Popular Businesses Insult My Intelligence

Beware
Of businesses.

(I could end my poem here and it wouldn’t seem incomplete, right?)

I think this guy has interviewed me a few times.  (Photo Credit: J.J.)

I think this guy has interviewed me a few times. (Photo Credit: J.J.)

Ahem…

Beware
of businesses
that everyone loves,
that everyone admires,
that everyone dreams of working for.

Two million applicants per job vacancy.
One million
nine hundred ninety nine thousand
reasons
they don’t have to
behave…
ethically.

HR can be
catastrophic.
Then comes the
job:
Long hours,
low pay,
no respect,
weak benefits.

You know the drill.

But if the office
has
a swimming pool,
pool table,
nifty decorations,
and free food…

No one will notice the shit?

Sadly…

Until the shit hits
their fan
and their replacements
show up and
eat
the free food.

Inappropriate Sales Pitches Insult My Intelligence

Yellow Sphere, see

This picture is unrelated to this blog post, but I needed a picture.  I hope you enjoy it.   (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looking for a job is so much fun…

I contacted a nonprofit job placement agency today that could be expected to specialize in My Professional Field.  I had a couple of very specific questions to ask and the response was a little lacking.  My thoughts on the matter are much more interesting than anything they wrote back to me:

1- You’re telling me that you never catch wind of anything in my field?  Did you read anything I wrote to you?

2- Oh, I see.  You want to sell me your services.  If you had read what I wrote you, you might have deduced that I have already obtained said services elsewhere for free.  I’ll give you a pass on this one because I didn’t quite spell it out slowly and simply so you could understand.

3- I can forgive #’s 1 and 2 because all funds spent on your services are going to a cause I might donate to if I were employed.  I remember a must-read article at PBS that talked about some horrible things LinkedIn and other job boards are doing to the unemployed.  Compared to them, you’re a peach.

4- I responded to you anyway because I do need a job, but I didn’t buy any services.  I doubt you’ll write back unless my reply caused you to realize that you totally botched your original message.

5- I wish I could list “dealing with idiots” as a skill on my resume.  After so much job hunting, I’ve certainly earned it.

Lack of Focus Insults My Intelligence

The theme for the newest Weekly Photo Challenge is focus.   And some of you visiting today will have clicked on this post expecting some photography from yours truly.  Sorry about that.

Oh, and the only person whose intelligence is allowed to be insulted around here is me.

However, I am using the focus topic to make an announcement.  When I started this blog, I had intended to do daily posts for the first month.  My followers can probably tell you that it has been well over a month.  Well, today I’ve finally decided to lay off the post-per-day schedule.  The bottom line is that I need to focus my writing energies on cover letters and other job search materials; unfortunately, there’s a limit to how long you can sit in front of a computer before your eyes glaze over.  My top priority has to be the job search, so I’ll probably only be posting 2-4 times a week from now on.

Nevertheless, I do not want to end this post without trying to be entertaining.  Therefore, please enjoy this photograph of a 2008 Ford Focus.

2008 Ford Focus photographed in Waldorf, Maryl...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you feel that the picture, when combined with the title “Lack of Focus Insults My Intelligence,” is too much of an advertisement, please contact the Ford Motor Company so they can give me the appropriate monetary compensation.

Job Applications Insult My Intelligence

application time

(Photo credit: Mouse)

People like to ask me what’s cooking with my job search.  Unfortunately, I’m the one who’s cooking.  It’s to be expected in this economy.

And even more so because I have a Ph.D.

We all know that you have to arouse an employer’s hunger when you’re applying for jobs.  Employers seek specific entrees and they often spell out the required and preferred ingredients.

However, things change a little when your education is Piled Higher and Deeper because no one knows what to do with your ingredients.  When I apply for jobs, I present a recipe for myself that should taste good to employers.  Employers, in turn, have envisioned their own recipe for a Ph.D. like me.

Therefore, I offer two dueling recipes to you today: theirs (in red) and the one I wish I could submit to employers in its entirety (in blue).

Ingredients:

An extra decade of sitting passively in class.  (This makes the entree stale.)

One year of coursework beyond a Master’s and ten sticks of buttery independent work

Barely one speck of discernable skills

Three heaping tablespoons each of long term planning, research, writing, foreign language, oral communication, teaching, intercultural competence, technology, instructional design, etc.

Fifteen tons of unbearable intellectual snobbery

Five gallons of experience keeping my “snobby” opinions to myself (when I’m not blogging)

Zero personality. None whatsoever.

Zero personality. None whatsoever.

100,000 British Pounds of excessive salary expectations because of the high wages professors make in comparison

Two British Pounds of recognition that many college teachers need food stamps to survive  (Sprinkle with one iota of understanding that a British Pound is not a unit of measurement plus a hint of irony.)

