Fiction: Ninjas Wanted – Apply Within (Chapter 1)

Ninjas Wanted – Apply Within

By Tabitha Grace Smith

Chapter 1

Charles never thought he’d be the “search on Craigslist for a job” type. Up to this point Charles had been the ask a friend type, the walk in and submit your resume type, and the friend from college referred me type. Craigslist seemed to be the last resort for morons who couldn’t find a job.

His fingers poised over the keys he sighed. Then, with the struggle one can only have when desperation sets in, Charles typed in Charles was now the moron who couldn’t find a job.

To be fair to Charles, no one could find a job. In 2008 the housing market bubble burst and the novelty of having one unemployed friend ballooned into the certainty knowing thirty unemployed people. Charles had been able to hang on for awhile, not losing his job until 2009, but now it had been nearly a year without work. It was either Craigslist or Starbucks; and he didn’t fancy his chances at Starbucks.

Charles scanned the headlines. He knew Craigslist’s format from selling household items on it, but he hadn’t really paid attention to the job listings. Now, as he clicked through the categories he felt overwhelmed with the choices. That’s when, of course, CJ called. His cellphone jangled and he blinked twice to bring him out of the website suckage.

“Did you check Craigslist yet?” CJ said, ever blunt.

“I’m doing it now, but man there’s a lot of stuff on this site.”

“Half of it is garbage, but I found my last two jobs there. You just gotta dig.”

Charles sighed. “Yeah, thanks.”

“See ya Tuesday.”

Charles had just set his phone down when it jangled again. He picked it up.

“Hello?” Charles asked, realizing he hadn’t looked at the number to see who called.

“Charles? I sent you something on the emails.” It was Charles’ mother, Edna Revell. No matter how many times he had told her the correct way of saying “I sent you an email” she insisted on saying “I sent you something on the emails.” In the end, Charles decided it wasn’t worth correcting her anymore.

“Thanks, Mom. You really don’t–.”

“It’s a job! Mary said there’s this website called the Craig’s List. She said to just type it in the search box and find jobs. This one is for IT. That’s what you do!”

Fantastic, Mary had gotten in on the deal. Mary was Edna’s next-door neighbor for the past thirty years and best friend. Charles had begun to think there wasn’t anything that Mary and Edna didn’t do together.

“That’s great, Mom. I’ll take a look at it.”

“It should be easy for you to get this job, such a smart boy.”

Charles had to smile at that. His mother was technology-challenged, but she loved him. “Okay, Mom. I’m going to go look and I’ve got some resumes to send out. Love you.”

They ended the call a couple minutes later. It was pretty hard to get Edna off the phone once she started. Charles looked back at his screen and realized that he didn’t want to keep searching through the numerous links and trying to figure out how to send a resume to all of the ones that were even halfway decent. Charles sighed and then, as most internet users are inclined to do, he checked his email instead.

His mother’s email was near the top of his inbox. The in browser email service provider had gleefully starred the email as “Priority” for him. Priority indeed, Charles thought to himself. He felt bad for disparaging his mother’s internet efforts, but really it never did her or him any good. That said, he was a very dutiful son and he didn’t relish the idea of lying to his mother when she asked in a couple of hours, “did you read the email in your box?”

The email came with a laborious explanation of how to visit the URL that she had probably painstakingly typed rather than copy and pasted. His mother didn’t understand copy and pasting any more than she understood the correct term for sending an email. She also didn’t understand that once she sent a hyperlink you could just click on it. Charles clicked the link.

It took him back to Craigslist and to the strangest job ad Charles had ever read.

IT MANAGER (Downtown Los Angeles)

IT Ninja Wanted

Most people think that they’re a ninja, but it all depends on how you define ninjas. In our case we mean you can handle hardware, software, phones, internet, the website, POS servers, networked printers, a little data entry and cleaning. We also mean that you make a lot of reports that no one reads, but are needed. We also believe in lots and lots of silent email blasts.

You’ll be working alone, but in a large group. We’re looking for someone with the energy level of a toddler on a sugar-high. You need to be resourceful, think outside AND inside the box. It also helps if you are flexible.

Our organization doesn’t have a lot of money so if you’re looking for a 50k salary, PLEASE don’t apply. It’s a waste of both of our times and we hate wasting time.

The Ninja Collective is always on the lookout for hardcore unemployables. We don’t follow the status quo, we make the quo. Our ninjas are known for speed, creativity, dedication and thick skin. Did we say speed? REALLY SPEEDY. We thrive on chaos and often find it.

Are you a Ninja?

  • Ninjas are hardworking.
  • Ninjas are risk-takers
  • Ninjas shun titles (other than the title “ninja,” of course.
  • Ninjas are rebels
  • Ninjas have raw talent and focus on that talent
  • Ninjas ignore accepted patterns
  • Ninjas are speedy.

We don’t plan, budget, forecast, have meetings or waste time on getting bigger. Your interview will be with a decision maker who will decide during the interview. Ties are not recommend, we like to cut them off and burn them, if we had any we’d be burning them right now.

Don’t expect a response to your resume unless we think you’re worth an interview. Don’t be offended by this, we’re really busy being ninjas—and you should be too.

Charles blinked. He couldn’t believe what he had read. Why in the world had his mother sent this to him? It seemed ridiculous. He copy and pasted the URL into an email to CJ with the subject line: You have to read this. Charles rubbed his forehead and chuckled to himself. “Ninjas!” He shook his head. Some start-up company thinking that they were hipster-clever no doubt. All he read in that ad was, “we want to work you hard and not pay you.”

Still, there was something about the ad that stuck with him as he went around the rest of his day. The words kept coming back to him as he deposited his unemployment check. He was curious about what this company was and why they’d write such an outrageous ad. What if it was some kind of joke? Or, what if they really believed all that nonsense.

Charles was busy cutting up some vegetables to eat for dinner when his phone blinked on with an alert. He checked the screen and saw it was an email from CJ. He flicked the screen and the email opened.

            Re: You should read this.

            From: CJ

            Dude, you should apply. It seems awesome.

Charles sighed and went back to chopping his vegetables. Trust CJ to think something so ridiculous was “awesome.” If you asked Charles CJ had a very liberal meaning behind the word “awesome.” Still, Charles couldn’t stop thinking about the ad. After his dinner, Charles sat back down at his computer. He checked the normal social media sites and tried not to think about the ad. A couple hours passed as Charles went from site to site, commenting on pictures and replying to friends’ messages. It was nearly midnight when Charles finally gave in to his curiosity. He clicked the link and wrote a ridiculous cover letter matching the ad’s tone.

Subject: Your Ninja For Hire

From: Charles Cook

No one could ever accuse me of anything but being a ninja. I’m stealthy, I have taken Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, and have been working for the past 10 years in IT. I know anything with electronic working parts. If you hire me you’ll get someone who wears black nearly 24/7.

As for interviews, I’ll bring several ties that I never wear any more for you to burn as it seems your team may need a bonding experience. I’d attach my resume for your consideration, but it seems unnecessary at this point. Instead I left a list of companies I worked for and skills I possess.
Look forward to your email telling me to come in for an interview.

Charles, the Ninja

Charles hit the send button before thinking any better about it. It was silly, but Charles felt pretty good about sending the email. Something about not being serious after so many resumes was refreshing. He flicked off computer and headed to bed. Tomorrow he’d find somewhere better to apply.


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One Comment

  1. Posted October 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    loving this

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