Employment Under A Microscope
A certain amount of oversight is involved in almost any job. The more important, the more highly skilled, the more successful the position, the lower the degree of oversight. At the bottom rung of the economic and social ladder - the laborers, the maids, the easily replaceable positions - the more watchful are the powers that be, the less secure are the workers, the more personally vulnerable are they to any mistakes made.
When money or similar valuables are intermixed with poorly paid employees, the level of oversight reaches outsized and intrusive proportions. Diamond workers in South Africa submit to body cavity searches after every shift, a humiliation society normally limits to convicted felons or known drug traffickers.
In the United States, low-level workers in finance and banking are closely observed for cash or figure discrepancies. Too many errors lead inevitably to termination. The larger the amounts of money involved, the more significant the mistakes become. A fast food register a few cents out of balance differs markedly from a bank cashier imbalance of several hundred dollars.
The more pure cash is involved, the more difficulty there is in tracing a paper trail of transactions to establish where a discrepancy occurred. I just returned from three days in Las Vegas, the American capital of cash. Surely nowhere else in the country handles the thousands of hundred dollar bills that change hands in that town, to the tune of several billion dollars annually.
For years, in the counting rooms it was one pile for the house, one pile for the government, and one pile for "the boys." Untold millions were siphoned off for the East Coast crime czars. The government hated being cheated of their fair share. The gamblers could care less where the money went as long as they had a fair chance of winning and their play rendered them free rooms, free shows, and free food. It was symbiotic - a mutually advantageous relationship. Any worker foolish enough to try to cheat the uniquely expert cheaters at the top, found their final reward in the unforgiving desert where flesh melts quickly and bone fragments blow quickly away in the beds of long-dry rivers.
Then the corporations moved in and "the boys" faded away into their old street rackets and the burgeoning drug trade. The corporate-owned casinos are no longer in the business of skimming: they can make legitimate returns for their shareholders through the huge returns guaranteed by the house advantage in every transaction. To add to the gaming cash, they moved to ensure a profit in related areas: rooms, food, and shows.
Even the owners and managers, with their accounting-oriented perspective on the world, recognize their vulnerability to greed, cheating, and theft in the huge cash side of their business.
Casino worker oversight, while not yet approaching the body-cavity-search level, is perhaps the most organized and intrusive in the western world. It ranges from dealers clapping and showing open, empty hands, to two or more floor walkers (depending on the size of the jackpot) co-signing on every hand-pay slot win. It involves floor men watching every table bet, box men watching every roll of the dice and its payoff stacks of chips. It requires supervisors to watch the floor men, managers to watch the supervisors, undercover security men to watch both workers and guests, and eye-in-the-sky overhead cameras that can observe and detect every one of a million transactions per day.
Does all this monitoring and second-guessing have an effect on employees? Personal trust is something we rate highly. Talk with someone whose spouse has cheated on them and you will find that the emotional pain has little to do with sex but everything to do with the loss of trust and the doubt that a relationship can ever really survive such a loss. Although secondary to intimate relationships, we would like our coworkers and supervisors to trust us also, as a mark of respect if nothing else.
On the other hand, we are aware that the world is full of cheaters, those who would break any moral, legal, or ethical code if it gave them an advantage in the race for success and financial independence. We want to be trusted to act responsibly and do the right thing but we are just a little reluctant to trust others to quite the same degree.
Close oversight of everyone gives us a certain sense of security - it levels the playing field for us all by rooting out those who would bend the rules to get what they want. We tell ourselves that we have nothing to fear because we are innocent and that will protect us.
Then we read about long-convicted prisoners whose innocence has been belatedly proved by newly developed scientific forensics. We miss a familiar face at our favorite casino and finally learn that the individual left town after an error-inspired accusation of misconduct resulted in termination and blacklisting from the industry.
Where there is cash floating around in generous amounts, there will always be temptations, overzealous suspiciousness, justice and injustice on all sides because the truth is not amenable to scientific analysis and every event has multiple explanations and perspectives.
So we keep on watching ourselves and each other. Those of us who loathe the concept of big brother and snitching on friends, draw back in disgust as we see the need for security invade our lives. We can stay out of the gaming world with its cameras and minutely regulated transactions but how do we avoid the monitoring threatened with every call for customer service or the cookies embedded in our computers to track our wanderings through the Internet?
The cheaters, the scam artists, the swindlers and the frauds have won. It is we, the innocent, who must dwell in prison cells of continuous third degree scrutiny.
Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled workers, while serving as a Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. Author of an interactive and supportive workbook, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge, she can be reached at http://www.unemploymentblues.com
Job Interviews -- The Four Worst Objections You?ll Face and How to Deal with Them
Dealing with tough questions and objections is an essential part of job interviews. Here are four common ones that derail many candidates. Read on to find out what they are and how you can deal with them.
