random stuff you should read

Here are a bunch of miscellaneous articles that I thought you’d find interesting —

1. This will either horribly depress you or not surprise you at all: One in every two new graduates are either jobless or under-employed, says this Associated Press article. If you’re in this boat, here’s some advice from me for new grads.

2. This is an excellent rundown of reasons that you should think twice before you hire an intern. They touch on this, but should have emphasized more that managing an intern takes a significant amount of time. If you’re hiring interns thinking that they’ll save you time, you might be in for an unpleasant awakening.

3. This is welcome: The EEOC has issued a new policy that prohibits employers from having a blanket ban on hiring anyone with a criminal conviction unless they can show the policy is truly job-related and rooted in business necessity, because such bans can have a disparate impact on minorities. Employers are allowed to consider criminal convictions in hiring decisions, but the EEOC says these should be individual assessments that consider the nature of the crime, how long ago it was, and how it relates (or doesn’t relate) to the job.

4. This is a great column from Suzanne Lucas, the Evil HR Lady, on why salary.com’s annual “what’s a mom worth” survey is dumb and kind of aggravating.

{ 33 comments… read them below }

  1. JT*

    Very good to see that EEOC action on convictions. I hope they can put some resources into enforcing it, though am doubtful.

    1. Diedra B*

      JT, I agree. I see wherein the EEOC mean well but how can one even prove one has been rejected unfairly due to anything at all, not just a criminal record?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        This will actually be easier to prove than many other types of discrimination, because the conviction often won’t come out until the background check, which often occurs AFTER an offer is made. So it’ll be obvious that’s why the offer was pulled.

        1. Diedra B*

          If one has filled out an application and checked the “Yes” box under past criminal convictions and no offer comes, then what?

  2. Tasasha*

    I’m with JT on the EEOC’s action, I hope it can be actually enforced. If we want to see lower recidivism rates then we need to allow people to get jobs so they can make a living!!

  3. Eric*

    Come on. Get over the feminist attitude regarding Mom’s annual salary. It’s for fun and if it infuriates you, then you have issues.

    1. Chani*

      Seriously…it’s not fun, it’s demeaning to everyone involved. No one likes to be reduced to a monetary value.

  4. Diedra B*

    Perhaps the angle salary.com has taken isn’t the most clever. But I think it’s still worthwhile to consider the fact that all the work being done by parents who either don’t work outside the home, or work part-time outside the home is not worthless. And that salary is informative to me. It tells me that one should calculate a healthy amount of life insurance for a stay at home parent/partner. It probably shouldn’t just be based on what they might make if they worked mainly outside the home.

      1. jmkenrick*

        Agreed. It also kind of holds the implication that a Mom who works outside the house can be worth ‘less’ to her family than a stay-at-home-Mom, which is just silly.

        1. Jamie*

          I would think the way to calculate it would be to determine what you would need to pay someone else to come in and perform the same tasks.

          Anyone old enough to remember Family Affair knows that Mr. French prepared meals, kept schedules, and escorted the kids around town.

          There is a value of parenting that cannot possibly be quantified. Is there any dollar amount you can pay someone to love your kids the way a parent does? No. But the survey was about the quantifiable tasks – not the inherent and completely priceless value of the intangible.

          I was a SAHM for 15 years. If I had died and my husband had enough money to hire a live-in housekeeper/caretaker it would be along the lines of what Uncle Bill paid Mr. French or the Bradys paid Alice…it wouldn’t be equivalent to hiring a CEO for scheduling cheer practice and CCD or an actual chef to make a mean pot roast and mashed potatoes.

  5. Corey Feldman*

    Interesting ruling from the EEOC but not surprising, but a bit ironic. After spending a fair amount if time doing HR in Government contracting, if your hiring for a Gov contract, good luck getting them through their background check/approval process.

  6. Ellie H.*

    I’m so happy about the EEOC ruling. I read another NYT article about it yesterday (I think it was yesterday at least). I hope that it will have a legitimate impact on people’s job prospects.
    Relatedly, I heard a “scare” ad (from Fox News) the other day about “Did you know your tax dollars are going to fund job training for prisoners so that they can find work after they are released?” and almost punched the radio.

  7. mh_76*

    re: #1 – how does one define “underemployed” ?

    It’s great that the jobs crisis is being covered in the press -but- it doesn’t tell the whole story.

    There are lots of older people who are grossly underemployed. Some have had successful careers (financially and/or emotionally) in the past. There are a number of people my age who have always been underemployed – I have to work to keep my underemployment history (dating back to 1999, when I finished college) to 2 pages.

    It’s great to see the press coverage but where is it for older people? Where was the press coverage about the new-/recent-grads in 1999? Times are hard for everyone now but 1999 was hell on new-grads, but that’s not the point of this comment. The point is that the press (& co.) need to focus on all of the people who are un-/underemployed, whether they are 22 or 82 (yes, there are still octogenarians in the work force and in the ranks of those seeking an FTE job that will more than just barely pay the bills…if at all).

    I wish everyone well and hope that the discussion of un-/underemployment will cover everyone, not just some people.

