In celebration of Mother’s Day

Published 11:53 am Sunday, May 10, 2015

EDITORIAL 03_WEBLast year, a video created for American Greetings Corp. and its online store,, went viral on the Internet. The rather long and involved video was both a prank and a commercial that made an eye-opening point about the women in our lives known as Mom — such a point, in fact, that we’re running it again.

Here’s how it went: a job opening was posted online and several people sent in their applications, but if they had read the fine print, they never would have applied, as illustrated by the applicants’ reactions to hearing the requirements of this particular job.

The job listing was for a “Director of Operations.“ Via video interview, a cheery, upbeat interviewer described to job candidates what the job would entail, starting with the extensive list of requirements.

First was mobility: the director of operations would be required to work standing up the majority of the time, be constantly on his or her feet, bending over, exerting themselves. Lots of stamina is required, the applicants were told.

The hours they would be expected to work: 135 hours to unlimited hours per week. No breaks are allowed (at this point, one of the applicants asks if that’s legal, which they were assured that it is, indeed, legal).

Applicants were told they must be able to work in a chaotic environment. They can have lunch, but only after the associate they work for is done eating his or her lunch. Sometimes they may be required to stay up all night with the associate, if called for. The associate needs constant attention.

The interviewer says the director of operations must have excellent negotiation and interpersonal skills and must be able to wear many hats. Degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts are pretty much job requirements.

There’s no vacation — ever — the interviewer tells applicants. In fact, on Thanksgiving, Christmas and any other holiday, the workload will likely be heavier and the director of operations must weather it all with a smile.

Of course, during the course of these interviews, the applicants’ reactions very quickly go from mild disbelief at what they’re hearing to outright indignation. The words “ridiculous,” “cruel” and “inhumane” are used, especially when the final shoe drops and they are told — on top of all the outrageous requirements — that the job pays nothing. Zero. Zilch.

But it’s all clarified when the interviewer informs each applicant that there is, indeed, someone who holds this job. Many someones, in fact.

Mothers everywhere.

It was a brilliant piece of marketing on the part of American Greetings and its Boston ad agency, Mullen. It worked, too, driving up website traffic exponentially, as well as online and store sales of cards.

The reason why it worked is because the video displays a very real truth in an unexpected way. It resonates with everyone who has a Mom and everyone who is a Mom.

The toughest job in the world is held by women everywhere. Happy Mother’s Day to our directors of operations.