Blown To Bits

They Have Got To Be Kidding Department

Thursday, November 13th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

Anyone who wants to work in the new administration has to fill out a questionnaire with 63 extremely intrusive questions. Obama is doing everything he can to avoid surprises, like the Clinton nominees with their under-the-counter nanny payments. But many of the questions are questions only being asked because of the digital explosion and the resulting permanence of detailed information. Here are a couple of my favorite queries (emphasis mine):

Writings: Please list and, if readily available, provide a copy of each book, article, column or publication (including but not limited to any posts or comments on blogs or other websites) you have authored, individually or with others. Please list all aliases or “handles” you have used to communicate on the Internet.

Electronic communications: If you have ever sent an electronic communication, including but not limited to an email, text message or instant message, that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the President-Elect if it were made public, please describe.

That is, “Of course, your potentially embarrassing private emails may not disqualify you, not at all. But please tell us about them. And thank you for these details! We always wondered who ‘hilarysux2008’ was, glad to know.”

NYT story here.

Seems to me there are three possibilities here. Either people are not going to work in the administration because of these disclosure requirements. Or the ones who do will be adventureless people who have never taken a risk or had much fun.

Or they will be liars.

Whatever it is, in 10 years, I’m betting, the balance will be struck in a different place.

One Response to “They Have Got To Be Kidding Department”

  1. Alain Adunagow Says:

    Whatever happened to pardoning qualified people of their past imbalanced behaviors (reasonable ones) as they’ve demonstrated a great deal of improvement and that time has healed?

    There could be lost opportunities here. If we’re only looking for spotless folks in the administration, we may end up hiring people with fewer calibers.

    Sounds like they’re landing borderline a subtle type of discrimination. I thought it was supposed to be an equal employment opportunity. If the questionnaire will help with that, then I’m fine with it.

    Bottom line is… Do not hire because you’re only required to follow a certain guideline that’ll make people happy. The primary qualifier should always be hiring people that will do the job effectively and delivery breakthrough results.