Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

Posts Tagged ‘Alain de Botton

Recession + redundancy = reinvention

with 4 comments

For those who missed it,  SBS’s Insight aired a program this week on reinventing oneself (with a focus on work/career) in these interesting times.

Just click the link here to view.

Philosopher Alain De Botton was a guest on the program.  He is one academic that Even It Up! admires and respects for his illuminations on the modern world, particularly his writings on the smoke and mirrors of status, the myth of meritocracy and now, work.  We completely agree with his take on work (below is excerpt from the Insight program):

We’re no longer living in a time where we have no options. All of us feel options and the education system, and the political system is always telling us, ‘go on – try and live your dream.’ (my bold) That in fact causes us great worries a lot of us have dreams, but we think how on earth are we going to get there? We are encouraged often to have more dreams than we are capable of putting into action, and that’s perhaps something else we can talk about, what is a realistic level of dreaming?

In the words of Bruce Springsteen (from the song The River): is a dream a liar if it don’t come true, or is is something worse?  Certainly, we are told from the get go that we can be whatever we want.  We are told that all we need is education, talent, hard work, opportunities and luck, and it will all work out.  We will get to where we want to go.

  • But how many of us have gotten tertiary qualification because we are told “degrees open doors” and found that the door to your chosen profession remains firmly locked?
  • And how many of us haven’t ended up in the job/profession we trained for, the salary we expected, and now have huge student loans to repay?
  • How many of us try to show how talented and smart we are in the workplace, only to be shown the door because “we’ve rocked the boat”?
  • How many of have shown our track record and experience in interviews only to be told we are “impressive, and you would be great for this organisation, but we’ve given the position to someone (less experience and less qualified)”?

Even It Up! believes that many individuals, because of their expectations –  and instilled in them from a young age and backed up by the media – have been set up for failure.

And the process of recruitment just makes things worse, because jobseekers have been led to believe that hiring is about them, their personal brand, and what they bring to the company, not about the company minimising hiring risks.  And so, recruitment is increasingly about selecting people out, not in, because of a few bad (and costly) hiring decisions (and we will be accused of oversimplifying here!).  And these bad hires are made for a number of reasons including:

  • personal agendas
  • groupthink
  • poor recruitment and selection practices
  • poor recommendations
  • weak organisational culture
  • bad management/leadership
  • skills shortage.

Call us old-fashioned, but it’s a case – as always – of the minority of mishires ruining it for the majority of honest jobseekers.  And let use be very clear here: it’s the organisation’s mistake, but the individual jobseeker is being made to pay.


Written by evenitup

April 28, 2009 at 12:39 pm