Jobseekers have all my sympathy.
It's a tough market out there and there are so few good jobs and so many people attempting to fill them. And most of these people are the ones who tried to do everything right: go to school, get an education that's highly overpriced, learn to make a resume, get an interview suit, practice saying over and over again that your weakness is that you're a perfectionist without sounding like a teacher's pet (most of us fail). But the reality is that there are not a lot of great opportunities and that the job market is more about who you know rather than what you know.
To compound this already sore situation, all the job help articles online are centered around employers. Rather than have information that is directly relevant to employees looking for a better situation, most of the time, it's holier than thou employers and out of touch HR personnel who write the articles about 'how to get that great job', 'what not to discuss in an interview' and '10 ways you may be sabotaging your chances.'
A lot of these articles underline positivity. All would-be employees are encouraged to use 'positive language' or do 'positive spins' on negative situations that they may have encountered in past jobs to help them seem like the best fit for the job.
While we can all agree that employers would rather not hire Debbie Downer, it seems a bit ridiculous to think that honesty and skills are less important than cheerfullness. Is this survival of the cheeriest? All it brings to mind for me is that one person who wears bright colours and loudly proclaims 'HELLO!' when they walk into a room with a bag of bagels who circulates emails with life-affirming messages and pictures of kittens.
This may be the ideal employee for an employer, but it is generally the nightmare employee for other employees. Some of us just don't have it in us to be bootlickers and Happy-go-lucky silver lining chips off the old block. That doesn't make us poison in the workplace or unproductive gollums. While some people have a toxic effect on their workplace with unreasonable levels of negativity, most of us are in the middle ground of people who just want to work somewhere so that they can pay for their lives.
Wouldn't it be something if job ads were honest? They might look something like this:
Seeking candidates for a job that's already been filled by our boss' friend Bob. You are not Bob. Candidates must be available to participate in a song and dance hiring process for show so that we can prove that we followed the appropriate hiring process and are deemed competitive. Must have nowhere to be on Tuesday from 9am to noon.
Seeking bootlicking positive company man or woman who will accept all managerial decisions without question and bring a smile to the workplace. Proof of positive aura deemed an asset.
Seeking highly-motivated professional to work ungodly hours and be available on call via Blackberry. Lots of travel required. Lack of attachments deemed an asset.
Seeking incompetent middle management to make senior management look good. Assets include inconsistent behavior and nepotism. Inappropriate sense of humour and social awkwardness an asset, but not a requirement, for this job.
Seeking low level maggots to show up on time and wear deoderant. Minimum wage. Your jobs will one day be replaced by India, China or the Cashier 3000. Apply within, you're all disposable anyway.