Immeasurable dedication to the major he completed the degree in… because no one finishes the degree otherwise

Too many years of work invested to quit before finishing the degree… even though I had become weary of the whole thing.  Mix that with 250 kilograms of endurance (one kilogram for each page of the dissertation)

27 pints of writing incompetence because he didn’t major in English

A sprinkle of wishes that people knew you don’t have to complete a particular college major to develop the skills it certifies.  For example, one can improve one’s writing by completing a 250-page dissertation and composing written feedback to students, plus emails and classroom materials, etc.

8 liters of slow-paced anti-deadline serum

A half dozen baking sheets of homework, every night, corrected and returned to students plus a dose of rapidly graded tests and essays.  And several lesson plans each week.

Less than a pinch of interest in trying anything new

Solid chocolate block of disgust for the old rinsed under a steady stream of warm eagerness for the new

Teaspoon of concentrated Love Of Old extracted from his insatiable desire to return to the ivory tower

Nothing sour or spicy (because speaking ill of former employers kills your job application)

20,000 packages of bloviating yeast because these educated folk explain everything on and on and on and on and on

20,000 packages of bloviating yeast because people don’t automatically understand how a Ph.D. qualifies me for a job.  Applications don’t rise unless you can connect your qualifications to the position.  If I had a BA in the preferred major, I wouldn’t have to explain and I would probably lack the writing skills to do so.

One million dollars worth of sterling credentials that should have allowed him to find a job anywhere he wanted, plus three cups of laziness

A dozen daily complaints that everyone assumes a Ph.D. makes it easier to get hired… and then they refuse to hire me because of it.  (Sear these on a grill first.)

Cooking Directions:

Place immediately in circular file for all eternity!

Insert behind desk and savor the aroma!

Um… no, that’s not what I meant by “savor the aroma.”  I meant that I would have a positive impact on the people around me.  Yeah, that’s it.

Email Greetings Insult My Intelligence

Slide1

I’m unemployed and, as you can probably imagine, I spend a fair amount of time on my job search.  Looking for a job isn’t always as thrilling as people usually make it out to be.  In today’s digital age, the pitfalls are greater than ever before.

Back before the dawn of online communications, people would check the newspaper want ads or go to agencies in person or do whatever else was popular back then.  I wouldn’t know.  But these days, one must often apply by email and this can be tricky.  For example, a job advertisement might look something like this:

We are looking for a new employee with the standard set of qualifications.  To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Terry J. Squawchawk at tjsquawchawk@hippocraticfunicular.samba.com

Since I’m addressing a specific person, I now have to devise an appropriate greeting for my email.  In the old days, I imagine that people could just say “Dear Sir or Madam” on those occasions when they were required to submit a letter.   Because advertisers paid newspapers by the word or letter, a contact person’s name was presumably not published unless it was absolutely necessary.  Consequently, applicants could also choose to address their letters to the HR department.

Life was simpler back then.

These days I have to know whether Terry J. Squawchawk is a man or woman because “Dear Sir or Madam” would be offensive.  And since one can’t always learn someone’s gender online, one must sometimes devise creative solutions.  Here are a few alternative salutations I’ve considered:

Dear Bodacious One,

O Captain My Captain,

Hey you!

To the boss of my dreams,

Yo bitch!

Hail Terry, full of grace,

To whom it may concern,

Hey hey Terry J!

Moo!

Your Majesty,

Hail to the Chief!

Oompa loompa doompety doo – I’ve got an application for you,

If you have any better ideas, please let me know.  Appropriate email greetings are critical and I don’t want to mess things up.

HR Incompetence Insults My Intelligence

25Aug09 ~ Grammar Assignment

(Photo credit: grace_kat)

I’ve been seeking employment for a long time and I’ve grown weary of HR departments.  Job applicants are supposed to submit an impeccably proofread cover letter and resume whenever we apply for jobs.  This is reasonable.  However, I regularly see job advertisements that list “mastery of spelling and grammer” [sic] as a qualification requirement.

Take a moment to let the irony sink in.

Take a second moment to pray it’s not your kid’s school that’s hiring people like this.  Or your employer, for that matter.  Remember, HR still handles many critical details for you and their incompetence can be even more challenging for current employees.

I especially love job ads for teachers that mandate a “mastery of spelling and grammer” right after extolling the school’s high academic standards.  Something’s high at those schools and it isn’t the standards.

So, if the folks in HR get things wrong, how are they supposed to know which applicants are getting things right?  Are applicants supposed to predict what mistakes HR will think are correct and replicate them?

Stupidity pays dividends if you’re stupid in the right way.