Advice from an Over-50 IT Pro: Stop Whining and Get to Work

Don Tennant
Slide Show

Five Tips for a Well-Done Tech Resume

A tech pro's resume has to match the speed of this fast-changing industry

A reader who contributed one of the most valuable comments to any column or blog post I've ever written did so somewhat belatedly in response to my March 1 post, "Double Whammy for IT Job Seekers: Being Unemployed and Over 50." What she had to say is far too important to be buried in the reader comments of a post that's almost two months old, so I'm bringing it front and center.

 

The reader identified herself as a 55-year-old career Army veteran with over 35 years of experience in computer systems analysis and work force management, and who became unemployed in April 2010. She wrote that she quickly realized that she had two options available to her if she wanted to return to work:

I could draw on my years of leadership and management experience and develop an effective marketing campaign that made the product I had to offer attractive to my target market; or I could abandon my ethics and values and push a product that was shiny on the outside and empty on the inside. I was the product I was marketing, and I refused to sell myself short. I took a month off to go through the five stages of grief, and when I was done licking my wounds, I started the most important project of my professional career -- getting a job.

She said she attacked the project with the objective that she would not stop until she accomplished her goal, and she shared some of the things she did that resulted in her success:

I determined that looking for a job needed to be a full-time job. With this in mind, I planned my "work" week. I would wake up each morning and dress as if I was going to an office job. On Monday and Tuesday, I searched job boards and company websites for positions of interest. On Tuesday afternoon, I would place a call to the company receptionist in the hopes that he or she would provide me with the name and direct contact information of the hiring manager responsible for recruiting for the position. With this information, I would fax my resume and cover letter for their review. I would ask if they would be available to meet for an introductory interview -- this is different than a formal interview. I would offer to meet them on Thursday, and would suggest two different times. I spent Friday morning sending out thank-you notes. I spent the remainder of Friday reviewing my triumphs and defeats of the previous week. My day started at 8:00 a.m. and ended at 5:00 p.m.

 

I accepted the reality that the interviewer was probably still in diapers when I started my first job. He or she might see me as an aged hippie who probably still had my day-glow Deadhead poster on my wall and my love beads hanging from the lamp in my flop-house. I had to overcome my prejudice of the punk-grunge, skater, gamer image and accept the reality that this person had my future in their hands. For the first time in my own children's life I did not tell them to turn "that noise" down. I asked them who the singer was and why they thought they were so "rad". Now I was armed with something I could use to show that I was not stuck in Woodstock.


 

I stopped highlighting things I did in the past, except for major accomplishments. [Instead, I] focused on what I would bring to the company now and the immediate benefit they would realize from my contribution. Young employers may be uncomfortable speaking to an older adult. They were raised to respect their elders, and now they were being asked to supervise, manage, and discipline the same elders.

 

I realized that to be successful, I needed to reinvent myself to meet others' needs. I had to admit that the education I had was outdated, or even worse, obsolete. I enrolled in evening courses at the community college, and to my surprise the majority of the students were very similar to me. What makes evening courses different from normal courses is that students are normally professionals seeking to update their knowledge. This dynamic allowed for the exchange of ideas that represented real-time events, and was backed with proven research and findings.

 

I signed up at every temporary staffing agency in town. I still had to pay the bills, support my family, and stay committed to my previous obligations. I had to find some means of bringing income into the house, so to supplement my unemployment benefits, [I did temp work]. The jobs paid far less than what I was accustomed to; however, I looked at every temporary assignment as an opportunity to uncover hidden jobs.

The reader said it took almost a year, but her hard work paid off:

In February 2010, a recruiter from AT&T Internet Services contacted me in response to my profile on LinkedIn and asked if I would be interested in a Tier 1 Customer Assistant position at their new Las Vegas location. I contained my impulse to jump up and down, and calmly responded that I would be honored to work for a company with a long history of excellence. My operations manager is younger than my baby brother, but I don't care. I arrive at work one hour before my shift starts and always stop by her desk to ask how her day has been going and offer my assistance if she needs help.

Finally, she offered two additional extremely constructive pieces of advice. The first one had to do with the need for older job seekers to stop looking for a position that will replace the position they lost:

They did not lose the position, the position was eliminated. For all of those who responded with impressive backgrounds, think about consulting. The job may have been eliminated, but the business need still remains and employers are being asked to meet this need without incurring overhead expenses. How they do this is they hire professional consultants who submit a bid for the project and then move on when it is finished.

The second one might have been her best piece of advice of all:

For the few that clearly are looking for pity because their new address is the third parking space, row 5, at the Gold's Gym parking lot, remember the buck starts and stops with you. If you chose to whine, Catholic Charities is always looking for people to clean up after lunch is served at the soup kitchen.


Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 25, 2011 1:10 AM greenever73 greenever73  says: in response to hoapres

Hello

Good information. Willing to know more information regarding this topic so u should visit this place.

www.evergreencollege.ca/csw.php">community service worker

Thank you

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 1:21 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to hoapres

Unlike Don, I am going to use a little bit of a "truth detector"

>>I empathize with the contributors who are frustrated with employers hiring practices, but I also understand the difficult position of employers who advertise openings.<<

I don't understand the "difficulty" at all. I post a job and try to fill it. Now if I have a problem filling it (which I doubt is going to be the case) then I can simply try to "poach from one of my competitors" by paying more money.

>> I am 55 years old, a woman, an retired Army career-veteran, <<

Thanking OP for her service to which she no doubt has earned her pension. So unlike others she at least has SOME income coming in.

>>and I have over 35 years of experience in computer systems analysis and workforce management. You have the knowledge, skills, and work ethics that every employer seeks in candidates, so I thought.<<

That would be a pretty naive assumption to make to put it mildly. OP probably has not been searching for work before she got laid off or retired from the military.

