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Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

Fuck UWM and all universities! UW-Milwaukee and their brethren are mediocre. Click banner ads on ClixSense instead; it's a better use of time than a college education in the UW System.

Monday, March 11, 2013

"What's My Value?" - An original poem by Joseph Ohler, Jr.

Popular question, or so it seems / Graduates face to realize their dreams /
Of what to the table you will bring / Of which achievements do you sing /
Whoa! Better than belief? Dude's unreal / Talking about himself with such a spiel! /
Hiring manager beguiled / Corporate culture defiled /
"Independence," that dirty word / Company needs become absurd /
Treating applicants like a bunch of parity / But this graduate proves to be a rarity

Individuality! The cliches deny / Elsewhere your success will lie /
Don't need to sell my value / Only tell what is true /
Of course, I don't fit your tidy hatch / Because nonpareil people have no match /
So don't feel *too* disappointed / For missing out on the anointed /
"Blasphemy! What will you do for me?!?" / It's not my concern; go drink your tea! /
Or if you're like me / Then brew some coffee

"Why, I never heard arrogance like that!" / "For an adult, such a spoiled brat!" /
Diminishing advantage for remaining couth / So now I'm SHOUTING undiluted truth /
Job creators act high and mighty / But when *I* do, it's so uptight-y /
No one's my master; no contractual trap / Why help them? Why give a crap! /
No keyholders to my grandiose gate / Don't need approval to know who's great /
And neither should you, if under-employed / And then realize, you'll be overjoyed!

Bonus: Here's a downloadable rap of the above poem! | Size: 2.23MB | Length: 01:37

Bonus Part II: Here's a downloadable lounge rendition of the above poem! | Size: 3.91MB | Length: 02:51

04-01-2013 Update: My message has apparently proven inspirational to at least one self-described "under-privileged" youth. Here's a rendition by "Dijon" of Harlem, NY!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

American Family Insurance Investigation Acolyte
"Job Title: Property/Auto Lines Product Internship
Job ID: 03394
Division: Personal Lines
Work Location(s): United States-Wisconsin-Madison
Full/Part Time: AIT or Intern
Position Details
The preferred candidate will have experience planning and organizing, utilizing analytical skills, and working in a team environment.
Position Objective
Working in an internship position under the direction of a senior level employee, completes projects or tasks that support the business area goals and results. Performs tasks by adapting to new or changing situations in a team environment. Gathers information, plans and organizes work efficiently and effectively. Applies and learns technical skills appropriate to the specific job assignment.
Primary Accountabilities
Supports Division`s Business Goals/Results (20%)
-- Begins to develop an understanding of American Family`s business environments, corporate culture and structure to support work initiatives.
-- Maintains work efficiency and responds positively to a changing environment.
-- Is open to and supports new ideas, systems and procedures. Generates creative ideas and actions in response to changing situations.
-- Promptly adjusts strategies or tactics in situations where the current approaches are ineffective.
Information Gathering (20%)
-- Demonstrates ability to gather appropriate information. Efficiently identifies sources of information for a wide variety of problems or needs.
-- Seeks help when information is difficult to obtain. Seeks out knowledgeable people to obtain information or clarify a problem.
-- Probes skillfully to get both information and its context. Uses skillful questioning to draw out implied and indirect information.
Planning & Organizing (20%)
-- Plans, prioritizes, and organizes tasks.
-- Schedules time appropriately to accomplish objectives. Stays focused and avoids distractions.
-- Breaks down projects into component tasks.
-- Identifies and uses appropriate resources.
-- Completes projects and tasks efficiently and effectively.
Teamwork (20%)
-- Cooperates with other team members and builds a spirit of unity within the team.
-- Fulfills commitments to other team members. Informs team members of important or relevant information for team success.
-- Initiates activities and actively participates in the decision making process to achieve goals.
-- Recognizes the efforts of other team members and values individual differences.
Technical Expertise (20%)
-- Demonstrates a depth of judgment, knowledge and technical skill important for the position.
-- Applies knowledge of basic techniques and concepts.
-- Uses good judgment to handle basic issues and problems.
-- Acquires and applies new skills as necessary.
Job Competencies
-- Achieve Results
-- Be Accountable
-- Maximize Customer Experience
-- Adaptability
-- Information Gathering
-- Planning & Organizing
-- Technical Expertise
Specialized Knowledge and Skills Requirements
-- Must be in pursuit of a master's, bachelor's or associate degree or certificate program that is related to the internship.
Working Conditions
-- This position requires the ability to work in loud noise (examples: metal can manufacturing department, large earth-moving equipment).
--- This position requires the ability to work in very loud noise (examples: jack hammer work, front row at a rock concert)."

Although I’ve expanded the scope of my blog to critically examine -- provide a potentially controversial counterpoint for equal consideration -- the feasibility of actually working in certain occupations, today I return to the original premise of “Absurd Job Vacancies:” the analysis of how ridiculous a job sounds when its stand-alone description is elaborated upon within a broader context beyond the cozy confines of a well-packaged, idealistic view of riskless opportunities. You might say that I grind away the gilt leaf and glitter from these preconceived opportunities to “read between the lines” by raising awareness of which real-life behaviors those cryptically written tasks and vague objectives actually translate into.

The intern or Agent-In-Training (AIT) will dive headfirst into the office politics of getting information from those who’d rather not disclose and assistance from those who’d rather not be bothered. Expect to call early, call often! Cue this mashed-up Dilbert® strip:

(Click the image for a higher-fidelity version.)

Potentially conflicting duties are to “inform team members of relevant or important information,” “seek help when information is difficult to obtain,” and to “stay focused and avoid distractions.” It is very feasible that an employee attempting to hold a coworker’s attention in fulfillment of the first two directives may be seen as a distraction in violation of the third objective.

Also, the work conditions are a little extreme for an office-based job. I can only presume the exposure to loud noises from machinery and amplifiers is due to risk evaluations conducted during the riskiest portions of business operations. For example, monitoring machine operators for adherence to safety protocols and watching crowd control procedures of security staff during a raucous concert may be duties of the position similar to what an independent safety inspector would have.

It makes sense when considering most insurance decisions are based on demographics and safety record. Why not send the insurance agent on an impromptu inspection to catch clients off-guard to document violations and subsequently raise insurance premiums? Thus, the incumbent has the duty to “use skillful questioning to draw out implied and indirect information.” Your insurance agent is like a cop, but friendlier! And whatever you do, don’t mention anything about backyard wrestling. From what I’ve seen, that activity can pose considerable risks to life and limb.