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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Column: Labor pains

From here ‘til retirement, our lives are run by work. Bye, summer vacays! But with the high unemployment and college retention rates, there are fewer jobs and more people looking for them. Nut up, get competitive and fight for a paycheck no matter how big or small.

Though Craigslist may lead to legit jobs, they’re mostly scams or seeking girls for a “film shoot.” Get into career listing websites (Monster, Indeed, SimplyHired and LinkedIn, all “.coms”). Make sure to do your research to see which ones have resulted in success for others. Sign up (the small fee may be worth it) and submit those lovely resumes that stand out from people who used a template. Don’t forget those obnoxious cover letters. They’re irritating but can make the difference between getting a call or not.

Nowadays, it seems the only way to get a worthwhile job is through connections. There are way too many weirdos in the world and I wouldn’t want to hire them, either. A referral from a trusted employee makes a boss more likely to consider the candidate. Network and keep up with people who have jobs to offer us. Hey, that’s the world we live in. Better to spin it to our advantage.

Keep files of your resume, references and cover letters on your phone at all times. Meet someone at a bar who would like to pass your resume along? Make a couple of edits and it’ll take five minutes for you to send over your info. Thank Steve Jobs and the iCloud he resides in for the accessibility afforded to us by modern technology.

But there’s a smack-of-reality twist, y’all! With it being this easy to get applications out there, more people have access to the same jobs. If you’re not working, make searching for employment your career. That means spending most of your day on those websites and pounding those grimy streets looking for work. Shoot for 25 (!) job applications a day, and not just for those jobs that need a degree. If you get something to tide you over, keep applying for 10 a day ‘til gold strikes.

Employers understand the current job market and will be more critical. If you’re asked about the company you’re seeking work from, you’d better damn well have an answer. How in the fuck are we supposed to remember each one and research their history? We’d have no time for “Modern Family” marathons! Spend the time to get well-versed in each company’s reputation.

Or, cheat and use the internet during sporadic phone interviews. Thanks again, Steve!

Just like being in the stirrups at a gynecologist’s office, interviews are sweat-inducing nightmares that leave us exposed for strangers to examine. They can and will ask the most asinine inquiries known to man. My personal favorite: “What do you like the least about yourself?” Resist the urge to say, “My inability to answer stupid fucking questions!” Employers are looking for qualified candidates to help solve the internal problem they have. Sell yourself as the asset they need. If we go in with the mindset of alleviating our financial problems, they’ll smell it from the waiting room. Striking the proper tone of confident and assertive is key. And don’t forget to smile your way through the fear. But not like a crazy person. Keep all kinds of crazy locked away at home, and deodorant at the ready in your car.

We enter a new place at the bottom of the ranks and build ourselves up to the top by working our asses off. In school, we eventually become student body president or the head of a production company, so the inevitable drop-off back into the entry-level (or worse, unpaid intern) position produces a bruised ego. Don’t let that become destructive and don’t slack off after getting the job. Human resources is constantly looking for ways to cut labor these days. Instead of letting our knowledge of our overqualification turn us into ungrateful monsters, prove to employers we’re deserving of more dignified work. Buy a jar of patience and wait it out.

There’s no place for lazy these days. We have to be active in making the job opportunities available for us. Perfect your CVs and do the grunt work now to get to the high-paying gigs later. Once we’re comfortable and can pay the bills without worry, then we can watch “Modern Family” all we want.

JAZZ TRICE thinks you is kind, you is smart and you is important. Ask him why at jazztrice526@gmail.com or twitter.com/Jazz_Trice.

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