Please fill out the information below completely and accurately. Items marked with an asterisk (*) are required. Warning: may cause suicide

February 8, 2011

Dear Job Websites-

I am seeking new employment. However, whenever I see a position that looks exciting, for which I have the proper skill set and associated experience, and one that I would ultimately want to apply for, I face something called the “employer’s application.”

The gauntlet begins: I am thrown into a round of mindless input of information readily available on my resume: including contact information, previous work experience, job descriptions, and much more. What’s the point of the resume if I need to fill out these blank boxes? Or better phrased, why do I need to put in information that’s already available on my resume? If I get through this level (gulp), I see what awaits me on the next round: a 30 minute survey of behavioral interview questions to quantify my interpersonal, organizational, and leadership qualities. Apparently, they want to know if I “agree, disagree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or not applicable.” (double gulp)

The unemployment rate recently dropped to 9%. Unfortunately, that’s not because more companies are hiring. In fact, in January, the private sector only added 36,000 jobs. The number has gone down because people have given up looking for work. The government doesn’t consider you “unemployed,” if you’re aren’t looking for work. To be unemployed, involves two requirements 1) not have a job and 2) be looking for a job. You don’t count if you’ve given up.

Over 15 million people lost their jobs during the recession, and many have been out of work for longer than 6 months. Some have been unemployed for a year, some even two years. Not only do these people face a challenging job market, where there are simply not enough jobs to go around and too many qualified people to fill them, but the insult to injury, is the ‘dark abyss’ of the employer job application.

Each of these generic applications can take upwards of 20-30 minutes. Factor in another 30 minute assessment, fine-tuning cover letters, and the actual original job search, and you get an unwieldy amount of time spent on applying to even ONE job. My question is: why? Why do companies; large, global, goliath, major institutions of profit, partake in something that is so inefficient, wasteful, annoying, and frustrating?

My first possible explanation is they consider it a “barrier to entry.” In other words, if you really want this job, you’ll sit through the mindless input, possibly followed by a 30 minute round of behavioral questions, just to be considered. That’s the shocker. You could spend all of this time and energy, to submit an application, when the employer knows very well they would never hire you based off a 10 second glance of your resume. So is their goal to reduce the number of applications?

I’ve attempted to send my resume to real people, using various networking and research vehicles online: LinkedIn, google searches, etc. My hope is to circumvent the wasteful time suck that is the employer job website application. The response is typical, “thank you for forwarding your resume to me, however, we can not consider applicants without ……”

At that moment, I hear a shrill scream from inside my mind. The job application on the company website is UNAVOIDABLE. It seems the lengthy application may have something to do with documenting equal opportunity employment screening.

It can not go on like this. Very capable workers have given up hope of finding a job and I can promise you that this senseless application process is a major part of it. We need to innovate here and change the status quo. Attention Entrepreneurs: the market has a need and you can fill it. If companies insist on having information in piecemeal format, we can set up a main online company that provides this format to companies. Consider what Careerbuilder or Monster do, and make it the standard.

So, if they insist on knowing the dates I worked at TPT, or how much I got paid, they can have it in its own little box for perusal. In other words, when I apply and send my resume, I can also send a form that gives them their desired knowledge of my work past, but without the manual input required for EACH website. Now, I can apply to 100 jobs a day, versus 10. Life is a game of numbers and this would increase the chances of garnering employment, of reducing stress and aggravation, and simply be more efficient and simple.

Personally, in the interlude, I have decided NOT to apply to any job that requires a job application. If a company doesn’t value my time and energy, I can not take the time or energy to apply.

I went to college. I can input information into a box if asked and if needed. And I can promise that the information will be accurate. But doing it 10x a day, 7x a day, for an unclear amount of time, I will not. I repeat I went to college. I know how to think and make choices for myself. I know that problems are often complex and unemployment is a major problem now. We can talk about stimulus, tax cuts, work programs, entitlements, unemployment benefits, aggregate demand, consumer confidence, and much more. But, because I went to college, I also know sometimes the simplest solution is often the right one. At this point, I can only ask, “what if there were no asterisks?”

Thank you-
Job Seeker

Stop begging them to listen (the Republicans and the American people)

September 26, 2010

Barack Obama has a clear problem. It’s that he is not acting decisively.

Quick comparison, re: George W. Bush: “George had immense simplicity in how he saw the world. Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership.” – Tony Blair, in his recent autobiography.

I am not surprised by Mr. Blair’s description. For a man who prided himself on ‘going with his gut’ – “simplicity,” seems to go hand in hand with former President Bush’s leadership style. Hence the quick starts to wars without thought out exit strategies or significant preparation and research into best operational practices (maybe diplomacy?! – woops, I’m sorry, that takes too much time and definitely too much of that deem der words n thinkin’)

Regardless, he got things done.