>>I became unemployed in April 2010, and quickly realized that I had to options available to me if I wanted to return to work.<<

Join the club in that millions of unemployed Americans are using every available option looking for another job.

>> I could draw on my years of leadership and management experience and develop an effective marketing campaign that made the product I had to offer attractive to my target market;or I could abandon my ethics and values and push a product that was shinny on the outside and empty on the inside.<<

Or better put, I had to market my skills to find another job.

Again, join the club.

>> I was the product I was marketing, and I refused to sell myself short. I took a month off to go through the 5 stages of grief, and when I was done licking my wounds, I started the most important project of my professional career--getting a job.<<

I agree that taking a month off might be a good idea.OP doesn't seem to realize that some have been out of work for years.

>>I attacked this project with the objective that I would not stop until I accomplished my goal. Here are some of the things I did that resulted in my success:<<

Hate to give OP the bad news.

But

Again

Join the club

>>1. I determined that looking for a job needed to be a full-time job. With this in mind, I planned my "work" week. I would wake up each morning and dress as if I was going to an office job. On Monday and Tuesday, I searched job boards and company websites for positions of interest. On Tuesday afternoon, I would place a call to company receptionist in the hopes that he or she would provide me with the name and direct contact information of the hiring manager responsible for recruiting for the position. With this information, I would fax my resume and cover letter for their review. I was ask if they would be available to meet for an introductory interview--this is different than a formal interview. I would offer to meet them on Thursday, and would suggest two different times.  Reply

Apr 25, 2011 1:22 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to hoapres
I spent Friday morning sending out thank you notes. I spent the remainder of Friday reviewing my triumphs and defeats of the previous week. My day started at 8:00 a.m.and ended at 5:00 p.m.<<

Join the club.

Millions are doing the exact same thing. In Silicon Valley calling up a potential employer is likely to backfire as for no other reason with so many people out of work, companies don't want unsolicited calls.

Asking for an "introductory interview" is likely to be the "kiss of death" in trying to get a Silicon Valley IT job.

>>2. I accepted the reality that the interviewer was probably still in diapers when I started my first job. He or she might see me as an aged hippie who probably still had my day-glow Deadhead poster on my wall and my love beads hanging from the lamp in my flop-house. I had to overcome my prejudice of the punk-grunge, skater, gamer image and accept the reality that this person had my future in their hands. For the first time in my own children's life I did not tell them to turn "that noise" down, I asked them who the singer was and why they thought they were so "rad". Now I was armed with something I could use to show that I was not stuck in Woodstock.<<

A long winded way of saying you need to be able to sell yourself.

Again

So what ??

I suspect most people over 50 realize that they will be working with lots of people under 30.

>>3. I stopped highlighting things I did in the past, except for major accomplishments, and focused on what I would bring to the company now and the immediate benefit they would realize from my contribution. Young employers may be uncomfortable speaking to an older adult. They were raised to respect their elders, and now they were being asked to supervise, manage, and discipline the same elders.<<

O.K.

This won't work in a "hard core" IT development job. Nothing wrong with that because in the end, OP ended up NOT working in IT.

>>4. I realized that to be successful, I needed to reinvent myself to meet others needs. I had to admit that the education I had was outdated, or even worse obsolete. I enrolled in evening courses at the community college, and to my surprise the majority of the students were very similar to me. What makes evening courses different from normal courses is that students are normally professionals seeking to update their knowledge. This dynamic allowed for the exchange of ideas that represented real-time events, and was backed with proven research and findings.<<

"Reinvent" means "do something else".

Nothing wrong with that and going to CC might work very well. Going to CC to "update your tech skills" doesn't work for a hard core software development job.

>>I still had to pay the bills, support my family, and stay committed to my previous obligations. <<

Doesn't OP have an Army pension ??

>> I had to find some means of bringing income into the house, so to supplement my unemployment benefits, I signed up at every temporary staffing agency in town. The jobs paid far less than what I was accustomed to;however, I looked every temporary assignment as an opportunity to uncover hidden jobs. Reply

Apr 25, 2011 1:22 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to hoapres
<<

Doesn't OP have an Army pension ??

Only problem with taking temp jobs is that they may pay less than unemployment.

Something doesn't add up here.

Army pension along with unemployment but can't pay the bills.

>>It took almost a year, but my hard work paid off.<<

Nothing wrong with taking a year to get a job but this should be a message to Don and others that just perhaps we have a "weak demand" for IT skills and those who come out and say it are NOT "utterly ridiculous"

>> In February 2010, a recruiter from AT&T Internet Services contacted my in response to my profile on LinkedIn and asked if I would be interested in a Tier 1 Customer Assistant position at their new Las Vegas location.<<

BINGO

Nothing wrong with getting another job.

BUT

This is NOT an IT success story.

A Tier 1 Customer Assistance position is hardly IT. The job probably is a low paying one. Nor am I belittling the job as all honest labor is of value but this is NOT a success story.

>> I contained my impulse to jump up and down, and calmly responded that I would be honored to work for a company with a long history of excellence.<<

I don't buy it.

Flattery gets you everywhere. 

But to say that you are "honored" to work in likely a "throw away" non IT job is ridiculous. Now you may have to "kiss up to the boss" to get another job and nothing is wrong in doing just that.

>>My operations manager is younger than my baby brother, but I don't care.

Nor do I

>> I arrive at work 1 hour before my shift starts <<

aka Work for free.

>> and always stop by her desk to ask how her day has been going and offer my assistance if she needs help.<<

And so do others.

>>I was working on a special project for the Human Resources department of ConAgra Foods in Irvine, California in 2003. <<

Career military which might mean reserves ??Not sure. 

>>They were opening a new district sales office and needed to hire a district manager, 6 account sales representative, and one secretary.<<

O.K>

>> Within the first two days after the position was posted on Monster.com, they received over 1700 resumes.<<

Doesn't sound like a good job market along with pointing out that this is NON IT work.

Oops.

