The new jobs report shows that we added a paltry 235K jobs.
Hiring in a category that includes restaurants, bars and hotels, for example, sank to zero after those sectors had added roughly 400,000 jobs in both June and July. With COVID cases having spiked this summer, Americans have been buying fewer plane tickets and reducing hotel stays. Restaurant dining, after having fully recovered in late June, has declined to about 10% below pre-pandemic levels.
Also, turns out that staying home to take care of your kids (why is this never mentioned in these stories?), or to avoid COVID exposure at a low-paid job, will happen whether or not UI benefits are cut:
Governors in about 25 states, nearly all led by Republican governors, cut off a $300-a-week in federal supplemental unemployment benefits in June and July because, they said, the extra money was discouraging recipients from looking for work. Yet the proportion of Americans with jobs or searching for one was flat in August, Friday’s report showed, suggesting that the cutoff had little impact.
The story mentions that there are still a lot of job openings in some sectors. Reading between the lines, some of the issue is low pay for bad jobs: the story notes that Wal-Mart and Amazon have a number of job openings, and Wal-Mart had to (gasp in horror!) raise wages by $1/hr. Part of the issue is that many of the jobs are in IT.
“IT” is not a generic skill. Employers don’t want to hire and re-train someone with IT skill X — they want someone with skill Y ready to work on day 1. Well, that doesn’t always happen. As someone in “IT,” I’ll occasionally read some IT job postings and chuckle at how unrealistic they are about the kinds of skills and experience that exist in the market. Plus, the HR screening process for those jobs, as well as the interview process, puts a bunch of people in charge of screening jobs who are ignorant (HR) or incredibly risk-averse (hiring managers). It’s a big long topic but the tl;dr is that IT hiring is broken at the best of times, and this definitely isn’t the best of times.
I assume funeral homes are a bright spot.
The cruelty is the point. – Adam Serwer
I’m so old I remember that Clara Bow was an IT Girl.
@Baud: i still wish the washington monthly’s antimonopoly posse led by phillip longman would look deeper into the corporatizing of previously family-run funeral homes
then they can so stripclubs
IT hiring is my 2nd go-to on how machine learning & algorithms fuck every thing up because the people who are entering in the data sets have inherent bias and no idea what they’re doing.
The first is medical imaging which is, surprise, horrifically racist due to the original data sets used to train the system.
IT hiring is pennywise poundfoolish
@lowtechcyclist: Well, also that Republican and economic theories don’t actually have to work in practice. They’re theoretically and theologicraticly correct.
Just for reference, 238K jobs would have been a good month during the Trump Administration (and, indeed, a lot of the Obama Administration).
Also, both June and July were revised upwards, to the tune of about 140K jobs in total. The July number is now above 1 million.
So, not as many jobs as we’d like, but still actually a decent report overall, and the stock market doesn’t seem to be reacting much at all.
@Baud: As well as casket manufacturing and crematoriums!
@germy: WTF, why would they need that information? To prove the kids deserved to die because they were naughty in school?
Firms are looking for unicorns, not just in IT. The place/department I work (Private Equity Real Estate, capital markets) is looking for someone to do graphic arts, lead generation, analysis, digital marketing, research, admin work and I actually don’t remember what else. That’s at least three different jobs none of which overlap. And they don’t understand why they can’t find anyone. Don’t know the salary range but going to guess it’s on the low end of any scale. I’ve got friends who are looking at jobs that have the same range of expectations for new hires, it’s the worst I’ve seen in all my decades of private sector employment.
I’ve read job listings that were so insanely specific that I’d a mind to respond just to recommend that they contact the person they were looking for directly because it obviously couldn’t have been more than a couple of people.
Maybe a delaying tactic while the owners of the company transfer their assets to brand new spouses or overseas accounts?
Had Dante worked IT he’d have come up with a lot more rings of hell.
A few years ago the guy who created an open source project noted that he had seen job postings asking for 5 years experience in that specific technology. He didn’t qualify because he had invented it only 3 years previously.
In the late 1970s the want ads were full of “clerk typist wanted” and “file clerk wanted” jobs. “No experience necessary, will train” they all said.