President Obama, however, wants to lecture, elaborate, explain, inform, educate, and professorate to the American people about why jobs haven’t come back yet (we avoided a depression, so this is wonderful in comparison), or why healthcare needed to get passed (morally reprehensible not to have access to healthcare for those who need it / healthcare costs are out of control and the biggest contributor to deficit spending), why we have to protect the constitution (and allow people to build community religious centers where they want), why financial regulation was such a good thing for them (avoid bubbles, protect consumers) etc.

Wow. That sounds like he’s doing a lot actually. And he’s about to involve consumer advocate and Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren to help set up the consumer protection agency she helped champion into creation. Add another point to the working man’s score card.

So what’s Obama’s problem? Public perception. The President’s favorability numbers have crashed and burned as of late. That’s typical during tough economic times.

But, the President doesn’t have the luxury of being well-liked anymore. Especially because he’s not as folksy as previous presidents – where Clinton and Bush seemed to excel. The public’s perception that “they could have a beer with the President;” that he understands their predicaments, their values, and their lives.

Obama is a nerd in a nation full of unemployed construction and manufacturing workers. He is facing the brunt of the ramifications of a changing world – globalization, outsourcing, cheap off-shore labor, technology driven productivity advances, and the ultimate transformation of the US economy into one heavily based on information and services.

Barack Obama is dealing with an electorate that doesn’t understand the complex issues and dynamic involved in our greater economy. Or how we fix it. Or that it takes time to fix.

They connect to simple people and simple ideas (see: Tea Party movement). People just like them and ideas they “plum understand.” Barack Obama, as a highly educated, well spoken Black man, doesn’t vibe with most people’s identification. Especially because he’s an undercover terrorist, Muslim, Hitler-isc, socialist-elitist.

People do not want to be told that the jobs are coming back when they’ve been unemployed for 6 months or a year. When they’re upside down on their house, they don’t want it explained to them that it’s going to take time to get the glut of supply off the housing market. When they’re managing a small company, they don’t want to be told their taxes are going up.

They need solutions. Not talk.

What are the problems facing our economy? There’s a serious gap between workers’ skills and the jobs available. These people may NEVER get their old jobs back. So we need to train the available work-force for the jobs that are offered. Banks aren’t lending – that’s hurting small businesses. We need to get them to lend again. And now! Companies have tons of money on the side-lines because they’re scared- there’s too much uncertainty out there. So they’re not investing in research and development, not in employees, not in investment spending. And they will -only once there’s demand for their goods and services again.

Where will the demand come from? Consumers aren’t spending the way they used to and may never spend that way again. (Remember credit cards and living beyond our means?) With that said, the only way to increase demand, is to increase the number of people working so they can spend money again. That will get the businesses excited and spending money and hiring more workers. And then the dominoes will begin to fall.

Capitalism needs confidence to succeed. And confidence will only come with JOBS.

We need action. We need things to happen now. We need decisive leadership. Bold, strong, from the gut leadership. Creative solutions that have gigantic impacts.

So I say to President Obama: Stop talking. Stop being on TV. Stop showing people that you’re doing something. The sound-bites aren’t working. I hear in your voice, a staining, a begging, a “please understand it takes time to repair 8 years of backwards policies – of neglect, of irresponsibility, of short-term thinking,” a weakness that was not there when you spoke of hope and change. It is time to deliver. We can no longer talk about “the previous administration.”

We live in a different age now, where information is spread rapidly and media is omnipresent. You’re operating under the microscope, but that’s why we elected you. Because only you could do the job. Only you could fight for us.

But people are out there – literally being kicked out of their homes. When wall street was on the precipice of collapse, the government came in and acted decisively, and saved us from tremendous turmoil and pain.

Well—saved some. Others are out there drowning in debt, just barely getting by, trying to find work, trying to live, trying to just survive.

We can blame Republican blockades all we want. But, the problem, of this President, is decisive clear simple straightforward leadership. What we need now is the doing. The action. No more talking.

Mr. President, the campaign is over, we need you to lead now.

Hustle and Flow, baby

September 18, 2010

You can tell your mom and dad to stop worrying—it’s not just you—it’s our whole generation. And not only in America. Joblessness around the world is affecting Quarterlifers

Bloomberg Businessweek reported that more than a quarter of China’s graduating class of 2010 has yet to find work. According to the Education Ministry, that’s about 6.3 million new Chinese college graduates who are unemployed.

In Great Britain, 18 to 24 year olds are suffering with 20 percent unemployment. And In America, our rate hovers around the same.

Yet, millions of students are going to college, hoping that their advanced degrees will help them get into the job of their dreams. The reality of it is they should just hope they get a job.

In America, the recession has wiped out about 8.2 million jobs during 2008 and 2009.

Peter Morici, an economics professor at the University of Maryland, calculates job increases would have to average 400,000 a month to return to a 6% unemployment rate by the end of 2013.