That's right.

Don is telling us that those claiming a "weak demand" for IT professionals is "utterly ridiculous".

Only problem is that OP is the best case for a "weak demand"

>> In 2010, it is not uncommon for a company to receive two-times as many resumes for one or two openings. <<

More likely over a 100 resumes per opening.

>>Older workers need to remind the younger employer that they were on the ground floor when the first desktop PC replaced the IBM Selectric III typewriter.<<

No they don't.

What a prospective employee needs to do is to convince the employer that they can do the job.

>>   Reply

Apr 25, 2011 1:22 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to hoapres
They need to let the younger employer know that they are willing to change and grow with the company;and that their age and experience will benefit the overall success of the organization.<<

See above.

>>Finally, older job seekers need to stop looking for a position that will replace the position they lost.<<

Translation

Be happy that you are working at ALL and be prepared to work at "throw away" jobs.

>>They did not lose the position, the position was eliminated. <<

What's the difference ??

You are out of work.

>>For all of those who responded with impressive backgrounds, think about consulting.<<

Of course the advice is given from someone who probably never did consulting work.

>>  The job may have been eliminated but the business need still remains and employers are being asked to meet this need without incurring overhead expenses. <<

Nonsense.

The "business need still remains" may or may not be accurate.

The best example of no business need at all would be the company going out of business.

>>How do they do this, they hire professional consultants who submit a bid for the project and then move on when it is finished.<<

Maybe or maybe not.

I don't think OP has much business experience. Quite likely is that the remaining employees pick up the slack.

>>So Don, here is my two-cents and some food for thought.<<

Free advice is worth what you paid for it.

>> For the few that clearly are looking for pity because their new address is the third parking space, row 5, at the Gold's Gym parking lot, remember the buck starts and stops with you <<

If this is meant as a wake up call then I agree. You might have to accept the fact that you will be living in abject poverty or close to it.

>>and if you chose to whine, Catholic Charities is always looking for people to clean up after lunch is served at the soup kitchen.<<

I think this is to put it mildly tacky and in bad taste.Looking down on people who are going to soup kitchens is bad enough but even worse is looking down on people working at them.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 2:53 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

>> I'm saying that attitude matters, and you'e saying it doesn't. <<

That's not what Dolores said.

That is what YOU said Dolores said.

Frankly Don this is pretty shoddy journalism on your part. 

What Dolores said that we have an abundance of UNEMPLOYED people that can't find work.

That's the problem with you Don.  You try to make everybody with an opposing point of view as "nutcase", "prone to violence", "utterly ridiculous", etc.

Ironically perhaps but this article you posted is a pretty graphic example of "weak demand" for IT work.  After all this article is from one that has been out of work for over a year and then up finding a NON IT job.

Well

I guess we need more H1Bs.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 3:16 AM Gabe Gabe  says: in response to hoapres

Hoa, you need to find yourself somebody who loves you. A husband or wife, a boyfrind or girlfriend, a sibling or parent. Someone. Because, good God, you are a miserable individual, and I just can't imagine being so pessimistic and hateful. The entire point of Susan's comment was suggesting that changing one's attitude can bring positive results. And while I'm not at all surprised you saw it negatively, I find it rather facepalmingly ironic.

One point you made, in particular, deserves a response:

"Nothing wrong with getting another job. BUT This is NOT an IT success story. A Tier 1 Customer Assistance position is hardly IT.  The job probably is a low paying one.  Nor am I belittling the job as all honest labor is of value but this is NOT a success story."

Yes it is. Yes it is. You have to get out of this mindset you're in that you somehow have a right to whatever job you were laid off from. You have to change your priorities. You have to be thankful for the small things, because the small things grow into bigger things. And you have to chase those small things in the first place.

You can refuse to do so as long as you like. You can get pissed at people like Susan who went back to school to make themselves better and reaped the rewards. You can keep shoving your self-pitying mentality down the throats of everyone you come in contact with online (and yes, I've seen your posts on boards elsewhere, and they're just as morose). You can hide behind the idea that your perspective is just being realistic, and all the while you'll miss the fact that it's realistic only for people like you, who make it so by their own melancholy.

Go find someone who loves you and hug them. Because life is too darned short and our time here too precious to waste assailing the inhabitants of online forums and comment boards with insults.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 3:31 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Gabe

>> Yes it is. <<

Well

O.K.

And I did NOT say taking the job was a bad thing.

BUT

It is hardly a success story.

>> You have to get out of this mindset...

Well

I never stated what my "mindset" was. 

>> You have to change your priorities.

Which might mean living on minimum wage.

>> You have to be thankful for the small things

Translation

Money is not everything. (I guess)

The only problem with people saying "Money is not everything", "be thankful" is that they tend to have the talked about quantities in abundance.

Having traveled a good part of the planet, I do know how bad it can get and most likely very few in the US have it as bad as those for example in North Korea.

BUT

I don't have to be "thankful for the small things" if that means I can't observe that the entire middle class in the US seems to be "going down the tubes"

>> You can get pissed at people like Susan ...

Hardly

I am happy that Susan found another job but her story doesn't make too much sense.  It's not like that she had no money at all coming in.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 3:36 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Gabe

>> but this is NOT a success story <<

You might have a small point.  While I don't think getting a substantially lower paying job a "success" the better phrase which was stated above "this is NOT an IT success story"

If you read OP carefully it comes down to "I had to do what I had to do and took a much lower paying job after a year of serious searching"

Nothing wrong with that.  But don't go around that this is an example that is going to work for the vast majority of the unemployed.

What is needed is JOBS which are not being created in sufficient numbers. 

