Coffee Filter

To work at this St. Johns java joint, you need mad espresso skills and a way with words.

By John Chandler May 19, 2009 Published in the March 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

We know it’s rough out there, but a five-page job application with ten essay questions just to sling espresso? Unemployed English majors may want to try their luck at Ladybug Organic Coffee Company in St. Johns, where the form you fill out to work there is as long as the line for lattes.

Owner Angel O’Brien says that in the nearly two years since she opened the shop, the application has been an effective method of weeding out drones, slackers, and psychos—more than 2,000 apps have been downloaded from the company website in that time, but only 168 have been submitted. “I’ve found that articulate people who express themselves well do better in jobs that involve the public,” the affable proprietor says. “And let’s face it: I’d rather spend the day working with interesting people.”

If O’Brien’s trying to brew up some notoriety, she’s succeeded. The New York Times reported news of the jumbo job app in late December, making a point of linking O’Brien’s gatekeeping to Portland culture.

Seriously, how hard is it to be interesting? Here, let us try.

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