Recently I decided that I needed to find at least a part-time job to supplement my income from freelancing. Grant writing has been too up and down for me, and I’d rather have something to count as a regular income. The first step in doing this has been learning how the job hunting game is played, since it’s been a while for me.
Sadly, I had no idea how apt it was to call all of this a “game”.
My problem is a simple one: I can do just about anything relating to writing, engineering, and most kinds of management. I just can’t prove it as well as most people want. That’s OK with me, as I don’t expect to have the perfect job (especially part time). What worries me is that potential employers don’t seem to want someone who is creative enough to be certified in X, Y, or Z quickly, but they’d rather have someone already shaped into the exact cog they want in their machine. That leads to the major game skills which are apparent in the job listings.
First of all, many aren’t in English. No, I don’t mean they come from another country, I mean that their social construct involves the utilizations of synergies to devise alternative paradigms, or some other doubletalk. I was going to list one of these here verbatim, but I still might like to have a job with them if all goes well. Still, I have to wonder what the office banter is like.
“So, how ’bout them Vikings?”
“Yes, the execution of the inflatable leather relocation was performed in a state of the art manner by all aspects of the highly developed team.”
“Um, you sayin’ they worked well as a team for once?”
The other issue I run into constantly is the need to “dumb down” my resume. People won’t hire you for a job that you are “overqualified” for, which is something I don’t understand. The excuse given is that “You wouldn’t be happy”, but it’s probably more that they believe you will leave at the first sign of a better job. There are so many problems with this, no matter how you look at it. First of all, there’s an assumption that I’d be happier not having job, since starvation is a great way to shed unwanted pounds. Secondly, the lack of growth opportunities, especially if “overqualified”, means that workers aren’t as important as the system they are hired to be part of. Labor ex Machina, if that isn’t redundant.
The need to “dumb down” a resume is very important in this economy, because it’s one game that no one seems willing to talk about it. But it’s very common. If you lose a high paying job, you’re not going to wait around for one just like it. You’ll get work as soon as you can, even if it’s at less pay. Ah, but you’re “overqualified” for a less well paying job, so you’ll never get hired. What do you do? Dumb down your resume, which is to say pull out all of the advanced degrees, trainings, and other good sounding stuff. Anyone listing a lab technician or other entry level science post has had a “dumbed down” resume cross their desk. It’s absolutely endemic.
I had an interview recently that I totally mis-read. I made myself sound wonderful and incredibly enthusiastic about the possibility. I genuinely was enthusiastic, and from what I could tell they really were looking for me. I was wrong. I didn’t get the job, and they redefined it as a secretary position. I don’t know if it was a budget problem or what, but I should have given them the “dumbed down” resume and been a little more circumspect. Part of making this strategy work for you is when you know you are looking at a situation that you can grow into a better job that meets your qualifications. If I had read this one properly, I would have gone for that strategy and I might have a fun part time job right now. Oh well.
It’s the fact that this is all such a game that gets so old. You have to read the other situation and outplay them if you want a job. The game is described by a poorly defined boundary of fog and doubletalk. It starts with a mechanical approach to hiring people and fitting them into the machinery of the organization as one more cog. Yet the process, however mechanically defined, is administered by people. That contrast appears to be where the strange behavior and stranger lingo comes from. The rules to an Avalon Hill strategy game are a comic book in comparison.
Finding a job these days is not just a game, but a very sick game. To the extent there are any instructions at all, they are often written in doubletalk. You have to understand the organization you are interviewing with even more than they understand themselves. There is a strategy involved, but you have to improvise it as you go. The alternative is probably reading the instructions, but � that seems a lot harder to me, frankly. We’ll see if that kind of creativity and strategic thinking is worth anything to anyone, or if they prefer utilizing synergy to produce alternative paradigms.
Meanwhile, if you want someone with a creative mind and an ability to express himself, or if you need a strategic thinker and excellent management coach, I’d be very happy to talk with you about it as wabbitoid47(at)yahoo.com. Person to person, no games and no doubletalk.