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 3:59 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to hoapres

Hoapres: thank you for pointing out that I never said attitude doesn't matter, just that it's not a panacea for our times. For increasing numbers of American job seekers to compete with each other for a diminishing pool of jobs, attitude might be one of the factors that causes one candidate to win out over the others. But it still leaves way too few jobs per candidate pool for us to have a healthy economy. You understand that, and my frustration is that the proponents of attitude and effort don't seem to get the basic math involved here. You are right too, that it's a pale triumph to get such a lesser job than one is capable of holding. I would say that America has flushed a huge national resource of brainpower, training, experience, and institutional wisdom down the john by cooperating with global labor arbitrage.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 4:06 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Dolores

While not mentioned because it is not clear.  If (and it might be a big if) OP served her country for 30 years in the regular (not the reserves) and her pension is not enough to retire then that says something.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 4:08 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Dolores

>>... I never said...

That's  one of my problems with Don.

He has a remarkable ability of claiming that you "said something" and it turns out you never did.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 6:55 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to hoapres

Actually, I know a reservist who WILL have enough of a pension to retire modestly. He plans to move to a small town in the intermountain west, where real estate is low and quality of life is high. So I wonder, too.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 7:44 AM Gabe Gabe  says: in response to Dolores

She mentioned she had at least one child; it's possible those bills are just too much for her pension to cover. Which, in turn, may mean the job she ended up landing fulfills her family's needs.

Just speculation, of course.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 10:25 AM Dolores Dolores  says:

I don't know ANY older, out of work, person who is "looking for a position that will replace the position they lost." I do know of older workers who are passed over for lesser jobs, who are ignored and jeered at as "consultants" and so on. Here is one person arguing that her success proves that the same sort of success is possible for every single other one. That's not logical or scientifically true. It ignores other variables. Nice that she had that military discipline, but so do many other job seekers. And many people who get jobs simply luck out to be in the right place at the right time. If I buy a lotto ticket that wins, does that mean you can too? Sure. Does that mean that you will absolutely win if you keep buying tickets? Nope. This is just another put-down, and it shows that sometimes our fellow sufferers turn into our enemies. We need to stop putting each other down and realize that we have way too many workers chasing way too few jobs. The laws of math don't bend just from someone's attitude. It just means she got a job, and someone else didn't. Still way too few jobs out there. That should, in a common sense world, call for a drastic reduction in both new and existing temporary guestworker visas. You would think so. I'm just saying.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 10:39 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Gabe

And the article title is somewhat misleading :

A better title would be "An over-50 EX-IT pro..."

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 10:45 AM Ian Hay Ian Hay  says: in response to hoapres

According to Don's criteria, if you get a job at McDonald's after your IT network gig, you will be a success not only because you have a job, but because you are now entering data into the "computer" at the front till.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 11:04 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Dolores

Wow. This woman took the time to share in detail what she did that ultimately landed her a job, including refusing to engage in the whining/self pity thing, and your reaction is to consider her your enemy? You completely ignored her incredible hard work, determination and perseverance, and chose to dismiss all that with a reference to being in the right place at the right time and getting lucky. You seem to believe that this woman's success isn't replicable. What a depressingly negative, sad outlook to have. This woman isn't putting anyone down, Dolores. She's trying to point out that attitude plays a huge part in changing the fortunes of people who are already down. If we have way too many workers chasing way too few jobs, attitude will not bend the math and result in every worker getting a job. But that's not the point -- there is no entitlement for every worker to get one of those jobs. The point is that the people who do land those jobs will do so not only on the strength of their skills and experience, but on their attitude.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 11:16 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

But I know MANY people who are putting forth similar efforts with similar discipline and similar attitudes who are coming up empty. If there are 10 jobs, and 2000 people chasing them, guess what happens? 10 people (aybe) get a job. Maybe 2 or 3 others succeed in creating some consulting niche or getting temporary work. Actually, the ratio I cited above is about right given the number of applicants for each job currently being reported to me locally.

I am flabberghasted that people think that hard numbers don't mean anything, that they can use some sort of "wishcraft" to get a job and then put down others for whom the magic didn't work.

It has been estimated that we need to create over 100K jobs a month just to get back to where we once were. Some estimates go as high as 300K and I've even seen it higher.

How can you defend one isolated example as a cure-all, when there are so many valid counter-examples walking the same streets?

The numbers are what they are. I didn't make them up.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 11:28 AM Gabe Gabe  says:

Wow. I've been waiting to read that comment for months, Susan. Thank you so much. Seriously, I'd start a slow clap right now if that sort of thing worked on the Internet.

Dolores, it ain't an isolated incident. My mother went through a similar process last year; she was laid off from a senior HR position at a major hardware supplier and set to work fixing it right away. Like Susan, she took every temp job she could (including crappy data entry jobs) to pay the bills, and always kept her eye on the horizon and the next job application. The months seemed endless at times, but she came out of it with a job to be proud of -- one that supports her, my father, and my younger sister.

Adversity is something to be overcome, not bowed to in defeat. Don and Susan are absolutely right: it's about attitude.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 11:30 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Dolores

I'm not saying that this one isolated example is a cure-all. I'm saying that attitude matters, and you'e saying it doesn't. I'm saying our reaction to examples like this should be to learn from them, not dismiss them as luck or coming from the enemy because of a reference to the need to knock off the whining and self-pity. There are a lot of studies that show that people with negative attitudes are less successful and less healthy than people with positive attitudes. Google it.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 11:34 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Gabe

No it's not. Attitude is a big help, and will prevent a job offer in good times if yours is bad enough. But it's not a magic wand. We also need to be lobbying for job creation at the federal, state, and local level. For most of the time, the issue of jobs seems to get lost and forgotten, especially at the federal level. I'm told that USAid is STILL training foreigners, even paying college tuition for them here in some cases. The H-1B cap has not been reduced. Our borders are still a joke.

