596: Competition for the Labor Market


It has suddenly occurred to me that employers who are seeking employees are in competition with the Federal Government for those workers.

The employers have to be attractive enough with both the work AND the wages to offset the other option offered by the Federal Government: being able to sit on your butt pretty much 24/7, take benefits, and procreate for a living.

And it appears that the employers are losing the battle.


579: The dumbing down of America

My brand spanking new hubs has obtained a job managing one of two employment agencies in our tiny south Georgia town. I have taught high school and middle school (some) for 26 years in Georgia (all over the state). What he is reporting is a confirmation of what I have been observing for decades.

Employment agencies offer their services free to job seekers. Companies contract with them to vet their potential employees, but the company ultimately gets the final say in any hiring, and the employment agency gets a finder’s fee for vetting candidates on behalf of the employing company.

As part of the candidate process, there is a drug screening, an employment application and interview, and a screening employability skills exam. Sort of a very low-level SAT. VERY low level. The questions include: how many inches are in three yards. How many is a half dozen. What is 50% of 150. Plus other similar mind-blowing, difficult, major league, scholarly questions. Most applicants (teens to adults) fail the screening exam.

I have taught high school in my state for 26 years. His results absolutely do not surprise me. And we are getting worse, not getting better- I do not care WHAT the government pundits are telling you about improving test scores.

Our schools took out career/life classes like shop and home economics. They replaced them with curriculum that presupposes all of our students are headed off to college. Yeah, right. The governor of Georgia just released his new “mission goals” for Georgia schools. It includes the statement that ALL Georgia students will earn college or career credit before they complete high school. “•Every child in Georgia will earn college and/or career credit before they graduate high school.” Yeah, right.

Our school’s students get multiple, multiple chances to complete work, including retaking major tests. Try that in real life – unlimited do-overs. Only GOD is that kind. And, as a teacher, I am forbidden by my school administration to assign a score of zero when a student turns in nothing for an  assignment. I have to assign them points of credit – for NOTHING. Last time I checked, breathing was not an academic activity.

What I am allowed to teach in the courses I am employed to teach is mandated by the state government. I cannot teach reading to a child who cannot read. LITERALLY, not my job. I am teaching pre-Engineering. ONLY. Even though I am also state certified in English, grades 6-12.

I try. Invoking the overarching academic goal of literacy skills, I  require my students to write reflection essays in MLA format over their Engineering assignments. I have high school students who cannot write ONE correct and complete sentence, much less a coherent essay. Some cannot even to this day capitalize their first and last NAMES on a paper. I wish I was lying. And this, from native speakers of English. Our Spanish native speaking kids are blowing the American-born kids out of the water. Let’s not even discuss the MATH. I have taught how to figure the square yardage needed to replace the carpet in a room EIGHT SEPARATE TIMES, and still have high school students in the class who cannot compute it correctly. Carpet sellers, you may freely rook customers in south Georgia, because they have no clue you are going to cheat them. Have at it.

And the beauty of this? The government, and most parents, will tell you it is the teacher’s fault, all of it.

Yeah, right.

4 more years.

4 more years.

My mantra.

234: I GOT THE JOB!!!

Actually, I applied for a number of jobs, and sent query letters for a good many more, letting them know I was interested in the position they had available. Writing a query letter is a very tough proposition, because you want yours to stand out from the (sometimes) hundreds of other letters, without making you look like a kook – remember the application to Harvard Law School that was sent in on the movie with Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde)?

One thing that is a bad thing to do is to make up a letter that you then send out like a mass mailing. Most of those get caught up in the spam filters, and never even get seen – NOT what you wanted at all. And then there are the countless employers who don’t even bother to acknowledge that your letter or application has been received – thanks a lot, guys…..should I just keep sending them until you do respond, or should I forget working for you, since you cannot be bothered to be organized enough to even acknowledge someone’s correspondence who wants to work for you?

It is necessary to tailor each letter for THAT employer and THAT job, highlighting the skills and qualifications you have that will interest them in particular. Plus, you have to check the letter over and over for typos. How professional does a typo make YOU look?

Some employers want you to fill out THEIR application forms. Have you filled out an application form for a job lately? Each one takes a minimum of an hour and a half. Then you get to proofread it for errors, too. I do understand them, though: if an applicant is unwilling to fill out their form, why do they want to hire them if they don’t care enough about the job to even do that much?

Anyway, after lots of job applications and query letters, I have the offer I wanted most, in the country I wanted, too. Now I just have to sell all this stuff – anybody need to outfit an apartment in Morocco?