Posted by languageandgrammar on January 16, 2008
For decades, when a business was looking for employees, a Help Wanted sign would be hung in the window. Now, the help wanted sign is as rare as finding a pearl in a plate of oysters at a restaurant; now, the signs usually say something very similar to Career Opportunities Available or Join an Exciting Team–Apply Within.
The change in language was made for an obvious reason–it’s an attempt to switch the power from the employee to the employer. Instead of an employer having a need (a sign of weakness), they’re doing the potential employees a favor by offering them these wonderful career opportunities (a sign of strength). It’s ironic that most of these jobs are minimum wage jobs–with favors like that, who needs enemies.
Even in the few instances when a store or business posts a sign similar to the old help wanted sign, such as Now Hiring, it is now typically followed with something similar to A Great Place to Work.
Perhaps it’s merely a reflection of a change in times. Before there was as much efficiency through technology and as much outsourcing, jobs were more numerous, so maybe it’s only reasonable for employers to make it seem as if offering people a job is doing them a favor.
Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever
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