I posted this huge entry expressing my frustration with the job market and the way that some of us secretly help everyone else to do their jobs (you know us, we are the “go-to” people that you call with questions because you’re guessing we’ll know the answers, and we usually do) while suffering financially themselves, somehow unhirable to do the same things they perpetually help others to do or teach about. But I deleted that post. It was too long-winded and bitter. I’ll just add these thoughts:
When I get my Ph.D. and begin to contribute in really surprising and important ways, I want to state publicly, at least once, that the Ph.D. doesn’t even scratch the surface of what I can do (and have always been able to do) in any number of areas; it’s just a process I grudgingly pursued because somehow society otherwise failed to credit me for my considerable contributions, knowledge, and skills at all. Yes, I know that all I’ll get credit for is my Ph.D. and my publications. But I’m here to tell you that those are 5% of what I know and can do and I’ll continue to contribute in a million other ways without compensation or recognition, as will the other top functioners in society.
If you’ve been helped for free in the past year by someone you know who’s just “always helpful,” consider saying thanks to them again. Call them up and thank them, out of the blue, for the help that they gave you, especially if they helped you while you were on the job, getting paid — if their expertise helped to preserve your income, ehance your performance review, streamline your office, or bring you a buck. It’s the least you can do.
As a side note, for those who want to understand my comment better, the issue is the division between enterpreneurs (experts in business) and experts in other areas. Experts in other areas don’t start businesses because they don’t know much about business. They’re not a CEO or an HR manager or a mid-level operations manager. They’re an expert in some applied or theoretical field. They’re hoping to work for someone who needs them.
Business people, on the other hand — CEOs and HR managers and mid-level ops people — know all about business: bottom lines, motivation, paperwork, efficiency, morale, etc… and they know nothing about any of the fields from which they have to hire employees. So they try to apply the value judgments from business to experts in other fields when making selections… and they end up choosing people who are 25% of the employee that they could have had at half the cost, because their criteria were totally inappropriate (and they don’t have any knowledge of the correct criteria, or how to make judgments about such criteria having been met in a given field).
It’s a classic problem across a spectrum of expressions. In some of us, it is very strongly expressed (i.e. I am so far away from CEO or HR manager it’s hilarious). But in all cases, whether egregious or slight, it lowers quality, morale, and productivity while raising costs and liabilities.
But the enterpreneurs don’t know any better. And the top skilled/educated laborers in any field have no interest in being enterpreneurs… so, in our economy at least, you’re never getting the best product possible — just the best product that the MBAs were able to organize for you, with their limited understanding of any product, process, or measure of validity outside of business itself.