Don’t Look for a Job, Look for Respect

Don’t Look for a Job, Look for Respect

These days, job seekers face not one but two equally difficult challenges. Not only do they have to find a decent job, but they have to find a decent employer, as well. A decent job may remove them from the ranks of the unemployed, but only a decent employer can ensure they stay there.

For the first time in modern American history, those in transition now have to worry about serial unemployment. They must endure a grueling and often lengthy job search, and then they have to deal with the ever present possibility that they may lose their job 6, 12 or 18 months down the road. No sooner are they employed, it seems, than they face the prospect of becoming unemployed all over again.

There are, of course, a range of reasons for this phenomenon. The lousy economy, changing consumer tastes, and the introduction of new technology certainly deserve some of the blame. In far too many cases, however, there’s another cause. It’s employers behaving badly.

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1 Comment

  1. Peter, once again, on the money. I am happy (and relieved) to say that my own quest for “the right next thing” in my career concluded recently, after a long (and sometimes worrisome) nine months of transition and searching. Thanks to your columns and posts, I was encouraged to commit to making myself a “career activist” (as opposed to a “job supplicant”), and that made all the difference for me–I had never thought of the job search in those terms before! Yes, I had to pay bills, and yes, the wolves were beginning to howl at the door, but finding the right next thing was as important to me (if not more so) than finding the next job. There is no magic bullet in this situation, but I have learned a few things. First, I refused to accept age (I am 57) as a factor in my circumstances, even though the signs and symptoms of ageism did sometimes rear their ugly heads–I somehow managed to screen those thoughts out, even when I would be waiting to interview in a workplace setting where everyone seemed younger than my children! Second, I was very selective in evaluating prospective employers and very careful to make sure that my next move would align with my personal values and philosophies about work, professional dignity, and my passions and sense of purpose as a worker. Finally, I looked for nice people and for evidence and signs of a healthy workplace. This perseverance, and my own unwillingness to accept a position where I would not be valued or developed, carried me through the roller coaster ride, the ups and downs, the disappointments, and the periods of feeling rejected, even when things were starting to seem pretty dire. Thank you for your wisdom, and for all my fellow “career activists,” keep your eye on the prize. It IS out there, and you WILL get the job you deserve when the time is right.