It’s Hard To Find Good Help These Days

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Raise your hand if you remember walking into a business, asking for an application, filling it out (with a pen), talking to the manager and going home with a job.

Anyone?… Bueller?… (tap tap) Is this thing on?

I am either from the dark ages or I have been self employed for a long time.

Maybe both.

While I type like a three toed sloth, I do know a whole lot about a few things. I have survived in work environments so insane that they defy description. I have put in my 10,000 hours more than once.

I am smarter than some but it doesn’t necessarily work in my favor and the hardest thing is trying to conceal the fact that I don’t play well with others. There was a reason for being self-employed, and that’s the reason.

Trying to rejoin the workforce after nine years of riding fences is challenging but I’m tired of being cold, wet, and hungry so I’m coming around like a stray dog that is ready to give domestication a whirl.

Have you applied for a job lately? If not, and you have a whole lot of time to waste, I highly recommend it.

I’ve been interviewing with the nation’s largest retailer of used automobiles. Three interviews and literally dozens of long form essay questions later and I still don’t know if I have secured the entry-level position of Buyer’s Assistant.

This job is my top pick and working in my favor is that almost everyone I have interviewed with, five different people now, are either former personal trainers or former business owners. Apparently, this is the place where desperado types go when they decide to throw in the towel and get a real job.

But since I still  don’t know if I actually have the job, I take nothing for granted and continue applying at other places.

Long gone are the days of filling out an application and talking to an actual person. This is the age of the online assessment and mind-blowingly redundant questions. I just applied at Short Burst Cellular and was asked no fewer than ten times if I try to understand why people act the way they do and if I enjoy analyzing my own feelings. The other questions are, naturally, all related to how well I play with others and how receptive I am to taking bullshit from customers. I also applied at Horizon and spent thirty minutes answering questions like, “would you rather be subject to incessant interruptions OR be on the phone with angry customers all day?”  Would you rather stab a fork in your eye or drop this kettle bell on your foot?

I can’t help but wonder; who scores high on these tests? According to the job description, it’s people with a passion for customer service. Maybe my definition of passion differs from theirs. I say the word passion is reserved for art and science or a cause that changes the world.

Customer service is a vital bodily function of any business. The business cannot survive without it but it is not something for which I would equate the word passion.

Customer service is necessary of course, but only so that the company can succeed at what it’s passionate about – making money. Who wakes up in the morning and can’t wait to be interrupted constantly by people who are complaining about problems that are beyond their control?

People work customer service jobs out of necessity and in hopes of getting promoted. Let’s not pretend that necessity and passion are the same thing. This is why so many people burn out when they find a way to monetize their hobby, because necessity kills passion.

But back to my original question. Who scores high on these tests?

The U.S. has notably gone down hill when it comes to producing well educated young adults with high levels of etiquette or common sense. Not pointing fingers but…perhaps it is they who have necessitated the rise of the assessments in the first place. Having limited video game vocabularies makes them easy targets for swapping the words necessity and passion and tricking them into thinking it was their own idea.

One of the questions, or rather – statements, at the end of the Horizon assessment was, “I feel this assessment gives a good initial impression of the company values and makes the company seem like an attractive place to work.”  Strongly Agree. Agree. Slightly Agree. Slightly Disagree. Disagree. Strongly Disagree. Fuck Me.

Is the talent pool so shallow that the word passion has become displaced and is now being used in reference to customer service for lack of anything legitimate to be passionate about? In a world of young adults who would rather reside on their parent’s couches than blaze a trail into the frontier of freedom it makes sense.

Firmly rooted on the sofa like baby birds waiting to be fed, they would naturally have no concept of doing something unpleasant out of necessity because, thus far, they’ve spent all day texting their friends but meals still appear on the table at regular intervals.

In all fairness I may be projecting, displacing, evening blaming my hatred of online job assessments on other people in an effort to not throw my computer out the window and spend my remaining days walking the earth like Caine in Kung Fu.

I may be, or I may be the Johnny Come Lately frog to the pot of boiling water.

It is possible, after all, that the assessments exist specifically to weed out people like myself.



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