Tag Archive | "jobs"

A Matter of Ethics

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As the unemployment rates soars into double digits, why are employers still complaining about the lack of good help?  And where are all the people out of work who constitute good help?


Despite lengthy and loyal service to employers, the belts that have tightened Corporate America’s waist have left workers with a rude kiss-off to regular paychecks and once-guaranteed pensions.  Watching impotently as greedy bastards received TARP funds from a blithe government, many downsized employees have developed fatalistic attitudes.  The outlook of those eligible for Unemployment benefits must surely be one of entitlement, and not just to make ends meet.   Canned workers want their teeny little piece of the pie as well as a bit of freedom from having to slave for wages while the unrepentant rich get richer.  Although the well of Unemployment is beginning to run dry with so many drinking from it, some beneficiaries must view this scenario as their one opportunity to stick it to those who screwed them out of their jobs.


From an employer’s point of view, it must be difficult to maintain minimal workforces that include staff performing on sub-par levels: those who call out sick on Monday mornings, arrive late for work, and do their jobs half-heartedly.  Why, then, don’t bosses seek better workers?  Could it be that they can’t be bothered running (and paying for) want ads, and taking the time to weed through the myriad hopefuls knocking on their doors?  If so, is it fair for management to complain about the less-than-efficient help?   And why is it less than efficient?

 

Nepotism and favoritism run rampant in every business.  Lazy and inexperienced workers are always hired because they are related to or buddy-buddies with someone at the top of the hiring food chain.   Since we all came into this world with nothing, it would behoove us to promote the concept that there is no shame in starting at the bottom rung of the ladder.  Every job plays an important part of our society.


Consider the sanitation worker.  It would be hard to imagine what our lives would be like if everyone thought they were “too good” to perform this type of work. Without sanitation workers, we would revert to Victorian London, where the streets ran with all manner of filth, and not only in the poorer parts of town.  If no one carted the garbage, imagine the pervasive stench of rotting rubbish, not to mention the vermin.  There would probably be a lot fewer people on the planet because of illness from the ensuring disease.

 

Perspective is a matter of choice.  We can choose to see ourselves as drones stuck doing repetitious tasks day after day, or as providers of valuable services.  We can see ourselves as haulers of other people’s trash or protectors of our fellow citizens; as flippers of burgers or those entrusted to feed the hungry masses.  The level of the work that we perform does not diminish our value as human beings.  It is up to us to execute our duties with integrity; it’s up to us to promote our own self-esteem.


Good work habits in adulthood begin with good study habits in our formative years.  The coddled children who seem to be the norm today would do well to learn that anything worth having, including a job in this declining economy, is worth working for.  Perhaps the spoiled brats should be made to wear the proud orange and navy colors of Alabama’s Auburn University, particularly the T-shirts that boast the school’s motto.  In part, that motto reads:


I believe that this is a practical world, and I can count only on what I earn.

Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.

 

I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely,

And trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.

 

I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which

I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow man.


Amen to that!

Solving Unemployment

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In September of 2008, the United States of America experienced a financial meltdown, resulting in massive, escalating unemployment.  Government stepped in to fill the gap, using $710 billion in taxpayer’s money in an attempt to resolve the situation.  The money was allocated to keep the “big boys” on Wall Street and in the insurance industry afloat, and ostensibly, to save jobs.  Lo and behold, the financial market has recovered to some degree, but the unemployment rate remains high.  Why?


Like most businesses, the financial and insurance industries are interested primarily in profits, and not what benefits the country-at-large.  The difference, however, between finance and insurance, and other industries, is that the first two are heavily regulated by the government, and for good reason.  The mandates exist largely to protect taxpayers from fraud and theft.  Knowing that their you-know-whats’ were hauled out of the fire by the taxpayer bailout, for the express purpose of maintaining and creating jobs, why have those industries not responded in this way?  President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated, “The economy of the country depends on the spending power of its people.”  How right he was!  FDR tried to jumpstart the economy during the Great Depression by creating jobs though government-run programs such as WPA and CCC.  Because these jobs did not originate from the private sector, he did not achieve this goal.


Our capitalistic system demands that employment must be profitable.  How, then, do we fulfill this demand in this terrifying economy?   The first step is to achieve a meeting of the minds between government and the private sector as to which will be the source of employment.  When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and plunged us into World War II, meetings such as this took place, and were successfully concluded, to organize the nation into a smoothly running machine capable of winning the war.  Once faced with a common enemy, it did not take long for both parties to offer viable solutions, including changes in the products, machinery, and workforce complexion of manufacturing.


As a nation, we must take a page out of that book to resolve today’s economic and employment problems.  Both parties, government and industry, must realize that there has to be give and take, not a rape of the American public by taking advantage of a crisis situation.  Now bolstered with $710 billion, the private sector must begin to recall employees it had downsized in response to the 2008 stock market crash.


In turn, the government must make business more profitable by facilitating this period of transition and growth through a reduction in taxes and by supplying work to industry.  Simultaneously, entrepreneurs and small businesses should be allowed to invest in the job market by easing the restrictions that pose problems to the operation and, by association, profitability of their businesses.  The final goal should be to employ more than 95% of the nation’s workforce, thus reducing the current 10 percent rate of unemployment. With more workers contributing to social programs via automatic payroll deductions, those programs would become solvent and self-sustaining.


