We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Think life is not as good as it used to be, at least in terms of your wallet? You'd be right about that. The standard of living for Americans has fallen longer and more steeply over the past three years than at any time since the US government began recording it five decades ago.
The AFL-CIO is making headlines by running ads promoting “Occupy Wall Street.” One seriously doubts that members of the working class have much in common with the left-wing professional agitators running these protests and the tent cities they are erecting illegally in private and public parks in New York, Washington, D.C. and other cities. The most interesting part of this story, however, is that one of the AFL-CIO affiliates behind the campaign, the Working America group, is headed by a veteran of the Venceremos Brigades to Cuba, a progressive activist by the name of Karen Nussbaum. Equally significant, her husband works for the public relations firm that represented billionaire hedge fund operator George Soros.
My wife is currently re-entering the work force after a 2 1/2 year hiatus. She is interviewing for a position that is relatively entry level, but with some upside potential. The job is designed for people like her, who have spent time on the sidelines.
What's interesting is how much effort they are putting into the hire. She's been on several interviews and is heading for another tomorrow. She has to do a 5 minute Powerpoint presentation on the company and what it has to offer clients.
We assume this has nothing to do with the potential upside, trying to figure out if she may be promotable, and believe it has more to do with the fact they can ask potential employees to show them whatever skills they deem necessary.
In reality, I'd hope all positions would be filled with such care. During the good times, however, I saw far too many positions filled with friends, family or some other relatively unqualified person.
It's not an issue of seeking exceptional people, but rather of competence. When jobs were available and people to fill them fewer or jumping frequently (my industry has an average lifespan of 1 1/2 years per job held), very little effort was put into choosing based on competence. It was a matter of "fill the job".
While I was unemployed, I noticed plenty of available jobs. I was held back for 2 reasons.
1. I wasn't interested in the position or didn't think I had the right background.
2. I wasn't prepared to take a salary cut to the degree the open position would require. Assuming I was willing, there was still the fact the employer may deem me "overqualified" for the position.
I've hired overqualified people, and I was never disappointed when I did.
I find it interesting that individuals with my particular skill set seem to more and more in demand. As a general rule, I am WAY over qualified for most of these quickie jobs that I am offered on a regular basis - I find it...well disturbing I guess.
I'm not sure why that is either although TB's posting the other day about new attorneys leaning on the client's dime seems to be part of the answer. Most companies who need a quick, competent and knowledgeable solution to a problem don't have time to hand it off to a newbie engineer under the guidance of a senior engineer - they need a solution now. So they "outsource" in a sense.
What drives that seems to be competition between companies. They just flat out don't have time to properly train new engineers. I've also been told that today's graduate engineer are not trained to the same level as yesterday's engineer.
Part of that may be technology too. I'm old enough to have been trained on the use of a slide rule. And old fashioned drawing boards and drawing tools. And adjusting and printing blue prints on the fly during the production process. Today, almost all of that, from calculations to drawing to approval processing, is automated. With 3D printing techniques, they don't even have to build models which is a significant part of the overall learning process.
Can someone please clue me in as to how PowerPoint solves communication problems. I don't get it and the hours that people spend trying to master it could be better placed in simplifying the presentation. ????
re: Desperately Seeking talent. The subtitle has nothing to do with the WSJ article it heads, which is about "The Rare Find." But to answer the question posed by the misleading lede, people worry a lot about hiring the wrong person because these days it is damned hard to fire someone who fails without getting into a big hassle over it, often a big lawsuit which costs more time and money than a lean company can afford.