Can I Get A “HELL YEAH!” From Anyone Who’s Recently Searched For A Job?

April 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

While in the world of job searching, if there was anything I learned, it was this:  You will never be *qualified* for any job you are actually qualified for.

Yes, this is a real MIT Grad. Yes, he is really unemployed. Yes, the problem has gotten this bad!


I can see you scratching your head. If you don’t understand what I mean, then you’ve obviously been in your career long enough to almost be ready to retire, and I commend you for that. It’s hard to stay in one position that long. But the rest of us are fully aware that employers know the economy is in such a state right now that they can demand ridiculous criteria for the simplest job, and they will find someone completely overqualified who is completely desperate and will take far less pay than they actually deserve. Because they have to. Because the jobs they are actually qualified for, they aren’t qualified “enough” for.

You hear it a million times a day job searching. “A Bachelor’s degree is the new Associate’s degree.” And it’s absolutely true. To do even the most menial job now, a Bachelor’s degree is a basic requirement. Which is all well and good, except the jobs that are now requiring a Bachelor’s degree are paying Associate’s degree wages. And the jobs that require a Master’s degree are paying Bachelor’s degree wages. How are you supposed to pay off thousands of dollars’ worth of student loans if the degree you got doesn’t pay a wage good enough to pay them off AND live more than a Top Ramen life? And what about the people who didn’t want to opt-in to four plus years of student debt and got a ‘quality’ education at a two year college instead? Well, they now rank with those who have only earned a High School Diploma or GED. If you’re lucky, you get a cushy office receptionist job at minimum wage or barely above. If not, you get food service or manual labor.

Don’t get me wrong. Receptionist positions, food service and manual labor are decent, blue-collar jobs. Jobs that need to be done, otherwise the economy would completely crumble. Jobs that need to be done, otherwise those company heads would have nothing to spend their money on. Blue collar jobs that produce the products and services that people have to buy to keep the economy running, even in this downturn.

But I am betting that we could turn the economy around faster than anyone could even fathom. Just put people where they belong. It’s a concept so simple that it sounds ridiculous, but it’s absolutely true.

The issue is, with the economy as low as it has been, everyone is getting hired in at a lower level than they are educated for, and doing multiple job duties under one job description. Therefore, when they try to advance to something they know they are capable of doing, and may have been doing already, it LOOKS like they are not qualified. They don’t have the education to do that. Their job title wasn’t doing that in their last job. But they HAVE been doing that. Sometimes for YEARS. They just can’t prove that they’ve ever done it *on paper*. And for any job, you have to get through that paper stage to even meet face-to-face and explain yourself.

If you do happen to make it past the paper stage and even the face-to-face meeting, the new one is the credit check. While I can understand this if you’re working with finances, or credit cards, or personal information or accounts, I will never for the life of me understand why 90% of entry level jobs are now including credit checks in their background check process. If you can’t get a loan, you can’t get a job? If you can’t get a job, you can’t get (or pay) your loans! Of course my credit isn’t great! THAT’S WHY I’M APPLYING FOR THIS JOB, DUMBASS!!!

And the poor kids right out of high school that would like to work for awhile before they go to college? Or those that don’t fit the “college mold”? Or even those trying to change a career path? Can’t even get into an entry level job. ENTRY LEVEL jobs now require ONE YEAR of experience doing EXACTLY the job you are entering into. So how is anyone supposed to get into something at an entry level if you already have to have entered into the field and worked in it for a year? They can’t. And we wonder why there are so many people still unemployed.

I have seen the SAME job posted and re-posted on Craigslist for the last month. Loading boxes of produce onto pallets in a warehouse for delivery to grocery stores. Requirements? One year or more experience in a FOOD RELATED warehouse position, preferably supervising other employees. Pay? Minimum wage. What?!? First of all, if you have been in that type of position for over a year, you were probably making MORE than minimum wage, ESPECIALLY if you were supervising other employees. Who wants to step backwards? But they know that people will. Because they HAVE to. Is it really that hard to stack boxes of apples and lettuce? Would it take more than a day or two for any level-headed human being to figure this out?!?

You can’t even get into a temp agency or a staffing agency to fill menial short-term jobs right now. I kid you not, I found ads for warehouse work, secretarial work, janitorial work, and even standing on a street corner holding a sign for discounted meals at the neighborhood restaurant that all required one to three years’ experience…And that was pretty much ALL of the “entry-level” positions. The rest of them were “Administrative Assistants” needed to type documents in Word and make lunch and airplane reservations that required a Bachelor’s degree and three years’ experience (to type and make RESERVATIONS?!?), and Assistant Manager positions that required a Master’s degree and five years’ or more experience. I’m sorry, but if you have a Master’s degree and have been an Assistant Manager for FIVE YEARS and haven’t cleared Manager yet, there’s probably something wrong.

I believe a lot of our current unemployment situation in this country is caused by exactly this epidemic of employers thinking that their future employees are incompetent. To solve it, employers need to do THEIR job and inquire about an applicant’s skills and qualifications without putting so much emphasis on a piece of paper that says you sat through endless pointless lectures that gave you no real world experience, or job titles that say nothing about what your job duties actually were. Put people in positions that they ARE qualified for, and don’t make up criteria and billions of years of experienced required to do your job. Then TRAIN THEM to do the rest. Yes, if you are going to be hiring a brain surgeon; or someone to create flight equipment, or nuclear bombs, or rockets, please, keep the stipulation on these jobs. But if you’re hiring someone to take out the garbage and mop a floor? There is no reason you should need over a year’s experience. If you’re hiring someone to stack boxes on a pallet and shove them in a truck, there’s NO NEED for over a year’s experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, and if we start those entering the workforce in the entry level jobs they are qualified for, that bumps everyone up a level, see? It’s not rocket science. (I’m not qualified for that.)

But it is basic economics. The more people we bump up the chain, the more livable wages they make, the more they can spend to get the economy back to where it belongs. Simple math. I bet even the kids out of high school could figure that one out. And who knows? Those “uneducated, unqualified” people may be just be the ones innovative enough to turn your company around.


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