This writer is here to help you with your job searches and career transitions. Articles will be posted related to job search, hot employment trends, training schools that have good reputations, and information about employment interview scams. If you have suggestions or would like to be in the spotlight, contact this writer.
We are all looking for work
We have a slow economy right now, and when employers lose profits, they cut back. You may get 10 minutes notice that your job is about to end, as employers don’t always tell you that they are in the red, behind in the bills, or that their building or warehouse is in foreclosure. Some of my best friends have been looking for work for more than a year, and we are told it is an “employer’s market.” An employer’s market means that there may be 300 applicants for a select position, and employers try to get a pre-trained employee who is already rearing to go, who will require little pre-investment, and who has valued-added abilities such as being local or being willing to settle for less pay.
Someone asked me once if I was looking for work and I replied, “Aren’t we all?” After all, in this economy, where employers are cutting expenses and job positions to keep afloat, I have seen my highly qualified friends get laid off, I have seen full-time employees get cut to half time, and I have witnessed employees who were doing well last year now alongside me, competing in the market, looking for work this year. You should always be looking for work, if you have any common sense. Staying in the job market keeps you alert and informed. If anyone asks if you are looking for work, the answer is yes!
Employers are suffering in this economy as much as job seekers, and some employers may become unscrupulous in order to sustain profits. They may post position openings that mislead prospective employees. When you go to interview, they may fear-factor you into accepting a position that you aren’t sure you even want!
When you go to an interview, be aware that you may hear the following:
- If you don’t do it someone else will (challenging threat).
- You need to pay your bills don’t you? (fishing for your desperation)
- There is only one position, make up your mind (intimidation).
- We are so busy we needed you yesterday (urgency.)
But before you say yes to that position, ask yourself if they are a reputable organization, if the position is solid, if the job description matches what they posted, or if you are being asked to do anything unscrupulous. Otherwise, the company may use you to mislead consumers to invest in products or services that were not what they thought they were going to receive, and you will have to live with guilt, fear, and stress, not to mention a bad reference if you quit. What’s worse, if the company is under investigation, you may be asked to go testify to expose them, while humiliating yourself by having to tell the world what you agreed to do, when you could have just walked away. (Remember Enron?)
Unscrupulous training schools
Congress is presently investigating certain certified training programs backed by federal loan programs that have been providing monies to students. These schools were found to over-charge with misleading statements ($4800 per “term” with five terms per year, but they don’t tell you that and you think it means semester), or to mislead students via promising career placement.
I interviewed for a position at such an unscrupulous school and was told that if I were to be that college’s career placement officer, I would be able to consider a student placed if I found them one day of work per week. I have problems with the ethics here and I declined the position. Obviously, congress has problems with the ethics of this also, because when the student loan kicks in, our student is not in a financial position to pay bills, support their family, and still pay back the loan amount.
The result is that the student defaults on the loan, but the school doesn’t care because they already got their cut of the money. This is unscrupulous. You will want to ask what your school does to guarantee that you get full-time work before your loan repayment program begins.
Misleading job titles
Another example is a position I applied to that stated “company name withheld” while posting a position opening of entry level management. When I went to interview with them, I found it was an insurance company and there would be no other employees to manage. Our interviewer had me down for an “agent” position, but that “in just a few years” I could work my way up to getting employees and “having someone to manage.”
Interviewer word games
- I was told that I needed to be certified before I could begin working (no pay scale offered).
- I was told I could eventually work my way up to management, though this was not what I came in for.
- I was told that first I need to get one of their loans to finance the training this will take.
- I was told the “production requirements” included my selling 10-25 insurance policies per month while I learned and got certified.
- I was never told if I would receive pay, commission, or even what a monthly income would look like. The emphasis was on the future, but not the present reality and costs out of pocket. In effect, I was being asked to become a subcontractor, start my own business, borrow money from them to do it, get further into debt, and lastly…
- If I am not able to continue, I can turn over all my contracts to this man who was interviewing me and he would buy me out. Great! I walked out…
Now, I’m not a rocket scientist, but I think I am lining the pockets of the above person if I go get him 200 new policy holders and then walk away because I need to get some actual income going. Any job that offers to put you further into debt while not paying you deserves consideration.
Actual jobs that require some pre-training
I will be reporting on jobs that actually do result in employment, and I encourage you to write to me with your personal stories for leads that worked, so that I can compose a resources list here on my page. A school bus driver, for example, goes for summer training that the company pays for; He gets placed at a job and they pay for the hours he attends his meetings; They pay for his prep work related to pre-driving his routes, but they don’t make him buy his own bus first, pay for his own training, or take out a loan to invest in their company before they hire him! Are you a bus driver? I would love to hear from you!
Reporting on your jobs
I will be reporting to you on my friends who are becoming security guards. One friend has been training to become a security guard. Each class he takes gets him closer to receiving his guard card and those classes determine the type of position and pay he will qualify for, though he is not employed anywhere yet. He has been taking cool classes in handcuffing, gun handling, and even got fingerprinted. Obviously, he did not take out a loan on his first born to pay for the classes, but he is paying for some of the certifications up front, while an agency that is placing him is also helping to pay the costs.
Since training costs money, it’s always a good idea to be employed while you are looking for a job elsewhere, and to be taking classes to keep your skills current. I am not insinuating that life is free- there are costs in starting any new career or transitioning from an old one, but it shouldn’t kill you.
Know what you qualify for
Your resume should reflect your current skills and should be up to date. You should be able to summarize your skills and abilities so that you know yourself, know what you qualify for, and know when scammers are trying to offer you a job position by a title familiar to you (Manager), when in fact the job description has nothing to do whatsoever with what that position description should have sounded like. What titles are similar to your abilities? Which titles sound similar but are totally different? (Nurse’s Assistant, Nursery Assistant, Landscape Nursery Assistant.)
Who is paying for your training?
It is not unreasonable to discuss training costs, who is paying, how long training will take, and how to know when you are qualified. If employers can’t give you clear answers during an interview, and every sentence begins with “It depends,” make sure you take a notebook in with you and don’t be afraid to write things down. Go home and ask yourself if this company is worth the investment of your time and effort. Despite the brutal economy, there is such a thing as a bad placement that will make you wish you had seen it coming. So don’t jump when they tell you it is the last chance, or the only position, or that you have five minutes to make up your mind. A reputable employer will take her time deciding, and you should too!