the job capital of america

a timestamp that tells us exactly when the pandemic started

We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus stuff and everyone’s like, “So much has changed,” but what’s weirder to me are the funny quirks that still exist even though we’re a year into this thing. Stuff that seems pretty easy to reconfigure for a telecommuting world that just hasn’t. I recently came across one of these quirks.

Some context: I don’t mention this often in this newsletter, but I’m unemployed and trying not to be. (I rarely talk about this. Many do not know this, because I’m quiet about it.) Anyway, now I spend a few hours a day on job-listing index sites, searching for stuff to fling a resume at. Most jobs are tied to a physical location, despite having no reason to be, so the listing usually says where the job is, geographically. Because of recent events, more and more listings are listing their location as “Remote.”

For the listing aggregator sites like LinkedIn or Monster or Indeed, that means there are a lot of jobs in Remote, Oregon. The scrapers see the location as “Remote,” and they plug that into a database and tie it to a town in Oregon.

For a while, I was a total idiot and thought, “Huh, that’s funny for Remote, Oregon. Must be tough to hire for any companies there right now.” I ignored listings in Remote, Oregon because I do not feel like moving to Oregon. Today, however, I decided to check out more about Remote, and, as is often the case, I’m a total fucking idiot.

From Wikipedia:

Remote is an unincorporated hamlet in Coos County in the U.S. state of Oregon. It lies near the confluence of Sandy Creek with the Middle Fork Coquille River.

Remote was named by local pioneers for its distance from other settlements.[2] Its post office was established in 1887.[citation needed] A new post office, besides a store, gas station, and unofficial town hall building was built in 1924 by L. D. Jennings.[3]

Oregon Route 42 used to run through the center of the community, but realignment of the highway has left Remote several hundred yards away, along a side road, around a bend and down below the highway, largely shielded by trees from highway view.[4]

The town now consists of a combined store with gas pump and post office, and a couple of houses. The Sandy Creek Covered Bridge is nearby.[5]

So, I think it’s safe to assume that any job listing for Remote, Oregon, is just a remote job that the scraper misinterpreted. Unless thousands of companies are all operating out of one of the three buildings in the small town nobody drives through any more because of the highway. It’s weird that this mixup has just gone on for a year? There are tons of people searching for remote jobs and I have to believe at least a few other people ignored the Oregon listings because, well, they listed a real town!

Which leads me to this other thing, the final line for the Remote entry on Wikipedia.

The city has become a placeholder on job boards to represent if a position is a remote-work position.

I’ve seen or been part of numerous informal discussions over the past few weeks about determining when exactly the pandemic started in the United States. It’s tough to pin down exactly, which is what makes it kind of a fun, morbid game. Was it when the first case appeared on American soil? Was it the week we were told to start working from home? Was it when Tom Hanks got it? Was it when the NBA shut down? Can a pandemic really “start” if it’s a hoax perpetrated by the global elite?

I’ve decided that the pandemic officially began in the United States when this last line was added to Wikipedia — from a Kansas City, Missouri, IP address at 20:12 UTC on March 12, 2020.

I know nothing about the person who added this line, but the fact that they felt the need to add it says a lot. Or at least it say something. Everything shuts down, a quarter of the country suddenly finds itself out of work. Most places trying to hire people are not going to get back to an office anytime soon, and there are suddenly exponentially more listings with their location set to “Remote,” a previously rare and exotic option. I assume whoever made this Wikipedia edit got sick of seeing listings for Remote, Oregon. Or maybe they thought it was funny or curious.

Regardless, someone realized the job market had changed enough that it was memorialized on Wikipedia right as everything started going to shit. I think that’s about a clear and precise a mile marker as we’re going to get.

what’s going on at CPAC?


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  • computer angel

Thank you for reading BNet. I am willing to work in Crowded, Oregon.