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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Job Clearing House

The more jobs one applies to the more one realizes that the system is set up for us to fail.  I recently started approaching my job hunting in a different way.  I was simply looking at opportunities through various media sources and searches, but then more recently I started focusing more on networking type of opportunties, volunteering, etc.  My chances suddenly looked up.  People tell you about jobs you might not have found otherwise, maybe you even have conversations with people about them.  They'll "put in a good word... blah blah blah".  But then what?  I still have no interviews.  Friends, family, acquaintances, professionals, etc.  It doesn't matter how qualified I am.  Companies have hundreds of applicants to hire from, if I don't have the job title on my Resume/CV, ten others might, and probably do.

This is one of the foundations of capitalism - a 'reserve' labor force.  That is why they always say that 4% unemployment is actually good for the economy.  This 'excess' puts the strength at the negotiating table in the hands of the producers rather than the laborers.  This keeps wages down, as if one person doesn't want that job for that wage, there is always another one that will.  Think sweatshop labor in the developing world, they'll take what they can get just to have a job - no matter how suspect the conditions are.

So... what can be done to better employ others while we wait for 'systemic evolution'?  I had a thought the other day about how the job search process could be aided.  As the current problem is that the people that you are applying to really have no clue of who you are or what your work capabilities are (other than the two pieces of paper that you sent them), why not find a way to neutrally evaluate people.  A clearinghouse of sorts that could act as an evaluator of personal ability for prospective employers.  A way for them to 'know' more about you specifically, the things that don't necessarily fit neatly into bullet points on a piece of paper.  It is people, not experience, that get jobs done.

I guess the bottom line for me is that my experience doesn't fit nicely into a cookie cutter.  I have lived in many places, had many different jobs, and studying a quite a few different things.  But I don't have the step by step employment history that seems to be desired.  Does this mean I am not capable of doing the job or even perhaps doing it better than others?  Of course not.  As a friend of mine said, "I can't believe that these people I work with have jobs and someone as capable as you does not."  But that's the system we live in.  Everything is subjective and specified.   Gone are the days when you would walk into an office, shake a person's hand, and deliver your resume.  They see you, they interact with you for a moment, they get a sense of 'you' - not the narrative you.  Everyone interprets things differently and one piece of paper is never enough to sum up a life's work.  

So how about it?  What if there was an neutral agency that would evaluate people and give them a score or evaluation of some sort to show there current day capabilities.  There could be an interview process, resumes, recommendations, whatever. This would give everyone the chance to be 'interviewed'.  To become more than a piece of paper.  If a person can never sit in front of someone and state their case as a living breathing human being, how can they ever differentiate themselves from others?   

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