"We want someone who can code well in multiple front-end and back-end languages, maintain servers and other hardware including load balancing and database admin, do general office IT, manage your own projects, deal with the fact that one of our co-founders is a rampaging trans-phobic asshole, and be on call 24/7 though we hope not to bug you too much in the middle of the night.”
For this you get zero equity, a pathetic 401K match, “periodic bonuses”, and a salary described like this:
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.
Now let’s be clear, here: Robert Khoo has built an entire career by being money-oriented. It’s because of his business acumen that Holkins and Krahulik have an empire, not a little webcomic that maybe pays their bills. Spending less on salary so they can “invest” that in the day-to-day working life? That’s being money-motivated. They will save twenty grand or more per employee that they convince with that line, and spend maybe a quarter of that per employee on “fun” office stuff each year … and even that much would surprise me.
Oh, and don’t forget this little gem:
We’re terrible at work-life balance. Although work is pretty much your life, we do our absolute best to make sure that work is as awesome as possible so you at least enjoy each and every day here.
I think the thing that frustrates me the most about it is: they’ll probably get a thousand applicants. A bunch of 25 year-old kids with a ton of talent and stars in their eyes are going to try to get this crap job for crap pay so they can work somewhere “cool” and feel like a part of something big. The Penny Arcade “machine” (their term) will roll on, making its millions of dollars while somehow retaining the “little guy” image that hasn’t been accurate for at least five years, and probably more. That’s one of Khoo’s many gifts — he has figured out exactly how to sell this company, even if the image they’re peddling is a load of horseshit.
This is a company that runs three massive trade shows a year, sells an incredible amount of merchandise, commands extremely competitive advertising rates, publishes multiple comic properties each week, runs their own gaming magazine, does paid story and illustration work for their ad clients, produces multiple web video shows, employs several other cartoonists, and has put out three video games.
They’re not hurting for cash, and they could surely pay four people to do the “four jobs” that this posting says the applicant must be able to do. They just don’t want to. They don’t even want to pay one guy a competitive rate to do those four jobs, because why bother? When you have an army of fans dying to work for you, why pay a realistic wage to a realistic number of people?
Let’s touch also on the other problem with that job advertisement: it’s complete nonsense.
I’m a “unicorn" … a designer who can code, and is actually good at both (and has been paid for both). In fact these days I’m more a coder who can design, but either way, the term "unicorn" makes it pretty evident that this is a rare thing. Some people hate the term, and that’s fine, it’s just here for reference. Anyway, you know what’s even more rare? A guy who can write excellent code in several disparate languages, manage multiple different server installs, administrate databases, and configure office firewalls. All while being motivated to do "tedious" work and manage his own projects while not caring about his work/life balance and being solely focused on the job.
That’s not a unicorn, it’s something more like a deity, and it doesn’t actually exist. There is no one out there who can realistically meet that job description. What they will get instead is a jack of all trades who has mastered very few or none of them, and who will have to scramble like crazy just to meet the base requirements of the job, let alone excel at them. You know why? Because as they readily admit, it’s a job that should require four people. You get what you pay for, guys.
I have met the original two Penny Arcade guys in real life. I worked with Mike Krahulik during his time at GameSpy, exchanged emails with him, went to Christmas parties with him. I’ve been to their trade shows, given thousands of dollars to their charity, and read every single one of their comics since the very first one, published in Loonygames, a publication for which I also wrote. Hell, I’ve been drawn by Krahulik multiple times (here and here among them). I do not “hate” Penny Arcade, or wish them ill.
But I’m offended by this job post and I sincerely hope people will avoid responding to it. You don’t want that job. There is no upside to taking it. You’ll be worked like a dog and paid like shit while you’re doing it, while Khoo, Krahulik, and Holkins continue cashing their trade show checks.
Robert Khoo is a brilliant businessman, and such businessmen excel by finding the sucker and exploiting him or her.
Don’t be that sucker.
If you’re that sucker, work there for a year then write a book about it.
a moment floated by one you wanted to keep maybe you thought "I’ll remember this" but you didn’t you couldn’t, it’s gone not sure if it’s time that takes it or lack of consideration - can’t rule out drugs
your childhood is not even in your memories now how can that be if every self you sell comes from there why can’t you remember the cornfield, the crick the cricket bucket?
deck jumping ice skating between farms wolf spider discovering ripe berries
This poem wants blood This poem was driving in the left lane and you cut it off
You cut it off in the left lane Like some city driver from Ireland Or some asshole from where you’re from This poem has your plates memorized
Failing blood, this poem wants pain Wants to strap you in a chair and yell at you And poke the ends of paper clips in you
This poem wants other things, too, like you (to be published would be nice, an end to the uncertainty) but mostly it wants you to know what you did
This poem has come up with plenty of reasons to hate you How you made his cousin Heaven with too many stanzas How his sister repeats herself in iambic pentameter How you cut him off in the left lane, you fuck
Hello, My name is Vladimir Kupriyanchuk. I developed an interest in you. If you have the opportunity then please send me information materials and souvenirs(stickers, pen, t’shirt, notepad, poster or other). I would be very grateful. > My adress > Ukraine > Zhytomirs’ka oblast (Zhytomir region ) > Ovruch area > Pidruddya > Lenina st. 70 > 11116 vladimr kupriyanchuk
I started the phonetographs blog several years ago, letting anyone with an email address post to it. Now it is a receptacle for No Spam, and if you follow it’s almost kinda like @horse_ebooks wasn’t fake.