There are still way too few jobs available in America. We will need to change that to get Americans back to work. Then the tax coffers can fix, and the deficit can be meaninfully reduced. Crime and suicide will go down. America's first world infrastructure can be maintained and extended once again. That's what America needs, not another round of 'blame the victim" that just sets us at each other's throats.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 11:52 AM Gabe Gabe  says: in response to Dolores

You're talking about long-term fixes, Dolores. And you're right, they ARE needed. Though I disagree about insulating ourselves from the rest of the world in order to make it happen, we do need a whole hell of a lot more jobs in the US. A HELL of a lot more.

But those fixes aren't coming overnight. In the meantime, we have a ton of folks out there without jobs. Susan provided some extraordinarily sage advice about how to deal with it, at the individual level, here and now. If you don't have a job, you should be listening three times.

The lack of jobs in America IS an issue, and it DOES need to be addressed. But until those fixes come, the ones bemoaning their plight are gonna lose out to the folks who are willing to change their attitudes, shift their perspectives, reassess their priorities, and break their backs for the good of their families.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 11:59 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Gabe

But if there is only one job for every 200 applicants (not an unreasonable figure in my state) then around 199 are going to lose out. And the job search is going to turn into a beauty and personality contest. And, I have been told, if they get a big enough stack of applications, they just keep going till they have enough to interview, then quit going through the stack and discard the rest. Is that luck or what? All that attitude will do is help one person win in a tough contest. It will not help everybody win. And we need a much higher percentage of our people to be winning jobs in order to salvage our economy and national future. And we need it FAST.

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 12:09 PM JMoss JMoss  says:

You lost me at "rad".

Reply
Apr 25, 2011 12:18 PM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to JMoss

Here we go again.

A standard Don article.

If you disagree with me (can't find a job) then something is wrong with you. (Stop whining)

Nothing wrong with the article advice except the implication that people out of work should stop "feeling sorry for themselves"

In case Don and the author don't realize we are in one of the worse economies in the history of the US so it is no fault of yours if you are out of work.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 1:17 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Dolores

>> ALL the signs of a labor glut in IT are there: <<

Not according to Don.

The notion of a weak demand for IT skills is "utterly ridiculous". 

>>  purple squirrel job listings,  <<

Some of these job listings last for years.  One is ASML which ran the same ad for over a couple of years.  NVIDIA does the exact same thing by running the same job ad for years on end on Dice.

>> impossible combo jobs, <<

What often happens is that by definition no "qualified Americans" exist for the job. The company then goes out and gets a GC for the current H1B.

Also, companies do this so that they can hire an H1B.

>> lack of response to qualified candidates, etc <<

See abpve.

>> Yet we keep bringing in the foreigners. Something's wrong here. <<

You got that right.

Just common sense would tell you that one abolishes the H1B program when qualified Americans can't find a job.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 3:47 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to hoapres

Here is from the AT&T web site a "Customer Service Representative I" for Pueblo, CO.  Other areas of the US are also included but I did not see one for Las Vegas, NV

www.connect.att.jobs/colorado-springs/call-center/jobid1348889-at?amp;t-customer-service-representative-i-pueblo-co-jobs

More to the point is the salary for this job.

The starting pay for this position is targeted at between $10.62/hr and $14.61/hr based on verifiable experience and education

Another example of LAZY journalism to which Don is hardly alone.  Nor do I have a problem with someone "Doing whatever you have to do to survive" but I am not going to be parroting this as a success story.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 3:54 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to hoapres

To be fair, it is possible that I am wrong regarding OP's new job.  One thing is for sure, Don did not ask about the quality (or lack thereof) of the new job.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 4:07 AM Jim Jim  says: in response to hoapres

>> The starting pay for this position is targeted at between $10.62/hr and $14.61/hr based on verifiable experience and education

The following link to an article about an AT&T call center in Las Vegas seems to confirm that target salary range:

www.lvrj.com/business/31095619.html

Please note the correction at the top showing that they will pay approx. 20 - 30 k per year for the job, not approx. 20 - 30 dollars per hour as originally stated in the article.

It seems the further you dig the more this article goes from being an IT success story to an IT survival story to an IT failure story.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 5:05 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Jim

>> ...further you dig... <<

That's my problem with most of today's "journalists" being that they are LAZY and don't dig.

>> success...to ..survival...to...failure <<

Sure looks that way.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 5:18 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to hoapres

OP probably has a military pension so this job in the "booming high tech" field between $10 to $14 an hour is supplimental income.  Speculating but going from an E7 in the military to $14 an hour is NOT a success.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 8:35 AM Drunk Economist Drunk Economist  says:

So while Mumbai Don keeps throwing up these straw man arguments, meanwhile back in the real world, here's what's happening:

science.slashdot.org/story/11/04/25/164228/Why-Science-Is-a-Lousy-Career-Choice

It's official, America: Leave STEM to India and China. Oh, and Mumbai Don says 'any McJob you can hold down is a VICTORY. Riiiiiiiight.

Drunky

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 9:02 AM Gabe Gabe  says:

I'll admit, I wish I hadn't posted that particular comment in response to hoapres. I let him get to me, and I really shouldn't have; it's the Internet, after all.

Regarding Susan's new career path, unless she steps in and expatiates, how do we know that her "Tier 1 Customer Assistance" position is NOT an IT job? I don't know about where you work, but the IT staffers at my office are all customer service representatives, there to manage and maintain the network and provide service to the software engineers as needed. And depending on where you work, "Tier 1" can mean the TOP of the ladder, not the bottom.

Granted, that doesn't invalidate your point or anything like that; I'm simply pointing out that it's not exactly a McJob we're talking about here, yet all of a sudden folks seem to be assuming that's all we're talking about.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 9:19 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Gabe

Well, it's not at the level of the job she used to have, that seems to be the point. To import all these foreign workers, we also flushed American talent down the drain. I know I went and got a Master's in IT, and it did me a fat lot of good. Ditto for current certs. They're screening for ... something. You usually don't even get an interview for jobs you could do in your sleep. ALL the signs of a labor glut in IT are there: purple squirrel job listings, impossible combo jobs, lack of response to qualified candidates, etc. Yet we keep bringing in the foreigners. Something's wrong here.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 9:53 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Ian Hay

>> According to Don's criteria, <<

Not sure.