Make Your Résumé Sizzle with Success Stories
In today's competitive job market you can't afford a résumé that fizzles. Power up your résumé with solid success stories. Include simple, clear accomplishment statements to get and keep the attention of hiring managers.
Job Search Techniques: Smashing The Gray Ceiling
For decades, women have chaffed at the invisible glass ceiling which prevents their moving into the high executive brackets that their competence, knowledge and skills have earned. The same amorphous barrier confronts older workers both in terms of advancement within a company and, most especially, when a job change is required. There is an adage in the military that if a rank above major has not been obtained within twenty years, it never will be. The ranks of early military retirees are sprinkled with majors who knew that ten or fifteen more years would never bring a Colonel's cluster.
Get Beyond Your Tasks
Ever hear the story of the two masons working side by side at a building site? They're doing the same work under pretty much the same conditions. Then, one day a stranger comes along, approaches one of the men and asks him, "What are you doing?" "I don't know and I don't care," replies the man, his voice brimming with irritation. All I do is slap this crummy mortar on these crummy bricks and pile them up in a crummy line. That's what I'm doing."
Interview Tips, How to Get the Job You Want
Enter into a state of relaxed concentration. This is the state from which great basketball players or Olympic skaters operate. You'll need to quiet the negative self chatter in your head through meditation or visualization prior to sitting down in the meeting. You'll focus on the present moment and will be less apt to experience lapses in concentration, nervousness, self-doubt and self-condemnation.
Four Job Interview Mistakes That Can Torpedo Your Chances of Success
What are the worst mistakes job hunters make? It turns out there are four big ones. These four mistakes turn up repeatedly when executives responsible for hiring talk about the reasons why someone didn't get a job offer.
Today we hear much talk of the 'global village'. People are have more opportunities to travel and live abroad than ever before. However, when you leave a familiar environment and go for an extended stay somewhere quite different, you could experience a whole range of unexpected and unfamiliar feelings. Many of these emotions can be very strong, making you feel out of control and confused: just the sort of problem you could do without as you try to cope with a new job, a new way of life. This is the experience we call 'culture shock' and its course is well understood and documented. So, the first thing to remember is that culture shock is normal, that it has clearly defined stages and that, provided you understand what is happening to you, you should be able to cope with it.
The Perfect Resume
The perfect resume offers Logical Proofs: Facts Quantifiable data Logical conclusions Achievement and success statements Relevant professional goals/accomplishments Limits the use of jargon Maximizes use of occupation/industry-specific key words Your capabilities and skills Clear, specific, measurable, and quantifiable words and phrases Sells you based on your achievements to date
Job Tips For The Frustrated Job Seeker
There is nothing more frustrating and depressing when you are out of work and trying to find a job and your job search is going no where. Don't feel bad, you are not alone and there is a good reason why searching for a new job can be so difficult. There is no doubt the job market has changed. 30 years ago when I applied for my first job I remember answering an ad in the paper, calling and speaking to a real person, going in for the interview, filling out a application, had the interview and was offered the $3.75 and hour shipping job. Things are not that simple today. Back then there was no voice mail, no email, you mailed in a typed resume, who had a fax at home? You called and talked to a real person. You may of filled out a application but not the dozen forms you need to today. And you never had to prove you were legally allowed to work in the United States.
Troubleshooting Your Job Search
OK. You've posted your resume online. You've sent out a dozen copies answering classified ads. You've told everyone in your network that you're looking for a job.
Mastering The Lunch Interview
Interviews can be nerve-racking, brain-draining, headache-inducing experiences. These days, recruiters have found a way to make the interview even more difficult by combining the experience with a meal. This means that in addition to listening to the interviewer, formulating intelligent responses, and trying your hardest to be confident, you now have pay attention to how you look while eating.
