The absurdities of job hunt training
Hunting for a job? Be ready for some absurd
This article is a heavy, sometimes very sarcastic satire on joys of job hunting today. I have no intention of offending anyone, I only want to express my anger that sparks when I'm confronted with absurdities accompanying job hunt training on every step. If you are a hard core fan of corporate lifestyle, you probably shouldn't read this article. If you are or have been job hunting and it made you just as angry - read on. You're not alone.
Let's start with a little poll
This question is addressed to those of you who have a job, or did have a job, or hope to have a job in the future - which, I guess, is pretty much everyone. By 'a job' I mean traditional employment, working for someone else.
Before you answer - could I ask you for something? Could you (please, please, please) answer honestly (=not politically correct)? The poll is anonymous, and I really need to know if I'm a lonely Don Quixote or it is the world that needs a little adjustment.
Why do you have (had/will have) a job?
Why job hunt trainings make me angry
Or what inspired me to write this lens
Recently a friend of mine has completed a job hunting training. He showed me his notes and printed handouts the participants have been given. Guess what, he did it to cheer me up, having taken the whole affair with a pinch of salt.
Oh man, didn't that work me up! I kept on reading and one part of me wasn't really surprised (after all I wasn't born yesterday). But another part couldn't believe my own eyes. I was asking myself - how can they teach people such things? How DARE they? Being me, I instantly wanted to start a world-fixing crusade against corporate practices, business lies and absurdities of the employment system. I fantasized of articles in all the newspapers, of a case in European Tribunal and a social revolution to end all wrongs.
Guess what - I recovered. The sight of my friend rolling on the floor with laughter helped somewhat. Ok, I won't start my world saving campaing - mainly because I realise it wouldn't be this way if people around me didn't accept it. Anyway, I'm not really cut out to be a preacher or a social movement leader, I lack the necessary patience.
But there's nothing to stop me from telling anyone who wants to listen what is it that makes me so angry about job hunt training. Call me a Don Quixote if you will, I refuse to participate in this hypocrisy. Let me tell you why.
Dream job? Or a nightmare?
Job hunt training - what to expect?
What does the course teach you?
Ok, so you've decided to participate in a job hunt course - well done you, how responsible. What can you learn? Let's outline main aspects of the training (with my own commentary - I simply couldn't stop myself):
- Where to find job offers? - as if you didn't know. EVERYBODY knows the local paper with job offers, the main websites with job offers (and if you don't, 3 seconds on Google is all it takes), local employment agencies and buddies who 'may know someone who's looking for someone'. Am I right?
- How to write a CV and the covering letter - they will often give you templates, too. Great, you can simply copy and paste your own details - long live creativity and imagination. You are to tell the world how perfect you are, how fantastic are your abilities, how you saved the world twice in last month only and how you build battleships out of matches in your spare time. How believable.
- How to prepare for your interview - stressing the importance of looking neat and being polite. I have nothing against looking neat and being polite (I simply don't need a course to tell me this - do you?). It also often mentions how important it is to research your potential company, because there may be 6000 candidates to one vacancy. Aside from the question - is it really wise to spend your time and energy in researching a company when your employment chances are 6000:1, I never can get over the fact, that they usually follow with McDonald's or Burger King as an example.
- Interview tips - ah, we're getting nearer and nearer to my favourite field of discussion. My best ever are 'don't appear nervous' , 'don't lie, 'be frank' and 'don't pretend to be a miracle worker'. Contradiction when related to all other tips, anyone?
- Interview questions and answers - I love this part. I will actually write a whole separate paragraph about it, because the absurdity of the whole thing deserves a special treatment
Everything I'm saying here goes totally against all the business trainings in the world. If you value business 'science' and want to live your life in accordance, please don't follow my tips. I'm aware that I'm rather unlikely to get a job with such an attitude and such is my choice, I want you to be responsible for yours.
Example interview questions and answers
Or what else can you learn during a job hunt training
Did I mention that it's my absolutely favourite part? Let's have a look at some questions you may be asked and answers you should give. Followed by my interpretation.
- What did you like or dislike about your previous job? - the textbook answer here is to never ever say anything bad about the previous employer. I consider this to be a decent practice in most cases (it's a question of simple elegance, you know? Gossiping is ugly), but let's take on board a more extreme example. If you were mobbed in your last job or had to see a therapist for two years running, never mention it. Your potential boss will understand that they cannot treat you like crap bag and expect you to be silent about this treatment. Guess what - goodbye employment.
