Friday, July 29, 2011

Dear Entry-Level Employer

We all need the right job... Not just 'a' job.

I'm writing this letter for my generation... for my friends, roommates, epoch, what have you, who are on the precipice of what adults would call 'adulthood'. Since my graduation from undergraduate college, my life has been filled with wanted ads, Craigslist posts, profiles and resume-writing, all in search of you, an entry level employer. Your presence is what fuels every college career fair, resume workshop and self-imposed library-lockdown. You make it so that without you, the last four (or five, depending on who you ask) years are seen as a waste by everyone outside of my generation.

Entry-level job, I won't comment on where I am in my search for one of you (this blog has to keep something private). Everywhere I look, my friends are essentially losing their wills to live their dreams because they have to look for one of you. Whether it's to pay off college loans, placate parents, or just so that we're not in line at the soup kitchen, if we don't have one of you, times get rough.

In this economy opportunities are running slim, not to make that a scapegoat. Yet, our prospects can't help but make us dismal. We can go to events and send cover letters for eternity, but the fact is, the average unemployed citizen stays that way for nine months. For graduates that's a double strike. Not having years of experience over older job-seekers. That might make you wary of hiring us. It can be a strenuous process on both sides. Even so, we both have to be fair to one another. That said, here are some pointers:

1. I will not be losing my soul to one of you. Call it what you want, whether it be career exasperation, quarter-life crises or cognitive dissonance, your emergence leads to a crossroads of sorts: whether to continue following some semblance of 'going after my dreams' or to join the ranks of the employed with one of you. While most of my compatriots take the latter road, and find themselves burned out by a decent-paying job that they hate, I vow to leave if ever I feel the same way. It's not you, It's me. These days, no one is happy at their job. The recession made it so that people have to take on positions that they wouldn't normally take on, just to make ends meet. Yes, the poorhouse sucks. But I'd rather take my chances than go bald and have an aneurism at 24 due to work related stress and depression. Wouldn't you rather have the right employee for the position, who feels vindicated by it, than an unhappy laborer who can't wait for 5:00?

2. I am not expendable. As much as college graduates outnumber the Israelites on the way to Canaan, that doesn't mean that we are all the same. Nor does it mean that one graduate is the same as the next. Take the time to learn that. Generic postings such as 'high GPA needed', 'top college', 'go-getter', and 'high achiever' are like trying to sell fake iPods at a flea market in China. Stop trying to cast a wide net so that every graduate with a pulse will apply to you, and tailor yourself so that we know what we are getting into. Like I said, I am not expendable and you should treat me as such. I have ideas, cool stories and probably more expertise on a computer a lot of entire office. Regardless of how many rolodexes you have filled and continuing education seminars you've hosted, you can't possibly have potential that I (as a younger, more technologically adept employee) will have. Know that. Believe that. Understand that I will be in your position soon. Do you really want to be the employer that undervalued the college graduate with the 'next big idea'?

3. Pay me! No seriously, pay me. Please. Do you see what's going on in the news? The rich and huge corporations are making a killing and have been doing so for the past decade. I know your (probably) corporate bank account has more commas than an English sonnet. That comes with the territory of a lot more employers than before. Stop trying to reel us in with promises of 'Great commissions' and 'Incentive-based pay'. No. For all of the 'not-in-the-job-description' caliber work that I will most likely be entrusted with, it behooves you to pay me what I am worth, especially if I'm doing my job well. The bottom of the pyramid makes it so that the point can look good. Underpaying your employees, especially entry-level ones makes it so that YOU are the expendable ones. Tired of employee turnover in the lower rungs? Stop paying recent graduates peppercorns and give us an incentive to want to stay with one of you.

4. Make the job at least worth talking about. Account Executives, Account Associates, Executive Associates... They all do the SAME thing: get business for whatever firm in question. At this juncture in the economy, jobs are like Dunder-Mifflin paper: maybe not the same, but all serve the same function. Yes, pay is important. But what is your company doing to make it jump out at ME? Is there travel involved? Are there company outings? Firmwide streaking? Health benefits? Networking events? Happy hours? Take your pet rock to work day? Anything? Do something to make that 9-5 seem a little shorter. There's nothing worse that a job that offers nothing but work. In that case, the employees usually offer the bare minimum too. That company might not be around for much longer.

I think those are fair. Like I said, I won't remark on where I am in my job search, but I will be looking for one of you that fulfills those four needs. Maybe those aren't even as specific to you, as they are to jobs in general. We know it's a recession. That doesn't mean jobs have to become these lifeless, dreadful places that you want to leave as soon as you walk in.

