Monday, March 28, 2011

It seems like every job pays the same

There are always a million advertisements promising wages two or three times greater than what seems to actually be available on the market. However, whether you're a beginning public school teacher, or a truck driver, or an airplane engine mechanic, or a journeyman electrician, when all the smoke has cleared, it seems that you end up making a real wage of around $15 in most parts of the country. On the coasts, of course, that would be a bit low, and in some places they would be glad to have it. It's certainly not what most people expect to be paid. It's almost like it doesn't matter what you do. Society doesn't seem to care or value even the better educated any more.

Even with tons of education you will still keep banging your head against some of these real wage levels. And there is always an excuse. There is always more training you could have. There are always completely arbitrary and unnecessary demands that applicants must have 5+ years of experience in an area where such job might not have even existed in their present form for 5+ years. In a high tech field 5 years of experience might mean experience with obsolete hardware, software, and methods. And if you try generalism that won't work either, because employers will demand that you have narrow, specific skills. Many employers have absolutely no clue what they even want when they write a given job description. They fill them with fantasies about how the applicant has to have several times the knowledge and skill level of the actual people who work there. And you better not embellish your resume, even when they embellish their job descriptions with unnecessary requirements.

They will also often make the asinine demand that your resume be no longer than a page, but still include every pertinent detail about you. Here's a free clue. A person who is 21 might be able to fit all their work experiences and skills on a single page. A person who is 31 or 41 or 51 will have progressively more work experiences, skills, etc. The one-size-fits-all, one-page resume rule is ridiculous for older, more experienced workers. However, most employers would have no clue what a CV was, and they wouldn't read your resume even if it were one page. I've gone to a number of interviews where they ask me multiple questions that are explicitly stated on my resume or my cover letter. The interviewers walked into the interviews having never read either my cover letter or resume.

It's a good thing that I have a job/jobs for now, but it is scary to think about the future when I may have to look for other jobs, or even consider switching careers. A master's degree is no guarantee of a job. Professional licensing is no guarantee of a job. The jobs that you can get fairly easily are low enough paying so that you do nothing but slowly kill yourself while running in place. There have got to be better solutions for intelligent, hard-working people. So much brain power is going to waste while only the tiniest fraction of people ever see their ideas turned into new technology ventures.

We, as a nation, and as a global community have got to figure out how to tap more of the brain power and potential which is out there, if we want to have any hope of overcoming the problems which exist in the world today.

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