Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Everything's Niche

"How much experience do you have?" asks the hiring manager at the yard care service.

"Experience?" I stare dumbfounded. "You mean, with yardwork? Like, raking leaves?"

He stares back.

"Ok, honestly, not much, but I think its a skill I could pick up really quick. What with it being.. y'know, raking leaves and all..."

"No," he interrupts.

"Nobody in this business "rakes leaves". Every one of my guys can install sprinklers, PVC, trenching.. all of that. They got trucks with all the tools and blowers.... shit, whatever it takes. I don't got a spot on my team for someone to just show up and do what they're told. You have to be able to do almost every job. That's my 'entry level' job."


Replace "yard care" with just about any job that you associate with manual labor. Everyone's a specialist now.

There may have been a period of time in this country's history when lots of transitional jobs existed - i.e., yard work -  but no more. Even "entry level" jobs require specialty.

This means two (bad) things:
1) there is no fallback for people who want to work but have no current skills,
2) remaining jobs tend toward permanence, or low social mobility. This creates social stress.