Northeastern senior Rocky Slaughter is lucky he just turned 21. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been eligible – let alone a top-50 finalist – for what is being billed as “A Real Goode Job,” with Murphy-Goode, a winery in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. The winner gets to explore Sonoma vineyards for six months, tasting hundreds of wines and reporting on the experience via social media such as Twitter and Facebook. The gig pays $60,000.
The catch? There is no catch: “Murphy-Goode is trying to create the dream job,” says the web-savvy Slaughter. To land the position, he created a 60-second video explaining why Murphy-Goode should choose him out of nearly 2,000 candidates. And the political science major has lots of reasons: he’s a web-designer with a photography studio (called Happens, LLC); he’s performed with the alternative rock band Weezer; and he’s done TV interviews with political pundits like Tucker Carlson (Slaughter “could be President of the United States someday,” Carlson said in the interview).
As Michael Dukakis, Northeastern distinguished professor of political science notes in the video, “Who could possibly forget a name like Rocky Slaughter?”
Watch Slaughter’s “Really Goode Job Application” at
Slaughter, who counts Cabernet and Syrah as two of his favorite types of wine, calls the potential Web 2.0 job a one-of-a-kind opportunity. As the fabric of our culture continues to be saturated by social networking and video-sharing sites, blogs, and wikis, he explains, those who carve out a niche in the industry will reap a mountain of professional benefits.
“Quite a few doors are already opening left and right,” Slaughter says.
Earlier this week, for example, Slaughter received a Skype message at 9:15 a.m. from an executive at Softpress, a software publishing company based in England. The executive had watched his video application and checked out rockyslaughter.com and wanted to chat with Slaughter about a potential job producing tutorial videos and serving as the publishing company’s website spokesperson.
Slaughter is used to the attention he’s garnered as a result of his run toward landing the Goode job (he already beat out Tech TV host Martin Sargent for the gig). Earlier in the year, he finished 61st among 34,000 applicants vying for the opportunity to live on an Australian island and blog about the experience. As a high-school senior, he tried to pass a statewide bill that would offer students more nutritional information about soda and other drinks on drink machines in high schools. He scored a bunch of publicity for the effort, granting interviews to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and Tucker Carlson’s former show on MSNBC.
The Redding, Calif., native credits Northeastern for much of his success. In preparation for a slew of interviews with Northern California media outlets on his bid to win the Murphy-Goode gig, he’s drawing on argument-construction and speech-writing techniques he learned in courses at Northeastern. And he lauds the university’s unwavering support of entrepreneurship among its students. “Everyone at Northeastern really supports you getting a job,” he says. “The first priority at this university is the co-op, and that’s pretty obvious.”
“I have a problem saying ‘yes’ to too many projects,” he explains. “But the cool part is that it works for people who say ‘yes’ to go to Northeastern because…Northeastern is the ‘big enabler’ for building a portfolio and resume.”
Murphy-Goode will announce the top 10 finalists for the Web 2.0. job on July 7. But Slaughter thinks he has a good shot to make it all the way to the winner’s circle. He has already met the company’s winemaker, David Ready, Jr., at a function in New York’s Grand Central Station and again at a restaurant in Boston’s Financial District.
As a New York Times article on the Murphy-Goode contest put it, “The position of social media specialist…has become the hottest new corporate job among the Twitterati.”
Slaughter couldn’t agree more. “This could be a huge gateway to new web jobs,” he says. “With the Internet, everything is so immediate. Those who can successfully market with Web 2.0 technologies will rise to the top very fast.”
Update:Slaughter is one of 10 finalists for becoming Murphy-Goode’s wine country lifestyle correspondent. The winner will be selected on July 21.