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And Your First Born Child
December 12, 2012 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Dalkey Archive Press has begun the process of succession from the founder and current publisher, John O'Brien...
posted by whimsicalnymph (46 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I suppose it would always have taken a special kind of man to create the Dalkey Archive Press.

I just had no idea how special.
posted by Egg Shen at 3:26 PM on December 12, 2012


Well, this sounds forbidding.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:27 PM on December 12, 2012


I love the Dalkey Archive Press; it's a national treasure.
But this reads like it was written by jack green.
posted by chavenet at 3:30 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


This just showed up in my Facebook feed, and I'm still at the "holy shit" state of reaction. They are looking for candidates who 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.)." And who are willing to work for free while the Archive decides whether or not they are good enough for the job.
posted by jokeefe at 3:46 PM on December 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I kind of wish I had some context to understand this job posting better!
posted by threeants at 3:52 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as someone who has worked in publishing and in fundraising, and who has been an avid buyer of Dalkey Archive books, my response to that "job posting" is fuck that noise.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:56 PM on December 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have multi-dimensional skills but lower-order beings such as yourselves cannot properly perceive them.
posted by GuyZero at 3:57 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.

Um, what? Do they want a human or a happy robot?
posted by limeonaire at 4:02 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


And who are willing to work for free while the Archive decides whether or not they are good enough for the job.

The correct answer is "Fuck you. Pay me."
posted by eriko at 4:04 PM on December 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, as someone who has worked in publishing and in fundraising, and who has been an avid buyer of Dalkey Archive books, my response to that "job posting" is fuck that noise.

Yes, but...This noise is really about the state of arts publishing, not about Dalkey Archive. How much do you think Curtis White has gotten paid for all his years as publisher of Fiction Collective and FC2? I mean, it's a flabbergasting ask, but I kind of doubt Dalkey would make it if they had a better way to go about things.
posted by OmieWise at 4:08 PM on December 12, 2012


I think this should prevent them from publishing any more of Myles na gCopaleen— the irony could cause a fire.

DO NOT COMMENT IF THE ABOVE DOES NOT MAKE SENSE TO YOU
posted by yerfatma at 4:10 PM on December 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't know, I think Myles would see the joke. He did publish The Hard Life after all.
posted by OmieWise at 4:13 PM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also: At what level of repetition (and what level of mistake, for that matter) is a mistake considered grounds for immediate dismissal? Repetition implies that one would be given time to potentially make the mistake more than once—but is dismissal effective immediately on the second go-round with that particular mistake? What if no one knows about the mistake, though? If a tree falls in the Dalkey Archive Press office, does it get fired?

So many questions...

But seriously, this does kind of help me understand why my publication (I believe) got review-copy blacklisted by Dalkey for mixing up who was doing a few book reviews.
posted by limeonaire at 4:14 PM on December 12, 2012


For those who don't know it offhand, such as me, Dalkey Archive Press is a publisher of avante garde/experimental literary fiction that spun out of the Review of Contemporary Fiction.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:14 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Plain People of Ireland: Arts crisis begob, but don't the creatures who work for the publishers have to pay rent and all?

Myself: Yes.

The Plain People of Ireland: Sure and their landlords will be wanting some money every month.

Myself: Yes.

The Plain People of Ireland: And could it be that Mister O'Brien has forgotten that folk usually exchange some species of cash for the roof over their heads?

Myself: It may be so.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:25 PM on December 12, 2012 [22 favorites]


it's a flabbergasting ask, but I kind of doubt Dalkey would make it if they had a better way to go about things.

Did you read this? They're not asking for hard work, they're telling you they're going to treat you like shit. "giving unsolicited advice about how to run things" is grounds for immediate dismissal.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:30 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


A:

Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: ... submission of poorly written materials

B:

By the end of--or even sooner--of the internship/trial period

Asshole.
posted by junco at 4:31 PM on December 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


They're not asking for hard work, they're telling you they're going to treat you like shit. "giving unsolicited advice about how to run things" is grounds for immediate dismissal.

