There are so many job search frustrations that older generations don’t seem to understand because things have changed so much in the last ten years. It’s no longer possible to go ‘pound the pavement’ handing out resumes or keep following up with the job you want until they give it to you.
Certainly it was hard to find jobs twenty years ago when it was harder to find out who was hiring if they didn’t post an ad in the paper, but there is so much competition now, it’s nearly impossible and employers know they don’t need to pay as much because of it.
Someone on AskReddit asked users to answer, “What does the older generation not understand about today’s job market?” Thousands of Reddit users responded, with some pretty insightful thoughts.
1. Any college degree will get you a great job.
“In my experience, the over seventy five crowd frequently assumes any college degree will get you a great job.
In addition, due to retirement, they are unaware of the current atmosphere of nasty competitive behavior, a lack of civility in the workplace, and employers not always giving appropriate compensation for expected duties.”
2. Realistic goals.
“1) A lot of the hiring process is done online, so the idea that you can just walk into an office and hand in a resume is outdated for many positions.
2) There are also a lot more people in the job market who are highly educated. Having a master’s degree now is like having a bachelor’s degree in the 1960s. If you want to stand out from other applicants, it’s no longer enough just to have a college degree.
3) Switching jobs has become more common than ever before. Spending your whole career with a single company is no longer a realistic goal for many people.”
3. Loyalty just isn’t effective anymore.
“It’s much more competitive, and much less rewarding. You don’t owe the company you work for with extra unpaid hours or your loyalty and submissiveness since you aren’t rewarded for that anymore, at least certainly not like they used to.
Loyalty isn’t the name of the game anymore. Flexibility is. You get a better opportunity at another company? Take it.
This is why job hopping is much more common now. Not because of “entitled youths”, just because loyalty just isn’t effective anymore.”
4. Impatient and desperate.
“You cannot go and “check-in” on your application (aka contact them about the job after submitting an application). Most places will mark you as a Do Not Hire because of this, saying that it makes you impatient & desperate.
Source: I’ve seen a couple of people who work in hiring say that this is a policy that they’ve been told to uphold, including my own supervisor.”
5. The numbers have changed.
“The numbers have changed drastically and it’s not really for the better.
You used to apply in person, on the phone, through paper ads etc. That meant at most you could apply for a few jobs a day, generally in your region.
Now every job is posted online and you’re expected to apply to every halfway reasonable job within your language, often even within any same language-speaking countries.
Now you’re expected to apply to 10s, often upwards of 100 positions a day with no real geographic preference.
Every job gets hundreds to thousands of applicants. It’s become a total mess and might as well be random.”
6. The internet.
“The internet is a huge part of it.
Seriously, walking in and asking to speak to a manager doesn’t do s**t.
Hiring for most places is entirely done online and going in person will usually result in them telling you “go apply online”.”
7. People have been taken out of the equation.
“How much people have been taken out of the equation in job searches.
A lot of these online application portals are automated. It’s not a person reviewing your application first.
It’s an algorithm scanning your resume and cover letter for key terms and assessing your responses to any additional questions in the application.
Tell the computer what it wants to hear, and you might get to the human review pile. But if you don’t, it will reject you regardless of your qualifications.”
8. How easy it is to get stuck.
“That it largely doesn’t function like it did in their day.
A lot of 50 somethings look down on 20 somethings because of how easy it is to get stuck. I know a guy in his 50s who’s an engineer today. Never went to school or got any certs or degrees… he started as a teen janitor for their firm, and worked really hard every day; his work ethic was noticed and he eventually moved up and up and up in the company until he was an engineer. They taught him everything about the trade, based on his work ethic and interest alone. That just simply doesn’t happen today.
People do that nowadays, and they might land in middle management working for the McDonald’s Corporation, maybe… I don’t know. It seems that the ‘work really hard in an entry level job to get promotions that one day become a career’ world is over in this country, but none of the older folks really see that, and just tell you you’re making excuses.
Every generation says this s**t about the one that came before it, but it really is a lot harder to get by today.”
9. New math.
“You need to have 10 years of experience in a field that’s existed for 5.”
10. We can’t afford to object.
“Oh, also, wages are kept low not only to keep profits high, but to keep people desperate and bogged down with work so that they literally can’t afford to object to the economic system.”
11. You must switch jobs.
“Your company does not care about you at all and you must switch jobs every few years to keep a decent wage.”
12. The global economy.
“There’s so much competition nowadays. We now live in a global economy. No matter what I do, there’s someone out there willing to do it for much less.
My boss was paying this accountant $20.00 an hour to do the books. Then he fired him when he realized he could pay some college kid minimum wage who’s really wanting to build a resume.
Now our new accountant is making minimum wage.
There’s sooooo many humans that are competing.
Edit: The kid is pretty smart. I’m not hating on him at all, but it’s just a good example of how a surplus of human labor nose dives wages.”
13. He just didn’t get it.
“My dad was telling me how my friends must be really lazy if they haven’t found Christmas break jobs. I tried to explain that we live in a college town area, near a big city, and that all the Christmas work (what little there is to begin with, why hire seasonal employees when you already have enough staff?) is already taken by October by all the college kids who already live in the area.
Not only that, but trying to get a job back home when you’re cities or even states away is really hard. How do you show up for an interview if you’re across the country?
But he just didn’t get it.”
14. So hard to find work now.
“That you can’t just walk into a company and walk out with a job.
My dad and his friend walked into a factory in the early 80’s and both left with a job (my dad still works for the same company to this day) he can’t understand why I’m finding it so hard to find work now…”
15. Your average American.
“That, for the most part, your parents or friends can’t just get you job that will lead to you being able to afford a house and car in 5-10 years.
Baby Boomers got incredibly lucky that their parents weren’t lazy after WW2 and handed them everything but we got incredibly unlucky to have those people as our leaders today, they don’t have a clue what it means to “your average American” and it hurts all of us.”