Jobs you really don't want

Words matter. Politicians know it. Lawyers who draw up contracts know it. And people writing classified ads, know it.

A few friends of mine are looking for jobs, and so I've been thinking lately about how rough a world it is in the land of classified ads. Obviously, even though the consensus among many experts seems to be that the best jobs come from referrals and networking, there are occasionally gems in the newspaper want ads and online job sites. But at the same time, there are a lot of words that sound good, until you decipher the double meaning behind them. So in the interest of any career hunters out there, especially if you're new to the job market, I thought I'd provide a public service and offer my handy-dandy list of watchwords that should make any job seeker wary.

Self starter: Be willing to start with nothing but amaze us, anyway; and for money that the rest of the staff and your employer would never work for.Tech-savvy: We want you to work for nothing--and be fully trained in all of the latest software and hardware applications.

Seeking "energetic" worker: You will be opening the store at 5 a.m.

Want someone experienced... you will need to take a writing/editing/proofreading/etc test: We have some work of ours that we'd like you to do for free. And if we can convince enough of you take our test, we won't even need to hire someone for this project.

With the ability to multi-task: You will be picking up the boss's dry-cleaning while scheduling his appointments from your cell phone.

Need a problem-solver: We are a company with a lot of problems. Please be our Neo from The Matrix and rescue us from this god-forsaken place.

This is a ''stepping stone'' position: We'll be walking all over you. (But at least they were honest enough to hint at that. This may actually be a job worth taking.)

Geoff Williams is a freelance business journalist, primarily for Entrepreneur magazine, and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale, 2007).
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