Re: What's A TW Got To DO To Get A Job Around Here?!

Subject: Re: What's A TW Got To DO To Get A Job Around Here?!
From: Kelley <kwalker2 -at- gte -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 21:46:46 -0500

At 08:49 PM 2/24/02 -0500, Bonnie Granat wrote:

I think your suggestion is a fine one, Melody. On first glance, however, it
just doesn't fit my particular circumstances. You see, there's a company
here that has since early September needed a pharmaceutical writer with a
chemistry background. I don't qualify for that job. There's another company
that needs an API writer, and I don't qualify for that job, either. That's
about all the jobs here, except for entry-level ones. I'm not kidding. Since
September 7, 2001, when I lost my job along with 34 others, there have been
virtually no technical writing jobs advertised, and not a single job for a
technical editor.

Like Dick, let me preface this by stressing that I feel truly badly about people in your shoes. You can't understand how much I do, but it goes back to being a kid and watching people get laid off, and watching as their dignity slowly, steadily eroded under the onslaught of successive injuries. They didn't have the choice to move at all, and they had skills in industries that were dying all over the country, not just a region. There were literally no jobs at all in our community, and when there were, they went to friends and relatives. The local newspaper didn't even have ads for Rainbow vacuum cleaner sales. A lot of people ended up bartering to survive. Others commuted 100s of miles a day or week. Families scattered across the country. Divorce rates skyrocketed.

It's no accident that I went on to study work, identity, unemployment, and markets more generally--the human side of markets, that is. What I say below is intended to be helpful. It might not sound so helpful, particularly since it seems like I'm telling you that you're not doing enough. I don't mean to sound that way.

As Bruce and others have noted, and I'll back them up on it, most people obtain professional and managerial position through networks. They do not primarily find them through advertisements. That doesn't mean that no one gets jobs that are advertised, of course. AS Mark Granovetter explains in _Getting a Job_, the job market mainly works through "weak networks". He uses many examples, but in order to stress that I don't simply mean going to STC meetings, Granovetter writes about how people in one industry (can't recall which right now) might go to a party for a good time, but hear about job opps there. I've gotten job leads participating on discussion lists that have nothing to do with my work. I'm not looking, so I sent people I know who'd be capable of the work their way, including a current employee! I didn't participate with the hopes of finding a job. That's what the concept of weak ties means, in part.

Granovetter's book isn't a "how to find a job" book; it's formal research. However, I've noticed that most of the better "how to find a job" books make reference to his research.

To translate this into practical terms, Melody is quite right. I'll back this up with my own work with out of work professional-managerial workers (as compared to blue collar workers) all of whom got laid off during the "jobless recession" of the mid 90s.I wasn't esp. interested in the aspects of how to get a job, but it was a by-product of my research. Those people who were successful, made getting a job a full-time job. Most of them, experienced managers even, had no idea that advertisements weren't the place to look for a job. However, in interviews with them, they could reel of dozens of examples of their own hiring practices. They, themselves, had hired countless people, most of whom didn't learn of the job through an advertisement. The idea is so entrenched, IOW, that people don't even "get it" when they have the own subjective experience to work from. (This phenom was the kind of thing I was interested in: identity)

So, getting a job under these market conditions means hitting the pavement, doing research on companies you'd like to work for, sending out resumes and, I can't stress this enough, sending in cover letters that explain _why_ you want to work for that company. (See Brad Jensen's excellent post on the topic. Yes, it's sucking up. Yes, it's political! Yes, it's admitting that employer's have power! WhatevA!).

Scanning the want ads will no longer do it for you.

And, again, to reference what Bruce has said: While getting a job has been fairly "easy" in this industry in the recent past, it was an anomaly. I don't know if we'll ever get it back again, but I doubt it since there was a unique confluence of circumstances--and lots of seemingly free money--that made for the past five years.

Finally, to echo Dick, you may end up doing something else. You can do something else! There's a world of work out there that you can do, and it might be just as interesting to you as what you've been doing! I know it's hard to think of it in positive terms, especially if you're deeply identified with your job, technical editing. But, it's an important thing to consider because, otherwise, you could be shutting the door on opportunities you never knew were possible.


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Re: What's A TW Got To DO To Get A Job Around Here?!: From: Andrew Plato
Re: What's A TW Got To DO To Get A Job Around Here?!: From: Melody Akins
Re: What's A TW Got To DO To Get A Job Around Here?!: From: Bonnie Granat
Re: What's A TW Got To DO To Get A Job Around Here?!: From: Bonnie Granat

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