Thursday, 7 August 2014

HR Snuff'N'Puff

HR Shuff'N'Puff or If You're Flute's Magic, You May Get a Job

While we're on the subject of employers requirements, let's take a moment to examine the trend of needing a college or university degree; even if you're applying to be a dishwasher.

In my capacity as the Hiring Manager for a large international organization (which I held for over a decade and had personal contact with close to 50, 000 individuals - 49, 945 to be precise - I'm good at keeping records) I found that in the majority of cases university graduates could not perform the tasks they claimed to have studied. They may have been good in theory (classes, essays, exams), but when it came to practical application in the real world (which doesn't always work the same way it does in books) they faltered. Badly.

The worst offenders are the ones with an MBA. Master of Business Administration seems to equal zero people skills. I'm not saying all MBA holders are like this; just the ones who wear it boldly emblazoned across their chests. (It strikes me like the religious do. If a person walks up and says "I'm a Muslim" or "I'm a Christian" or whatever their religious bent might be, it's always struck me as a good idea to walk away slowly. Maintain eye contact. You never know what they'll do once your back is turned. Again, I'm not saying that being religious or having faith is a bad thing. Announcing it to the world as the first revelation of conversation will make people wary.) The MBA flag wavers are more like Monkey Brained Asshats to me. Or Morally Bankrupt Androids, if you'll excuse the MASH reference.

This requirement for a degree comes from the twenty-somethings who are heading up human resources departments. They see it as a rite of passage. They went through it, so everyone else has to as well. Presumably this is a 'share the pain' of never ending student loan repayment.

These new HR people are not without their own share of knuckleheads. I once worked with a young lady who didn't know what cellophane was and had no idea that there was garlic in garlic bread. This same person was so highly overpaid (thanks to her piece of paper, which anyone can get, really, either by paying an institution or going through a 'degree mill') that she once complained about a coffee table she had bought (and didn't like), having paid more for it than I pay in rent.

It should be noted that not all human resources personnel are twenty-something twits. Some are older twits who grasp vainly for youth. Having said that, I do want you to know that not everyone in HR falls into these categories. We have (my wife and I) a good friend who is a shining example of what an HR person should be. We both worked with her for a few years and always found her intelligent, responsive, and an all-round good person. She truly is one in a million.

Now back to the rant.

You must be young to gain employment. Age-ism is rampant in all industries. A fellow voice actor was talking to me the other day about not getting any work because his agent (who sees him, but obviously doesn't listen to his demos) told him he could only do older voices. He is older than I am, but he sounds at least ten years younger than I do. This goes back to the Consultants who are constantly barraging businesses with the idea that they need to 'appeal to a younger audience'. It also has to do with these just-out-of-diapers heads of HR who think that old dogs can't learn new tricks. "They're set in their ways," they say. "They're 30. They won't be with the company long because they'll be dead soon."

You must be good looking to gain employment. Sorry to say, but that's a fact of life these days. Lustrous hair and a big set of -teeth- will get you hired over almost any real qualifications you may have. Employers want young, sexy workers. That's why Mabel Workshader gets passed over for Tiffany Awesomebody or Biff Buffbutt.

If an older, not star beautiful person manages to garner gainful employment (probably because the employer is desperate or they don't have a freshly minted HR person) they inevitably run into the bane of all those who really need a job: the dreaded 'other duties as required' clause in the job description. Reception / administration personnel are most commonly saddled with these vague job descriptions. This is a catch-all phrase that means any job the employer or the other employees don't want to do will be passed along.

'Other duties as required' could range from picking up the boss's dry cleaning to lancing his cat's boil to helping the boss clinch the deal by offering special favours to clients. If any of these are vitally important to the business, Mr. & Mrs. Entrepreneur, then buck up and do them yourself.

We are in need of a Job Description Act. An Act of parliament (to make it a Federal thing) that states that job descriptions must be complete and all duties and responsibilities for jobs are clearly delineated and set out before the candidate takes the position. Maybe we could call it the 'No Surprises on the Job' act. Or the 'I'm an Employee, not a Whore' act.

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