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Looking for a job

By Dr. M. Sidney Wallace
web posted June 1, 2009

On Friday evening while watching a news channel on television, I watched a short story on the national employment status.  The blatantly biased broadcast news media is having a field day with stories of the individuals losing their jobs and falling off the edge of the world to total financial destruction. 

This "yellow journalism" was complete with how the new Messiah was planning to change America to eliminate all future hardships for these less fortunate individuals that could not take care of their own lives. At this point I started thinking about what it was like to be laid off, to see ones job being filled by someone else or by a machine.  Now let me say, before all of the bleeding heart readers decide to write and tell me that I have no idea what being fired is like, that I have been fired, let go, terminated, and discharged more times than I wish to count.  I did notice that a very unique thing happened the next morning. That old dazzling hot sun came up in the East just as it had the day before and the world had not come to a catastrophic end.     

So now let's get down to the important foundation of this minor difficulty. 

First let me lay out a few points that this article will not address. 

  1. Personal financial planning that plans for the possibility of losing one's job. By this I mean having a personal or family savings plan with at least 6 month's income set aside.  On the planet Earth this is a personal responsibility, however in the United States all you need do is ask for a handout from your local state unemployment office. Politicians are always eager to get more people on the government needy list.  
  2. Personal incompetence and deserving to be dismissed. By this I mean causing a situation where your employer's assets are damaged or you risk the safety of others. Example: A reckless bus driver, a careless industrial machine operator, a programmer that never test for bug in his work.
  3. Personal inability to handle the job for which you are employed.  By this I mean an individual who is improperly or inadequately trained for the job. A surveyor who has no training in geometry, a nurse that has minimal coursework in biology or chemistry, a law enforcement officer who has had nominal criminal justice training. 
  4. Personal age old enough to be out on your own.  By this I am not addressing unmarried student workers who are living at home with their parents.

OK, so you are out of work.  Now what?  I posed this question to several acquaintances over the weekend.  I was shocked at how many individuals jumped on the passive and totally ridiculous approach to getting a job.  The first thing they said was that they would write a resume and start sending it out to all the local employers.  This is a total waste of time for finding a "job.  "

You might have notices that I used the word "passive" in the previous paragraph.  Writing letters and sending out resumes works for individual currently employed and looking to move up.  It has a success rate of less than 1% for securing a new job while unemployed.  The only individuals that benefit from your resume and letter writing campaign are postal letter carriers who don't have to worry about being laid off because they are government employees. 

So now let's set first things, first.  Take a few minutes and do some real, honest to God, soul searching.  In this article I am not going to address securing a future career job equal to or greater than the one you just lost. That requires a greater investment.  This article addresses securing a job to generate an income for your family and allows you the freedom to tell some government clerk not to waste your time filling out forms.

Let me suggest a job securing program that really works. 

  1. Personal appearance.  Make sure your personal appearance is well within the norms of society.  Cover up tattoos, and take out your nose rings. Wear clothes that are traditional, and forget current style like baggy jeans that you wear down around your knees or the short skirt with a halter top.  
  2. Personal hygiene.  Brush your teeth, comb your hair, and wash and iron your clothes.  
  3. Personal attitude.  Glue a smile on your face that no one can pry off.  Potential employers are not looking for doom and gloom.

Now find target employers.  Look for small businesses that do not have an individual employed whose sole job is to keep applicants moving on down the street.   I am talking about a personnel department.  These are the biggest waste of your time.  Next find the owner or shift manager.

You already know that there are state and federal laws on the book that require a minimum wage for all.  Don't ask what the job pays, rather ask yourself how much his job is worth.  Does it require only raw sweat labor? Then assume it is a minimum wage job.  Does it require basic elementary education skills? Then assume it is a minimum wage job.  If you need a job bad enough, then you must be willing to accept a minimum wage. 

Now for the final step.  Seek out the individual that has the authority to hire you.  Talking with anyone else is a waste of your valuable time.  Walk up to this individual and ask them one simple question.  "If there were a way I can solve one of your biggest problems, you would want to know about it, wouldn't you?"   Most likely you are going to get a puzzled look and the individual will ask something like, "What do you mean?"

Now you are having a discussion with a potential new employer about how you can help him.  You are not there asking for a hand out, you are there trying to help a business owner trying to solve problems.  Tell this potential employer that you happen to have a few extra hours of time and you would like to use them helping him solve problems. 

Never discuss how much the new employer will pay for your services.  After all this is not a career, but simply a stop gap job.  If the wages are too low you can use this approach to secure a new job next week, but this week you have a pay check coming in.

If an employer sees that you are much more valuable to him, than the next guy coming down the street, you are in a good position to start negotiating for more money within the limits of the specific job. 

Do not expect this approach to work for each individual you approach.  You must talk with a lot of individuals to find a few you can help, but if a business has one employee, the smart owner is always interested in a problem solver.  The above will work, but lesser individuals will call you a conservative. ESR

© 2009 Dr. Sidney Wallace. His web site can be found here. He can be reached here.


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