Thursday, 27 February 2014

Career Planning

I sat through a presentation on career planning today as part of a work event.  The presenter got me angry pretty early by suggesting that it was refreshing that members of the generation just entering the workforce consistently rated "Making enough money to meet their needs" as a major career goal.  She didn't seem to get that for those who face a combination of high unemployment, chronic underemployment and crushing student debts merely meeting their needs may be the most they can hope for.

She said some other things to get me angry, but I really lost it when she said that for interview preparation you had to be confident because no one would hire someone who wasn't confident in an interview.  If she had said, "No one would hire someone from a culture where appearing confident in front of superiors would be thought of as rude," or "No one would hire someone with an autism spectrum disorder" I imagine the crowd would have reacted differently.  Her statement was very close to true, but to hear that idea championed rather than lamented by a Human Resources professional who works in the public sector is distressing.

I think it's likely her employer would not make hiring decisions based on race or sexual orientation, but her comment showed the reality of the commitment employers have to "diversity."  Diversity is a good-feeling phrase for HR and management to convince themselves they are doing the right thing, people who are actually different from their notion of what people are supposed to be like should stay home.

T-shirt with a cartoon running man and the words, "Haters gonna make some good points"At the end she mentioned that you should surround yourself with positive people because negativity catches.  I'm sure she has lots of evidence to back this up - the successful people she knows are mostly positive people and all those jobless people, homeless people, people who can't pay their mortgages, people who's kids get cancer... they're all so negative!

Other than a lesson is how stupid confirmation bias can make an otherwise seemingly intelligent person, I don't think I learned much.  Maybe if she was willing to spend time with some negative people now and then one of them would point this out.

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