Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You need a time out!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand the way these things work, career centers are supposed to be full of helpful, knowledgeable people that can assist a person in their search for a new job. I mean, these are supposed to be human resource professionals that understand the issues facing today's economy, and the struggles that people go through in order either to find work, or to improve their current job situation.

This is what it is supposed to be, right? Tell that to RochesterWorks.

I used this service some years ago when I was out of work, and was very unimpressed. It was with a jaundiced eye that I considered going back there when it was suggested to me to give them another go to see if they might offer some assistance, at least regarding re-tooling my resume. I was told that they actually had improved their services.

So with trepidation, I signed up for a resume review session for today at 11:00 am. I made several different copies of my resume available, in different formats that would be arranged depending on the type of position I was trying for. It turned out to be a group session with six people and a moderator. We would all get to see each others resume's and critique them. Not a bad idea, I have done this sort of thing before.

Then the moderator opened her mouth. What came out were some of the most condescending, shrill, and trite statements that I have not heard in a long time. This was a human resources "professional?" I use the term professional very loosely, you see. She was about as unprofessional as it gets. First, she would make comments such as "I love you for it," or other such drivel to people when making observations about things on their resumes. Her interaction style was that of a parent to a child. She really jumped into the deep end of the pool when it was time to look over my resume.

After everyone took time to make some notes on my resume, she started to make a point regrading my opening summary, something that I disagreed with and was trying to explain why. She then proceeded to put her index finger to her lips, and shushed me as though we were in church and I was making too much noise. I simply lifted an eyebrow, and threw daggers at her through my eyes, which was enough for her to realize she had just made an enormous faux pas.

It took all of my resolve not to let my inner Bronx-boy out and let her know what I thought in an old school fashion. Normally, this would involve many four-letter words and references to the sexual exploits of her mother. I decided that this would not achieve my main objective; to get her in so much trouble, that she would have no recourse but to fall on her sword in remorse. A few minutes after her attempt at silencing me, she apologized, but the sincerity that should have been there was sorely lacking.

She pulled another bonehead move; she implied that I had "returned to Rochester as a result of something happening to me in NYC." She came to this stunning conclusion after seeing that I listed two of my former health care jobs from my paramedic days in Brooklyn.

"I didn't 'return' to Rochester. I moved here. I'm from NYC, and those were jobs that I held back then."

I think I saw the blood drain from her face as she realized she screwed up yet again.

So, on it went, until it mercifully ended. I went home madder than hell, then got together with a friend for coffee. The look on her face when I told her what happened was enough to tell me that I knew I was in the right. My friend is a former business owner, and she is far too familiar with HR people. I went home after calming down enough, and wrote a scathing (but professional) letter to the executive director of this organization, and e-mailed it to him. I am hoping for an answer tomorrow.

What I'm really hoping for is that this moderator gets sent to her to her room without any supper. Well, not really of course, but a good tongue lashing couldn't hurt, could it?


Peter said...

A most unpleasant experience, especially since these people are supposedly professionals, trained to direct you towards a job. I hope she's 'one of a kind', in an organization that's hopefully displaying a higher level of competence.

But it can get worse, like in Antwerp, Belgium, home of double digit unemployment. Belgians who lost their job get the classic 'benefit' (40-60% of your last paycheck, limited to a very low upper limit), along with state organized "obligatory guidance".

And trust me, you've seen nothing yet:
Belgian unemployment "guidance" feels like Kafka: an utterly clueless group of bureaucratic nitwits who are just there to make sure they can cut/stop your unemployment benefit.
"Guidance" is "something on paper they love to fake providing".

A (locally famous) Antwerp actress (she stared in local feature movies such as "Daems") recently got unemployed.
Applying for a benefit is mandatory to protect other rights such as healthcare, so she did.

Days later she was offered a part-time job as the ticket booth lady at, hold "Daems", the movie she starred in!

She obviously refused this insane mandatory job offer. Guess what: Belgian unemployment bureaucracy struck back with a vengeance: she was immediately state-sanctioned (losing all benefits)

Like you noticed, it can all get worse.

Mr. Nighttime said...

Peter - I hate to tell you this, but you could take what you have described about Antwerp and plop it into the NY State Dept. of Labor and find the same thing. Bureaucracy seems to be the one consistent thing that Europeans and Americans can find common ground on.

jay said...

And when she gets her tongue-lashing, wouldn't you just love to be there? I know I would!

Mr. Nighttime said...

Jay - A this point I'll settle for the Executive director to e-mail me back. You do however, have a VERY good point!