Lots of white guys who could tie a necktie got their start that way, and now they’re close to retirement after a long, good paying career.
The manager at my last job was one of them. He started in the ’70s as clerk typist, he ended his career in the same place as a department manager. I’d always hear him complain about young people and their “lack of initiative” which made me want to punch him.
@Jerzy Russian: That was such a good show.
Boosting those wages by <Dr.EvilVoice>ONE DOLLER PER HOUR</Dr.EvilVoice> will have the IT folks breaking down the doors for jobs.
Reminds me of those ridiculous job listings in the Before Times paying $15 per hour, Ph.D. required.
If they could only clone the last person who held the job.
On the plus side, the endless list of job duties also give clear indication as to why that last person left.
@Bunter: Sounds to me like they had a go getting admin assistant who enjoyed taking on more responsibility, who they refused to promote, who then left, and who now needs to be replaced. Lemme guess…you work in a field dominated by finance types who look down at marketing as its soft and therefore its generally women’s work (unlike that hard finance and sales stuff) except for something strategic like a CMO.
Now a days MBA required, and even at that, you have to jump ship for advancement and better pay. Yet they wonder where the good old days employee loyalty went.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix
@dr. bloor: I think the $1/hr mega-raise was for basic Wal-Mart workers. I read somewhere that all Wal-Mart employees are making the unimaginable sum of $15/hr, the amount that employers previously asserted would bankrupt them.
@randy khan: The headlines I’m seeing are “jobs disappoint” and the DJIA is down a bit right now, but you’re right that it isn’t a catastrophe. Just isn’t where it could have been if the country was fully vaxxed.
HR sent it to our email.
Proof of full vaccination by October 15, or bye bye.
Eager to hear Ron DeSantis’ take on this jobs report! He has already been so insightful about President Biden “failing to end the pandemic”.
Maybe not so much in Skarnes.
@Peale: Oh no, the admin who left was lazy and stupid and overpaid for the work she was actually willing to do. And I say that as a former EA who did that job, so no, in this case that part is incorrect. And it’s not a replacement job, they aren’t even replacing the EA. Long story, not interesting to anyone but me or maybe the group over at AAM. But, the finance types part, yeah, that’s 100% correct. Rumor has it they’ve changed the posting because they couldn’t find anyone (ya think?) and now anything “soft” has been removed.
@Baud: Yes it was. For some reason, that show is not available on CBS All Access/Paramount+, which is the only streaming service I have (I got it to watch Picard). So no binge watching for me, at least not yet.
My guess is if they were unruly children who did not normally follow instructions, they may not have complied with the teacher’s instructions on the safest place to be, so they were just asking to get shot.
Republicans must be overjoyed hiring is slowing down due to their refusal to do a damn thing to contain COVID-19. I can picture them toasting each other over bottles of champagne about how well their plan worked to sabotage Biden.
@nwerner: The insanely-specific (translation: tailored for an internal candidate but posted for legal reasons) are not as bad as the “we need everything” miracle worker spots. I once interviewed for what was supposed to be Systems engineer and Azure admin that turned out to be everything from desktop tech to AWS architect. Absolutely annoying in the in-person interview to have to keep repeating “I am not familiar with [technology X] and I had understood it wasn’t critical to this particular position”.
Retired IT guy here. The last time I looked for a job the managers that hired me did some kind of end run around HR. When I was at HR filling out paperwork a few days after I started the HR person was very clear that I did not meet their standards. Made the top 5% in my “Ranking and Rating Group” for my first annual review.
The scary thing is that they probably hired someone who faked their resume to say they had 5 years of experience, because if they knew so little about the tech, they wouldn’t be able to detect a doctored resume.
I have had to hire 3 people in the past 12 months. Two ended up being internal. One is external. In each case, the recruiter that was supposed to help me was totally useless.
Well, that’s not totally true. I was able to get them to do the interview scheduling, but they made it sound like that was a problem and I should do it. With everything we have automated, I’m surprised we still use them for anything.
Villago Delenda Est
As far as the GQp is concerned, the cruelty is the point.
Darn. Should have scrolled up!
