Job searching isn’t what it used to be. When I first stepped into the work force typing tests were still being given. I know! Five minute tests were grueling, but the ten minute versions were right up there on a pain level with Chinese water torture. By the time the annoying little egg timer went off my hands were curled like a squirrel clutching a tree branch. Nervous already, applicants were told three typos were the max during the course of the test to be considered for the job. That’s like telling someone on a boat the restroom is broken. Looking at all that water you’re immediately urged to go, go, go. Along with keeping your typing letter-perfect, a certain speed level had to be maintained. At one point I typed at around 98 wpm. Back then that was fairly impressive. Unlike computers, if you made a mistake on a typewriter there was no backspace or delete. Carbon paper was used when typing multiple copies. Correcting a mistake in this case meant each page needed to be corrected individually. For those of you scratching your head thinking, “typewriter?”, “carbon paper?”, carbon paper involved placing black inked sheets between each copy needed. You typed on the first page, and it was copied via the carbon paper onto the papers beneath. White Out or Liquid Paper was the typists joy juice. One brush of the liquid across the correction, blow, and you were good to go. This could not be overdone, however, or when the page was folded all the corrected letters would fall off like confetti at a wedding.
Now prospective employers ask applicants personal questions especially designed by HR specialists or psychologists to get at the deepest roots of your personality. “Use one word to describe yourself?”, for example. Dangerous territory this. Like a mine field with words. Don’t announce loudly and proudly you are humble. Humble people generally do not tout their own strong points. Also, watch your social media pages. If applying for church secretary, posting pictures of yourself doing Jello shots at a strip club isn’t going to move you up the line.
Background searches are far more efficient than in years past, and what you’re involved in outside of the workplace more accessible information. Dirt, if you will, is easier to stir up. Everything you do these days is posted somewhere easily discovered by the touch of a finger.
My first job was working for a major moving and storage company. Eighteen I was at the time. Armed only with typing and dictation skills I started work on a Monday at 8:00 absolutely sure I would be fired before 5:00. Workplaces were different then. Smoking was allowed. Half filled ashtrays could be found on the majority of desks. The buyer for the company kept a bottle of whiskey in his desk drawer for particularly stressful afternoons. Finding he considered most days stressful, I learned not to approach him after 2:00 if I wanted to get anything ordered.
Dress codes were certainly different. In the 70’s no jeans, no casual Fridays, and for women no pants period, other than those worn beneath the dress you were wearing. Men wore shirts and ties. One company I worked for, a particularly fussy engineering company, required male employees to wear only white shirts, dress pants, and ties. A sports coat or suit jacket was expected at meetings. No wonder everyone smoked.
Truthfully I’m glad I’m not polishing a resume right now. With the market so competitive you really have to be on top of your game. Employers want a short resume, rather than a tome. Tell them briefly what you bring to the table that makes you more qualified than the other candidates to fill the spot open in their particular company. How do your skills make their puzzle complete?
Older workers, living longer and needing to fill their time or bank accounts, are moving into lower paying jobs as the Baby Boomers fill the retirement statistics. I believe I read somewhere that 50% or more of this sizable population are ill prepared for their golden years and Social Security income surely will not fill the gaps.
Looking at my grandchildren who will be moving forward into the existing market, I have to say I worry. College is a good stepping stone but certainly doesn’t guarantee finding the job you were aiming for when you enrolled. Also, student loans can linger long into your thirties making getting ahead a rockier road.
I heard an HR specialist speak several weeks ago. She said you should try to insert yourself in a career you enjoy because you are going to spend the majority of your time pursuing it. I can probably count on one hand the people I’ve known in my life who have achieved that goal. Certainly it wouldn’t be me, in the beginning at least. However, in spite of the fact I ended up meshing my high school secretarial skills with my artistic side to become a graphic designer, the early years were filled with jobs that were relatively unsatisfying personally, even downright tedious. Perspective is important when faced with 8 hours of day doing something unexciting. Look to the people you work with, your work ethic in doing a good job in the best manner possible, and providing your family, as goals to make whatever job you are performing more rewarding if the job itself cannot provide this for you.
Work, in the end, is a four letter word. Most of us would rather be sucking on a straw sitting on a tropical beach than pulling together a flow chart. Those few lucky enough to have found their niche are blessed with being paid for doing something they most probably would do anyhow because of their passion for it.
Sooooo, when asked to use one word to describe myself I would say “silly”. My other half always says this of me and I have to agree with him. Life is too serious to take seriously, so I prefer to find the humor and see the beauty. I’d rather dance in the moonlight in my bare feet than ponder all that is wrong in the world. Went to a tulip garden at a commune near home called Ananda. The garden itself sat atop a mountain overlooking a canyon. Too beautiful not to share.
What’s the one word you would use to describe yourself? Let me know.
This is a refreshing cake I like to pull together during the warmer months. Luv the bite of lime – yum. Makes two loaves.
Key Lime Margaritaville Bread
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. lime zest
2 Tbsp. Key lime juice
1 Tbsp. tequila
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup 2% milk
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf 9 x 5 loaf pans.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in zest, lime juice, tequila and vanilla.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed butter and sugar alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in nuts.
Divide equally between the two pans. Bake for 50-55 mins. or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to sit for 10 mins. Remove from pans and set on wire rack. Drizzle with glaze (Put tin foil under rack to make cleanup easier.) Cool completely.
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp. Key lime juice
Mix well and drizzle over bread.