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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Getting a Job Then and Now

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Getting a job then:  When I first joined the workforce in the early 1980's, jobs were plentiful in New York.  Getting a job was easy.
  • My college had job placement.  I chose to work in New York City.  They would set up several interviews for me in one day. 
  • I also would set up my own interviews either on the same day or several on another day.  These were from ads in the newspaper and referrals from either friends, family or someone who knew someone.
  • Back then, the majority of large companies would ask their employees to recommend prospects to them for positions.  The employee would get compensated a certain amount of money per recommendation if the person was hired and stayed a certain amount of time.
  • Employees had an incentive to recommend good people to the company!
  • Job-hunters had a much easier time securing employment.
  • Someone I knew used to get a few hundred if the recommended person was hired and stayed 6 months, more money if they stayed a year and even more if they stayed 5 years (that was several thousand in total).  Back in the 80's, that was a nice sum of money.
  • We used to be able to go to the mall or walk around a business district and simply ask if they were hiring or ask if we could leave a resume/fill out an application.  
  • I saw a young girl do that not long ago at a local shoe store.  They wouldn't even talk to her. Without even looking up (how rude) the person who worked there simply said, "go online."  UGH.
  • Years ago, you dealt with PEOPLE.  You sent a resume directly TO a person either via mail or fax.  You spoke to a PERSON via phone.
  • Companies had PEOPLE who were getting a feel for a prospects speaking voice, professionalism, personality and expectations. 
  • Upon being called in for an interview, the first step was to meet with a PERSON.  That person was able to view your dress, mannerisms, personality and ask questions about your knowledge, experience, etc.
  • After meeting with a person, if you were liked and a good fit for the position, THEN you took tests, such as typing, spelling, etc. if it was a job such as a Legal Secretary (which is what I applied for when I was young).
  • I worked for a large company, still well-known, downtown New York City, in the legal department as a Legal Secretary to several Lawyers and Paralegals
  • I commuted from Long Island daily and went through the Trade Center every day (via subway). 
  • I'd walk from The World Trade Center to my job "on Wall Street", which is how it is referred to if you work in the Wall Street district. (See It''s A Three Ring Circus And You Can Watch LIVE!)

  • When I was young, jobs were plentiful.  I would go on about 6 interviews in one week, three in one day usually and three in another day.  
  • I was generally offered 4 out of the 6 positions.
  • In those days, in New York, you NEGOTIATED.  I would negotiate with each company that interested me:  Salary, vacation time, sick time, insurance, retirement, etc. were all negotiable. 
  • I'd take the position that offered me what was the most important to me at the time!  
  • These tactics were not just for the young.  People of all ages were able to do the same.  
  • However, back then, most older people were secure in their positions and chose to stay with one company for a long period of time!  
  • Today... companies FIRE (or force retirement, downsize, etc.) those older employees making the higher salaries.  
  • Today, employees are FORCED to keep changing companies in order to get sufficient pay increases.  

They, whoever THEY may be, say we have "moved forward" and "made things simpler."  Really? Well, you sure could have fooled me!
  • The majority of young people who graduate college these days are not finding jobs in their fields immediately.
  • If they do find a job, it's at a much lower salary than they deserve and with minimal benefits.
  • It's impossible to get 6 interviews in one week.  You are lucky you get 2 in one month.
  • There is NO negotiation, you take what they offer you and that's it.
However, that being said, let's take a step back.  Let's first attempt to get an interview!

  • In order to find employment these days, you must go through CYBER HELL
  • Years ago, people dealt with people and things got done, deals got made and it benefited both parties. 
  • It is IMPOSSIBLE to do today what was done years ago.
  • A young person I know went through BOCES while in high school back in the 80's.  While still in school she started working in salons as a shampoo girl.

  • When she graduated, she was able to get jobs through contacts.
  • She started working in a salon, in a great location.  She worked there a few years.
  • At the young age of only 22 she decided she wanted to buy the salon.  She had saved up a significant amount of money.
  • NOW.... LET'S UNDERSTAND, THE SALON WAS NOT FOR SALE!!!!!!
  • She asked for a meeting with the owner and told him she wanted to buy his salon.  
  • Remember, it was NOT for sale.  It didn't stop her.  She wanted it, she asked for it.  
  • You can do those things when you deal with PEOPLE. 
  • Guess what, he sold.  Yup, at 22 she owned her own salon.  
  • She then moved the salon to a larger space in the same complex, increased her staff, services and clientele. 
  • She sold for a significant amount when she had her second child in her 30's. 

