The American Employment Problem Explained
Posted on Jul 16, 2012 by Author
I have had the opportunity to work with one of my clients in just about every aspect of their business
. As a result I get to see into the mind of today's employers. What I have found is our country does not have an unemployment problem. We have a population of unemployable people. Here I express my deep thoughts on why people aren't getting the jobs, they apply for, and why they are being let go from the jobs they used to have.
One of my clients has a small insurance appraisal firm. They have grown from a one man show, to about 30 appraisers. Of course not everyone who was originally hired is still with the company. As the tech guy who works behind the scenes I get an inside view on a modern startup company. Since I wrote the software that basically runs the company, I have trained most of our guys on how to use the system.
Old Dogs Struggle to learn new tricks
Anyone who is my age ( 32 or younger ) grew up with computers and technology. As a result when we have to learn new systems as part of our job, we tend to learn quickly. As you start to go up in age this experience with computers becomes less and less. Til to finally reach the average senor citizen who struggles with mouse coordination. With our company everything is done via computers. We are constantly looking for ways to automate processes using technology. This means communicating via email, and working via remote desktop connection.
My experiences with our hires have been interesting to say the least. In the beginning we thought that everyone could learn how to use our systems. The problem is when you hire a guy who is 55, and has very little experience with computers, you sometimes spend 8 hours to teach him the same thing over and over, or troubleshooting issues with their own hardware because they don't know enough to realize their system is not capable for the job.
This has lead me to immediately discredit potential hires based on age. Before we even consider them, we email them and ask them some simple questions about their computer hardware
. What CPU are you running. How Much RAM do you have. What ISP are you using. What kind of Cell Phone are you using? If they answer quickly and competently then we consider them.
Owning an Iphone will get your resume thrown in the trash
One thing I have noticed is that most people with IPhones are terrible with Windows PCs. There are those few rare IPhone owners who are true tech gurus. But for the most part buying an IPhone is a scarlet letter that tells employers you suck at computers. So before you go bragging about your IPhone in your job interview realize what you are really saying. Unless you see the office place saturated in Apple Hardware, its best to not discuss your IPhone.
Keep the Drama to yourself
Employers don't want to be your friend. They want you to do your job quickly and effectively. If you were already friends with the employer, they are not hiring you because they want to socialize at work. They are hiring you because past experiences tell them you will get the job done.
Don't try to negotiate higher pay
I am blown away by the number of people that seem to think they are worth more than the going rates for a certain position. The fact is an employer is going to hire the guy that gets the job done for the least amount of money possible. You found the job the same way the other 500 people found the job. Unless you can prove to the employer that by hiring you, will yield the company a greater return on investment, there should be no talk about additional pay. Its one thing if you are walking into a very specialized field of work, but for the most part the job you are going after has hundreds of applicants who are all qualified. Be happy you have a job. If you want higher pay you must prove your loyalty and work ethic to the company first.
Communicate only when its important and by email first.
If you have something you wish to discuss with your boss, make sure its important and not just drama. Then once you have determined its importance, send your boss an email. DO NOT CALL THEM! This will allow your boss to reply at their convenience. If you need a reply quicker, send them a Text. If its life or death, or other attempts to reach them have failed over a 24 hour period then call them. The boss is managing not just you, but 30 other guys, plus all the company's clients. Every second of his day is precious.
Don't over think the job.
Companies love to hire experienced people. But when they have so much experience, they spend more time worrying about the daily drama of the company, and how things should be run, rather than just doing their job, this becomes a problem. Companies want to hire Indians who will go into battle, and not Chiefs. If you want to be a Chief you need to go start your own company.
How to get the skills of today
When I see something I don't understand, I am driven to figure it out and conquer it. When I started making websites
over 10 years ago, I was using graphical tools to put photos on a publicly accessible website. I didn't really understand HTML
, or any object oriented programming
. As I wanted to make more advanced things, I was pushed to learn more advanced concepts. I went form using software to make a website, to learning HTML
, To learning flash
, to Learning ASP.NET
, to CSS
with companies like godaddy
, then I moved to a virtual server, then to a dedicated
server, then to building my own server and colocating in a datacenter.
Forget the 10 year plan, forget the 5 year plan. What are you going to learn today? People get obsessed with fantasizing about being that successful person. Having that big company, the money, the cars
, the house. Let all that go. Focus on what little thing you can learn today that you didn't already know. Then the next day build on that. Eventually after several years the dots all start to connect.
Some people will go back to school thinking that a degree is what they need. You need knowledge, not a degree. 20 years ago, yes if you wanted to learn and master something you would have to take classes, or live at the library. But today with the internet all the world's knowledge is a click away. Figure out what you want to learn, and start googling for tutorials.
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