Entry-level employer, I can guarantee you that I'm a top-notch employee with a track record to improve it. It's just that you guys aren't what you're hyped up to be, and signal a serious crossroads in our lives. In our complex journey for self-actualization, and as a recent graduate, your appeal has to be more than a salary. My greatest fear in life is having my paycheck be my bane, and I'm sure I can find 100 other grads thinking the same thing. They don't call us 'the Future' for nothing. We'll work. We'll slave. We'll blow your company up. (in the best way possible) Think of it as the 'it' that makes the salary not even register in our minds, the quid pro quo that makes both of us happy. I'll hold up my end of the bargain. Will you?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dear President Obama

Sometimes, you've got to walk away from the table to let them know you're serious.

via CNN:
A fourth straight day of talks intended to head off a possible government default ended on a tense note Wednesday, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor saying President Barack Obama cut him off by saying "I'll see you tomorrow" before walking out.

The exchange concluded almost two hours of talks that failed to achieve a breakthrough. Another session -- the fifth in five days -- was set for Thursday, participants said...

Cantor, R-Virginia, told reporters after Wednesday's meeting that he proposed a short-term agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling, a position Obama has previously rejected.

"That's when he got very agitated and said I've sat here long enough -- that no other president -- Ronald Reagan -- would sit here like this -- and that he's reached the point that something's gotta give," Cantor said, adding that Obama called for Republicans to compromise on either their insistence that a debt-ceiling hike must be matched dollar-for-dollar by spending cuts or on their opposition to any kind of tax increase.

"And he said to me, 'Eric, don't call my bluff.' He said 'I'm going to the American people with this,' " Cantor quoted Obama as saying.

"I was somewhat taken aback," Cantor said. When he continued to press the issue, Cantor said, Obama "shoved back from the table, said 'I'll see you tomorrow' and walked out."

There comes a point when compromise is no longer an option; when putting your cards on the table in a motion of humility is best replaced by flipping the table over and throwing chairs... Well, perhaps that wouldn't work in the White House. But the furniture is all the same. President Obama, for the past two months, the country (or the more informed/interested parties of the country) and it's government have been embroiled in a vicious economic, philosophical and sociological debate about the deficit. I won't sit here and go through all of the ins and outs, because I'm sure you've had enough of it, and by your reaction yesterday it's obvious the debate has hit an impasse.

GOP Leaders like John Boehner, Rick Perry and Eric Cantor have stuck to their guns, claiming that raising taxes on the rich would hurt the 'job creators' and that cutting social programs and taxes are the quickest way to cut the deficit. Barack, I am proud to know that you finally called their bluff and walked out of the futile negotiations. I'm tired of Republicans protecting the corporate big wigs whose pockets they're holding. I'm tired of them wanting to cut social programs that most Americans rely on, all while refusing to cut military spending that has blown way out of proportion since the Iraq/Afganistan Wars started. I'm tired of a Congress so hell bent on not raising taxes on the rich that they would allow the country to go into a default in August. I'm tired of reading the news and seeing these same Republicans claiming that they will not budge when you're clearly trying to come to a centrist, middle-of-the-road compromise that encompasses some of their social cuts and the new tax revenues you're seeking.

You finally put your foot down and decided that sitting at a table with a bunch of GOP blowholes who keep spinning the same record about tax cuts and social program cuts was about as useful as a pee-flavored lollipop. You even brought up the GOP Messiah, Ronald Reagan, claiming that not even he would subserve to such draconian measures. It's been proven, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve, numerous polls and independent researchers that cutting taxes (especially to the rich) will NOT FIX THE DEFICIT. And you know, just like I and most non-FOX News watching citizens, that those same tax cuts were the impetus for this Great Recession that's threatening to collapse our economy once again. The Republicans would rather drive us into the ground to protect an outmoded and unsustainable ideology, than come to a compromise that, quite frankly, employs a lot more of their ideas than yours.

Obama, you said that a change was necessary in 2008. For the past year, I've felt that you've kowtowed too much to the devices of the Party of No. Yesterday, I think that the Obama that I voted for was reincarnated with a vengeance, and I LOVE IT. By walking out of the negotiations yesterday, you proved that you're not going to give up the high ground. Yes, the GOP has a majority in the House. Yes, their personal media conglomerate FOX News, continues to purport lies and falsehoods to the same people that are being downtrodden by this recession. And yes, John Boehner and Eric Cantor are about as fiscally sound as Donald Trump in a store full of toupees. But you're the President. You're the person in command. You set the stage, and yesterday you took the stage right from under the those GOP blowholes by walking out. If this fire is an indicator of what's to come, then maybe I'm not as worried about what 2012 will bring (fiscally, that is) anymore. Walk hard, Barry. Walk hard...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dear James Harrison

