I remember the reward for my liberal arts degree during the recession of 1982, where all of the economy was changing and the manufacturing jobs were disappearing. I had taken a very important and responsible position mopping floors, cleaning toilets and taking out trash. At least most of the work was indoors and I had the option of doing it about any time of day I chose as long as I had it cleaned before the place opened.
I remember the owner, who was an adept businessman, attempting to collect on a loan that he had made. It was early afternoon, and the borrower pulled up to the business in his rather new and quite comfortable car. Wearing nice clothes with his fingernails trimmed and clean, he explained to the owner why he couldn't pay the money he owed. It was one of the "if you don't have it you can't pay it" scenarios.
Bottom line, he wore nicer clothes than my boss, drove a nicer car than my boss, and had more free time than my boss, and yet, he couldn't pay my boss what he had borrowed. As time passes, I am less and less inclined to offer money to people who seem to wear nicer clothes than me, drive nicer cars than me, and have more free time than me. I am also less inclined to believe, that for whatever odd reason, I am obliged to roll up my sleeves and get the job done when no one is willing to help out and yet they all agree it needs to get done.
Negotiating what you will do and what you will not do is a delicate process in our personal and professional lives. One of the things my experience has taught me is never take a position that does not have a written description of the job and the responsibilities that go along with it. While an enforceable contract is good, they can always put at the end "all necessary tasks related to this position, at any time" to which you amend "with adequate compensation for previously undefined duties in either pay or time off." That said, let me point out that I am not an attorney and that was just a guideline. The thing is, if you walk into job negotiations with your attorney at your side, things will get sticky quickly, unless there are millions on the table, in which case the employer already has consulted lawyers.
Obviously, companies want to make as much money as possible, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are, however, certain times when you realize that you are making a lot more value for your employer than matches your compensation, or, you are the only one generating revenue while dozens of your coworkers make themselves invisible when the work shows up, always happy to leave the heavy lifting to you. There you are, again, holding the bag, all alone, staring down that great big pile of work. You end up being like my boss, financing someone's lifestyle, sweating it out so they can relax and enjoy life. I guess some people find that rewarding.
People quit jobs because, according to the Harvard Business Review, "they don’t like their boss, don’t see opportunities for promotion or growth, or are offered a better gig (and often higher pay); these reasons have held steady for years.” Keep in mind high turnover jobs blow through a lot of people because: the boss is a jerk, there's nowhere to go, or the pay is bad. I would also add, the job isn’t something that you want to do. In the interview, listen very carefully for the explanation of how the job opened up, and do not be afraid to ask about turnover. If a few dozen people tried it before you, your chances are not very good.
Ever notice how the really good jobs don't open up much, or that those positions are filled from within the organization, and if you see the position open at all it is only because the firm had a legal obligation to advertise the position, but you don't see the advertisement very long? The other thing that I see a lot are positions that are always open. Always. You have to wonder who takes those jobs and why the firm cannot find some way to keep employees.
My favorite, however, is where you look at the website and it does everything it can to keep from telling you what it really does. Most of these firms are "marketing" firms that don't mention very much in the way of techniques or the names of clients, but are always offering "wonderful opportunities" to applicants. I like their websites because they always have a photo of the "team" which all sport bad haircuts, ill-fitting clothes, and forced smiles, usually at a sparse, fly-by-night looking office. Usually, at least one of the people in the picture has left the company, but if the picture is more than a month old, it's an "old picture." All of those businesses give me this this odd feeling, like something isn't right. I recall one of the interviews where the person interviewing me claimed to have made fifty thousand dollars in the last six months, which was all fine and well, but honestly, I could have gone to a Goodwill second-hand store an walked out better dressed than he was. When you make 100k a year, there are people who can tell you how to look like you make 100k a year, and if you want to impress me by telling me you make 100k a year, at least try to dress like you make 100k a year.
I often tell the story of an interview with a "vice president" with of one of the firms asking a marketing question that anyone with any marketing education would know, but of course, he didn't. Age-old joke, what do you call a salesman who can't sell anything? The “director of marketing.” Important tip: if the interviewer doesn't have a business card, or just as bad, has a business card with the old name scratched out and his/hers handwritten in. This handwritten is not always the case, however. One of the highest-paying jobs I ever had started with an interview with a manager whose name was handwritten in, but this was in Ohio and he had transferred from California, so things were a bit behind.
At times I am tempted to send an ambiguous resume as vague as their websites.
Ambition plays a big part in my life. I have always been ambitious. In job after job, my ambitions thrive as well as my determination comes through. When I am determined to do something, I see it through. Many times I’m the one who makes it happen, because of my ambition and determination.
Marketing is important. Marketing knowledge can mean the difference between success and failure, and I know marketing. Some of the products that I have sold were in high demand after I explained why the customer needed the product or service. Let’s face it, marketing is the key to selling. The right sales pitch at the right time to the right person is the key to selling, and knowing your market and your product is part of the formula for success.
I have had many people say that working with me is a unique experience. I like to make experiences unique and memorable, that’s just one of my qualities. I really enjoy a job where I can make the experience unique and memorable, where I can apply my unique abilities to make the experience a one of a kind.
Education is important. I remember a lot of my teachers and the things that they taught me. I think that an education can be the key to success. I value education, and have a lot of respect for people with an education.
I hope you realized that in the last four paragraphs I have deliberately said exactly nothing. This is a lot like the website of these “marketing” firms. No marketing strategies, no target markets, no clients, no descriptions other than vague generalizations as solid as balloon juice. I would love to be a content writer for one of these websites. How do you tell someone to write several pages and say almost nothing but vague generalities, with nothing specific? I also wonder who the owners of these firms are and where they get these ideas. What some of the jobs these “marketing” firms do is walking door to door in neighborhoods trying to sell something, called “d2d” in the current marketing jargon. There’s b2b, b2c, and d2d in marketing jargon. They consider themselves brilliant because they have mastered this jargon, and throw those terms into every conversation they have just to illustrate that brilliance. “Yeah, Bob, I was at the car dealership, you know, they were doing the b2c gig, but I wanted to talk to the decision maker.”
I don’t know why they just can’t tell you that if you take this job that they take you to a neighborhood, where you “canvas” the neighborhood (another one of those brilliant marketing terms) walking door to door trying to close a sale. Oh, wait, I know why, because if they told you that your job is walking around a neighborhood knocking on doors trying to sell something, you would probably never apply to work there. (Even though in the interview they’ll tell you this product almost sells itself.) You could cut out the middle man and just walk door to door (d2d to you marketing geniuses) and offer to trim lawns, tend gardens, or shovel snow, or whatever talents you might have that someone could use. The best thing is, you won’t have to listen to your employer explain why your commission check hasn’t come yet, when it was due two weeks ago.