Only Don can tell us that working for approximately $10 an hour is a success story or not.

One thing is for sure, the skeptics did more research on the basic question of trying to find out the factual basis for the "success"

>> if you get a job at McDonald's after your IT network gig, you will be a success not only because you have a job, <<

Have to ask Don.

Is getting a $10 an hour job a "success" or not. ??

>>  but because you are now entering data into the "computer" at the front till. <<

Surprisingly enough a dean at a for profit AA IT school told one of his students graduating with $20K+ of student loan debt that working at Mcdonalds was using his valuable IT skills.  As the dean said "You operate a cash register then you are doing IT"

As the dean told me privately "We need all these stories about IT labor shortages in the booming high tech field.  If our students ever found out the truth then they would drop out"

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 11:14 AM Ian Hay Ian Hay  says: in response to hoapres

>> Surprisingly enough a dean at a for profit AA IT school

I would contend that this attitude is pervasive in much of the public institutions as well. I know that there is pressure to fill seats as less seats means less funding. Armies of undergrads are needed to pay for professor salaries. However, a simple Google search easily reveals that many students are graduating with dubious educational benefits while being saddled with massive student loans.

I'm not surprised that professors are eager to present the facts in a certain way. Their livelihood depends on it. This is similar to the patriotic IT movement that wants to see employment sourced domestically. When peoples' livelihoods are on the line emotions will run high and objectivity may become a casualty.

What bothers me (and yourself, I think) is that I have seen far too many journalists simply parrot the academic outlook that is fed to them. While laziness is a factor I think a bigger problem is bias. I know some journalists personally and they have a fairly rigid interpretation of the world. Part of this may simply be naivety. As a career journalist you will perpetually be an outsider never having to deal with the day to day struggles of your subject.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 11:26 AM walterbyrd walterbyrd  says: in response to Don Tennant

It is a worthwhile story, but it's also anecdotal evidence.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 11:28 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Ian Hay

And to recap from Don

>> A reader who contributed one of the most valuable comments to any column or blog post I've ever written did so somewhat belatedly in response to my March 1 post, "Double Whammy for IT Job Seekers: Being Unemployed and Over 50." <<

You might not think so after we discovered the readers job apparently pays $10 to $14 an hour.

>> What she had to say is far too important to be buried in the reader comments of a post that's almost two months old, so I'm bringing it front and center. <<

So are some of us.

What might appear to smill like a rose may often smell like a skunk.

Not to belittle the OP for going out and getting another job but this is hardly a success story.

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 11:37 AM Ian Hay Ian Hay  says: in response to walterbyrd

>> It is a worthwhile story

It's interesting that you called it a "story." You might be on to something. As to whether it's worthwhile, the Websters dictionary defines worthwhile as "being worth the time or effort spent." The comments section meets this criteria for me, but the "story" has too many holes. I'm starting to question whether following this blog or any other on IT Business Edge is worthwhile. 

Reply
Apr 26, 2011 11:53 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Gabe

>> How do we know that her ... is NOT an IT job? <<

Call up some of your friends at AT&T and ask.

While not definitive because my AT&T contacts are in Silicon Valley, I was told that a "Customer Service Rep" is just that answering customer complains.

A for profit trade school dean told one of the graduates who was working at a retail mall in a "throw away" job that she had an IT job.  The dean's response was "You are in IT because you are using a cash register". 

>> And depending on where you work, "Tier 1" can mean the TOP of the ladder, not the bottom <<

AT&T customer service reps top out at about $50K a year.  While I suspect that this is at the bottom based on AT&T contacts along with OP mentioning "her supervisor", I can't say for sure whether the job is at the top or bottom.

>> I'm simply ...not exactlly a Mcjob ...  <<

I am happy that OP got a job but this is NOT an IT success story.  In this dismal economy getting any job might be considered a success. 

One thing seems pretty obvious, demand for IT skills is pretty weak when someone with extensive experience spends overs a year to find a job which most people would consider NON IT.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 1:02 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

>> ,,,surrender to its elimination,,,<<

Right

Remember folks that this comes from a person that believes Americans should be prepared to lower their standard of living to the third world.

Let's get real

And use some common sense

We don't need more "run of the mill" foreigners in the US when you have a gigantic glut of unemployed Americans looking for work.

Don probably never worked a day in IT and those who have know that the vast majority of it is just LABOR.  That's right Don, LABOR

IT is NOT theoretical physics were it is easy to justify bringing in the FEW solitary geniuses (There probably are NOT 65,000 people that can justifiably be brought into the US solely on brainpower, certainly not 85,000 plus a year)

If there is a shortage then it is a shortage of people willing to work CHEAP. 

People in IT are in bad shape because the system is fixed so you won't have a shortage.  If I can't find a plumber then I PAY MORE MONEY to get one or don't do the job. (Unless I hire an illegal).  If wages go up as a result of a shortage of plumbers then more people become plumbers.

In IT, companies go to congress complain about a labor shortage and get more H1Bs.

The only good news if it can be called that is :

1.  More and more companies are taking the jobs to the third world versus having the third world come to the US.  This is a good thing because if an American can't get the job then we are much better off having the job go overseas.

2.  The IT salaries have dropped so much along with a declining dollar is that more and more Indians are STAYING HOME for better job opportunities. 

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 1:19 AM Jim Jim  says: in response to hoapres

Don's favorite rope-a-dope tactic is to twist the argument to being one of virtue. If he can't refute the facts as stated by the posters, he then reverts to alternative means such as piety. It will then likely be inferred that you are an apologist for those who are negative and hateful.

