This week's listing really made me angry for a few reasons. First of all, it's basically a job listing tucked in under the apartment listings. Second of all, the person listing it, who I'm just going to assume is male, makes it sound like he'll be doing you a favor by renting you a vacant studio apartment he has in his place for "reduced rent." Third, that reduced rent is actually on par with a number of similar units in San Mateo, where this one is, except lacking in all apparent amenities — slightly more pricey studios down there tend to come with pools, for instance. Fourth, the guy's proposal, to have you work for him and be his tenant, is just the most awkward and depressing — not to mention economically infeasible and probably tenuous — living situation I've seen on Craigslist in a long while. Which makes him, on the face of it, an asshole.

So, let's begin.

The only photo available is the dark one above — not sure why the shades had to be kept closed except for the fact that there's probably a view of a dirt pit or sad garage on the other side.

It's a studio apartment, though the square footage and kitchen/bathroom details have been withheld, because, like I said, this is primarily a job listing. "I have recently got rid of an assistant who was very knowledgeable but proved to be untrustworthy" he says. "Looking for someone to come in to complete tasks and help keep my business in order." OK, that'd be fine if this were in the jobs/gigs section. But, "I also have a studio available to rent with reduced rent for your services if you like it can be shared." The lack of proper punctuation suggests this small business owner doesn't work in a particularly verbal field, but perhaps that's where you, his prospective new assistant come in.

Move-in requirements, in this case, sound like they require working full-time for this guy at pretty much minimum wage: $13 to $17 per hour, "DOE."

This listing was obviously composed by an older person because it contains the phrase "good with computer." So, while living downstairs from grandpa might be a comforting notion to some, to the rest of us all it means are inevitable smells, groans through the floorboards, and noise complaints every time you play something on YouTube.

What will be expected of you? Well, he makes no mention of what line of work this is, but it's pretty much administrative stuff, including "Managing the day-to-day operations" (answering the phone, fetching lunch), "Organizing and maintaining files and records," (looking at Facebook), "Planning and scheduling meetings and appointments," (using Outlook for five minutes), "Managing projects and conducting research," (looking at the internet), "Preparing and editing correspondence, reports, and presentations" (using Word and knowing how to spell).

The problem is that he wants you to pay $1395 a month for the dismal, furnished shitbox above, and he's potentially only going to be paying you $2,080 a month, before taxes. Let's take some withholding out of there and see what that leaves you for food, gas, vodka, and Xanax... it's $67 a week. Have a cell phone bill or student loan? Oh then actually you can't eat. I hope grandpa buys you lunch when you go out to fetch it!

I'm not suggesting that this dude renting this place is rich, but he says he's a small business owner and "I work from home because my field doesn't require an office but the business does very well." Maybe he could afford, then, to go a little bit more below-market on the studio apartment though? Unless this is just a part-time job and he expects you to get a second, higher paying job in order to cover the rent every month.

My guess is that other assistant he "got rid of" just fled one day because, well, living like this would be awful.

And, I guess, if whoever he hires already has a place to live (hopefully with parents, for free), he'll just keep this studio empty, because the implication is that it's just sitting there vacant, and he doesn't want to be a landlord so much as he wants a live-in servant or something. And even though he hasn't bothered renting this place out on the open market, he'll give an employee the "reduced" rent of $1400 a month, essentially paying them a couple hundred dollars more than he's taking from them every month to live there.

He could, probably, get $1,600 or even $1,800 for that shitbox, sadly, but he's choosing not to so that whoever is living there is beholden to him for a job, and so that he can fire them and kick them out if and when he needs to.

Have I convinced you yet that this guy's an asshole taking advantage of a tight market?


All previous editions of Apartment Sadness.