By Carolyn Kellogg
4:40 PM PST, December 12, 2012
On Wednesday, the Dalkey Archive Press posted an announcement in its employment section. Founding publisher John O'Brien, it said, will be stepping down. He's been with the press, which is known for publishing books that are avant-garde and experimental, since its inception in the 1980s. O'Brien's departure will be a significant change for the Illinois-based press; in 2009, he told The Times, "the press is purely an expression of my aesthetic interests and what I admire and like to read."
That pending departure may be eclipsed, however, by the world's wackiest job listing that the publisher posted Wednesday.
Here are the basic qualifications: "The Press is looking for promising candidates with an appropriate background who: have already demonstrated a strong interest in literary publishing; are very well read in literature in general and Dalkey Archive books in particular; are highly motivated and ambitious; are determined to have a career in publishing and will sacrifice to make that career happen; are willing to start off at a low-level salary and work their way upwards; possess multi-dimensional skills that will be applied to work at the Press; look forward to undergoing a rigorous and challenging probationary period either as an intern or employee; want to work at Dalkey Archive Press doing whatever is required of them to make the Press succeed; do not have any other commitments (personal or professional) that will interfere with their work at the Press (family obligations, writing, involvement with other organizations, degrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc.); know how to act and behave in a professional office environment with high standards of performance; and who have a commitment to excellence that can be demonstrated on a day-to-day basis. DO NOT APPLY IF ALL OF THE ABOVE DOES NOT DESCRIBE YOU."
So, yes, no weddings in Rio. That will be enabled by the fact that international plane tickets will be beyond your budget: the positions are expected to be unpaid internships (with some possible exceptions).
Not wacky enough for you? How about this: Any of the following will be "grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period":
Job responsibilities include, in descending order, personal assistant to the publisher, development/fundraising, office manager, production/layout/design, editor, publicist, marketing manager, and Web manager. Applications -- which should include a CV, reference letters and a cover letter, so read the actual job description, lest you get something wrong -- should be submitted to email@example.com
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