- What is your hobby? - anything static and boring will do. Chess are supposed to be really good in improving your chances. If you happen to like paragliding or swimming with sharks - goodbye work of your dream, because The Company may lose a precious slave employee and we don't want that, do we? The rumour has it that socialising is not seen well either - if you meet people, you may *gasp* say something bad about The Company and what will they think? Or *gasp gasp* you may drink alcohol, go to bed after 11 pm and experience hangover from time to time. What does THAT do to your ability to work around the clock? Shame to watch all those (surely unemployed, because who would lie during the interview?) people on the streets and in pubs on Saturday night.
- What do you want to do in a year's time? - the correct answer is: work for The Company even harder and more efficient. NOBODY wants to have won a lottery and sip drinks in Jamaica, am I right?
- What are your weaknesses? - 'I work so hard... (sigh)'. The idea is to make up something that is really useful to your potential employer, but fitted into a sentence so that it sounds like a disadvantage. It's my favourite one, really. I have at least 5 angry and extremely cynical answers to that question that I would love to use some day. Like 'well, I have a drug habit and have been convicted for drunk driving 13 times, but I hope you'll show understanding' or ' well, I was so good in the last company that if they didn't fire me, I would have taken it over' or ' I have problems with bulls*ting people, but I do understand it makes me seriously unlikely to be hired anywhere'. Alternatively you can smile broadly and say - 'I'm perfect'. If I ever happen to employ anyone and receive a textbook answer to this question, I swear here and now that I will ask - 'Excuse me, did you not understand my question? I asked about your WEAKNESS'. And I know at least one other person who promised to do the same, so if you're looking for a job - beware :).
- What motivates you? - a challenge, you should say. Or a project finished before the deadline. Or efficient work. Not a word about personal happiness, relaxed existence, dignity, living in accordance with your own personal truth. How sweet.
- What are your salary requirements? - a perfect employee would say, of course, that salary is not their main concern. It's the work they will do for the Company's Greater Good that counts, not the ability to pay the bills, eat or simply splash out. Tell me, if you had all the money in the world, would you ever, EVER, go working for somebody else? Personally, this bit is the most distressing for me. How do job hunt training people dare to promote such outrageous lies? How dare they? I actually researched some laws here and there and found out that fraud, misleading and supplying false information in order to achieve material gain is punishable by at least 12 months in prison (at least where I live). Yet, there are people (too often employed by the government) training you to lie with your face straight in order to get hired. Is there something wrong with that or am I crazy?
- How do you react to pressure and stress? - oh, I'm not bothered. I'm actually a cyborg who doesn't have glands. How about - 'stress affects negatively my heart, my brain, my blood pressure, my immune system, causes depression, alcoholism and all sorts of other destructive behaviors but because of you %$&*%# it's that or starve? Am I hired?'
Uff... I feel slightly better
Don't be a worker without a face, ok?
Job hunting vs humane treatment
Is it possible to find a job and remain human?
I would really like to find an answer to this question.
I know I described job hunting in very black/white categories, and there's a hell of the middle ground out there. It's just that I'm very emotionally moved by the whole phenomenon. It's not that I'm crystal clear and never told a lie, but I think there's something wrong with the system that teaches us to manipulate and to agree to being manipulated from the first moments we are part of it. I was shocked and saddened by general reactions I got to my big 'crusade plan'. It was either mockery or simple shrug - none too inspiring.
I decided to rebel against this whole thing, to change my life so as not to take part in this all-encompassing b*&^%$*t agreement and so far I'm very, very happy with it and I feel more empowered every day. Only I'm sad that it's such a lonely battle and I dream to meet people who think like me and understand my rebellion. Who knows, maybe one day?
What do you think?
OK, let's have a little discussion here. I don't need to tell you what I think, because I've been making my point loudly enough all throughout this lens, but what about you? Which side are you on?
Do you think job training techniques used today are ok?
Yes. They work, what else matters?
Oops, I forgot to sell anything with this lens
If you feel disappointed, I'm extremely sorry, but highly unlikely to mend my ways.
Have a happy day!