"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 20 May 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.




"'Multimedia' is the 'plastics'

of the '90s" - the one-word

get-rich-quick meal ticket that's

passed down to the promising but

directionless. Conventional

wisdom says that there's gold in

that there multimedia gulch. All

you gotta do to strike it rich,

folks say, is head out to San

Francisco and land a job at one

of those new-fangled new media

firms. Grab some equity and you

could become an instant

net.mogul soon as the company

goes public. Sure, the hours are

long, but why settle for life as

a nine-to-fiver when you could

make it big as a '95-er?



Only problem is, much of what

glitters in the gulch turns out

to be laptop guts, and parts of

the electronic frontier already

look like ghost towns. As in any

gold rush, the only ones raking

in risk-free dough are the ones

selling the picks and shovels.

And in the case of a book about

job hunting on the Internet and

two websites designed to help

net surfers land their dream

gigs, it's hard to tell where

the shovel ends and the manure




The book, Shannon Bounds's and

Arthur Karl's paperback How to

Get Your Dream Job Using the

Internet, and the sites -

HotWired's new Dream Jobs

program, and Women's Wire's

Levi's-sponsored careers section -

aren't exclusively about how

to find jobs in new media,

although the first two are full

of the Net's dollar-and-a-dream

hucksterism. Matter of fact,

none of them really focus on

useful career advice as much as

they do the comforting notion

that, despite signs to the

contrary, America is brimming

over with fulfilling,

well-paying jobs that would be

just perfect for you. Dream Jobs

even goes a step further,

singing the praises of one such

gig every day.



Dream Jobs circumvents the CDA in

favor of occupational

pornography, tantalizing idle

net surfers with distant,

perfect, and ultimately

unattainable cyber-chic jobs. It

may be that most of the gigs

mentioned are nearly impossible

to get, but the site's

Playmate-style profiles make

ideal employment seem as real as

the girl next door. Company

contact information completes

the illusion of availability in

a way Playboy never could. But

the fact remains that lusting

after stock options is no more

likely to help one's career than

drooling over Miss May is likely to

improve one's love life.



It goes without saying that Dream

Jobs and Women's Wire have as

much to do with the real-life

working world as Playboy has to

do with real-life working girls.

As Hef always told us - and we

at Suck always take the advice

of any grown-up given to wearing

silk PJs - sex sells, but it's

the lifestyle positioning that

keeps those ad dollars pouring

in. With work replacing sex as

digital-age America's primary

obsession (those couches in new

media company lobbies are there

because people work all night)

an employment-oriented website

is the perfect place to sell

people the products they'll need

to accessorize their career.

After all, working as a venture

capitalist without the right

palmtop computer can be just as

much of a drag as bringing home

a coed to the wrong kind of

cocktail. Or, we suppose, looking

for a job in jeans other than




If Dream Jobs shows surfers

centerfolds, Bounds's and Karl's

book is the employment

equivalent of How to Pick Up

Girls. The underlying assertion

that there are thousands of

employers on the Web just

waiting to meet you sounds not

unlike the promiscuous promise

of the Playboy philosophy, and

the book's online job hunting

success stories remind us of

nothing if not those letters to

Penthouse that begin "You won't

believe this, but guess what

really happened to me the other




Taking a broader, more realistic

view of the job market, the

Women's Wire careers section

goes beyond just wham-bam-check-

out-that-bonus-plan. The few

jobs listed on the site are at

least described in more practical

terms, and include the perspectives

of women who are actually involved

in those careers. Lists of

resources and professional

organizations seem as if they're

meant to encourage careful career

moves, not the money-shot resume

faxing advocated by Dream Jobs.



Will even the most careful

planning help land a great gig?

Hard to say, but the true

brilliance of these projects is

that, for their creators, it

doesn't matter. Do well and you're

a living advertisement, fodder for

their next installment of

Internet job-hunting success

stories. Fail, and there's

another sucker standing behind

you. Economy gets better,

business improves. Economy gets

worse, the desire for escapist

entertainment increases. Either

way, they make money. Talk about

your dream jobs...

courtesy of Neo Postman