However you state it, going from an IT position to working in a call center earning $10 - $14 an hour is about as successful as working at Home Depot or Starbucks. There is nothing wrong with working at these companies, but the skills acquired in an IT profession are wasted in those jobs.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 1:49 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Jim

>> ...rope-a-dope,,,,<<

Agreed.

>>...$10 - $14 an hour...<<

As previously stated another of Don's along with other journalist problems is being LAZY.  If Don wants to be a blogger then fine but don't claim that you are doing journalism.

A journalist would at least do a cursory glance to check the factual basis for an article BEFORE publishing it.  Here Don is acting like a blogger and just REPEATING another post.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 2:05 AM Gabe Gabe  says: in response to hoapres

"Here Don is acting like a blogger and just REPEATING another post."

Isn't this a blog?

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 2:16 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Gabe

>> Isn't this a blog?

Of course

No problem with that but Don goes around "In my ...years of journalism..."

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 3:18 AM APoster APoster  says: in response to older than she is

Not to be disrespectful, but... she doesn't appear to be in a position to give any advice to people who need a job now, considering how it took her a whole year. In the end, according to the story, despite the full time job search, all her applications were rejected. It was only when a recruiter (possibly an acquaintance) found her linkedin account did an opportunity open up.

The moral may as well have been: don't bother applying anywhere or contacting anyone, if you wait long enough, then someone will contact you instead.

Of course it's important to have a good attitude, but come on...how terrible is the job market that one person getting a job is considered newsworthy or uplifting?

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 3:34 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

>> ...journalist...

You are running a blog and NOT acting like a journalist.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 3:35 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

>> I put no words in your mouth <<

Yes you do

You have been doing it since "day one"

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 4:00 AM APoster APoster  says: in response to Don Tennant

Don,

"If you want to clarify my understanding of your position that's fine, but do not accuse me of putting words in your mouth."

Instead of debating people's arguments head on, you build up straw men arguments and then proceed to paint those in a negative light. Maybe you do it unconsciously, but you've resorted to it many times already in the thread.

Your arguments would be in a stronger position if you could debunk opponent's views when taken seriously, rather than misinterpreted.

Not that it matters for this blog article at all, but it is something you should be aware of if you were not previously.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 5:09 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to APoster

>> Instead of debating people's arguments head on, <<

With regards to this thread the big issue is can you consider getting a $10 to $14 job a "success" ??

Once facts are discovered that makes the original premise at best questionable and more likely just flat out wrong, Don "runs for cover" and doesn't as you point out address the issue "heads on"

>> you build up straw men arguments and then proceed to paint those in a negative light. <<

That's the way Don operates.

In this particular case EVERYONE that raises LEGITIMATE questions is painted in a "negative light" in Don's words "blaiming everybody"

Don't expect Don to address issues "heads on" but rather put YOU in a negaive light.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 5:27 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to APoster

I'll just have to respectfully but strongly disagree, and express my view that the reverse is fairly consistently the case. But I will say I do appreciate the overall tone of your commentary. There's a decency about it that's noticeable for its rarity.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 5:29 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

>> There is a decency ...

Well

How about addressing ONE issue "heads on" being :

Do you consider OP getting a $10 to $14 an hour job a "success" ?

That's the problem with LAZY journalists.  They don't check their facts BEFORE publishing.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 5:34 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

>> I'll just have to respectfully but strongly disagree, and express my view that the reverse is fairly consistently the case. <<

Along with not addressing issues "heads on"

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 5:46 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to APoster

>> Like I said, in the end her search would have been equally effective had she done absolutely nothing and waited for the call that landed her job. <<

You said it better than I could.

We simply can't "clone" OP but it is possible that she would have gotten the call center job without spending a year looking for work.

We don't know.

Don won't address the difficult issues.  Just common sense would tell you that OP's story would be of more use had she found a "decent" IT paying job versus what appears to be akin to a "throw away" customer service job.

Nor (although Don will claim otherwise) am I labeling the "throw away" job to be without value but this is hardly equivalent to a "success" should you define success as landing a decent IT paying job.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 5:49 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to APoster

One more thing-I have no interest in debunking anyone's viewpoint. I welcome opposing views-that's why I write this blog. But on a time-available basis I will challenge people who use the forum to be hateful, and who I believe misrepresent my views. And there are several regular readers, like Dolores, who I tend to disagree with, but whose views I have enough respect for to engage them and debate these issues. But the intent is never to debunk anything, because it honestly makes no difference to me whether a reader agrees with me or not. What matters to me is having a forum in which this stuff can be discussed and that value is created from the discussion.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 5:58 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

Here we go again.

>> One more thing-I have no interest in debunking anyone's viewpoint. <<

Yes you do.

More to the point you (or so it appears) "run for cover" when presented "difficult issues"

How about answering a simple question :

Is getting a $10 to $14 an hour job a success ??

>>  I welcome opposing views <<

No you don't.

>> -that's why I write this blog.  <<

I suspect that as another better put it that you are using "rope a dope" or "gonzo journalism" tactics.

>> But on a time-available basis I will challenge people who use the forum to be hateful, and who I believe misrepresent my views.  <<

With "hateful" being defined as those who disagree with you.

Same with regards to "misrepresent my views"

With regards to your (comical from my point of view) complaint of "misrepresent my views" is that is EXACTLY what you do to many if not most of those who disagree with you by "misrepresenting THEIR views"

>> And there are several regular readers, like Dolores, who I tend to disagree with, but whose views I have enough respect for to engage them and debate these issues. <<

Fair enough.

But this is a diplomatic but not very clever way or "running for cover" when someone articulates a different point of view.

While I don't have a problem with you not responding to your posts, ignoring my posts probably puts me in a better rather than worse light with the rest of your readers.

>>  But the intent is never to debunk anything, <<

Sure it is.