Agreed, I was responding more directly to the comments about lack of pay. Which I still think stand, despite Sidehevil na gCopaleen's clean skewering of the premise.
posted by OmieWise at 4:36 PM on December 12, 2012


We should all apply.
I just did.
posted by Mezentian at 4:43 PM on December 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was going to make a joke about how they just really don't want to end up like Atlas Press but it turns out Atlas has started publishing again.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:44 PM on December 12, 2012


I know someone who used to work at Dalkey Archive. Lets just say, it is truly amazing that so many great books have come out of such an insanely dysfunctional place.
posted by Chrischris at 4:46 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dalkey Archive Seeks Zombie Slave For Unspeakable Acts; Will Accept Mute Hunchback With Loyalty Fixation
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:47 PM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are we sure this job posting isn't a bit tongue-in-cheek?
posted by mrbill at 4:49 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


mrbill: I'm hearing reports on the Twitter that it's meant seriously. Then again, that's strangers with smartphones.
posted by Football Bat at 4:59 PM on December 12, 2012


OmieWise: I was responding more directly to the comments about lack of pay.

Oh, sorry, I missed that in your comment.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:02 PM on December 12, 2012


I wonder if it wasn't posted by a disgruntled employee. Dude doesn't come across as such a jerk in interviews (e.g.)
posted by junco at 5:04 PM on December 12, 2012


Although he does seem to have a sense of self-importance about the press as an extension of himself and discusses the same issues regarding succession there as here, so who knows:
The history of the Press until now has been an over-dependence upon me as the founder; this situation is probably inevitable. But it has meant my having to pull a lot of rabbits out of a lot of hats, which is not a realistic plan for the Press beyond me.
posted by junco at 5:06 PM on December 12, 2012


I hope that this is subversive, post-modern commentary on the gullibility of the internet
posted by junco at 5:14 PM on December 12, 2012


I dunno, I say there is something refreshing about a job advertisement that comes right out and says, almost in so many words, "This is an awful, awful job and complainers will be fired, so don't anyone bother applying." It's not a good way to find someone for their open position, but at least it's honest.
posted by gillyflower at 6:46 PM on December 12, 2012


Agreed, I was responding more directly to the comments about lack of pay.

The tradition of unpaid (and illegal—if this is for a position in Champaign-Urbana, it definitely falls afoul of the FLSA) internships in publishing is of long standing and is reprehensible. At this point, I suspect it's largely independent of necessity.

Arts publishing may be in a terrible state. Arts publishers may not be able to pay people enough to maintain their present, much less former, level of activity. That's a fucking shame, I think; where are the g—ddamn grants? But if they can't afford to pay the lowest-level grunts, they shouldn't ask for such grunts to work for free for the promise of maybe some slight remuneration later.

How much do you think Curtis White has gotten paid for all his years as publisher of Fiction Collective and FC2?

Curtis White is a full professor. He probably does just fine, even if he's not directly paid for his publishing-related activities.
posted by kenko at 7:43 PM on December 12, 2012


It's been three hours and the Dalkey Archive twitter account has yet to respond to my outraged tweets!!!
posted by kenko at 7:45 PM on December 12, 2012


Salon coverage

LA Times story

Facebook meme

via Conversational Reading
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:02 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success
posted by Damienmce at 8:17 PM on December 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


DUnno about Champaign, but here in Dublin and London we have a thing called employment laws, Dalkey Archive Press. Get over yourselves.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:43 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Welp, never buying a book from them again.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:32 AM on December 13, 2012


Curtis White is a full professor. He probably does just fine, even if he's not directly paid for his publishing-related activities.

Yes, it's precisely my point that he has likely not been paid at all for his FC work. I wasn't arguing he's a pauper. That he is a full professor "on the side" does not say a lot good about the state of arts publishing.
posted by OmieWise at 4:54 AM on December 13, 2012


Aaaaand it's satirical, or at least was meant to be.