Suffice to say that those numbers are a far reach from where we are today. There was a net jobs LOSS in August of 54,000 jobs. We have a steep way up to climb to return job numbers to pre-recession levels.

What does that mean for quarterlifers? Hustle and flow baby. Hustle and flow.

No seriously, what it means is prepare to get underpaid, in a job you probably don’t love, for a while. But instead of getting down in the dumps about lack of opportunities, use this time to build work experience. This is the biggest thing that employers look for in prospective new employees. Do your job and do it to the best of your ability, and your sure to get someone to notice.

The biggest thing the recession has done has increased the supply of workers, while demand for workers has been low. In the competitive market of finding a job—you have to stand out—be someone who brings immediate value from the skills you’ve developed. For many employers, they want to see real world performance from actual work experience.

Also, in the interlude, Quaterlifers should take advantage of this time to work on personal projects that are meaningful to them. Whether it’s your music career, your great American novel, your stamp collecting, or whatever it is that you love.

The job of the Quarterlifer is to be resilient. College allowed us to put on various hats, try new things, be challenged, and tested. Now, practice is over and we must apply those tangible skills in the real world.

The refrain, “but I have a college degree…” no longer carries with it the promise of a the well-paying job. But, it does open doors and give you the opportunity to show your stuff.

Seize it.

Getting Into the Real World Mentality

May 13, 2010

By Kristen Fischer, www.ramenrentresumes.com

The end of the semester is fast approaching for many college seniors. Even though you may be caught up in campus life, the professional world is just around the bend. Here are a few tips on how to get into a “real world” mentality to make the transition a tad bit easier.

Think about what you want to do. You have been studying a particular field for around four years, but that doesn’t mean you will—or will want to—automatically enter it. If you know that you want to pursue something else upon graduation, there is nothing wrong with not going into the field you studied. In fact, you’ll do better off knowing this from the get-go so you can build your career in another field. Regardless of what you want to do, learn about your options. Examine what you want your ideal day to be like. What kinds of jobs are available in your industry and in the region you want to work in?

It may sound silly but most new grads are on autopilot and, understandably, enter the working world taking whatever job they can get. But you want to build a career now that you have your degree; not just get a job. Put some thought into the direction you want to take.

Get crackin’ on a resume. I know it may seem daunting to work on something that doesn’t have a deadline—unlike turning in a final paper—but this document is equally as important. While you are on campus and have the resources, talk to the pros at your Career Services office and get tips for writing a resume, and feedback from people who know all about them.

Compiling a resume is often overwhelming for soon-to-be grads because they feel like there’s nothing to fill up an entire page, but if you really assess your skill set and look at the latest resume-writing trends, you can come up with a powerful resume that will get you the job.

Start looking for a job—yesterday. Again, you may be swamped with class work or you may be trying to relish your time as an undergrad, but nowadays, jobs are hard to come by. Add the fact that you’ll soon have to pay off loans and bills—and probably want to get your own pad at some point—and you will realize that you don’t want to be behind the eight ball. It is frustrating when your peers have great jobs lined up while they are still students. While that does not happen to everyone, many students are preparing to enter the professional world months before they graduate. Be proactive in your job search and start putting feelers out. You never know how long it will take to get a job and it’s smarter in the long run to get something fulfilling and profitable so you don’t have to take any old gig to get by. (Chances are, you went to college so you would not have to just “get by” anyway.)

Even thinking about what you want to do and where you want to live—and arranging for those things—is smart planning. Talk to your parents about the possibility of moving home or see if you can get a roommate if you want to be out on your own or plan to move far from home.

When summer starts and your classmates are at work and you are home on mom’s sofa, it may feel good for a while but it won’t be long before you will want to get out into the working world. Start your search now so you can make a timely transition.

Practice interviewing. If you aced your public speaking class and excel at debates, that doesn’t mean you will be a natural at an interview. Most of the time, the weight of landing your first job and the pressure of impending expenses can turn you into a frazzled mess when it comes time to sit down for a one-on-one. That kind of anxiety can take away every strategy you have mastered in the past. Start developing answers to common interview questions and practice a mock interview with a friend or a professional in the Career Services office. You can submit a stellar resume but the interview is what makes or breaks it. First impressions are huge in the real world.

Coming in to an office wide-eyed and bushy-tailed is common for recent grads, but you can get more comfortable with a professional environment by rehearsing answers and dressing up. Pay attention to things like how much you fidget—you may smell like an entry-level candidate to the interviewer but you don’t want to look like one, too!

Enjoy your last days in college. Even though it is beneficial to think about and prepare for the future, there is nothing like living in the now. Spend extra time with friends, sleep in, stay out late, hit up a crazy party, or enjoy campus activities. Even if you cannot wait to graduate, you will probably long to be a college student again at some point in the future—make the most of it now.

