Employing the CEO of Me, Inc.: US corporate hiring in a neoliberal age

Gershon, Ilana
American Ethnologist

Social practices and contingencies always exceed the neoliberal models by which people currently try to contain the inherent unpredictability of accomplishing social tasks with others, such as getting a job. Contradictions in neoliberal logics emerge when people try to live according to neoliberal precepts, engaging with other social entities as though all are corporate persons and all alliances are, metaphorically speaking, business-to-business alliances. Moments in US corporate hiring challenge scholarly critiques of neoliberal logics that have made neoliberalism seem too reductive and too prescriptive. At such moments, Americans find that one neoliberal principle is incompatible in practice with a different neoliberal principle—as when, for example, being a flexible worker is antithetical to being a legible job candidate.