The sleepiness equation

Wanted: Young, hot workers with symmetrical bodies

Every once in a while I read stories that remind me of just how deranged are the labor laws and markets in other countries. I’m not just talking about the obvious stuff: The unregulated sweatshops, the job-slave trade, the sexual bondage. I’m talking about the incredibly weird standards that thrive even in supposedly middle-class jobs.

Ever heard of Daksh? It’s one of the biggest Indian outsourcers — Amazon was one of the first customers back in the 90s, as it frantically pitchforked phone-service jobs across the Atlantic. IBM has been so impressed by Daksh’s ability to keep prices down it decided to buy the company. But recently, a Slashdot user was poking around on the Daksh job boards and discovered that the company has “age requirements for job applicants [that] make Logan’s Run seem progressive.” On its Opportunities page, Daksh notes that Customer Care Specialists must be no older than 25, and team leaders no older than 27. Nice.

Meanwhile, over in China, the New York Times reports that the Communist party has been rejecting people for legal-affairs jobs because they’re too short. That’s only the tip of the iceberg: Apparently, the party is obsessed with hiring people for publicly prominent jobs only if they’re, like, way hot:

In Hunan Province in central China, for example, women seeking any government jobs had to demonstrate that they had symmetrically shaped breasts. The requirement was dropped only in March, but only after a public outcry by women who had been denied jobs on those grounds.

When the government-run Nanchang Institute of Aeronautical Technology vets candidates for jobs as flight attendants for the national airlines, applicants are asked to parade on stage in swimwear.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson