Is it just me, or does trying to get a job almost feel like trying to win the lottery these days? It just feels like an almost impossible thing for me to reach at the moment and I have to admit, at times I sit and worry about my future prospects. I’m not bad at what I do; I’m a hard dedicated worker with a lot of passion, but... and there is a big but... I have no previous experience and my shyness lets me down. Let’s explore the first part of that statement; how can I get experience if I need experience to get a job? This is an excuse given to me a lot but it’s really unfair. I’ve been a hard worker my entire life, come top of my class mostly and actually tried to get on with things unlike other people, so why not give me a chance? Now for the second part of the statement; this world seems to run off charismatic people. No matter how good your skills are, it feels like a dim loud mouth is more likely to get through than you are. Ok, I know that charisma is an important skill to have, but unfortunately were not all born naturals at it. Also, why is shyness so unaccepted in this overly extrovert society? (By the way, being quiet a lot doesn’t necessarily mean you’re afraid to talk to people, I’m often not talkative when my mind is occupied by another task at hand, and as often is the case the gobby person next to you tends to be the one who makes the most mistakes. Secondly, it is also often seen as a condition that can’t be helped – trust me, I never chose to be this way, I hate it and am continuously trying to break out of this problem. Despite being a condition people seem to be happy to bully shy/introvert people which makes the condition worse and yet other noted conditions are more respected and treated with care.) – Oh and I’m not a babbling wreck either, I enjoy chatting to people face to face and can be quite noisy at times, but my entire life I’ve always been classed as shy like I give off a vibe or something. Anyways, being introvert can be a good thing; they tend to be more creative and think things through better.
My point is, when I was younger I always thought that I’d have a good chance at getting a job, simply because I’m a passionate person and absolutely love what I do which means I practice a lot. Now I’ve lost that confidence, because what they look for when employing people seems to be a bit off. On my university course the 3rd year is suppose to be a work experience placement, which is the year I’m currently on. I’m actually self employed and running a business with John and Sneeze (selling custom-built computers), but I did initially try to get a job. Before attempting to apply for jobs we were given advice on what they look for when interviewing people. The thing is, a lot of people have probably also been told the same thing, so were all making our CV’s up to sound like were skilled in everything they need but also outgoing and cultured, but not to any extremes. It causes you to kind of twist the truth a bit, so they’re not really seeing the real genuine person are they? We were also told that we couldn’t apply for game development jobs because we weren’t yet good enough, but there weren’t many C++ jobs available so it was awkward trying to stretch our skills when applying for completely unrelated computing jobs. I was lucky in that I’d had a past interest in website design so I attempted to take that direction mostly. I ended up with a lot of interviews, so I guess my CV writing skills can’t be too off.
At a lot of the interviews I went to they were actually a bit off with me, asking me the question, ‘so you spend a lot of time sat in front of your computer then?’ in an accusing way. What am I suppose to say to that and why is it a bad thing? I’m applying for a computing job, isn’t it a good thing that I’m use to the idea of sitting in front of a monitor for long periods of time. Anyway, at no point in my CV did I state computing was the only thing I did. I enjoy being active; playing things like badminton, going canoeing and I’m soon to join the gym where I will probably spend much of my spare time. I could go further and list many hobbies and activities which I do that don’t involve a computer but I won’t bother. I also got told a lot of the time that I didn’t have the right skills, but this was supposed to be a learning experience job where they teach you the skills. Also it’s impossible to know every obscure program and language in computing because there are so many, usually programmers can pick new things up fast and that should be enough. (It should be about technique more than knowing each thing off by heart in my opinion.) If you want me to be good at everything I will need to spend a lot of time sat in front of my computer practicing - but oh no... That means you’ll accuse me of doing nothing but sitting in front of my monitor once again. That’s why I’d like to work for a software engineering company rather than a company that wants software, because I think they’ll understand you and the job involved better.
You can’t be good at everything, there’s not enough time in the world and I just don’t understand why being skilled at what they want you for isn’t good enough. I know personality will make a difference if you get two people with equal skill levels, but that whole needing to be cultured part of it, like computing people should go visit art galleries or something. Most of us just aren’t like that? The kind that really care about what they do, the kind that can genuinely do a very good job at your computing needs (i.e. the geeks) are also the kind that aren’t as likely to do less techy things. There’s a reason some people are whizzes at computing, they’re either born with it, or they do a lot of it. To expect less is unreasonable. I’ve also heard of cases though where people who aren’t as good at the skills required have gotten it over somebody more capable. This is outright unfair and I’m not even going to bother explaining why because I think it’s obvious. It is also often the case that you can be over-qualified to get a certain job, but it should be down to you to decide if you want to work there, not them. If you’re applying then you’re obviously happy to be working there despite having a lot of qualifications. I thought it’d be a good thing to have a lot of skills anyway, should I just stop learning when I reach a certain point to increase my chances of getting a job, or should I just omit some of my skills from my CV as if they don’t exist. How do I know when I’ve gone too far on my listed skill set? I wanted to work at a Game shop once, but have had no reply from them. They say you have to care about games (which I think it’s obvious I do), and I thought I’d show it by saying that I’m studying them. Now I’m wondering whether that makes me over-qualified and that’s why I’ve never heard back from them – You’d think it’d impress them, but no.
I’m also hard up against it being a white British person. I don’t have issues with ethnic minorities taking jobs or anything and I’m not racist. In fact it isn’t their fault at all, and if they earned the job I don’t really have a problem with them getting it over me. The problem arises because of the stupid pressures put onto companies to make it look as if they are making an effort to provide equal opportunities to all kinds of people; if a workforce consists of all white British it apparently looks bad (even though I have before seen a workforce that seems to only consist of black people). It has reached a point where I’ve actually seen job application forms stating that white people can’t apply even though the job doesn’t necessarily require a foreigner to do it. If you have the right skills you should be considered no matter who you are or where you’re from. I reckon that it’s probably quite condescending to a foreigner who’ll be getting a job because of what they are rather than what they are capable of. All this political correctness does is make it worse by driving a wedge further between the groups, leaving British people quite rightfully mad because they’re being shunned for no reason over people who didn’t originally come from here.
There is also a question of loyalty in jobs where sometimes people will get favours and will get in because they happen to know somebody who already works there, and then there’s the more negative side where loyalty lets you down, perhaps a place lays you off or offers a promotion to somebody with less experience there than you. Appearances and accents have also been said to make a difference, so basically if your ugly and don’t speak posh you have less of a chance even if you’re like as smart as Einstein or something. A lot of job interviews seem to have some sort of expected criteria for how you answer the trick questions they pop at you, and your suppose to read their minds on this one somehow.
I’m sure most of us have had negative interview experiences, or didn’t get a job for a reason that seemed unfair. The whole process feels like pot luck and there is so much competition involved nowadays. I guess recession didn’t exactly help last year and its left a lot of desperate people wondering what to do, but the least companies could do is to actually recruit people fairly and to give everyone an equal chance. The ones that put all the effort in should have the best chance of getting in, otherwise I might as well just not bother and sit on my ass all day doing nought for all the difference it will make.