As my search for gainful employment enters month two, I’ve obviously looked at a crap load of job listings, having long ago given up the fantasy that the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch and hand me a job.
However, even in as short of a period as one month (one month and two days, if you want to be picky), I’ve noticed a lot of worrisome trends within the job listings.
First off, companies are getting a lot pickier. Instead of just asking for general publishing experience or Web experience, they’re really honing in on exactly what the job entails.
Anyone looking for help is obviously in a position of power right now, with more and more layoffs occurring each day in the media industry and the overall job force. So I can’t say I blame those in charge of hiring for trying to hone in on the perfect candidate.
But it’s a little discouraging to know that with every résumé and cover letter I e-mail, not only am I competing against many more people than I would be in a “normal” economy, but within that larger pool, there are bound to be applicants who have experience in that specific sector. I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic.
Another trend I’ve noticed: In the handful of listings that include the salary being offered, the numbers are dropping off a cliff. Again, I harbor no malice toward those overseeing the hiring process. Why pay more when you can pay less for the same service? And realistically, I’ve been prepared to take a pay cut. The economy is what it is and, right now, it’s pretty bad. I don’t expect a pay hike or even a lateral move.
But no matter how bad things get, I am in no position to take a job that pays one-half of what I was making. And I’m not exaggerating — I’ve seen several listings offering exactly one-half of my old salary. Since we’re talking about media and publishing, my old salary comes up a little bit short when compared with that of, say, Alex Rodriguez. The thought of settling for one-half of that is, to say the least, unsettling.
I wonder how long it takes to learn how to work a deep fryer.