Friday, February 11, 2011

Work: if it was fun it would be called vacation

For those of you that read my posts everyday, you already know that my job in Grand Island, NE (4 houses, 3 moves ago) was in the employment industry.  I started as a career counselor but moved up to office manager, then company manager. (My ex-boss came up with that title for my resume, I tend to think of it more as company survivor.) The major qualifications for this  type of work is stamina, extreme tolerance and a do-or-die-attitude.

When a good friend told me of an opening at a local employment agency,  it sounded interesting.  How hard could it be to find jobs for people? She was working there and seemed fine.  No signs of premature ageing and more importantly no visible signs of a insanity. How hard could it be to match qualified applicants to available jobs. Ah, so naive!!!

If it wasn't a little bear doing the talking, I would totally believe that to be a real employee. Turns out there are a lot of people out there that have high expectations and minimal qualifications.

You knew that I would have some examples, didn't you?

Some of the standard questions interviewers always ask seem to throw a lot of applicants off their game. For example: Question: Why did you leave your last job?

Possible answers: (I am not making these up and they are typed exactly as the applicant answered them)

1. I got knocked up and had to quit. (I am not kidding, this is exactly how she phrased it)
2. I couldn't get there that early in the morning. I am really not a morning
3. I decked the boss. (According to the applicant, the guy had it coming and again that is the wording he used)
4. I have a bad back and my workman's compensation has run out. (if you really don't want to get hired, throw in the words "worker's comp insurance".
5. I had to go to prison for 6 months. (sometimes the length of time varies more or less)
6. I had to leave the state for a while. (this too varies, sometimes it is just had to get out of town for a while)

Another popular interview question met with some interesting creative responses:

What type of job are you looking for?

The standard answer is ANYTHING.  Then the next answer is but I won't take anything less than $ ***
(varies greatly but usually way more than the applicant could get on their best day)

Then for the fun of it, I say something like, There are openings at ABC Company.  It pays $20.00 an hour.
They quickly say "I get to sit down right? I don't want to have to fill in the blank ." ( answers include but not limited to:  stand,  bend, answer phones, file, show up or work)

Is everyone getting how this isn't as easy as one might imagine?

You all know by now that I love to read.  I read books, magazines, newspapers, Internet and even junk mail, so I continually find interesting articles.  I came across this resume on line not long ago.  Although it was written in 1997.  How could I have missed it? This resume might be ''slightly more creative than most" but by just a smidgen.

One other component of the hiring process that I was to learn "more than I ever wanted to know" about, is the nuances of drug testing. It turns out that nearly all companies in Nebraska require pre-hire drug screens. It also, turns out that every one believes they know the magic formula to escape detection. (I could write a book on assorted theories.) The single most  surprising thing about drug screens though is when I tell the "testee" they tested positive for cannabis, opiates, and alcohol, they act SHOCKED. Each and every time they will argue that they never have used anything, let alone the 6 substances you have detected in their urine.  Occassionally, they demand a retest which is also interesting because it will still test positive.

Since the whole point of my blogs is to continually be conflicted which causes me to look at any and every situation from both sides. Let's take a look at the "employer" side.  If a person is to believe in karma, there are employers out there that deserve whoever or whatever they get.

Some examples of  questionable employers:

I sent an applicant to interview at a pest control company as the executive assistant. (in this case, the real job consisted of making coffee and sucking up to the ego maniac that managed the place). Knowing what a delightful guy he was, I call the local parole officer and asked who he had that might need a job.  He send over ...mmm...let's call her Cindy.  I really liked Cindy and the bonus is that Cindy looked like she could take care of herself.  Cindy goes over, to Mr. Ego's company and interviews.  I check with her and she thinks the meeting went well. 

Mr. Ego calls me the next day to say Cindy is qualified (again, making coffee and being sexually harassed are the job requirements) but he was really hoping for someone younger and with a good ass.  (this is a quote).  Oh, well, I say.  I don't actually have an applicant that fits that description  available at this time.  He hired Cindy.  (she stayed there for several years putting up with his crud, until she got a better job)

Another candidate was sent out (not by me this time, Whew)for a job opening with a major retailer.  You would recognize this one, if I would be brave enough to put it in this blog, (remember, I still have the Lawsuit Lottery post coming up).
The interview was to be held at a local hotel.  The interviewer, a district manager, came late and had a 6 pack of beer with him.  He did a cursory interview while drinking his beer.  According to the applicant he didn't offer to share.  Not only tacky but selfish too.

One employer called to say she needed an assistant for a small shipping company.  I sent several qualified people over there but no one was getting hired or even asked for a second interview.  I call the employer and asked, "What specifically do you want?"  She tells me she wants thin, good looking with nice clothes. According to her, the applicants I had sent were too fat. (Backs up my Fat Bigot post from a couple of days ago.) Remember my motto, you can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig. It would have made slightly more sense if this was coming from Mr. Ego.

It was never dull.  I worked there almost 5 years and most days were good days.  I worked with fun people (for the most part) and each day brought a new story.  On another post down the road, I will tell you some more.

For today though...

The good....Each job a person works offers some  type of real world experience.  Even the worst jobs will teach you something and prepare you for the next opportunity.  I truly believe this. The more we do in life makes us grow as people.

The Bad....there are a lot of really bad bosses and a lot of really bad employees. (Hope anyone reading this is neither)

The weird....One of the things that constantly amazes me is the really horrible employees are usually the ones with the biggest severance packages.

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