately that all these ideas are wonderful and feel passionate.

    etc. etc. Any good suggestions?

  27. JDX Gold badge

    What's wrong with it?

    Many people happily have a poor work-life balance when they love the work they do, so it's good they note they only want someone who lives to work and will invest in the job.

    As for having to "do 4 jobs" that's hardly unusual. Especially in a small company, you often find a developer doing sysadmin stuff anyway.

    It puts things bluntly, but if I was still as much of a hardcore nerd as I used to be, I'd find it appealing and I think that's the point - it will put off "career" people and attract passionate people.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It isn't the IT part of my job I dislike.

    It's dealing with execs who successfully networked their home PC and laptop and think they know more than me because of it. They're typically the ones who bring in iPads and tell me to install Office on them.

  29. apjanes

    It's not for me, but it IS for some people

    I've worked with a guy who hated to leave the office. He had to be forced to take holiday because I just enjoyed working too much. Without any family or pets there was no reason for him to be at home tinkering with computers when I could be at work doing the same thing and getting paid for it. Many people might consider his life rather sad and empty but as he got to do what he loved the most every day, I think he had it pretty good. So maybe they will get inundated, just like Shackleton.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not for me, but it IS for some people

      Well, my thoughts...

      I realize that it sounds like a lot of jobs, but how big is the company and how complex is the product? i.e. how difficult is it to support a company whose job it is to post 1 web comic a day?

      Assuming the overall workload remains reasonable (and the ad implies it is NOT) it could be a cool place to work at if you are good enough to get the work done quickly.

      As someone else mentioned, might be a bit of a resume killer ("So, Mr. Jones, you slacked off for 3 yrs doing webcomics").

      For me, the nail in the coffin is the "we don't like to pay you much but we do spend money on making life at the office better".

      WTF? Once reasonable working conditions have been achieved and given an exciting job and decent co-workers, I'd much rather have a $200 pay increase than see $200 increase in office expenditures on my behalf. Can always pay for massages out of pocket, thank you very much.

      Besides, stingy operating costs is a sign of good business savvy while decent pay is a sign of staff retention savvy.

      i.e. I'd rather work for a company with budget office expenditures (location, furniture, etc...) and good pay.

      Rather than swanky office, massages, beany bags. And bad pay.

      Unfortunately, am currently @ bad pay & bad digs. Hence anonymous.

      PA? Enjoy your strip, but take a long walk off a short pier.

  30. SaphirantCross

    Truth In Advertising as Deterrent

    And even with that job listing, they are going to receive 100,000's of replies from unqualified applicants (someone who can do 2 of the 4 roles, someone who's a fan who is confusing fixing cash registers in retail as IT experience, etc.) hoping for a bite.

  31. codeusirae

    Four-three-two-one ..

    This is variation on three-two-one in business, one person doing the job of two and bring in three time the revenue for the company, only in this case it's doing four jobs for the price of one. The applicant should ask hiself what happened to the last fella to do the job.

  32. playoldgames

    Some clarification from the incumbent tech guy at PA...

    May sway things, may not. Still, gives a bit of context:

  33. Vanir

    Someone ...

    has been watching The Apprentice.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IT Manager in a small to middle-sized company

    Absolutely realistic. Not four jobs, but countless jobs. Jack of all trades. If your lucky, then, as things groww, you get some assistance, maybe even including someone who is master of something that you are not.

    Realistic. And it needn't be hell at all. It needn't even be limitless hours of work

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: If your lucky

      I'm writing a hundred times: If you're lucky.

  35. shrouded

    People will fight for this job

    They'll have no shortage of strong applicatants. You're missing key details that it's assumed everyone applying for this job will know: many, many people want to work at a place like Penny-Arcade. The perks here include prestige, name recognition, and community. For an IT geek who is also a gaming enthusiast this is a dream come true.

    * Penny-Arcade is the creator of the PAX conventions, which rivals E3 in size and dwarfs it in consumer enthusiasm.

    * The Penny-Arcade staff is advertised like a small family, and behaves that way in an array of podcasts/videos/etc showing the company's inner workings.

    * Getting on-staff is highly competitive. They have hosted Survivor-style competitions, aired online, for other staff positions... and losers have come back for the privilege to compete for a second slot.

    * Applicants will know the tedious work will probably include pitching in on non-IT projects like the Child's Play charity. People would volunteer to do that for fun.

    * In this context offering to make life better instead of higher salary means something specific: a cool and interesting workplace filled with art and video games.

    This isn't a job description for an 80 hour a week IT job in a bank's basement. This is the kind of job I would have killed for before I had a wife & kids.

  36. Kar98

    Sounds like my current job. Plus "could you fix the lights in the hallway please."

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exactly my job

    I could do that Penny Arcade job. I could relax and take it easy for a change.

    I'm a Jack of all trades, master of none. I'm one person supporting just over 150 people. It's never dull.

    A typical week involves:

    Software design and coding, AD admin, fixing hardware problems (replacing laptop screens, keyboards etc, or even stripping and repairing printers. I've even done soldering), server admin, Windows 7 rollout and PC refresh cycle, backups, all the IT purchasing and admin of, project management, network admin, database admin, VoIP admin, managing mobile phones (admin and contracts), CCTV, wiring up networks, resolving the random stream of helpdesk tickets, chasing manangement, chasing suppliers, chasing service providers, chasing 3rd line network/email admins.

    After all that, there is the usual excitement of jumping management hoops, ducking political issues, being torn between local needs and corporate IT, participating in several non-IT meeting groups, other random meetings about meetings and then the training that's not a core to my job.

    Topping it all off, people seem to think that I have time to sort out their home computing issues (theirs and their kids), with questions like 'My PC at home is slow, what do think I can do?' or 'Can you do laptop repairs?'. Both are normally followed by 'Can I bring it in for you to look at?'

    Finally, I have to keep up with IT technology, which is why I spend about 1/2 hour each day reading The Reg.

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