The thing about industry today is that too many companies use staffing services rather than their own HR department, then just promote internally. This leads to a situation in which companies are rarely, if ever, getting the best person for more senior jobs or jobs with greater amounts of responsibility.
Me walks into a staffing agency.
Me says “Masters degree!” but hears “Ho-hum.”
Me says “Author and Editor!” but hears “Not really our department.”
Me says “I.Q. in 150+ range, superior analytical skills!” but hears “Uh-huh.”
Me says “Integrity, initiative, work ethic!” but hears “Yeah, okay.”
They say, “Take some tests in typing, Word, Excel, language, math, filing.”
Me shrugs, takes tests.
They say, “Oh my god! 102 words per minute with zero errors! You’re a god!”
Me says, “Ho-hum.”
They say, “We’ve never seen such high proficiency in office applications!”
Me is tempted to say “Well, I didn’t exactly write the book on office applications, but I was Technical Editor on that project, and I did use office applications to write my own five books during which I had to type 2500+ pages,” but instead Me just says, “Not really my department.”
They say, “Wow, you answered more proofreading questions in the alotted time than anyone we’ve seen yet, and you scored 100% correct! Amazing! Unfortunately, we don’t have too much call for proofreading, much less writing or editing.”
Me says, “Uh-huh.”
They say, “But with your superior typing and office applications skills, and your excellent filing score, we should find you something in administrative assisting in no time, provided you’ll be willing to wear slacks and a button-up shirt and not be tardy too often.”
Me says, “Yeah, okay.”
Me doesn’t even bother anymore to tell people that me can: repair any PC, any Mac, any laptop, or even any SparcStation or pre-Sparc Sun station set in front of me; architect and deploy a large LAN/WAN, detailing everything from hardware to software, from appliances to endpoints; launch an e-commerce web site from scratch, handling registration, hosting, coding, content, and automation; do all necessary research for any report on congressional/senate data, agency data, NGO/NPO data, or any data you care to name and compile a theoretically sound, well-contextualized report examining all possibilities and eventualities; investigate and report on just about any topic you care to name…
Me thinks me is qualified for an incredible number of jobs out there, but me is having trouble convincing anyone of this possibility. In support of the adage, me is likely at the end of it all to end up teaching.
Later in the day, I return to the coffee shop to continue in the real job hunt. Not a single bite, not a message left or an email received for any of 100+ resumes and cover letters sent around the nation. I do get some advice by email: “We tend to hire at the entry level, then promote internally.”
This country is wasting a lot of good talent on data entry and Word/Excel. A lot of good talent.
I want to have a secretary, not be a secretary.
I just got a new piece of SPAM (one of about 400 I get every day) offering to sell me a brand new, shiny “Rolax” watch.
Let me tell you how tempted I was.