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Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Way It is for Job Seekers

The Way It Is for Job Seekers.

Standing in line marking time--
Waiting for the welfare dime
'Cause they can't buy a job.”

”The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old ladies' eyes
Just for fun he says "Get a job"

”That's just the way it is
Some things will never change”

-Bruce Hornsby and the Range

Every day, companies lay off a staggering number of people

The layoffs hit every segment of the economy.

Technology is eliminating many jobs. Jobs are being outsourced to other countries and companies competing in a global economy are becoming leaner and meaner .

And well paid people are suddenly out of work. What do we do with them?

Shooting them is not a really good option.

As Harry Truman said, “a recession is when your neighbor loses his or her job, a depression is when you lose your job.”

A lot of Americans are facing their own personal depressions. I feel for them.

Many people ask me to help them find a job. My business has few employees and I don’t have contacts at places that are hiring.

A former employee listed me as a reference for a job in Governor Fletcher’s administration. I’m amazed they did not send him to an insane asylum.

He did not get the job.

I have not looked for a job in 24 years but remember what it was like. It really sucked.

I interviewed with people who were absolute jerks. They acted superior because they had a job and I didn’t.

Rejection and the stress of being unemployed can destroy a person’s esteem.

I met a former minister looking for jobs outside the church. He had been unemployed for over 2 years and had a look of sheer desperation.

He scared potential employers off. The longer he stayed unemployed, the worse it got.

Employers are not welfare agencies. They hire people to help the larger organization be better.

Employers want someone with a winning attitude. They don’t want someone who comes across desperate or negative.

A sales trainer told me that if you are not enthusiastic, fake it! People only buy when the salesperson is enthusiastic about what they are selling.

It is good advice for job seekers as well.

A person looking for a job needs to think about how they can help the employer be better, not about themselves.

My company has interviewed people who start the interview process asking about vacation days and private parking places.

They did not get the job.

When I got out of graduate school at Vanderbilt, I applied for over 100 jobs and rarely got an interview. I wound up on the clean up crew at the Kentucky Horse Park.

I was often treated badly by those in charge of hiring.

It is easy to become a jerk when you get to play God, but I never quite got over the way I was treated.

I focused on financial services but I always flunked the personality tests. All the experts said I should find a career like bird watching, where I did not have to interact with humans.

One of my former college instructors thought my work ethic would overcome my quirky personality, and pushed a skeptical sales manager to hire me.

I’m pretty sure the sales manager rigged the required personality test but I was hired. Within 5 years, I was one of the top producers in the United States and featured in Forbes Magazine. The company that hired me made big money.

The companies who suggested bird watching lost out.

I’m not a big Toby Keith fan but understood completely when he wrote the song, “How Do You Like Me Now”.

When I became the only Kentuckian at the Top of the Million Dollar Round Table, I felt like sending the certificate to all those people who thought I was a loser.

If job seekers are treated badly, I hope they are able to show the jerks what they missed.

Job seekers need to keep positive and focused. They are going to run into people who enjoy pushing them down.

That’s just the way it is. Some things will never change.

Don McNay is President of McNay Settlement Group and would still flunk a personality test. You can write to him at or read other things he has written at