If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”
And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.
And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.
It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like ‘I got a black boy friend,’ and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.
The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.
As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that.
”—Junot Diaz speaking at Word Up Bookshop, 2012 (via clambistro)
And when I bring these instances up, I get a lot of “well if you REALLY loved it you would have stuck with it.” Bullshit. You tell a 13 year old girl that she doesn’t deserve something enough times and, even if she doesn’t believe you, she’s going to stop trying. That’s not a lack of passion, that’s having the self respect to not put up with shitty people when you know you don’t have the faculties to do so at that point in your life. And you know, I really LOVE comedy and writing, and for now I have the energy to push through the ceiling, so I’m sticking with it. But I’m embarrassed to think how many interesting and possibly meaningful modes of self expression I’ve let myself miss out on over fear of rebuke.
So much of writing (or not writing) in my life has been about ego. I’m a writer, I’d think, I’d say - I’d tell. I’d tell everyone. People had to think of me like this, too. Take me serious as a writer, I’d think at someone. Then finally they would. Then I wouldn’t write anything.
Over the last four years I’d think, “Take me serious as a comedian,” sometimes at whole groups of people at once. Then they would, and I’d procrastinate and not write any material and tell the same jokes the next time out.
Why the ego about any of it though? Like, being a writer is something hardly anyone wants to be. Being a comic is the same. Both require a decent amount of daily mental and physical work. Both admirable pursuits. But at the same time, nobody would think less of me if I wasn’t either, if I was just a nice guy, if I just listened instead of talking so much. Making your personal identity the thing you want to be good at is probably not the best life plan.
I feel guilty about the days I don’t write, for the shows that don’t go as well as they could, but it’s all self-inflicted. I was the one who paraded myself around back when I was making stuff regularly.
So, from now on if I’m producing (good or bad) words from my fingers, maybe I’m a writer. If I’m going to open mics and telling jokes, maybe I’m a comic. If I’m drawing pictures with punchlines maybe I’m a cartoonist. If I’m making bits of code do interesting things, maybe I’m a programmer.
But until, and even during that point, maybe I’m just a guy.
Sure, there’s a prison industrial complex in this country, and sure, there’s a pharmaceutical industrial complex, and sure, there’s a military industrial complex, but people rarely talk about the one industrial complex that keeps this country running day to day.
That’s right. I can only be talking about the laundry industrial complex.
Okay, that probably doesn’t sound very interesting. It’s not.
Short version: Most people in the country do laundry with quarters. How do you get quarters? Buy shit. How do you buy shit? Get paid. How do you get paid? By looking like you do laundry.
Long version: It usually takes me about 16 (depending on the size of the machine) quarters to do laundry. In a 10 dollar roll there are about 40 (depending who rolled the roll) quarters. So that’s about 2.5 laundries per exchange of a Hamilton from the supermarket cigarette aisle.
In other words, not that many laundries. When I don’t have time to go the supermarket (mine is a very small mom and pop market, you may have heard of it if you’ve shopped at Walmart, but I’m not supposed to say) the other quarters come from various other places:
Collected at the bottom of and often wedged beneath my shifting lever somewhere. (This makes me sound like I drive shift. I do not. My 2002 Chrysler Sebring has a shifting lever, however)
Stuck to my skin (multiple places) after an afternoon nap. It doesn’t matter where I nap.
Nowhere else, until I buy enough with cash to have gotten some change.
In that last point is the tip of the iceberg that is the laundry industrial complex. Here goes. *cracks throat , clears knuckles*
As often as possible I try to engineer three quarters back from any place I’m spending cash. That means I only buy shit under $3 or over $10. And since very few of the things I need are under $3, I spend most of my cash in eleven dollar chunks. Once I’ve spent like $11+$2+$11+$11+$11 I have 15 quarters and it’s like I still need a quarter.
So if society needs me to look good, and I need society, I have to spend at least 47 dollars every time I want to do laundry.
Multiply me by everyone and that’s the laundry industrial complex*.
*There is also a Laundry Industrial Complex in Gary, IN, but the one I’m talking about is much stinkier.
1. Informal voiceovers for lip-synching comedians and actors in period garb to reenact. Hilarious what actors play what parts. (Adam Scott as John Wilkes Booth stands out). Act/or|resses use the inflection of the drunkard narrating brilliantly.
2. The person telling the story as they probably would at a party, but at a party where they are about to die of alcohol poisoning makes me both a) glad to be watching and not participating and b) much likelier to remember the story.
3. You could literally tell the same story with a different storyteller and different actors and it would be just as good. So Drunk History has in its corner the ability to remix all of American history (or any history) and then again if it wants to. This show could go on forever. Normally I’d say that’s not a great thing for a show, but in this case…
4. I could watch it forever. Literally, if they did this for all of history and the Bible too, I’d watch all of it. I’d watch Drunk Book Reports, and Drunk Mythology and Drunk Theoretical Physics - I’d do all of it.
Then I’d know how a drunk genius would explain everything.