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Sunday, February 23, 2003

Employment Opportunities in Iraq!

Hot dog! Harper's Magazine says (according to this month's Smarter Harper's) there were 1200 applications for 302 UN weapons inspector positions.

Babies, that's golden. Only a few years ago (I don't know about recently) the number of applications for any given physics teaching position at a small and unremarkable college was in the hundreds.

Now, that might seem as if your odds of getting a physics teaching position were (say) one in three hundred, but it wasn't quite that bad in reality. In reality, there were a number jobs advertised in any given year, say twenty. That means your odds of getting any of the jobs was now one in fifteen. Then, of course, many applicants already had jobs, and were just thinking about moving. And many applicants were underqualified for the position, with a few being completely unqualified.

So in reality, your chance of getting any one of those jobs was really something like one in five. But if anything like those same conditions obtains in the weapons inspector search, that means they're desperate for warm bodies who know which end of the missile goes up. Hey! Over here! I know! And I'm warm! I have a sweater on!

Oopsie, but I'm an American, so I probably would not be selected. The Iraqis don't want me there. Oh, and besides issues of technical competence, there are also security issues. The UN would (in theory) like to hire people who will not tip off the Iraqis. So that means the pool of people who are technically and security qualified is even smaller.

But, ha ha, I'm sure that the competition for those jobs is a lot fiercer than that. Otherwise, it would mean that the inspectors upon whom the peace of the world depends don't really know what they're doing. And that sure can't be, right? I mean, they work for the UN. The UN!

We're going to Fry's today. They sell gas masks there, have I mentioned that?

UPDATE: No Fry's today. Gas attacks will have to wait until next weekend.