  • In order to even attempt to get an interview today, you must spent HOURS UPON HOURS on a computer. 
  • I remember, in more recent years, when I decided to stop working for myself, I'd spend over an hour taking tests, filling out application and then, when I would go to submit, their site would crash and I simply wasted all that time.
  • In order to apply for 2 jobs, it would take me over 2 hours.  THAT IS INSANE.  And very frustrating.
  • Companies also make people take tests that have NOTHING to do with the job.  Why am I taking a test that involves algebra when I won't be using it on the job, the job is asking for someone to process insurance claims?  
  • I have YEARS of experience in insurance, but they are interested in someone who can do algebra.  Ok then.  I wonder if plumbers need to pass an algebra test too!!!!  
  • So you hired someone who knows NOTHING about insurance or very little about it or about customer service, but wow, they are a WIZ at algebra which.... ummm, they will NEVER NEED TO USE IN THE POSITION!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • At least 70% of the time, you have spent ALL THOSE HOURS ON A COMPUTER and what you did got lost in cyberspace!  NO ONE ever saw it.  
  • Someone I know worked for a large law school.  They put an ad out for a position.  Everyone had to apply online.  The applications went into someone's email.
  • Within one hour they got 400 applications.  They shut down the email.
  • However, THAT DID NOT STOP people from applying.  There was no way to stop that and since the ad was paid for and run for a certain time period, it stayed up.  
  • Essentially, people were applying and hitting "send" and it was literally in CYBERSPACE, never reaching anywhere on the other end! 
 CRAZY, UNFAIR, FRUSTRATING, WRONG, RIDICULOUS - All of the Above. 

  • This was NOT the only company that did this, trust me.  
  • Someone else I know worked in a warehouse.  They put an ad out for a part-time warehouse position.  They received 200 responses in an hour.  They did the very same thing.  Shut it down. 
  • Again, people were responding to thin air.  
Now, don't be fooled.
  • Those whose applications did get through still didn't stand much of a chance.  
  • THERE WAS NO PERSON REVIEWING 400 applications.  No how, no way.
  • Out of the 400, a COMPUTER was picking out "keywords".  
  • Employers aren't interviewing the best employee with the most experience, they are interviewing the person who happened to type the same keywords as the people who programmed the ad put out! 
  • About 20 of the 400 applications make it to a PERSON, maybe less.  
  • A person then SKIMS through the resume.  
  • When I was mid-career, it was said you had about 30 seconds to make a good impression with your resume.
  • TODAY, it's SIX, YES, SIX SECONDS.
What we gave up.

As a society, we have given up so much.  We lost people and now waste time with computers.

Employers:
  • Employers are no longer getting the BEST people.  
  • They are no longer getting good recommendations from good employees.  
  • Employees aren't taking jobs with the idea of making a career at that company so the employer doesn't have dedicated staff.
  • Administrative costs are high, with all the hiring, downsizing, rehiring, firing, it's constant paperwork.  
  • I worked in employee benefits for years.  Most companies we insured back in the day had employees for YEARS.  We would process paperwork when an employee retired, died and then more paperwork for their replacement or for a promotion and replacement of a lower position.
Getting a job years ago, when my parents were in the workforce and when I first started in the workforce, was much easier.  Back then, it wasn't just what you knew, but also who you knew. PEOPLE HELPED PEOPLE.  It worked, for both sides.


Today, in the name of advancement and progress, we are slaves to a computer and cyberspace. A computer can't choose as wisely as a person can.  We need to get back to people being able to help people, to looking at one another face to face, to looking in someone's eye when we speak.  

Young people have NO IDEA what customer service is these days.  They can't communicate verbally.  Everything is done on their phone - banking, reservations, ordering, shopping.  There's no personal contact,  IF by some slim chance a young person makes a phone call, they have to navigate through a computer sequence for 20 minutes prior to getting a PERSON or, they may never get a person..


The last straw was when I was standing in a business and the owner picked up their phone and got a TEXT, not a phone call, but a TEXT from an employee calling out sick.  We don't even speak to one another anymore.

As a manager, I never allowed any employee to TEXT me or leave me a voicemail when calling out. They were required to contact me personally and SPEAK with me, period, the end.


I'm bored to death being out of work due to disability, however, if my issues are ever fixed and I can work again, I dread the job search.  It's not easy and the process is nerve-wracking and anxiety-filled. It's a nightmare for everyone I talk to. 


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2 comments:

  1. Oh, this is so true! It is really difficult to get a job now and on top of that the computer time spent applying is outrageous. It would be nice if we could go back to a time with more Homan interaction and less technological, technology was supposed to make things easier, but it has only seed to complicate things and lessen the human relationship.

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    Replies
    1. Computers seem to have made everything more difficult. Years ago, you went to the pharmacy and simply picked up your prescription. Now it's a fiasco waiting for them to get it to go through the computer. Sick people are made to wait longer for the darn computer.

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