How Not to Get a Job Part 2

As shitty as it is to be unemployed and looking for job, I must say it’s equally as frustrating to be an organization in need of an employee. The fact is in smaller organizations there is often no human resources department or person to do the initial grunt work of weeding through applicants, those tasks often falls to some employee or maybe even the actual employer. Who at the same time must do their normal job duties on top of taking time to try to find what they hope will be a fabulous new employee.

This month is turning out to be stress inducing multiplied by about a hundred which is why my posting has slacked off. Kids starting school, new grants, and more importantly the need for new staff at my center have got me wanting to pull out my damn hair, its crazy time people! So I am still interviewing for my center in case you haven’t figured that out, my task is made harder by the fact that as a very small non profit my budget is minuscule. Oh, but it’s far larger than it was almost two year ago when I took over as director. Back then there was no money to hire anyone else.

The interviews have continued and let me tell you while the official stats tell us that for every job opening there are 5 applicants; I am convinced that out of those 5 applicants the stupid runs deep for 4 of them hence why they are unemployed. I have grown convinced that for strong applicant’s jobs exist. Maybe it’s a sign that I am getting old and that I am slowly becoming a lovable curmudgeon but let me tell you meeting applicants who clearly do not bother to read job descriptions drive me crazy. Now I know as several folks have already told me, I am basically looking for a saint. Someone willing to commit to a full school year for very little in terms of remuneration. I want to be sympathetic to folks but the fact is when running a program devoted to at risk kids, the strength of our program is that we develop strong relationships with the kids. Relationships that really make a difference, for many of the kids that my center serves they lack stable home environments and the center is the one constant in their lives so it only makes sense that I hire someone who can at least commit to staying the entire school year. Yet out of the now many folks I have interviewed only two seemed willing to make that commitment. Unfortunately the two who were willing to do so lack the necessary skills sets for that particular position, though one candidate I did offer a lesser position that will allow me to train them and see if perhaps they can eventually move into the primary position I am hiring for.

Next thing, life happens…Lord, knows I have lead a life where shit happens. But if you have to reschedule an interview calling two minutes before your interview time asking to reschedule is a fail. Especially when the interviewer has given you their cell number so if you need to change the time you can do so in a timely fashion. Look, if you are interviewing for a position where timeliness and responsibility are a huge factor and I think a program where you would be the overseer of 20-30 kids falls into that category, please know you are being judged on everything. I know some of you may say damn BGIM you are a harsh taskmaster. No, but I need to know if I hire someone they are not going to call me 10 minutes before the center is supposed to open telling me they can’t make it. If that happens on a day I am say at meeting miles always then the center literally would not open. To the working families that use our services that means kids getting off the bus to a center that is closed if someone calls out at the literal last minute. Needless to say in this interview process I am paying attention to all the small details.

Also while it’s illegal for employers to ask certain questions, why the hell are so many of my applicants over sharing with me? One woman in a cover letter mentioned being a single Mom….that’s cool but honestly I don’t need to know that about you. I also don’t need to know that you are on unemployment and trying to see if you can work my job and collect your benefits at the same time. I have had several applicants share that with me and each time thought um…okay. People, people…I want to know you only insofar as it would affect how you work, all that extra shit is just too much. Besides if you are over sharing your personal life with me, how the hell will I know that you won’t over share about the folks we serve?  In my work confidentiality is a huge deal; I need to know you won’t be down at the local coffee shop talking greasy about one of our families.

There are so many pieces of finding a job that is a good match for the employer and the employee but in both instances a little common sense can go a long way. We are living in a time when all around us we are encouraged to live open lives, hell just turn on the television. Reality shows have changed how we view what’s right and wrong…um, competing on a show for a 5th rate celebrity frankly says a lot about you. Social media which I have a fierce love/hate relationship with has broken down the filters that we use to have, hell even I am guilty at times of over sharing and being a little out there online. But in the work world especially in a place where you are dealing with vulnerable folks, a certain amount of integrity is needed.

Anyway wish me well as I start another round of interviews this week. Happy Monday!

PS: If you are looking for a job, you really need to be mindful of what you put out on the interwebz, because when employers do background checks we really do take a look at your online persona. Some might say I am an intrusive employer but my agency reputation and my professional reputation hinge on making sure I don’t hire a pedophile or some other unsavory character so I need to do the appropriate checks. I am not turning down any applicants due to their political beliefs or things like that but if you like to engage in borderline illegal activities in your off time, well that does give me reason for concern.

Sorry no job for you…your credit sucks!

In this new and strange age where the formerly middle class find themselves having more in common with the truly downtrodden, we now are seeing all types of articles being written that while its news to the newly not so middle class, its truths that the poor and working class have long known.

You are in need of a job, you have a great series of interviews, your references check out, just one more thing…a credit check. Depending on who you are, that may not phase you but if you are like growing numbers of Americans, you feel your stomach jump and know that the perfect job is now most likely not going to be your job. Don’t believe me? Check out this story. It tells a truth that I have known for years both professionally in the work I have done with clients back when I was working with the homeless as well as in my personal life. Though the two gigs I landed that required credit checks still hired me, though one wonders why does a position as an adjunct instructor at a community college require a credit check?

In this story, folks are facing the cold hard truth that truly jacked up credit can indeed prevent keep you from getting a job which seems silly. Don’t get me wrong, certain jobs especially ones dealing with cash, it makes a certain amount of sense to check an applicant’s  credit history. But to answer a phone, be a clerk, teach?…come on now? Do these things really require knowledge of an applicant’s credit history? Furthermore, to deny a person a job based off a lousy FICO score and open collections, how sane is that?

Look, for starters not everyone doesn’t pay their bills because they are a fucking deadbeat. We are living in a time where there are untold numbers of folks who are underemployed…college grads making way less than they need to survive, folks who want jobs with bennies forced to do contract work or freelance work. People who earn money but in many cases after they pay the bills they have to pay to stay housed and fed, simply don’t earn enough to pay anyone else. Maybe they should get a second job but in many professional jobs, the days of the 40 hour work-week are a thing of the past, so having time to work a second job is not always an option. Or maybe they are already working two jobs to keep a roof over their head…what then?

So you ask why did they get in debt in the first place? Well considering the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the US is medical bills, it seems a lot of folks get sick. I know firsthand the joys of having health insurance and ending up in the hospital only to have your insurance carrier not cover the bill, shit, I am still paying on my kid’s birth 4 years later.

What about folks who had good jobs?Life happened and they had to use a credit card to pay something, they had every intention of paying it off but their hours got cut or they lost their job? It happens more than you think. I have often felt that credit reports don’t tell the whole story…after all Bernie Madoff was a seemingly upstanding fellow until he decided to let the whole world know he was really a crook. I bet he had an excellent credit report! Or the boys and girls of Wall Street and all those top notch money outfits, bet they too have and had stellar credit reports all the while working the system and eventually requiring us average Joe’s with maybe shitty credit scores to come and bail them out! See, where I am going? Credit scores may work for some things but can they really tell the whole story? Look, my credit score my tell you not to loan me money for a car based off the fact I have medical bills but I can assure you that for most folks since a car gets you around, paying the car payment will take priority over that hospital bill. Yet the poor and un-creditworthy don’t get a chance. That’s why buy here pay here places exist to bilk those with shitty credit thus continuing the circle of fucking the poor and working class, and now the formerly middle class.

It’s things like this that remind us once again that in America you need more that bootstraps to move up the ladder, you need a great credit score too! Yet for many Americans, a permanent second class is being created where the folks with the power are working hard to keep the little folks out and maybe even down for good.

Have a great Friday!