Home > New Business > We’re hiring! Why every job isn’t fantastic.

We’re hiring! Why every job isn’t fantastic.

If you happened to be scanning a jobs section and this popped up, would you give it a second thought?

Marketing assistant 
Dull and limited position demanding masses of isolated and unrewarding routine work and with no likely future prospects for candidates hugely unconcerned about success…show more

And even though it may not be your ‘thing’, how about this one?

Marketing executive
Exciting and varied role inviting masses of individual and rewarding research work and with infinite likely future prospects for candidates hugely passionate about succeeding…show more

See what we did there? It’s the same job!

Melbourne boring jobs

Management excluded: they rarely come in on Fridays

So it seems churlish even to have asked the question, doesn’t it.

Yet the first ‘extract’, above, is often the subtext for what many marketing jobs are really like and how they sometimes end up becoming.

So why is this? Why is it that every advertised job is, potentially, such a great opportunity? When, as we all know from experience, as VnN staffers will readily testify, reality can be rather different.

Enter, briefly, 44-year old Parisian Frédéric Desnard. As was reported in last week’s press, Frédéric didn’t think his job was that great. Not for four, depressing years in fact.

So Frédéric, as is the tendency in France among the disgruntled, took action direct. He decided to sue his company for boring him to (near) death. For over four years. He maintains no one ‘cared’ about him. Didn’t care what time he arrived. Didn’t care what time he left. And didn’t care what he did in between. Which was not very much. Depressing? Mais oui.

We’re not sure as to what Frédéric’s non-job was. But no one in the agency world would have missed Frédéric’s lack of presenteeism. Nor would anyone have been chuffed had he maintained he was suffering from ennui. Or conspicuously lacking, in what Frédéric himself might have termed, joie de travail.

Who stays latest is often seen as greatest. Output is secondary. It almost needs a Latin-type maxim to emblemise and confer valour on it: Honi soit qui mal y... etc.

Small wonder then that we’re all such job switchers. According to an article on jobsearch.com’s website

The Average Number of Times People Change Jobs

Today, the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times (with an average of 12 job changes) during his or her career.  Many workers spend five years or less in every job, so they devote more time and energy transitioning from one job to another.

And with young people likely to be living well into their 80s and too-poor-to-retire oldies plodding on at work into their seventies, even the top end of this scale may be highly suspect now. Love that word ‘transitioning’, by the way.

OK, we’re talking more than so-called ‘creative industries’ jobs here. After all, it’s not just marketing jobs that can be boring. But the numbers of qualified workers (let’s say grads and upwards) across the world working in dull or boring jobs – i.e non-graduate, freelance, temporary or even zero-hours contract jobs – must be in the hundreds of thousands.

Slough of despond

Dressing up boring or mundane jobs as exciting or innovative to attract talent will obviously end in failure.

But the failure is compounded by HR: the overpaid, under-qualified, non-commercial, unconnected and unproductive administrative overhead which every organisation, including SMEs, now uses to protect its management against its workers. (“We’ll keep the red flag flying here…” singing the Red Flag here is optional.)

This has happened because of two conflicting philosophies (to summarise, brutally) about how workplace individuals can be made more effective:

  1. as work was investigated and perceived, early last century, as being fundamentally about economic output maximisation it was argued that it could be achieved through scientific, organisational and behavioural procedures
  2. creating worker ‘efficiencies’ by viewing people as economically productive machines, as the trend mutated into the late 20th century, caused a build-up of negative opinion which saw the rise of the work-life balance movement and the need for creative expression and passion for work that each of us, striving to make a difference, needs.

And the result of all that…show respect for the individual and promise, over-promise, an exciting and interesting career. And then let the HR department – whose role it is publicly stated is to see people as ‘resources’ – handle the interview process!

Really? Could anything be more ludicrous.

Robo-workers all

This is where we’re going. Robots are gonna do everything. Liberate us from mundane and even more challenging chores. Free us up to do stuff we like doing best.

Hmmm… Not sure whether Frédéric’s vision of workplace happiness would see it this way. Boredom, in small doses, can have its merits. It can even work as a force for good. Pushing people to do things that, had they not been bored, they’d never have done.

The joke about the guy who phoned his boss to say he wasn’t coming in to work any more kind of sums this up:

Worker: Hi Boss, I just wanted to let you know I won’t be coming in to work today.
Boss: Sorry to hear that. You were OK yesterday.
Worker: Yesterday I was sick.
Boss: Huh? But you were here, yesterday. I’m confused.
Worker: As I said, I was sick yesterday. That’s why I was in. But now I’m fine.

Sick joke? Pathetic waste of space? Some people may say that of HR.




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