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James Palmer's Journal - Day

Thursday, October 27, 2005

9:20AM - The Horrors of the Day Job

Under the "And You Think You've Got Problems?" category, Careerbuilder's article on interview horror stories is just your basic Halloween-related fluff piece, but it takes me back to the summer of 2000. Although nothing quite as bad happened to me as befell the poor saps in this article, I can certainly relate. I too was snookered into inquiring about "marketing rep" positions which were actually door-to-door sales jobs, I too drove thirty miles to interview for jobs which turned out to be some pyramid scheme where I would work strictly on commission selling things no one needed to people who couldn't afford them. (Am I bitter? Let's just say that said firms should be glad there isn't a place that rents flame-throwers by the hour). If anything, this article comes with some good advice: a lot is said about how employers need to check up on potential employees, but almost nothing gets written about how employees need to check up on potential employers. You'd better make sure the interviewee is a legitimate enterprise and not some clown with a Hotmail account, a box of free business cards, and an Aeon chair.

Which brings me to another article on the alleged economic upswing. It seems hiring managers are in need of liberal arts majors. The reason: they need people who know how to write and communicate effectively. From my own experience, I see a few problems with this. First of all, I haven't met a manager yet who would knowingly hire someone smarter and more competent than they are, for fear that said person would have their job inside of a week. Second of all, most of these managers think they communicate just fine, thank you very much. Meanwhile, I have a supervisor who until recently used 'no' and 'know' interchangeably, and a CEO who uses apostrophe 's' for the plural instead of the possessive. Now, to be fair, my night supervisor knows I'm a writer and respects this, and uses me for spell-checking and grammatical stuff, but I'll never be anything more at that company than a voice on the telephone. The higher-ups want yes-men, not knowlegeable people, which brings me to my final point: I still don't believe an English degree is worthless. There are other, more worthless degrees, such as Political Science, Art History, and the coveted MBA. The thing about an English degree is it's perceived worthlessness, while the MBA has a perceived worthiness that pays its owners in huge dividends and stock options, even while said owners run their companies into the ground. The only thing you can do with an English degree is teach English, while with an MBA you can do so much more. C'mon, whose kidding whom? George W. Bush has an MBA for Cthulhu's sake; that tells me they should be given away free in boxes of Dig 'Em Smacks.

Sorry about the rant. The job outlook is still a sore subject with me. My job isn't all bad, or so the crew over at Fuck that Job keep reminding me.

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