Kristen Fischer is the author of Ramen Noodles, Rent and Resumes: An After-College Guide to Life. For more tips on preparing for life after college and coping with 20-something issues, visit www.ramenrentresumes.com.

This is what you wanted to do with your life

March 5, 2010

The internet is awesome. It brings us the best of what people can do. Synn Labs has just upped the ante.

Admit it- this is where you pictured yourself working. You want to make full scale laser drinking games and get paid to play with Non-Newtonian fluids (rather than just mixing up some cornstarch and water in your kitchen).

Now, they’ve taken the most sacred invention of nerd and geek-kind alike and set it to music. OK Go asked Synn to help them create a Rube Goldberg machine for their new video “This Too Shall Pass.”

You know you remember the awesome treadmill video that you showed to all your friends. Well here is the next one to pass on. I’m pretty sure that’s really what they meant by “This Too Shall Pass.”
YouTube Preview Image

What Do You Do?

June 26, 2008

How do you answer the question “What do you do?” It’s a decidedly quarterlife question. Until your mid-20s, most people go on the assumption that you are a student (an annoying assumption for those of us who didn’t take the collegiate route), and thus the question need not be asked. But during your post-graduate age, whenever you go out to parties, or bars, or leave your apartment at all, the question inevitably gets asked, “What do you do?”

[Read more]

Zen Beer-ism

June 13, 2008

Sometimes inspiration comes when you least expect it. For example, last weekend I was at an Irish pub in upstate New York. The waitress had just brought an order of hot wings and another tall, frothy, cold beer. It was a dark amber ale with a good head and great body. Clear. Smooth. Rich. It was hypnotic, and I fell into its trance. The tiny bubbles floated to the top, each one like a little planet racing into outer space. Before long I was floating in the beer. I was swimming around the planets, giddy like a kid on Christmas morning. Okay, maybe I was a little drunk. But inspiration nonetheless struck, and my great realization came: beer is a metaphor for life.

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McJob

April 22, 2008

Written By: Allison Whalen

What came first, the job or the crisis? With the exception of the very rich, the particularly lucky, or those Bobby Fisher brainiac anomalies, most of us quarter-lifers don’t have much to brag about in the way of job experience. We’ve all done our fair share of empty-headed labour, whether selling over-priced, ill-fitting, cotton garments, dunking frozen potatoes into a grease-spattering tub, or answering a front-desk phone in a peppy, little voice that secretly wants to stab every caller with a sharp pencil. These types of work (and so many more) can be neatly categorized as “McJobs”, a term coined by the godfather of the quarter-life crisis, author Douglas Coupland. In Generation X, his sizzlin’, pink novel that swept multiple nations in the early nineties, Coupland describes the “McJob” as a “…low-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low-benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one.” Sound familiar?

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Experience is for Wussies

March 4, 2008

I’m not getting my MBA because I love business. I’m getting my MBA because it was easier than working. It’s not that I’m looking for an easy way through life- God knows that I sure haven’t been a slacker. The path to Managerial Accounting started when I tried to get a job. Educated at the Honors College of the Florida State System, the number 3 high school in the nation, and with some hard-core graduate work and internships I went into my search fairly cocky that I would find my dream job.

Six months later I was starting to rethink my, well, my everything. Why wasn’t anyone calling me? I had a resume (with a super cute template), experience in a variety of academic avenues, and even had some killer references. I started to look through the jobs and see if there was something I was missing. I noticed something. All the jobs I was applying for; marketing, administrative, research, warehouse forklift operator; required 3-5 years experience. Actually, 3-5 years experience OR an MBA. Well, I said to myself, “It would take me 2 years to get the MBA or I could have a crappy entry level job for five years.” So sign me up for deferred student loans and get me a Trapper Keeper- I’m a grad student. [Read more]

The Enjoyment of Unemployment

February 24, 2008

The Enjoyment of UnemploymentSlacker, underachiever, no-good, detriment to society, straight up loser; how could someone with any sense of value take pride in unemployment?…well I’ll tell you how.

I’m a twenty-five year old college graduate with a degree in Film and Television. Two years ago I walked across the Graduation stage and took a hold of that prestigious piece of paper. It was my greatest achievement to date (step aside ’93 Little League all-star appearance), and filled me with a sense of satisfaction and success. To be honest it made me a little giddy. I was light on my feet as I walked across the stage. It felt like a pair of hands lifted me across, guided me, and reassured me with their guidance that everything was going to be ok. It was an incredible feeling and one that I’ll never forget.

In six months time those same hands were back but with a little different feeling this time. Instead of lifting me across the stage they were slamming me…in the gut…over…and over…and over…and over. Yes, my bright and shining future had a $100,000 black cloud of debt looming overhead and there was/is nothing to do but take the punches and deal with it. [Read more]