‘Nowadays, manners are easy, and life is hard’ is what Disraeli said a hundred or so years ago. You reckon?
Part of my plan for a ‘portfolio’ life is based on doing a hopefully useful part time role in the not for profit sector. Salaried, not free, just in case you were thinking too highly of me.
In pursuit of that end, I have applied for a fair number of suitable positions over the last six months, and let us say only that I am still looking.
I started by aiming laughably high, but since then have slowly come to realise that I need not just to be suitable for the role, but already to be the kind of fish that they are angling for, and in the right pool. That’s fine, and I’m doing that adjustment now: talking to recruiters, and doing that most un-British of things, putting myself about.
One thing has staggered me, though.
In only 6% of these applications has the recruiter, or the employer, bothered to get back to me at all. From the other 94%, not a word. Not even a word-processed ‘thanks-but-no-thanks’. Just silence. Icy, hurtful silence.
But please don’t waste your metaphorical tears on me. I can still put food on the table, and I have forty years of work behind me to put the wait for the next ten or so into perspective.
Get hot under the collar instead for the twenty-somethings, many of them hot out of university with £45K of debt and a promise ringing in their ears that the working world wants them. This is happening to them all the time, often from companies who manage to scrape together a couple of million quid each year for their Chief Executives. And remind me, what does an automated email cost?
I’m not suggesting for a second that employers should be under any pressure to employ people they don’t think right, far from it. Failure, well-used, can be a building block for success.
But if 94% of their effort is rewarded by a wall of insolent silence, what the hell sort of world do they think they are trying to enter?
And we dare to call them ‘snowflakes’.