@Bunter: Yeah. I’m at about 25 years B2B marketing for FS. I have about 4 of the skills you’re looking for…but…you do not want to see my graphic design. But ummmm….”admin work.” Nope. I have people working for me who do that at this point. Sounds like they’re looking for someone who’ll work for $60K who’ll do the work of three marketing managers and 4 marketing assistants. And the finance types just assume that it’s easy…”why anyone who watches TV and gets a mass e-mail knows how marketing works. Could do it in on my coffee break if I weren’t so busy doing important money stuff all day.”
@Villago Delenda Est:
Always has been.
Always will be.??
It is difficult to express how happy I am to be retired from IT.
@Jerzy Russian: Gawd, I miss WKRP. So many funny episodes
I didn’t know this about the Ferryman episode. This came from one of the commentators:
“Les wasn’t just a singer here — Richard Sanders was the co-writer of the episode, which definitely was one of the funniest one of the series.”
I’m looking to retire and my boss is now looking for my replacement. Been looking since June. Hard to find someone even though the salary is decent but it is part-time. Boss stated his friend said his “girl” has been working for him for 10 years who never got a raise – as if that is a good thing!!! This is the mindset a lot of administrative positions have to deal with today. Last job I had I had to ask for every raise I got. Amazing how some bosses just have no appreciation when they have good employees.
@Geo Wilcox: They’re looking for evidence that the kids were crisis actors.
Knowledge worker hiring is stuck in pre-pandemic conditions: salaries are not keeping up with demand, and there are always requirements for time in the office (which post-COVID is both irrelevant and irrational). I actually had a recruiter offer me a 60% pay cut for a gig 100 miles away because living is cheaper there and wouldn’t I like to relocate. Recruiting has a lot of catching up to do if they expect to find talent these days.
In the meantime there is a story I saw about Amazon no longer inquiring about drug use for driver applicants. Wonder if they think weed acceptance is holding candidates back and not the workhouse-grade pay.
@nwerner: Those are often cases where the job was written for a very specific person, but equal opportunity laws require that the company actually advertise the job and perform a search. But they have no intention of giving the job to anyone else.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@SFBayAreaGal: I’m another fan of that show. Is it streaming anywhere? It’s not on Prime or Netflix or Disney+ or, I think, Peacock.
One thing I don’t get about the Network affiliated streaming services like Peacock and Paramount is that even they don’t have the entire catalogue of network shows available for streaming. Like, you can only stream Friends on HBO Max and Seinfeld on some other service. NBC’s two biggest ever shows and neither are available on their own streaming service.
Then there’s the shows that aren’t available for streaming anywhere – Remington Steele, Northern Exposure, etc. Like, you’re the streaming service affiliated with the network that originally aired the program and you can’t stream it on your own service? Why is that?
Dave Berg of Mad Magazine fame once wrote a joke about employers looking for 25 year old employees with 40 years of experience. That was in the 60s or 70s, so I guess some things haven’t changed.
I was doing poorly in my job as a lawyer some 40 years ago, and pretty tired of Cleveland as well, when I got a call out of the blue from a legal recruiter asking me to interview for a better paying job in Chicago. The recruiter? None other than Larry Elder, now a talk show host and gubernatorial candidate.
@gene108: I really hope they are upset next year when they find that people are still angry and assign blame to the people who committed the sabotage right out in the fucking open.
@Geo Wilcox: That’s easy. Kids who are disciplinary problems distract the teacher in the key milliseconds before they can heroically tackle a shooter. So the families of these kids are partly liable for damages.
IANAL but my gut feeling is that his is just an attempt to hurt the parents some more so they will settle for a smaller amount.
In the mega-corporate world that is done because they do have a specific person they want to hire, the person wants to be hired, but hiring procedures* Must Be Followed.
* generally written by three retarded howler monkeys, a fried clam, and the nephew of the CEO.
1) Networks don’t always own the shows they broadcast. This is how you get the rare instances where a show jumps networks; BIONIC WOMAN for one example, or how COMMUNITY moved to Yahoo! Video.
2) Many shows were sold for years-long contracts before a network kick-started its own service. As a long-time REMINGTON STEELE fan, I know it’s on Hulu, for example. As the contracts get re-worked, networks move shows back onto their newer streaming services — THE OFFICE is a big example of that for the Peacock network.