Also, I checked, and Dalkey wasn't the press that randomly decided to blacklist my publication. So there's that, too.
posted by limeonaire at 6:52 AM on December 13, 2012


How does "oh yeah, it was all a joke lulz" render in their text?
posted by Mezentian at 7:08 AM on December 13, 2012


Wait, "We totally meant it, but usually companies aren't so honest" is the new definition of "satire"?
posted by Bugbread at 7:14 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


This guy's attitude toward internships and interns' attitude to the same probably don't match. Internships don't often have jobs at the end, in my experience.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:18 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who needs money or food? How petty and bourgeois. All I need is oxygen, avant-garde literature, and the constant threat of unemployment.
@DalkeyIntern on Twitter
posted by RogerB at 7:29 AM on December 13, 2012


Yeah, I wouldn't call it satire--more like a stunt. The weddings in Rio line was hard to read as anything but a mild joke suggesting an element of hyperbole to the whole, but come down to it, it's still painful to read as a job posting. The problem is that a sincere appeal for unpaid interns and volunteers from the academic community might have been appropriate, given the mission of the press, but it would probably have gone unnoticed.

So, whether by accident or design, they've achieved something like those Google billboards with the difficult puzzles on them for essentially no cost. I think somehow creating a job posting in the form of a piece of experimental literature might have gotten linked in all the right places without stirring any crap though.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:33 AM on December 13, 2012


Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.

Sounds like an online dating ad I saw a few weeks ago...
posted by incandissonance at 7:46 AM on December 13, 2012


Aaaaand it's satirical, or at least was meant to be.

Former employees have confirmed on Facebook that, in fact, it is a totally accurate description of what's required to work for the publisher.
posted by kenko at 7:55 AM on December 13, 2012


Dalkey guy responds...


The advertisement was a modest proposal. Serious and not-serious at one and the same time. I’ve been swamped with emails (I wish they’d stop: I’ve work to do), and with job applications. I certainly have been called an ‘asshole’ before, but not as many times within a 24-hour period.

“Strangely, no one (except the applicants) seem to have noticed that jobs are being offered: when does this happen with internships? In brief, I take internships very seriously, and take on only people I think might be a future employee. Since coming to Ireland, I’ve seen so many applications to Dalkey in which CVs list upwards of six internships, which tend to smack of ‘we looked, we evaluated, and didn’t think the person was good enough to keep’. And my 25 years of experience with interns has been very mixed: the most common problem being that they aren’t prepared, don’t know what to expect, hope that a job might be at the end of the rainbow, and yet don’t have a clue as to what an employer is looking for. Employers wind up frustrated that they put in so much time, and the interns wonder why a job wasn’t forthcoming.

“Employers do not offer internships out of the goodness of their heart (well, perhaps some due); they want the internships to be the grounds on which people prove themselves. And yet they are strange situations: interns aren’t employees; they don’t quite fit into a well-defined category at the company; they have to do something worthwhile for the company or why else have them around; but, at the same time, they don’t have much to offer because they don’t have the knowledge or experience to do very much.

“So, the tongue-in-cheek advertisement was a call to apply for the internships (and the two possible positions) if you’re going to be serious and are ready; if not, then let’s not waste each other’s time. Usually this is couched in the sanitised language of ‘must be deadline-oriented, well-organised, ambitious’, etc. But as I think we’ve known for a long time, the age of irony is dead, and I’m a fossil.

“This is my ‘official’ reaction to the hornet’s nest.”
posted by Damienmce at 7:55 AM on December 13, 2012


Aaaaand it's satirical, or at least was meant to be.

Former employees have confirmed on Facebook that, in fact, it is a totally accurate description of what's required to work for the publisher.


OK. I posted what Damienmce posted, though, in which the publisher claims it was satirical. That's why I said "Aaaaand it's satirical, or at least was meant to be."
posted by limeonaire at 1:35 PM on December 13, 2012


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