The Zero Sum Job Game

Zero Sum Game: zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s). ie: if one gains, another loses.

Because the job market is all about competition! And because for you to win, others have to lose! Doesn’t it sound FUN?

Proving once again that propaganda is everywhere, even when we don’t notice it. “Competing is good, so long as you come before everyone else”, “everyone can reach the top if you know the right tricks” and “there’s not enough to go around”.

Dedicated to Lynn Gary, producer of the awesome radio programme Unwelcome Guests and author of the quote above, for providing the world with a good-sized serving of dissent and for giving me a much needed weekly dose of sanity.

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14 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Maggie Hays said,

    Mary Tracy, excellent analysis of hierarchy in the job market that capitalism has created.

    Hell, ain’t this society fucking us over so that the rich capitalist assholes at the top can make big bucks? 😑

    I suppose that you already know that capitalism was created by the patriarchy, btw. πŸ˜‰

  2. 2

    marytracy9 said,

    Thanks Maggie, but it’s not really my analysis, is Lynn Gary’s. I merely found evidence of it’s truthiness in my daily life.

    “I suppose that you already know that capitalism was created by the patriarchy, btw.”

    Of course. In the words of the one and only:

    “Sexism is the foundation on which all tyranny is built. Every social form of hierarchy and abuse is modeled on male-over-female domination.”

    (LOL, guess where I got that from :P)

  3. 3

    Maggie Hays said,

    but it’s not really my analysis, is Lynn Gary’s.

    Yeah, I’d kinda noticed that. That’s great anyway.

    LOL, guess where I got that from πŸ˜›

    eh, Andrea Dworkin of course. πŸ˜›

  4. 4

    Well, I hate to be an evol capitalist, but there’s only one job. And if you don’t get it and there’s 100 applicants there are still going to be 99 disapointed people, of which you’ll be one. So if you don’t get it, you’re really only disappointing ONE person. The one who came second in the interview process – the other 98 are disappointed in any case. And they second in line person is probably fairly skilled, so they’ll soon get another job.

    Think about it. Unless you want a rubbish job no one else wants – Oh and brush up on your interview skills.

  5. 5

    marytracy9 said,

    “eh, Andrea Dworkin of course.”

    Well, yeah, but more precisely, from your own signature πŸ˜›

    And Polly, the real problem here is never mentioned: why aren’t there enough jobs for everybody? Why do they NEVER tell you that? Why is competition seen as “natural”? Weren’t we told that we could ALL reach the top if we worked hard enough? BS. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter WHO reaches the top or on what merits. Bottom line is only a few will, and the rest of us will have to deal with it. What I want to hear is: most of us will not get there, no matter how hard we work, because that’s how the system works by design. So no lies. No “CV evaluation” to help you get ahead. This e-mail wasn’t just sent to me, it was sent to thousands of others like me who are also looking for jobs and who won’t be able to get ahead of everyone else if we all do the same thing.

  6. 6

    Maggie Hays said,

    Well, yeah, but more precisely, from your own signature πŸ˜›

    Thanks. πŸ™‚

  7. 7

    Mary, I agree with Polly in a previous thread re: temping. All the best posts that I’ve had have been secured by either working for an agency prior to the organization ‘offering’ me the opportunity to apply for a vacancy. Or through volunteering where I’ve been offered two jobs, both of which turned out to be the most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever had. Temping and volunteering also gives you an opportunity to see how the company works, dynamics, politics and so forth.

    Good Luck.

  8. 8

    And they prove you can turn up on time and do a job as well Sparks. Employers think the unemployed are feckless wasters who just watch Jeremy Kyle…..

    I really would recommend you look out for volunteering opportunities locally MT. You can get to do some interesting stuff, and gain some skills. Is your local Citizens Advice Bureau recruiting volunteers? You’d love that, seriously.

  9. 9

    marytracy9 said,

    Thanks for your advice, guys.

    Unfortunately my situation is rather complicated. But I appreciate your support πŸ˜€

  10. 10

    Polly Styrene said,

    Well I don’t know what the particular complications of your situation are MT, but from my own experience, I know about trying to find work in difficult economic circumstances, and I think the best advice for anyone is to either take any paid work that’s going (even if it’s not very marvellous, I’ve done jobs where all I did was do filing all week) or to do some voluntary work to help improve your confidence and gain some all important skills and stuff to talk about in interviews.

    There’s numerous books on interview techniques etc out there, but what I’ve learnt (the hard way) is that when you go into an interview, the best thing is to be able to give real life examples of stuff you’ve done – when you’ve dealt with someone who’s angry, working in a team etc – you always get asked this stuff. Sorry if that sounds a bit patronising, but you do need to be able to show how you’re different from/better than the other candidates. Yeah, capitalism stinks, but you need to eat!

  11. 11

    marytracy9 said,

    “Yeah, capitalism stinks, but you need to eat!”

    My GOSH, Polly! How did you find my latest psycho trauma?

    You are incredibly perceptive.

  12. 12

    bonobobabe said,

    Working is wrong. It is inherently wrong. It’s not natural. And capitalism sucks so much ass. I feel very lucky and privileged to have picked the field I’m in and to be able to fake all the social nicey-nice stuff for an hour. But I know it’s hard for many people and with damn good reason.

    I’m glad I don’t have kids, b/c living in civilization just sucks so bad. I couldn’t do that to someone I loved. No one should ever have to perform tasks for money…especially in order to get food. Think about it. Meditate on that fact…paying for food…and it will all become crystal clear.

  13. 13

    marytracy9 said,

    Thanks for your comment, BBB. It too helps me keep my sanity. I wish one day I can be in your position and not have to do a meaningless, mind numbing job so I can eat.

  14. 14

    Maggie Hays said,

    I wish one day I can be in your position and not have to do a meaningless, mind numbing job so I can eat.

    Tell me about it! (though it’s a part-time job I have as I study full-time)


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