@Anoniminous: I appreciate all the responses that suggest this and maybe that’s true but one of the worst offenders that I have seen is Amazon, specifically their real estate acquisitions and development department, where these listings have remained active for literally years.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:
It’s rights/ownership issues. Just because a show ran on a certain network doesn’t necessarily mean that network “owned” the show and gets to do whatever it wants with it in perpetuity. The actual owner might be the production company, for example, which licensed the show to the network for an original run and some number of repeats. Lots of different types of deals. And a lot of them were struck before shows could live on in DVDs, much less streaming.
Also, music licensing. (Old article about DVDs but applies to streaming.)
One of the sources of crazy IT ads is people who need to run them before saying they couldn’t find anyone to hire so they need H1B workers. There are whole seminars on how to run recruiting campaigns for actual IT jobs that will guarantee you won’t get any qualified applicants. Ugh. We need H1B reform that ends the corruption while creating better conditions for the workers who do come here.
Oh, and the Sandy Hook lawsuit? They are also demanding all HR files for the teachers who died. Apparently they have been given all the records they requested.
@Fair Economist: I once saw a DBA discuss various rejections he had received. One said: “We see you have N years experience with SQL; we need someone who is familiar with Sequel.” HR/Recruiting are their own worst enemies.
The Moar You Know
They’re a travesty. I’ll only take work from inside these days, where the whole HR process is bypassed until official onboarding. HR has zero idea of what the IT department needs and tend to hire blithering idiots who end up needing to be tossed right out the door again.
Remington has been extremely dickish through the whole proceedings. From that article:
(Link is to an earlier article.)
1. It’s an inside joke
2. The requirements were handed down from On High
3. The department is run by scumbags
@Woodrow/asim: One if the reasons broadcast TV is so terrible now (mostly reality and game shows) is that at some point the limits on the percentage of shows broadcasters were allowed to produce in-house (thus owning them) were lifted. All the sitcoms you are discussing were produced by an independent company and then aired by the network. Networks didn’t like that arrangement, so they got Washington to get rid of it. So now we get shitty, highly profitable TV. And good TV has moved to streaming.
The Moar You Know
@Geo Wilcox: They’re going to try the “whole shooting was faked with crisis actors” in their defense in hopes that there’s at least one Q fanatic on the jury who will force a mistrial of the whole affair. Which there is a good chance thereof.
comrade scotts agenda of rage
This. As another could-retire-now-but-can’t-travel-so-why-retire-IT worker, I’ve seen the above time and time again from my fellow IT people in the private sector.
This. When I gave my previous employer a 2-week notice last month (they deserved a 2-finger notice, but I wanted my vacation pay), we must have screened a half-dozen candidates who said “No Dice” to the in-office requirement. Didn’t help that we’re in Vegas, where the pay scales for IT are far below what anyone in SoCal is making. Our cost of living isn’t that much lower these days…
@jeffreyw: If you’ve watched the Oscar winning Wings, you’ll realize they just dropped the first T to get IT Girl.
@nwerner: Amazon is a deeply terrible employer. It may be that the turnover is so high that they simply leave the ads up. Or the top boss is so dickish that he finds it amusing to constantly run them as “motivation” for the workers. It’s like the shop you walk by with the faded Help Wanted sign that’s been in the window for years.
@coin operated: For me this was Richmond vs NoVA, which is substantial but not enough to justify the WTFery in the compensation.
@Jerzy Russian: You’ll just have to console yourself with Star Trek: Lower Decks and the rest of the Paramount catalog.
Why bother to write an article saying what assholes Remington’s lawyers are when you don’t identify the law firm? Clicking on the link, and then the link inside that linked story, did not ID the firm. So I googled the quoted lawyer’s name and the firm is Swanson, Martin & Bell (Chicago).
[apologies if the firm is actually ID’d in one of the two stories and I missed it in my increasing aggravation]
@boatboy_srq: That puzzles me about American firms still uptight about weed use. I suppose because it’s still federally scheduled, there is a legal grey area.
Here in Canada, the armed forces and most police forces have usage guidelines with varying time limits before shifts. Except Calgary PD of course.