  8. Anonymous*

    My complaint about the annual “What is a SAHM’s work worth?” is that the end result they always come up with has no actual bearing to market rates. There is no way, even if you lived in NYC, that you’d have to spend anywhere near six figures to find someone willing (and responsible enough) to manage a household for you, in terms of child care, cleaning, scheduling activities, etc. And no, since most parents do not possess high level training in all the positions described, it’s ridiculous to insist that a substitute would need it.

  9. Dan*

    Any advice for “new” grads from advanced degrees (Ph.D. in my case)? We’re in an odd position. We’re not new and we can’t get true “entry level” positions (overqualified) but can’t get supervisory level positions (no supervisory experience). There’s also an odd perception that with an advanced degree you won’t be willing to work under someone or learn new things, even though grad students are well practiced in learning stuff and being minions. It’s especially tough now where the normal positions for new people are being filled by people with 5 and 10 years of experience.

    How to stand out when you’ve only got internship and graduate work experience but you’re competing against experienced professionals?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Why’d you get the degree — i.e., does the career that you want require it? If so, there should be a fairly clear career path… if not, you may have unfortunately found yourself in the position of so many people who get advanced degrees without a clear plan for it.

      1. Another Anonymous*

        The fairly clear career path of those with advanced degrees appears to have been disrupted over the last couple of years for those with advanced degrees: Academia is completely flooded, so a teaching job in higher ed is very difficult to find for those with PhDs; the same roles that were “entry level” a few years ago now require a few years of experience; and jobs that used to be accessible with only an advanced degree and no experience now want mid-career professionals. People who began graduate school when the recession was just beginning to get really bad (circa 2008-2009) are now graduating to find a *completely* different landscape and career path than what they had planned for and what their professors and mentors and internship supervisors told them it was like in graduate school.

      2. Dan*

        I did. I was going to be in academia and follow the standard path to professorship. I didn’t find out until I was about to graduate that

        A) The path had changed to something very different to what it had been (extending to an amazing degree).

        B) That the path was vastly overfilled and the funding for new hires was collapsing so no one was hiring new people, just experiences people.

        C) That I ideally wanted to leave the immediate path and shift to something closely related, but the same problems applied to my area outside academia thus creating the same “you don’t already have the experience so you can’t get the experience” problem.

        Basically, the path has been shot to heck. And it’s left me competing for entry positions with people who should have moved on up the ladder. One of the last positions I applied to, entry level Ph.D. position… I lost out to someone with 15 years of experience. That person could have been the supervisor’s supervisor, in terms of actual qualifications. As a newly minted Ph.D. I have little way to compete with that. I’m volunteering to add references, and experience to my resume, but it’s not going to let me compete with people 15 years beyond me.

        1. Dan*

          I started in 2003 before things hit the fan. I graduated in 2009, right as my field caught up to the crash and fell down the hole.

          The entire job landscape changed in that time period.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Got it. That does suck, and as you noted, the PhD might even make it harder for you to get some jobs. The academic job market has been awful for a while, and I’m not sure why schools haven’t been more up-front with students about that fact.

    2. Vanessa*

      Dan, did you ever get this sorted out? I don’t even know if you have email activated. Would love to hear an update; my sister is in this exact position right now.

      1. Dan*

        Yes and no?

        I’ve been volunteering in a lab since the beginning of the year. The boss has been kind enough to call me a visiting post-doc which has let me put that on my resume. And midsummer she managed to drag a little money out of her grant to pay me, which sounds good in a reference letter. It’s allowed me to be “active” in science again (I was employed in between, but it wasn’t bench science) and to add some critical words to my resume including those magic words “directly supervised,” “trained,” and “completed time limited projects.”

        That, combined with rewriting my cover letter as per AAM’s suggestions has gotten me one interview for my ideal dream job (didn’t get it, but having the interview was nice – I rocked it) and three interviews for really good jobs that could lead where I want to go (though I have to wait until “end of summer” for one and end of october for the other two). The percentages on hiring on those are fairly promising as well.

        So I’m making progress, and I’m feeling less hopeless, but the market itself hasn’t changed. So I’m still fighting an uphill battle.

        1. Anonymous_J*

          Dan, I’m glad to hear there’s been SOME progress, even if you’re not exactly where you want/need to be yet. This is promising!

  10. Anonymous*

    As an intern myself, I actually really appreciate you posting #2 for companies considering taking on interns. Nothing is more frustrating than when a company agrees to take you in, and then they have no space for you to work, no time to provide any guidance or direction, and/or no real plan for your learning other than performing menial office tasks. Being a free office laborer is not only insulting and boring, but it’s also (more importantly) illegal. However, the other side of this is: Interns need to be specific and upfront about what exactly they’d like to learn, perhaps provide ideas on how to go about learning these things, and establish time frames for assessing progress. Many interns are intimidated coming into the working world for the first time and don’t feel comfortable speaking up and asking their bosses for certain things. Of course you don’t want to come across as demanding or entitled, but showing initiative and taking responsibility for your own learning will serve you well in the long run.

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