This week, our government rejected me by computer. I should have known I was in trouble after I applied and received an acknowledgement with the subject line “Acknowledgement of Occupational Questionnaire.”
While automatically generated, our government’s “We have received your application,” still managed to run an astounding 266 words long, included half a dozen acronyms and repeated every instruction at least once.
As in: “This is an automated email. Please do not reply,” immediately followed by “Please do not respond to this email message. It is automatically generated.”
This was, of course, only after I’d filled out The Bulkiest Survey In the History of the World, asking how much experience I’ve had with such fun-filled tasks as “Modifying standard methods and adaptation of approaches in developing new information materials aimed at enhancing the understanding of groups or individuals of significant issues of an agency’s or organization’s program” and whether or not I have “one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-7 or higher grade level in the Federal service.”
It took three weeks for the government’s automated system to reject me: “You have been found qualified for the position listed above based soley on your responses on the assessment questionnaire.” (This is the one where questions like ‘Can you write?’ go through a government worm hole and morph into ‘Have you ever modified the English language to better match the qualifications of the goals and objectives of your department’s strategic priorities?’) “However, you were not among the most highly qualified candidates. Therefore, your name will not be referred to the employing agency at this time. No review was made of you supporting documents to verify your qualifications for this position.”
It made we wonder if “automatically generated responses” could start creeping into other arenas.
Dating: “While your responses to our questionnaire indicate that you are attractive, funny and intelligent; you’re no supermodel, and our computer didn’t LOL at your jokes or have trouble matching your intellect; therefore, your profile will not be referred to Chicago’s eligible bachelors. Now might be a good time to take up knitting or yoga.”
Health: “Your symptoms are dizziness, upset stomach and headache. Our automated system has found 1,405 conditions/illnesses that match your symptoms. You must narrow your choices before you will be allowed to visit the nearest hospital.”
Customer Service: “You indicated that you are having trouble with your bill. However, our voice recognition system has determined that you are angry and ‘very likely’ to use profanity while interacting with our customer service agent. You will continue to be redirected to the main menu until you calm down.”
Just to seal the deal, I responded to the do-not-respond email.