As someone who remembers shows like SMALL WONDER, I cannot fully concur with this assessment. I can think of quite a few broadcast-first shows I deeply enjoyed that were made in the last decade and an half — my all-time 21st Century fave, PERSON OF INTEREST, THE GOOD PLACE, PARKS AND RECREATION, etc.
I don’t watch a ton of TV these days; I am really picky, actually, in the hours I’ll give to a show. But I did as a kid, and a lot of it was horrifically-written shlock, back then, with a few boundary-pushing/genre making shows like REMINGTON STEELE making things interesting. That it was almost all scripted shlock, as opposed to so-called “reality,” doesn’t change much my opinions on the quality of the output, from my personal opinion.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Friends was shot at the Warner Studios even though NBC bought it for broadcast so I guess some contract language ensured it went to Warner/HBO.
J R in WV
deleted. I’m done.
@Feathers: USA isn’t the only place with visa abuse. There was a scandal in Canada when Tim Horton’s used a migrant worker/temp visa program to bring in workers.
Tim Hortons CEO frets new temporary foreign worker rules could impact quality of service
Remington’s attorneys are listed in the motion shown in the first Vice article. In addition to Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP, another firm is involved: Day Pitney, LLP, of Hartford, CT.
Look, the normal IT work week is 60 hours. So if you just increase that by 2/3, to 100 hours, you can get five years experience in three years. Plus you still have 68 hours a week for biofunctions and sociolife.
@MontyTheClipArtMongoose: I recall seeing ads for IT jobs requiring 5+ years experience in a programming language that had only been commercially available for 6 months… explains why the brain slugs starve to death in some HR departments.
@rikyrah: Finally! Congratulations
edit: the date means they can’t fool around, either. If they have to wait 4-6 weeks after the first shot, and be fully vaccinated by 9/15, they basically have to get the first show NOW. Unless they want J & J.
What about the 2 weeks after the shot? Does that have to be completed by 9/15?
@Bunter: HR often gets things wrong, like the ones who insist on CPAs for finamce jobs in companies. CPAs come in two main flavors, auditors and tax people. Tax people are usually pretty rusty on fimancial statement rules. Auditors work in small groups with in other peoples companies and are absolutely appalling on management of actual people. 40% turnover of their skilled staff is considered completely normal.
Companies should be looking for management accountants (CMA) for inside company management aCcounting jobs.
@rikyrah: Congratulations. That should get you safely through the holidays.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Baud: that’s a horror story on to itself, but since the worst hit are the poor, no important cares as always.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
The other problem with Wallmart’s glorious vision for IT is why would anyone with serious IT skills work for a company that wants them to relocate for poverty wages in a backwater state?
@jeffreyw: You’re not that old.
Here’s a photo my grandpa took of her in a movie possibly called The Wild Party. He’d be 139 if he were alive today.
I can’t think of any other reason, OK it could be to make the parents suffer more at the asinine concept of their children being shot at a school, when they have to send them there and the government refuses to ban the guns that killed them. IOW there is zero sense to the entire disaster that is gun rights vs human rights in our country. The right conflates that our gun rights are our only human rights and everything flows from that.
Remington was broken up for parts in bankruptcy according to their Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remington_Arms
That vice piece should have clarified who exactly is involved in the lawsuits. Given the extreme assholery on their (“Remington’s”) part, it’s easy to assume RW gun people are involved, but that’s just bias, not fact-based.
Amen on IT. I started in IT almost exactly 51 years ago. (Sept 9, 1970)
Back then there weren’t a lot of IT people, period. If you wanted to learn programming, you had to pass an aptitude test before the trade school would take you. Back then trade schools did actually try to teach people job skills. Three of the 4 people in my department had been trained by the company, again based on aptitude testing. We later got another guy from the same internal training program. They were all good programmers. They were all ex-aircraft mechanics. I found that interesting.
When I retired in 2003, different company, different everything and I was on the search committee for my replacement. My boss showed me the “desired candidate” specs they were going to advertise. My first words were “I couldn’t do half of that”. He showed me what he had sent to HR. The ad went considerably beyond what he had asked for. And yet by the time we actually got candidates to interview, it was as if neither set of specs had been used at all. It is almost as if everyone all around knew that what was asked for was ridiculous, but still decided to give it a shot.