The Musketeer Approach
Stories of intrigue, treachery, politics, lies, double crosses, and power struggles fill the history books, much like they fill today's headlines. In the world of the 17th century musketeer, life depended on who you could trust. In the world of the 21st century employee, one's livelihood may. I'm not naïve to corporate politics, competition, or sabotage in the workplace. I've held my own in corporations where silos, turf wars and power brokers delivered indigestion, sleepless nights, and distrusting cultures. But I still don't get it. When people are more focused on what's happening in the cube next to them than on achieving corporate goals, everyone loses. When corporate politics fill emails with mixed direction stalling productivity, everyone loses. And when discretionary effort and new ideas are swallowed in pits of bureaucracy, guess what? Everyone loses. The way I see it, if the company fails, we all fail. So, I believe the Three Musketeers got it right: "All for one and one for all!" Each understood his fate as an individual was tied to their fate as a group. Trusting each other was unambiguous. One was in trouble, they all were in trouble. One needed help, they all provided help. One succeeded, they all succeeded. The fiction of Alexandre Dumas, set in the 17th century, seems a good prescription for the 21st century workplace. I know it's worked for me. Arriving at a new job, I discovered the boss who hired me was away, and no one expecting me. I found no office, no desk, and no information. The person I was hired to replace was in my job, and had no idea I was replacing her. Each week got worse. Information and requests flowed like water through a clogged pipe. I was out of the loop on important issues and viewed like the enemy. Turning to my boss for guidance was like stepping into a sink hole, as I discovered his credibility and the department's lacking. I realized if I was to survive, I had to find, win over, and/or develop a handful of people I could trust. It took a difficult year, but the payoff lasted an entire career. Gradually the group of trusted colleagues grew. We never thought of ourselves as musketeers, but by our actions, we became them. Unspoken rules of ethics and integrity prevailed. We looked beyond individual interests. We shared ideas, collaborated on projects, borrowed resources, and worked together easily and enthusiastically. We wanted the best for each other and the best for the company, each of us worrying about more than our own five acres. Unspoken commitments prevailed. If I was in trouble or asked for help, help was given. I was called upon to step up and provide help too. We all knew our musketeer roles required reciprocity. The bottom line was that helping each other succeed, helped each of us succeed. I don't know where I'd be today without the musketeer approach. My advice? Become a musketeer! (c) 2004 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
How to Manage Your Career Like a Business
Look upon yourself as a company with a product or service to sell. Understand your market and devise a dynamic marketing campaign, remembering that companies hire employees who offer them the best results and the best value for money.
No Degree, No Problem
According to a recent survey, 52% of job candidates polled lied on their resume about having a college degree. Here are 3 brief horror stories: A new Director of Logistics and his family were actually loading the moving van provided by his new employer for relocation from California to North Carolina. The phone rang and it was the Human Resource Manager from his new company. The offer was being withdrawn. Through a routine degree verification check, the company learned the potential new employee did not have a degree. He was 3 hours short of graduating. Had the candidate been honest, the job was still his. It was an integrity issue. Five candidates for a high level software sales job were interviewing. After the face to face interviews, the candidates were offered a "grace period" to revise their application. The company was aware of a problem with one canddiate. The lead candidate changed his college degree information to "Did Not Graduate." He was dropped from contention. A candidate for a Vice President of Logistics position for a multi-billion/multi national company was offered the job. However, the background check could not verify the degree as listed on the resume. The stunned candidate said he could fix the problem. After one week, he called and faxed over the degree verification information. Only two blank pieces of paper came out of the fax. He said, "I must have faxed the wrong side." The offer was rescinded the night before his start date because of the integrity issue. The company would have hired him if he had been honest about not having a degree. Offers withdrawn because of "no degree" are not because the lack of a college degree was a "deal breaker." The issue was that each of these high level managers misrepresented themselves on their resume and during the interview. As a search firm, we always encourage candidates to be upfront and candid about the information on the resume, including whether or not they have a college degree. Don't try to hide it amongst several other educational courses you have taken. If you are hiring, ask the candidate directly. It's amazing how many hiring managers "assumed" the candidate graduated. The most deceptive piece on a resume is: University of Any State, 1986-1990. Listing the years but not if they graduated. Common oversight. Most times, if the candidate has a solid background and the chemistry is strong with the organization, the company hires the person. Remember 70% of hiring is Chemistry. Degree isn't the most important factor.
Working as a Knowledge Worker in the Information Age
The old adages: "It's not what you know, but who you know" and "High Tech, High Touch" could be the mottos of knowledge workers in the 21st Century.
Making The Best Of Yourself At Interview
You are just about to leave university You are just setting out in the job market You have a number of hurdles to get over before you have the job you have been dreaming of. You find the thought of an interview daunting. You want to make a good impression and succeed!
Turning Their Loss Into Your Job Gain
It isn't the end of the world, even if it seems like it. Losing your job can be a heart-breaking experience. After all, your security in life and your abilities is now in question. You can feel disillusioned and there is the ever-nagging question of: What do I do now?
How ToTalk Your Boss Into Giving You A Salary Increase
* If you believe you deserve a salary increase, ask for it as soon as possible; don't procrastinate or wait for your employer to offer it.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent
If you're wondering how to become a real estate agent, the basic process is fairly simple, although it does vary a lot from state to state.. You will need to take classes, pass exams, earn a real estate license, find a broker to work for, then find sellers or buyers as clients.
How To Choose The Right Resume Format
After a thirty (30) second glance lots of resumes get thrown into the wastebasket. One of the reasons this happens is because the resume writer has failed to use the appropriate resume format.
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