How To Read Between the Lines in Job Ads Here's a little clarification of corporate lingo, "personals translations", etc. Beware of these terms when interviewing or advertising. "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 coworkers. "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. "SALES POSITION REQUIRING MOTIVATED SELF-STARTER:" We're not going to supply you with leads; there's no base salary; you'll wait 30 days for your first commission check. SELF-MOTIVATED:" Management won't answer questions. "WE OFFER GREAT BENEFITS:" After 90 days, you can join our HMO, which has a $500 deductible and a $25 co-pay. "PENSION/RETIREMENT BENEFITS:" After 3 years, we'll allow you to fund your own 401(k) and, if you behave, we'll give you a 5 percent matching contribution. "SEEKING ENTHUSIASTIC, FUN, HARD WORKING, PEOPLE:"...who still live with their parents and won't mind our internship-level salaries. "CASUAL WORK ATMOSPHERE:" We don't pay enough to expect that you'll dress up; well, a couple of the real daring guys wear earrings. "COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT:" We have a lot of turnover. "EXCITING AND PROFESSIONAL WORK ENVIRONMENT:" Guys in gray suits will bore you with tales of squash and their weekends on yachts. "JOIN OUR DYNAMIC TEAM:" We all listen to nutty motivational tapes. "FUN WORK ENVIRONMENT:" Your coworkers will be insulted if you don't drink with them. "A DRUG-FREE WORK ENVIRONMENT:" We booze it up at company parties. "MUST BE DEADLINE ORIENTED:" You'll be six months behind schedule on your first day. "SOME PUBLIC RELATIONS REQUIRED:" If we're in trouble, you'll go on TV and get us out of it. "SOME OVERTIME REQUIRED:" Some time each night and some time each weekend. "SALARY RANGE $24k-$32k:" We'll offer you $22k to start. "A HIGHLY VISIBLE POSITION:" You'll give boring speeches on your own time. "FLEXIBLE HOURS:" Work 40 hours; get paid for 25. "DUTIES WILL VARY:" Anyone in the office can boss you around. "WHERE EMPLOYEES FEEL VALUED:" Those who missed the last round of layoffs, that is. "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 religion. "CAREER-MINDED:" Female Applicants must must be childless (and remain that way). "APPLY IN PERSON:" If you're old, fat or ugly you'll be told the position has been filled. "NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE:" We've filled the job; our call for resumes is just a legal formality. "SEEKING CANDIDATES WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE:" You'll need it to replace three people who just left. "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. "GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS:" Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want and do. "ABILITY TO HANDLE A HEAVY WORKLOAD:" You whine, you're fired. "ASPIRATIONS FOR GROWTH WITHIN OUR COMPANY:" We loooooove brown-nosers. "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.