It’s no secret to anyone that in today’s economic climate, job vacancies are few and far between. Although long term employment is on the rise again here in the UK, we still have a long way to go before we reach dry land, safe, and secure. Unfortunately for the time being however, many of us such as myself are still unemployed and desperately looking for work from one month to the next, with little to no success. The reasons as to why landing a job these days is so tough, are as plentiful as they are obvious.
- “You’re obviously very intelligent, and I can see from your CV that you have plenty of work experience and qualifications. However, ideally we’re looking for someone who already has specific experience working in a betting shop, you see?”
- “OK wonderful! Right then, what we’ll do is invite you back in for another interview in the next few weeks, after which you’ll be sent on a four week training course, and then if all goes well, we’ll get your literacy and numeracy tests out of the way and then we’ll get you booked in for your induction day and trial period on the shop floor. Sound good? Good.”
- “Unfortunately we can’t take any more staff on at the moment, but as soon as something comes up we’ll let you know!”
These are all pretty much the responses I received for the last three jobs I applied for. Companies can’t afford to train people up from scratch, nor will they settle for the first person that responds to the vacancy, nor can they afford to take on more staff in the first place. Whilst each of these reasons are a huge pain in the backside for me, I understand and agree with each and every one. The purpose of a company isn’t to provide jobs for the locals, and of course any company must or at least should act in its own best interests, especially in times like today where we see businesses going under.
And so, no. I won’t stand and complain how unfair it is that the restaurant down the road won’t give me a job, as if I were in charge, I probably wouldn’t be employing new staff that I couldn’t afford either – would you?
I have learned however from the experience of being unemployed, what I would consider to be, absolute fundamental truths about the labour market, employment, unemployment, and attitudes towards work. My attitude and opinion towards finding a job and being unemployed have changed dramatically since leaving University.
Whilst I shudder to think it now, I have to admit honestly that I never imagined finding work would be this tough. I came out of school and University with qualifications and intellect. I have a good attitude towards work, with years of experience dating back to when I was only 13 to prove it. To be brutally honest, I didn’t see myself still unemployed four months down the line – I thought I’d get snapped up.
Snobby? Yes of course. The labour market is a competitive market, and so it should be. With one in five aged below 25 out of work, Job Centres up and down the country are seeing more and more fresh new graduates rolling in through their doors to sign on. The image of your typical Job Centre scene is changing from the musky handful of beer-bellied, middle aged men and desperate looking single mothers in a tatty coat, to one of young, bright individuals. Sophisticated men and women in suits, skirts, and ties, are adding the fortnightly visit to the Job Centre to their calendars. It’s dog-eat-dog for the unemployed, and we’re all up against each other. Those that haven’t yet grasped the concept of the competitive labour market, won’t find themselves in work any time soon. (http://tinyurl.com/b8mlskt)
The reality is that when a company does have a job vacancy going, they are essentially free to choose exactly who they want to employ. People with degrees and MAs in subjects like business or marketing, are applying for jobs stacking shelves in the local supermarket. People with years and years of experience working in schools as teachers or support staff, are now finding themselves in line for the position of the cleaning the classroom. The truth is, there is no such thing today as a naff job. Being over qualified to sweep the streets, stack shelves or mop a classroom floor simply doesn’t exist – or at least not in the worse affected areas. Should you be successful enough to even get an interview, having the attitude of ‘I’m far too good for this job, so I won’t give it my all’ is the most counter-productive attitude to have. A job is a job, and money is money. Regardless of what job it is, you do it to the best of your ability at all times.
Whilst there are undoubtedly those who have no real ambition to ‘get off the dole’ for whatever reason, I think in today’s world it would be unfair to say that people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) are all lazy, scrounging, worthless people. It’s not something I hear very often any more, although I have to say that admitting publicly to, say an interviewee or the person working behind the counter in your favourite sandwich shop, that you can’t wait to be back in work earning a living, does very occasionally trigger a response as if to say ‘Why? Why would you want to work for money when you can get it for free?’ which is quite possibly one of the most awful, cringe-worthy things I’m likely to have ever heard.
This brings me to my next point – seeing others at work. I’ve discovered over my four months of being unemployed, something for which I have absolute zero tolerance – miserable employees. I don’t know where to start really, I guess with a personal experience. A while ago I was in a restaurant with my parter at the time. As we walked in, we noticed the place was empty, yet there were still empty plates, dirty glasses and cutlery covering the tables. We were greeted by possibly the most miserable, half-arsed employee I have ever come across.
He had obviously decided that as it was a quiet afternoon, he only had to do the minimum work required of him. As a result there were no smiles, no please or thank you, no friendly small talk to build a rapport with the customers – nothing. We were made to feel incredibly uncomfortable and unwelcome. It was obvious that upon our arrival, we’d interrupted his idle chat with his colleagues – how rude of us? I can picture him in my head sighing as he heard customers enter the restaurant, dragging himself over to our table, half asleep, and monotonously uttering ‘…’, well, I don’t remember him saying anything actually. If by some miracle he reads this, or anyone else who’d clearly rather not be doing the job they’re doing, I’d like to say a few words.
- These are tough times we live in today, nobody disputes that. Some businesses have gone under, and some are yet to. It’s a battlefield out there, with businesses competing against each other as best they can to survive. Any owner of a business, any manager, any employee, should be grateful for each and every customer that walks through your door, as it’s us that are keeping you afloat. I don’t ask to be treated like a King, yet a friendly smile, a ‘Hello’, and ‘Thank you! See you next time!’ cost nothing. When we walk through your doors, remember that we chose to spend our money here. Should you give us a reason not to, then that’s fine, we simply won’t come any more. Eventually it’s your business that goes under, and it’s your jobs on the line.
- No-one should take their job for granted. Period. The next time you go into work with a miserable face, a foul attitude, and with the intention to do nothing more than a half-arsed job, just remember that there are unemployed people queuing up outside who are more than willing to do your job, with a smile, to the best of their ability. If you don’t want to do your job, leave it, and let someone else who deserves it have a chance. We all have bad days, but like I said before, basic manners cost nothing and can make the difference between losing and gaining a regular customer.
Were I the boss of this particular employee, I would have sacked him there and then knowing that by the time he had got his things together and left the building, I would have replaced him. It might sound harsh or cruel but there are good, hard-working people who are desperate for work. Why should I employ someone who can’t be bothered and is losing me customers, when for the same price I could employ someone who gives it their all? I’d say that’s pretty fair – wouldn’t you?