It is an interesting read. however I have a few things I disagree with, or that I agree with, but with caveats.
Sure, there are always the < 1%-ers that will always find themselves in high demand.
But lets be honest here. Half the people out there are below average. Yep - nobody thinks its them.
Even if you've got good reason to think you are in the top 10%, top 5%, whatever, that still does not necessarily mean that things will be easy in a job market that is as tight as what we are experiencing today. The kind of people he's talking about are really, extremely rare. Brilliant technically and with a great personality and people skills. Educated at a top 10 school with honors and maybe an advanced degree? Just the right experience with all the latest buzzwords and the right amounts of tenure with the most prestigious companies? Good looking and a snappy dresser too? Good for those who are so lucky.
But what about the rest of us?
Those of us who might legitimately be above average, but who are honest and humble enough to understand that there are a LOT of other people who are also smart, well educated and experienced. Those of us who went to good, but not top-10 great schools -- you know, public universities. Those of us who had to work hard to pay for school or even work hard to make it in school. Those of us who might not have been able to afford to complete school. Those of us who have worked for companies that have struggled, maybe we've been through layoffs or even multiple time victims of layoffs? What about those of us who are shy or maybe a little nerdy and not someone who could be mistaken for a GQ cover guy? What about those of us who are over 35, or worse... over 40, 50, even 60?
Most of us are never going to have those advantages, some of them are just physically impossible. Sure, everyone can improve themselves, but within limitations.
Talking about how great things are for the top fraction of a percent doesn't help very many people. And frankly, the people it applies to don't need any help.
Why this whole big rant? Well, it sometimes just seems like employers and even recruiters have a really unrealistic view of the world and what candidates are out there and what we all face. I'm talking about the companies that want Superman and won't give anyone who isn't perfect in every way a chance.
Edited to add that this is really mainly in response to one particular entry from Jan 18th.
Caveat understood: Applicable to Mark's 18 January post.
If I were -- which I'm not -- an employer or a recruiter, I would want Superman/woman... all I could get. I would actively seek out legitimate giants and visionaries. I don't find that unrealistic at all. The folks with CEO, CIO, and CTO -- owner, partner, and principal behind their names probably feel the same way... NY2TX?
How can the thing -- whatever it is -- succeed, meet its goal, overcome the competition, out traction the rest of field without the highest caliber ammunition; the strongest octane fuel; talent so good it makes your socks roll up and down?
For the rest of us -- and I am among them -- who don't have Ivy League stamped on our forehead; who made pizza, drove delivery trucks, worked as a janitor to pay for any college or credential; who are "more experienced" (read as "older"); those of us who are not the cover model for anyone's magazine... what about us?
Be confident and assured. We are good; we are valuable -- take a hard look at where we've been and what we've done. Our accomplishments speak volumes, and bring enormous value to the table.
It takes longer... the elite recruiters aren't wearing a hole in our lawn but they never did. The blogosphere isn't buzzing about us as the "next big thing." Time Magazine isn't offering us Person of the Year for 2009. Our resume doesn't always jump to the top of the stack on its own... but then it never did.
You say people are "lucky" who are "Brilliant technically and with a great personality and people skills. Educated at a top 10 school with honors and maybe an advanced degree? Just the right experience with all the latest buzzwords and the right amounts of tenure with the most prestigious companies? Good looking and a snappy dresser too?"
Most of that's not luck -- it's hard work. Coming out of a top ten school with honors and an advanced degree takes a lot more than money. Making the grade at pretigigious companies is not falling off a log easy. These people are smart but these people made it happen... they worked for it and they honed their attitudes and skills to make it work even more.
Networking, soft skills, conversation, public speaking, even how to dress well... are all learned behaviors. People are trained, mentored, and attend workshops to attain those skills. If we think those are the things that open the doors to better opportunities, I say go for it -- learn how. Just because someone has those skills and they seem natural, why do we assume they had them from birth and honed them at no cost?
Those people are not "lucky," they are successful.
Maybe one of those guys will offer us a job one day ;~)
William W. (Woody) Williams
Senior Project Manager
Software & IT Governance
Well, a lot of people who get the ivy league education do so because they come from wealthy families, so its not all hard work. And a lot of those people didn't have to work as hard as someone who is smart from average means would have had to in order to make it in those environments. Those are the people I'm talking about. The bottom line is that for those of us who grew up in lower middle class families that we were lucky to be able to afford even the local state university and then only by working part/full time and/or taking out student loans.
I've been working on networking, etc., and yes, people can make progress in those areas, but if you aren't born beautiful and don't have serious money for surgeries you will never grace the cover of GQ. And we can't roll back time and get younger. Those things you really do have to be born with. Life isn't fair, and I don't expect it to be.
And for most of us, no matter how long we work an ivy league education will never be in the realm of affordability, although we could probably get more education from more modest schools. The question then is, will we see a return on that investment in time and money.
Luck, certainly is a part of success. A lot of the success I've had over the years, and I've had some was due to things as simple as being at the right place at the right time. If I'd been 10 minutes earlier or later probably someone else would have gotten it.
I can understand why people would want Superman, preferably one who is willing to work long hours for peanuts... but I think they really underestimate what a lot of people are capable of if given the chance.
Here is the problem... perfectionism is the mortal enemy of "good enough". And by that I mean I think a lot of effort is expended and a lot of opportunity is lost looking for and/or waiting for the perfect when the properly motivated "good enough" would already have it done.
And what I think I failed to convey about his post is that talking about things always being good for the few just doesn't tell us much about what we can expect. And from a recruiter's perspective, I just can't see how there are enough 1%ers to place to keep them in business. Especially given that I would expect a lot of those people to quickly rise to where they no longer need to seek work, either they will become independently wealthy, a business principle/owner where they are doing the hiring, etc.
My contention is that the job market seems bad enough that even a lot of people who are pretty above average are having a hard time. And it kind of pisses me off when people who are fortunate for whatever reason (and since I'm working I should probably consider myself fortunate) imply that anyone who is having a hard time is so because they are stupid, lazy, etc.
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