Nearly as I can tell as a consumer of IT, we are no better off from demanding years of experience vs. pulling people off the production line and training them. We seem to have traded a lot of small glitches for occasional major problems. Oh well.
Good point about “IT jobs”. There’s no such thing as an “IT job”. Within “IT” there are dozens of different skill sets. Even if an employer were willing to retrain someone with skill set “X” to have skill set “Y”, that training period would typically take a year or more. And then the employer would only have an inexperienced rookie with skill set “Y”.
@Steeplejack: CT firm would be local counsel. They wouldn’t be driving the bus when it comes to deliberate, substantive douchery.
As a previous employer (the person who signed the checks), I’ll explain.
You want someone who can do it all, at the pay rate of someone who can’t do anything.
Now that this is one of the most unrealistic concepts in the world never enters the mind of the person who can’t do any of the job concepts. Everyone who gets hired for a job has some skills. They may not be good skills or they may not be the absolute correct skills but the real issue is how fast (and easy) can they learn the new skills is the important question that most never ask. The second part of that, that is often never asked or thought of is, how actually important is it to do the job in one exact way. Sometimes it is extremely important, sometimes it isn’t. People hired to hire others, who have none of the requirements of the job they hire for, can cause a lot of problems for actual hiring or even writing applicant requirements.
Also in this day and age I’d bet no one wants to hire any more people than is absolutely necessary to get the job done. IOW we may be back to the concept of – Work till you drop, then come back and do this every day, for the absolutely least amount of money we want to pay, because we need you but don’t value your efforts in the least.
Gary in Chicago
I agree with what JaneE wrote about search criteria. As an IT guy who had to pay for my own training in every skill-set I developed over the years (!), I was flabbergasted when my last company told me they were consolidating positions within the smallish IT department. We had recently lost our SQL administrator and two help desk people, as well as the desktop administrator. My job function had expanded from server administrator to backup admin, storage admin, and virtualization admin. So naturally, the company decided that the replacement should be competent in all administrator skills. They actually told me that I should feel free to apply and go through the interview process for the new position. I decided that what they demanded of a new IT guy would never be found so I left and subsequently retired.
@Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix:
I once knew a fella who had been a stock broker/adviser to high end clients. One of his main clients was deeply involved high in the Walmart world. From what this deeply involved Walmart person made every year, Walmart could likely pay twice what they do and this person would still make a rather nice bucket of money. But a nice bucket of money wasn’t enough, even a nice double semi truck load of money wasn’t enough.
Old saying: Some wouldn’t know a good thing if it smacked them in the head. Another version: Some wouldn’t know a good thing if it gave them a 100% raise.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:
The issue is who owns the rights to the show. It isn’t whose name is on the screen, it’s who owns the rights now. And that changes. Netflix wants to show some things but someone has offered to pay more to the rights holders to the show when the current contract ends. The show moves or is shelved because it costs too much for the return. Or, the rights are sold to someone else. I have older shows that I like on DVD because in the end it was cheaper (and easier) than having 8 different streaming services.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@JaneE: I was a history major and had gotten an MLS to be a librarian, except when I got out of school in 1975, there was a recession and no librarian jobs. I got hired as a trainee programmer after taking 1 1/2 quarters of BASIC and realizing I had programming aptitude. (Someone had said to me, “If you like cataloging books, you’ll like programming”). After a few years, I followed my original boss/mentor to the local community bank, where I was a programmer/analyst for almost 30 years before retiring in 2015 (I did have to take a COBOL course at the local JC before I could be hired). Certainly, you couldn’t have a career like mine anymore, without getting a technical degree.
In the end, my job skills were incredibly specific, dealing with 3 proprietary programming systems you could not possibly have had training in before being hired by the bank. One of them was a forms programming language that had been written in PCL for the IBM mainframe by a guy who worked for the banking software company the bank used. When I learned it, there were probably 4 people in the world who knew it. When I left, they did want someone with MS BASIC for network programming, but everything else had to be taught in-house.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@Ruckus: You are absolutely right. What you need to hire is someone with strong computer aptitude, who can quickly learn the programs used by the company. There are a lot of systems and programs out there which are not taught in trade schools, many incredibly specific. Or maybe community banking (where I worked) is different. :-)
They have a specific internal candidate they intend to use. They’re only posting the job req because the law requires it. I see this a lot.
