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Controversial Dalkey intern advert was 'tongue-in-cheek'

An advert for a publishing internship that told candidates they must be available at all times and have no personal commitments has been described as "tongue-in-cheek" by the person who wrote it.

The job advert for positions at the Dalkey Archive Press in its expanding London office went viral online as people passed on the lengthy lists of requests for the perfect candidate, who must: "not have any other commitments (personal or professional) that will interfere with their work at the Press (family obligations, writing, involvement with other organizations, degrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc)."

It also listed the reasons for which any successful interns could be dismissed, which included: "coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies."

The advert, placed on the company’s website by director John O’Brien, was sent around the world, with US news website Salon.com asking "Worst job posting ever?"

Within hours, a twitter account for DalkeyIntern was created, posting updates such as: "Top tips for interns: amphetamines will boost your productivity, suppress hunger, and banish sleep. A must-have," and "Diet tips for the festive season: intern at #Dalkey and you won't be able to afford any food!"

However, speaking to the Irish Times about the controversy the advert has caused, O’Brien said: "The advertisement was a modest proposal. Serious and not-serious at one and the same time."

He added: "the tongue-in-cheek advertisement was a call to apply for the internships (and the two possible positions) if you’re going to be serious and are ready; if not, then let's not waste each other’s time. Usually this is couched in the sanitised language of 'must be deadline-oriented, well-organised, ambitious', etc. But as I think we've known for a long time, the age of irony is dead, and I’m a fossil."