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What does every job application request? Multitasking! There’s no escaping this exhausting concept.

By Catherine Brunelle
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Multi-tasking – it’s what the job agencies want.

“Must be able to multitask,” they explain, as though it's an elusive ability. Any reasonably functioning person who manages to pick up their groceries, wash the sheets, go to work, check their emails, make phone calls, attend meetings, and have a social life in the evening must, they must, be able to multitask.

Or maybe offices need their employees to do it all at once? Record the mail, make the tea, pull a file, and answer the phone before it’s rung four times. If we had a few more arms then yes, that sort of multitasking may be possible. But we don’t.

The best I can figure is that "must be able to multitask" really means "must be able to account for several responsibilities and manage your time effectively."

I suppose they might add “must be willing to multitask” because, while many of us have the capability to run our lives on several paths at once, it is damn exhausting.

Multitasking stretches the brain thin and often results in work of lower quality.

Why do I know this? Well, ever tried reading a book while having a conversation? I have and it doesn’t work. Either the book or the conversation gets suppressed – and a deep absorption won’t be happening toward either. Essentially it’s a waste of your multitasked time. Others agree.

It’s a bee in my bonnet as I go through all these job applications. Everyone’s looking for a multitasker. A buzz-word gone wild.

Not that I’m going to argue because, hey, managing my time effectively while prioritizing work is only a few shades away from multitasking, and the results, I dare say, are even better.

They’ll never know the difference. Or they wouldn’t anyhow, if I were actually employed. Back to the applications!

Last Updated ( Tuesday, September 13, 2011 )
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A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct of its business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it. —Lewis H. Lapham, American writer and editor
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