RE: Hiring Publications Managers

Subject: RE: Hiring Publications Managers
From: Kelley <kwalker2 -at- gte -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 15:07:29 -0500

At 09:05 AM 2/6/02 -0500, Dick Margulis wrote:

Maybe, Jim.

But the reaction of Annamarie and some others to Kelley's perceived "tone" (whatever that means in ascii text) is a reminder that we have to try to write so as not to me misunderstood.

In general, good advice. Since plenty of folks understood, I'm not sure the onus is on me but I'll use more emoticons and tags.

I get caught often enough in the I-don't-like-your-tone trap that I've become a little more sensitive to it. Perhaps Kelley would have done better to say, "this is a permanent position, not a contract position," rather than "contractors need not apply."

Four words are cheaper than nine when you're writing a hiring notice! :)

Seriously, when I posted, I was speaking to a market that I think is best handled with very straightforward language. (I think you wished I'd not shared it that way on the list, yes?) More on that, below. On the way there, i want to answer a question I was asked by Charles E Vermette:

"Having said that, I've found the words "commitment", "discipline" and "rewards" to be ambiguous (to put it mildly-if Ambrose Bierce was writing the Devil's Dictionary today, I'm sure he'd have some pithy definitions for these!)"

ROTFLMAO. Well, with a reference to Ambrose Bierce in mind, I shall forge ahead with an analogy anyway.

While Annamarie and others are unhappy with the language of market discipline, rewards, and punishment, they describe what any market does.
They just phrases that do not carry value judgments. See:

Market decisions are binary. I have a quarter. I want to buy fruit. I also desire freshness and ripeness. Those qualities cannot be had independently, they are qualities attached to fruit. My premises are that no particular fruit predicts ripeness and freshness. I can select ripe, fresh apples or peaches. But, with limited resources, I can only have one or the other.

If I want to buy a peach, I reward peachness. I reject (punish) appleness. I can't have both.

If I go to a peach stand on the roadside (as opposed to the supermarket), I stand a better chance of finding what I want because I have more to choose from and only one thing to focus on, unless the peaches are terrible that day, then I will go to the apple stand. I will miss out on fresh, ripe apples, but that's the risk I've decided is worth taking.

In my micro-level market behavior, I've just registered a preference for (rewarded) peaches. If millions did that every day, then apple production would probably decline, apple growers would go out of business. The discipline of the market in action. Does that mean I dislike apple farmers and apples. NO! I prefer, in fact I LUST, for peaches. But since resources are scarce, my preference/choice of peaches precludes me from having both peach and apple for my quarter.

That would have focused on the real need (someone interested in a "permanent" job) rather than an artificial screen (someone with a history of "permanent" jobs). It would have reduced BOTH the false negatives AND the false positives.

Unlike peaches (FTers) and contractors (apples), people have volition. If I go to the peach stand, no apples with chase me down with 2 sheets of paper in their hand saying, "you must pick me, you must pick me. you do not want those peaches. I know better than you what you want. In fact, you're an evil meanie who has a prejudice against apples don't you!? apples, unite! we must unionize, professionalize, create an association to lobby against evil meanies who discriminate in their hiring practices!" :)

<sarcasm> I'm sorry Annamarie, I cannot help it, i have to say it this way, forgive me!

If I want to make my life simpler, then I have to be STERN with apples to get what I want: a ripe, fresh peach. Could I get ripeness and freshness with an apple. Sure. Could I even get some peachy flavored apples? Sure. However, I want the ripeness and freshness as it exhibits itself in peaches, not apples. Strong, stern language means that those apples who do apply will probably be persistent apples who understand how to speak peach. STrong language will likely mean I will get a binary distribution: some resumes from very persistent apples who really want to go into FT work and are willing to address that in their conver letter. I will also get some very persistent shotgunners who send their resume everywhere.

The middle will largely be weeded out since they are likely (not definitely, but likely) those who don't want much to do with apples for a variety of reasons.

Maybe. Because it's always a crap shoot.

Now, I am subject to the discipline of the market as well. No one here has yet dared argue that the qualities of freshness and ripeness are found more often in apples (contractors) than in peaches. They only feel comfortable arguing that I'm just as likely to find those qualities among peaches as I am to find them among apples.

I can also be disciplined by my bad decision. I will miss out on a special quality of apples that I simply can't get in peaches: a natural cleanser for my teeth. My love of peaches may mean that, someday, my teeth may fall out. :)

That was fun!


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RE: Hiring Publications Managers: From: Dick Margulis

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