It’s that time of year again, for fake applications to jobs that don’t make any sense. The Khan Academy is an internet “school” that claims to “provide a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere,” mostly via video lectures. Here is my cover letter for the “World History Content Fellow” position, which I found advertised here. The job description: to “help build out our video library in world history and create practice exercises in world history, US history, and US government at the advanced high school and intro-college level.”

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to apply for the job–or rather “fellowship”–advertised on your website. As a restless member of the creative class, I agree that secure employment, renewable year-to-year, can be a suffocating hindrance. And besides, you specify “tons of snacks and beverages” as part of your benefit package. As a job-seeker motivated by a combination of desperation and snacks, I am an ideal candidate for this position.

I would be delighted to contribute to the Khan team’s innovative work bringing encyclopedia-level history content to everyone with a high-speed internet connection around the world. Indeed, history is one of my favorite kinds of content, and I have the really, really broad understanding of conventional historical periods, famous people, and breezy summaries that the Khan history curriculum appears to require. Indeed, as I moved my cursor around while listening to someone talk about Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first inaugural address on your website, I earned  71 energy points, which may or may not be a lot. Moreover, as an aspiring historical content producer, I understand that educational content, like artistic and narrative content in all its forms, is a market-driven commodity no different from any other. Much like the content creators themselves, or the snacks I already mentioned.

Pedagogical experience counts, as well, as the Khan Academy understands so well: as a college professor in a related field, I certainly have what the listing describes “experience teaching history at the high school or college level, formally or informally,” whatever that means. My “entrepreneurial mindset” also includes “a high tolerance for ambiguity,” as the job ad indicates; for example, I have no idea what you mean by “entrepreneurial mindset.” Ambiguity in salary and working conditions is also fine; as I said, you can essentially pay me in snacks.

John Patrick Leary, Ph.D.

One thought on “My Fake Cover Letter to the Khan Academy

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