Can't argue with a man who has two sets of guns, and regularly decapitates receivers on the field...

via Men's Journal:
“My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people,” he says. “But up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty — till Roger Goodell, who’s a crook and a puppet, said I was the dirtiest player in the league. If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”

In the midst of any sports lockout, especially one that has no end in sight, one can expect all hell to break loose on the front of relations between the players and the league. After a certain point, the niceties that riddled early negotiations are thrown out the window in lieu of loaded rhetoric and unbridled, unapologetic, speech. That's why I have no problem with your comments on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Mr. Harrison. I added the 'Mr.' out of respect, especially after seeing you posing with huge non-muscular guns in Men's Journal. Either way, there seems to be no love lost between you and Goodell, and I, for one, LOVE it.

In today's media age where no comment can go without criticism, and no opinion is taken with a grain of salt, you have officially earned my stamp of 'Realest Dude in the Game,' James. First of all, it's no secret that you and Roger Goodell have never seen eye-to-eye. I won't sit here and say he's had it out for you, because Goodell seems to have a personal vendetta against any player who doesn't act as the NFL's personal footstool. At the same time, your comments reverberate with me because I'm tired of professional leagues trying to stomp out the (sometimes volatile) personalities that litter them. Whereas 20 years ago, a player coming out and putting a verbal bullseye on league officiating and management or speaking his mind about other players was somewhat normal, today no one wants to be 'that guy'. No one wants to have his endorsements docked and his pay suspended because he voiced his opinion. on the league.

... But wait a minute. We're in a lockout! Right now, Roger Goodell and the league can do diddly squat to you because you're technically not under the league's jurisdiction. For that reason, I say talk as much as you want, James. Don't let the prospects of ruffling the wrong feathers silence you! Speak up! Let some crazy scandal go! Air some teammates out! Seriously... If there's one thing that professional sports leagues are missing as of late, it's the trash-talking and general edginess that made them so interesting. The NBA regained it this year with the whole LeBron circus, but the NFL is just waiting for someone to come out and set flames to the entire establishment. Yes, there might be repercussion,s but imagine the precedent you'll set, with the players talking back, and reclaiming the league that wouldn't exist without them! Forget hurting feelings! You play for the Steelers, James; the guys who perfected the art of smash-mouth football. You've already enacted the smash on the field.. Why not let your mouth do some talking, to let Goodell, the owners and the league that there is no league without the players: and that is a fact that should never be punished, no matter how harshly it's put...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dear Racism Whistle-Blowers

If he falls off this mountain, is the mountain now a racist?

'It's because I'm black!'

'Man, that's racist!'

'How can you do that, as a black man?'

'Don't you know that (supposedly racist act) originated in (racially-charged event)?'

The list could go on forever... Of all the things that irk me to no end, I think the one that has stood out lately is you, the prototypical racism whistle-blower. We all know about planking now, thanks to Twitter. The craze started out months ago in New Zealand as a twist on the 'lying down' game, and grew to notoriety when an unsuspecting planker died after tumbling down a mountain. Yet, in recent weeks the fad has grown to a fever pitch, conspicuously making its rounds in the mainstream media and the black community. As with many crazes, I was quick to dismiss it, simply because it is a case of major groupthink and the world has many other issues to deal with other than people lying face-down in random locations.

Yet you racism whistle-blowers had to take it to that level. People always get on blacks and other minorities for pulling out the race card at unscrupulous intervals... And predictably, we get mad, championing the sacrifices of our ancestors and claiming that we shouldn't be delving into certain things because of the racially-charged histories behind them. Planking has received the same treatment, with hoards of you whistle-blowers alluding to the triangular trade practice of stacking slaves on top of one another in slave ships to conserve space. Now, I understand why you would make this comparison. They look pretty darn similar. Hell, they might've even used the same term to describe it... But consider this: NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE RACIST!

Why is it that nothing can pass through the lens of a black 'radical' without having 'Bigot' branded on its forehead? Are we that desperate for talking points to continue the 'struggle', that something created purely in fun can't be left alone? I'll take a wild guess that when people began planking again, slave ships were the farthest thing from their minds. And by that token, I don't think that some 21st-century fad was on the mind of slave dealers when they were planking slaves. Trying to elicit an air of causation from either side is not only reaching, but silly. Yes, the link is there. But it doesn't mean the link is automatically valid or worth causing a kerfuffle about. Whistle-blowers, let me end on this: why not focus on racism that actually affects us like... I don't know... Tea partiers, or Clarence Thomas, or Michelle Bachman? Either that or go walk a plank... Seriously.