Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why Not Just Get a Job?

A friend of mine posted a post by the title "Why not just get a job?". It's a terrible question. There are oh so many reasons why. It's rather an arrogant question which dismisses the fact that jobs don't just fall from the sky, and as I've said previously, the whole employment process is rather screwed up.

I can't name a single time when I've gotten a job from showing my CV. Either my CV just plain sucks or, what I've been told about them is all wrong. The examples on the Internet and what people tell you is that a CV should be short (around 3 pages) and that it should be boxed off into sections - work experience is separated from education and those personal statements always sound so dross.

Having gone through other people's CV's to decide who we should and shouldn't take further, the criteria by which I had to do this was superficial. The CV just didn't tell me anything useful about their attitude and how they approached problems or how quickly they learned.

The other thing that struck me from "Renedox's" post that he mentioned was interdependency. Let's expand on that for a second. I'm in a privileged situation. Everyone around me works. My mother, father, neighbours, friends etc. Jobs come up occasionally (though normally it results in me rolling my eyes) through the people around me. Looking at a state housing area the situation is very different. Jobs are far and few between and they're reliant on a flawed employment process even when they've managed to get through the flawed education system (doesn't cater to different methods of learning and is designed to a particular demographic - commercialisation of education is something that seriously needs looking at).

But what really strikes me as unproductive is people's attitude around finding a job. I heard someone with anxiety issues (medication to deal with panic attacks) being given the advice "just take any job. You can make it relevant to any other job you might apply for". The problem with this advice is that it is completely dismissive to his needs. His job, for the time being, is to look after himself. To get to a point where he's actually happy with himself and his situation. In which case, "any" job just won't do. It has to be a job that works for him and his needs.

But this shouldn't just apply to his situation. Getting a job is not an aim unto itself. Sure, you have to pay the bills. But should your mental health and confidence be the sacrifice? Of course, the problem now becomes how do we go about doing this?

It's difficult. Others out there are being disingenuous about the jobs they want and given that applying using CV's and the like is a bit of a lucky dip, will probably take that job that was perfect for you. What's worse is that advertisements for jobs are often dishonest.

As a 16 year old I was a part time "Office Assistant" which translated to doing dishes, vacuuming, emptying bins, cleaning walls, some gardening and occasionally stuffing envelopes. It turns out there's very little between being an office assistant and being a cleaner (except that a cleaner probably gets paid more than youth rates).

I still have email notifications for a few employment websites - those for individual companies. EVERY job that comes through is looking for a "manager" of some sort (just like EVERYONE should be a millionaire although value is a finite thing in which case, if people are extremely wealthy, there are ALWAYS going to be people at the other extreme). By this mentality there are no entry level jobs (so what good is an education really if you need the experience?).

So we enter into a troubleshooting phase. Imagine how things should be, try to discern the paths to get there.

So it would start with organisations being more honest about what they want and how much they're willing to pay - because let's face it. Not all of those "manager" jobs could possibly pay manager rates. The tools would be available for organisations to make more informed decisions on applicants. Applicants being able to express themselves in ways that actually reflect themselves (i.e. everything a CV is not).

And how to get there? I'm not entirely sure.... As Renedox always says "I come up with the ideas". With any luck later in the year I'll be looking toward part of the solution (though it's a little up in the air at the moment) which I'll write about if and when it happens.

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