Master of Nothing

bicycle wheel
 
The following is a conversation overheard at a coffee shop. The names have been changed to protect the conversationalists identity but here's the gist of their conversation. (Note: In case you hadn't realized by now this conversation is completely made up!)
 
Johnny gulping down a beer: Aaaah. I really needed that after a long day of aggravating interviews.
 
Lup Cheong: Are you looking for a new job Johnny?
 
Johnny: No. Worse. I'm interviewing potential candidates for a vacancy at my company.
 
Lup Cheong: Huh? Why is that worse than looking for a new job?
 
Johnny: Have you had any dealings with the fresh grads from our unis?
 
Lup Cheong: Can't say that I have. Why?
 
Johnny: It's beginning to feel like these kids learn all the wrong things in school. A lot of them come out of university talking about how having a degree entitles them to enter their field in the top positions with high pay. They don't seem to understand that there is a reason why you start at entry level when you're a fresh graduate.
Take journalism for example. My friend, Jenny, told me she once interviewed a fresh graduate who applied to be a reporter at the newspaper she works at.
 
Lup Cheong: Ok?
 
Johnny: Jenny asked the fresh grad during the job interview if she's able to talk to random aunties and uncles. The grad told Jenny that she thinks she shouldn't be wasting her time speaking to uncles and aunties in Singapore because that she is aspiring to become a foreign correspondent!
 
Lup Cheong: Then how did Jenny react?
 
Johnny: Jenny told the fresh grad if she can't even handle talking to everyday people in her own home country, how the hell is she going to be able to talk to foreign dignitaries, officials and citizens while she is stationed overseas???
 
Lup Cheong: I take it the fresh grad didn't get the job then?
 
Johnny: Nope. Sometimes I really wonder if kids are thought about work ethics in school. Do you know that our unis are now making their undergrads go through mandatory professional development classes?
 
Lup Cheong: What do you mean professional development?
 
Johnny: I was told that the undergrads at our unis have to go through a compulsory module to get themselves "future ready". These undergrads are apparently taught how to fluff a résumé and make themselves more appealing to potential employers. Do you know that I once came across a job applicant who stated that he was a former director of sanitation under his job history!
 
Lup Cheong: A director of sanitation? What kind of job is that?
 
Johnny: It's a very nice way of saying toilet cleaner la.
 
Lup Cheong: Oh...but why would a fresh grad create such a fancy sounding title for their résumé?
 
Johnny: Résumé inflation is big now. Fresh graduates seem to think that the fancy titles make them more appealing to headhunters. They don't seem to realize that employers are more interested looking at a prospective employee's skill set to what they can bring to an organization. Which brings us to another problem: No one seems to want to stick around long enough to become the "master craftsman" that the g is now encouraging us to do.
 
It feels like people today are only looking for jobs. I've yet to come across any interview candidates who tell me they are looking for a career. Sure some folks I've interviewed have asked me about advancement prospects but they all seem focused on money. No one seems interested in sticking around out of loyalty. I've yet to come across anyone who has said they're willing to invest in a long term career with a company especially if they can get more money somewhere else.
 
Lup Cheong: I think for me it's the reverse.
 
Johnny: What do you mean?
 
Lup Cheong: I've many friends who've said that their employers have zero interest in training them. I didn't get any training when I started my job too. My boss basically told me to sink or swim on my first day and I've been treading water ever since!  For me, it really seems like employers are more concerned about their bottom line rather than investing in their staff and training them to be the best they can be. I wonder if employers realize that an employee might be more willing to stick around if they feel like their bosses believe in them and want to invest in them. Honestly, why should I care about my job if my boss is going to treat me like I'm expandable?
 
Johnny: Sigh...it seems that there really is something wrong with today's work culture.
 
Lup Cheong: The question is what can we do about it?
 
Johnny: Honestly, I don't know. But something's gotta change...
 
Is your job a job to you or a career and do you know the difference? Let us know in the comments below and share this article with your friends!

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