The perfect worker: Tall, thin, and he drinks!

Marketplace Staff Dec 8, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: Anybody who’s ever looked for a job knows the problem. Trying to figure out what employers want. Researchers might have part of the answer. A while back we told you about a study from the Reason Foundation. It said workers who drink earn more than teetotallers. Then there’re studies that say thin, attractive people have a better shot at getting hired than, well, the rest of us. Cash Peters put it all together and came up with a profile of the ultimate employee. And seeing as how it’s holiday time, when businesses turn to temp agencies to fill the gaps, he knew just where to test his theory.

CASH PETERS: Now, if anyone’s going to know whether this survey’s true, it’s Karen Kenahan at Adecco Temps. Loads of people do temp work. It’s very handy. It helps you plug the gaps in your busy social life by showing up for work occasionally.

KAREN KENAHAN: It gives people flexibility, and it gives them the opportunity to go into different types of industries and see what appeals to them. So it gives them a great opportunity to have different experiences.

Yeah, alright. But generally speaking, one temp can do the work of four elves, so they’re in demand. And if you’re on Adecco’s special FastCast program, you qualify for work very quickly, as Karen will now explain through the medium of hip-hop.

KENAHAN: FastCast today, work tomorrow. FastCast today . . . That’s the best I can do, I’m sorry, under pressure.

So, on the basis that anything with its own song has got to be worth trying, I thought I’d get in on FastCast and try for a new job. I mean, hey, I’m thin, I’m tall, and I drink. According to statistics, I’m the perfect candidate.

KENAHAN: In our business, we cannot and we do not discriminate in any way, shape or form as far as . . .

PETERS: But haven’t you noticed, though, that people who are taller and thinner go further?

KENAHAN: Umm . . .

PETERS: Have I got time to go and get lunch while you’re waiting for an answer?

KENAHAN: I don’t know if I can answer that!

“Eh heh heh!” What was the laugh for? In that case let’s ask Tina Darrian. She’s a student who does temp work in her spare time to make extra money, and she confirms that the survey results are true.

TINA DARRIAN: Oooh, yes.

PETERS: So tall, thin people get better jobs?

TINA: Yes. And young girls, especially if it’s a company with the man is a VP. Yeah, oh yeah.

Yeah, exactly. Another reason I wanted to get a job with these people is they’re so much fun.

KENAHAN: So he wants us to put him through the process.

PETERS: Now, who’s this?

KENAHAN: This is Toni Howard.

PETERS: Hi Toni. I’ve heard so many great things about you. Apparently, you’re a bit of a fireball.

TONI HOWARD: Thank you.

PETERS: OK, so what we’re saying is, I’m tall and thin and I drink a lot.


PETERS: So could I have a good job?

HOWARD: We have positions as greeters for retail companies. Actually you can work at a mall, where your whole job is just saying hello and greeting people and keeping a smile on your face.

PETERS: I can do that. OK, this is gonna be my job. Right?

KENAHAN: What is going to be your job?

PETERS: I’m going to say hello to people.

KENAHAN: Oh. Yes. We interview you first. We have to screen you. And if we find that you’re suitable, then we’ll send you out to the position.

PETERS: Oh, how can I not be suitable for saying hello to people in a mall?

But hey, you know what? I wasn’t. The mall said no.

PETERS: Oh no, did I get turned down for the job?

KENAHAN: You did.

PETERS: Did you tell her I was tall and thin and a drunk?

KENAHAN: They will think I’m absolutely crazy.

Well, whatever. We instantly went to Plan B. There’s a hotel in Santa Monica, California, called Shutters at the Beach and they were looking for a temp to work in their human resources department. So, that’s the job I took. My boss was Elka Walker. And she was quite impressed, I think, by my range of skills. Including my copious drinking.

ELKA WALKER: I don’t know about the drinking.

PETERS: Is that how you got your job?

WALKER: No, actually, I don’t think so. That’s not something you want to share in a job interview, I don’t think.

PETERS: Was it your binge drinking that got you in here?

WALKER: Oh Lord. Let’s see if you can file.

Of course I can file. It’s just putting stuff in drawers. After this, she introduced me to my new coworker. Tall, thin Cesar.

WALKER: Cesar is our HR generalist.

PETERS: He’s a generalist?

WALKER: Yes, he’s a generalist.

PETERS: So that means he has absolutely no skills whatsoever.

WALKER: That is not true!

PETERS: When you were at college, did you say, “When I leave here I’m going to be a generalist?”

CESAR: Well, actually, yes.

So, be careful what you wish for.

Anyway, filing, I found, is just ‘doing nothing’ taken to the next level.

CESAR: So you just basically go, look what hotel it is, what it’s for. You’d go to the appropriate section in the cabinet, pull out their name . . .

Eww, he was so boring. I couldn’t be a generalist, I’m way too specific. So I quit, and even offered to take Cesar drinking with me to improve his chances of promotion.

CESAR: I don’t know about that.

PETERS: Do you drink a lot?

CESAR: I do not.

PETERS: Maybe that’s why you’ve stalled.

CESAR: Could be, I don’t know.

PETERS: Something to think about there, Cesar.

CESAR: Something to think about. I don’t think I’m going to try it, but something to think about, definitely.

In Los Angeles, I’m Cash Peters for Marketplace.

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