The latest and greatest being this thread saying people should stop whining whose premise is to put it mildly subject to serious challenge when I among others find out we are apparently dealing with a $10 to $14 an hour non IT job rather than the impression that you might want people to believe that OP found a "good job"

>> because it honestly makes no difference to me whether a reader agrees with me or not.  <<

It doesn't matter to me either.

>> What matters to me is having a forum in which this stuff can be discussed and that value is created from the discussion.  <<

That's part of the problem with you running for cover when the truth comes out.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 8:34 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to APoster

This is not a news story, nor is it a feel-good piece. It is a blog post in which I shared one reader's comment and advice about the importance of perseverance and attitude. My takeaway is that her positive, happy disposition will uplift the people around her, and that's a wondeful trait to have and a priceless gift to give. It also reinforces my own view that unemployed people would be well advised to spend more time pounding the pavement and less time blaming everybody but themselves for their situation in online discussion forums. If your takeaway is that you have reason to be even more negative and unhappy, so be it.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 9:48 AM IAQUTL IAQUTL  says: in response to Don Tennant

My takeaway is that we need to eliminate the H1b guest worker visa.

It makes no sense at all to bring in guest workers when we have plenty of qualified unemployed people in this country.

Wouldn't that make sense?

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 10:05 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to IAQUTL

Well, my own view is that we need to fix the horribly broken H-1B visa program rather than surrender to its elimination, but I can certainly understand where you're coming from.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 11:30 AM APoster APoster  says: in response to Don Tennant

Don,

"It also reinforces my own view that unemployed people would be well advised to spend more time pounding the pavement..."

Like I said, in the end her search would have been equally effective had she done absolutely nothing and waited for the call that landed her job.

Perseverance and positive attitudes may be important, however this story obviously fails to demonstrate that they played a role whatsoever. At the very least, you should have picked a story where the jobless individual eventually gained employment as a result of their search.

"...and less time blaming everybody but themselves for their situation in online discussion forums."

We ought to identify the root causes, which may or may not be a problem with our attitudes. When demand for our talents is low for any number of reasons, it isn't surprising that jobs simply dry up, which is not usually the fault of the applicant.

Many of us have identified root causes, some of us already have jobs. The difficulty we face is coming together to organizing a grass roots movement for political change, a difficulty which is exacerbated by journalists like yourself who would rather blame our attitudes than recognize evidence that the middle class is being systematically wiped out.

"If your takeaway is that you have reason to be even more negative and unhappy, so be it."

The other posters are right, putting words in people's mouths is very sloppy for a journalist.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 12:03 PM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to APoster

The suggestion that journalists can't challenge a viewpoint and draw a conclusion based on reader commentary in an online discussion forum is getting a little tedious. I put no words in your mouth. If you want to clarify my understanding of your position that's fine, but do not accuse me of putting words in your mouth.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 12:23 PM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to walterbyrd

>> It's a worthwhile story...

More worthwhile is how CAREFUL examination of the "story" shows that it is the EXACT opposite of the assumed intention.  "Stop whining and get a job".  The implication was that the job was a good one but it appears to be a non IT low paying job and perhaps "throw away" as well.

Not belittling the OP for getting a job but saying that one is honored to get a job paying from $10 to $14 an hour (assuming that it is accurate) seems a little bit too much.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 12:24 PM older than she is older than she is  says:

I don't get it.  I can give you a dozen stories of people more qualified and older who found better jobs faster, including me.  Virtually all are a step down or six, because the entire industry is sliding down the dumper at record speed.  Is it supposed to be a commentary on older folks who say they can't get anything?  Look how marginal her story is.  She is probably more qualified than 90% or more of others her age, and it took her a year to get a lousy position.  Look at people down around the 50% percentile or lower.  Ouch.

Reply
Apr 27, 2011 12:52 PM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

>> This is not a news story, nor is it a feel-good piece. <<

>> It is a blog post in which I shared one reader's comment and advice about the importance of perseverance and attitude. <<

Which millions of unemployed people are doing the exact same thing by "pounding the pavement" looking for work.

>>  My takeaway is that her positive, happy disposition will uplift the people around her, and that's a wondeful trait to have and a priceless gift to give. <<

O.K.

>>  It also reinforces my own view that unemployed people would be well advised to spend more time pounding the pavement and less time blaming everybody but themselves for their situation in online discussion forums. <<

People get tired of hearing this nonsense.

If people believe that events are causing them problems then they are going to comment about those problems.

You can "pound the pavement" all you like but common sense tells you that if more people are looking for work than the number of jobs available then people are going to be out of work no matter how hard they "pound the pavement"

>>  If your takeaway is that you have reason to be even more negative and unhappy, so be it. <<

Well how about answering the basic question :

Do you consider a $10 to $14 an hour job a success story ?

Reply
Apr 28, 2011 8:29 AM twins.fan twins.fan  says: in response to hoapres

Hoapres,

Thank you very much for your counterpoints. It was a complete and total slapdown of an H1B lackie, Don Tenant, which is something that we will see more and more often if Tenant insists on spreading his bull crap.

Reply
Apr 28, 2011 9:37 AM mataj mataj  says:

So, she found herself a job. Good for her. But, on that account, somebody else remained jobless.

No matter how determined we might be, no mater how we reinvent ourselves- there are only so many jobs out there.

Reply
May 16, 2011 3:11 AM Tanja Tanja  says:

You may find interesting IT Jobs in Switzerland at www.edvjobs.ch and www.itjobs.ch

Reply
Dec 26, 2013 9:14 PM Brock price Brock price  says:
Jobs can be easily search through job portals and http://www.goldwyncareers.com is one of them as providing jobs various fields. Reply
Mar 9, 2016 6:37 AM Reto Reto  says: in response to Tanja
http://www.devjobs.ch/ is another IT Jobportal in Switzerland that is imho worth mentioning for finding interesting web jobs ;) Reply

Post a comment

 

 

 

 


(Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.

 

null
null

 

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Sign up now and get the best business technology insights direct to your inbox.