A renewed workforce equates to money in the pockets of consumers.  With disposable incomes, consumers will stimulate the economy on all levels: they will be able to patronize a broad range of providers of products and services.  The economy would blossom. Both government and business would profit, and Americans would not be losing their homes, going hungry, and forced to learn Chinese and Arabic in the hopes of landing jobs in foreign lands.


If all of this could be accomplished, the next step would be to transform government to run in a business-like manner.  Citizens should be viewed as clients; every business creates and maintains a client base, or the business does not exist.   This strategy would make government more fiscally accountable while providing needed services to its citizens.  By abolishing earmarks and lobbying, we’d dramatically reduce corruption of our elected officials and make government more responsive to the needs of its clients, us.


Next, let’s merge Social Security and a Federal pension plan into one viable program for every citizen.  Laws must mandate that elected officials have the same programs as regular citizens, not special concessions.  Money collected for social programs (Social Security, etc.) should not be placed into a general fund, but allocated for the purposes for which they were intended (i.e., solvency of senior citizens upon their retirement).  The U.S. Treasury Department should place the funds into separate, low-risk, interest bearing accounts to be managed by financial professionals.  These professionals must demonstrate ethics and business practices that will be held to the highest scrutiny, via meticulous, unannounced external audits.  All finances must be reconciled; no secret slush funds for those seeking to rip off “the little guy.”


This plan may not be the cure-all for our country’s woes, but it is a start in the right direction!  When you consider the cold reality, what is the shortest road to national success?  Is it healthcare?  Housing?  The financial market? Or jobs?  Which one of these choices relates to President Roosevelt’s declaration that the economy of the country depends on the spending power of the people?  The answer to that question, obviously, is “jobs.” Without consumer confidence and resultant spending, our nation would be reduced to “banana republic” third world status.  Yes, I said “third world” and not “emerging nation.”  Let’s call it what it is, shall we?  Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.


The recipe for success will lie in the hands of the three parts of our Federal system.  Every citizen, therefore, should be extremely well informed and painstakingly selective when voting for our representatives in 2010 and the future.  And if this article has offended you in any manner, you may very well be a part of the problem and not the solution. 

Summertime and Your Job Search

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summertime


Summertime and the living is easy; that is, unless you happen to be unemployed and searching for a job.  In that case, you are tortured and your level of anxiety grows daily.


In job hunting and recruiting circles, it has long been axiomatic that the periods between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and between Memorial Day and Labor Day represent the least probable times of the year to secure employment.  And, if one considers the circumstantial evidence, that supposition rings true.  Since achieving employment today involves multiple interviews with decision-makers at various levels of the potential employing organization, opportunities to arrange these interviews in a timely fashion are limited by vacations, holidays, days off, and hiring manager preoccupation with non-business matters.


Yet, these times of the year do present more than just a glimmer of hope to the serious job seeker, because less motivated job candidates will often refrain from pursuing employment opportunities for the very reasons enumerated above.  This means that for those who either from desperation or design actively seek employment during these periods, there will be significantly less competition than during the traditionally more abundant job hunting seasons of the year.


To maximize opportunities during the summertime, as well as at all times of the year, job hunters require a plan to penetrate all areas of the proverbial job market, including both published and unpublished opportunities, and superior marketing materials in the form of resumes, cover letters, and follow-up letters.  With a viable plan to market themselves effectively and job hunting materials of impeccable quality, serious job seekers can utilize the summer season to their advantage in gaining job market exposure and securing employment while many potential candidates sit on the sidelines.

The Saga of the Traveling Job Candidate

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travelling-salesmanThe old cartoon of the salesman sticking his foot in the door of the house of the potential customer, and the harried homeowner struggling to push him out, has become an enduring and amusing icon in Americana.  Not so enduring has been the process of the job search, which has changed to keep pace with the economy, increasing demands upon productivity and technology.
 
Twenty or thirty years ago, it was possible for a job seeker to walk into a company and hand his or her resume directly to a manager with the authority to hire.  This scenario, however, has gone the way of housewives in starched aprons whipping up four-course dinners every night of the week.  Like the traveling salesman, today’s job candidate often finds himself locked out of the best employment opportunities.  Denied direct, face-to-face access to the hiring authority, the job hopeful must rely upon written documents to open the door for him.
 
Certainly, a resume is central to this objective.  Articulate and keyword-optimized, a resume should present the candidate’s qualifications, skills, and accomplishments – in essence, telling the candidate’s story.  However, without the opportunity to sit across the desk from the hiring manager, the job seeker requires an additional impetus to present his case.  Servicing a function much greater than the simplest of requests to peruse the resume, the cover letter can facilitate the presentation of his background and qualifications.
 
Where the resume should reflect as closely as possible the facts of one’s career, due to its introductory nature, the cover letter permits a more personal voice.  It enables the candidate to communicate more on a one-to-one basis with the prospective employer.  And, while it would not be prudent to reveal one’s love for skydiving or the music of Nine Inch Nails in this manner, the cover letter should suggest one’s work ethic as well as overall strengths.  To further pique the interest of the hiring manager, the letter may allude to its writer’s professional contributions.  Wading into the deepening waters of potential candidates, the job seeker who produces a well-crafted cover letter can assist employers in separating “the wheat from the chaff.”

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