One of the most challenging aspects of my job managing an ag radio network is finding the right people to come to work for me. I’m certain this is not a challenge specific to my line of work. I hear many people voice frustration when it comes to finding people that fit the positions they have to fill. I know this might come as a surprise to some of you, considering how many people in this country are unemployed.
As I gear up for a full day of interviewing candidates for an entry level position on my staff, I am reviewing resume’s and wondering about the people behind the words. What motivates them? What are their interests? What do they like to do in their free time? I think it is important to like the people that you hire and will work with day in and day out for an indefinite period of time. Some will say that as long as they do the job, you don’t have to like them. I disagree; especially when that person is expected to be part of a team.
There is nothing more rewarding than offering a newly minted college graduate a job. There is nothing more frustrating than finding out that the new hire doesn’t have a clear understanding of what it means to have a “real job.”
Several years ago, Clyde Lear, the founder of the company for which I work, shared a story that I wish every young person looking for their first “real job” would read:
“A long time ago we hired a terrific young lady fresh out of college. She was learning and beginning to know her way around when she popped into my office with a request for a week off to join her old sorority sisters on a float trip. She didn’t expect to be paid, she said, because she knew our policy regarding vacation time — she hadn’t earned any. She was really miffed at me when I told her that we had work that needed to be done. That’s why we’d hired her. No, she couldn’t have any time off. This wasn’t college anymore where classes could be cut and her time was her own. In a manner of speaking, we own her”
College life is wholly different from work life. In college, for example, you’re nothing as a freshman. But by the time you’re a junior or senior you’re important in the social goings-on around campus. In a job or career, that maturation often takes ten to twenty years or more. Here, there are many bright, energetic, creative and ambitious people ahead of you. The good news is we hired you because we need you. Nothing would please me more than seeing you move up quickly in our organization.”
“Throw yourself into your job. Learn it very well. Show your superiors you’re grateful to have work — many don’t. Be inquisitive about the company, about what all is going on around you. Ask about things you don’t understand; push for answers. Feel free to offer suggestions. Don’t feel hurt if your great ideas are scuttled; push for reasons why. Go to lunch, or otherwise find outside social opportunities to be with associates — all of whom probably outrank you. Arrive early and stay late. Walk briskly with your head erect. Dress better than average. Remain quiet –not outspoken– in departmental meetings. Become involved in a community of friends outside of work. Be respectful, but not intimidated, by management; feel free to email or stop by our offices anytime. Expect to advance and be bold in seeking new opportunities.”
If you know someone who is starting a new job, please pass this on to them. One day, they will be grateful you did.