@A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan):
Your last line says it all. It really isn’t different in execution, only in exactly what gets done. And it often depends on the skills of the person/people that came before you. My major job over the last 60 yrs was machining metal to make very specific products for others to use to create a variety of products. Even if you go to schools (of which there are few) you still learn by doing, mostly from others you work with. And in reality that is most often how humans work and learn best. Now once you have a specific knowledge base, you should become more valuable. In smaller situations you often can and do. In larger situations it’s actually harder, because there is less sharing of knowledge. Along with entrenched knowledge and use, which often can impede progress because it impedes wide scaling, and protects jobs, once something works, upper management often doesn’t want to spend any more so they hold on to the past. I’ve seen this in action in more than one setting. Good enough often costs more in the long run.
Used to see those a lot in help-wanted classified ads a couple of generations back – often from government agencies that had a specific person in mind for the position but had to go through the kabuki of advertising it to the general public. Common practic at the time.
Then again, I was the beneficiary of one of the rare counterexamples: I saw an extremely detailed want-ad from the State of Maryland and sonofagun, I had all the quals except proficiency in a programming language arcane even at the time. I figured it was wired for a particular person, but I sent in a resume noting my shortocmings but asking to be considered for a position as an assistant to whoever was hired. Soon I was brought in for an interview. Turned out they had no one in mind – they’d just turned over to the guy who was leaving the task of writing the ad for his replacement. And all he did was list what he had to know (or learn) for every task he’d had to perform in his time there. (And as for the missing qualification – “It’s a programming language, for chrissake,” said the division director, “you can learn it in your spare time.”)
So I ended up with the job – at half again the salary I’d been making. Moral: Never assume. Always apply. The worst they can say is No.
Kind of a bass-ackward take on that from (again) a couple of generations back: A friend and a wealthy Danish divorcee wanted to marry, but she wouldn’t emigrate and insisted he get a job of his own. He found a bank eager to hire him, but in order to do so they had to demonstrate to the Danish government that they could not find anyone available for hire in Denmark with his set of (very specific and extensive, of course) skills. They did so, hired him, the wedding went off – and, two years later, so did the divorce. (Socioeconomic and cultural status shock.)
Obvious Russian Troll
I love machine learning. Why, look at this article on how NarxCare uses machine learning to fuck over patients who need help with pain!
(Yes, yes, opiates are overprescribed and dangerous [and have killed people in my family], but you have to balance that against people who need help with chronic pain. Refusing people who legitimately need help because of your stupid machine learning algorithms doesn’t help anybody.)
@Obvious Russian Troll: Not even chronic pain–I’ve heard tales of people going home to recover from major surgery without opioids because the doctors are so scared of them now. I’m so thankful that wasn’t the case for me–I only needed a couple of those pills but none would have been living hell.
I recall looking at the want ads as I was about to graduate college. Java was just starting to get popular at the time. It had been out in the public maybe 3 years at that point. There were ads asking for 5 years experience. At that point I realized how silly IT hiring practices were and hadn’t even applied for my first job yet.
Obvious Russian Troll
@Matt McIrvin: Ooh, that would be awful.
But unsurprisingly typical.
@Tony Gerace: I am glad you pointed that out. I wish you could have been in charge before I arrived at my present job. Leadership hired a handful of “IT” people without having any idea what skills they needed. I am constantly trying to explain why my network engineer cannot develop a time keeping application for them or why my field service tech is not going to spin up a new content management system. These are people that should know better.
As you said, HR departments are clueless and managers are scared chickenshits. They’d rather hire someone with six months on Software X, instead of 10 years on the very similar Software Y that would enable them to get up to speed better than the newbie in a couple of days. Because nobody gives a crap about getting it right, it’s just ticking the right boxes and covering your bureaucratic ass. You can really notice the difference when you find an organization where knowledgeable IT people run hiring IT