Saturday, January 30, 2010

Job Skills

Just took an online typing test and found, after three tries, I can type 75 words a minute. I'm actually old enough to remember when that was an important number to know.

I was compelled to find out my number because I applied for a federal job online and it said I couldn't finish the online application if I couldn't type more than 40 words per minute. I was thinking that if it was an online application, it could be equipped to measure that while it's being completed. I also found an error in their online questionnaire and tried to write to someone to let them know, explaining in detail how it might impact their ability to identify high-quality candidates for the position. I actually wrote to three different people, appropriately following their directions to use the proper link in case I had questions or comments about the online application process.

They were more concerned with my typing skills than they were my "critical thinking" and "attention to detail" skills...

I also had an exchange with the nice woman from the unemployment office (no - "career center") who e-mailed me to mention that I hadn't stopped in to use their service and could they help? So I sent a smartass reply that explained that I worked for the last 18 years as a hiring manager and was about to get a Master's degree, have excellent research abilities and can't imagine that this office knows something I don't about job searches. Then I called the next day to apologize for being a smartass, chatted with her for a while and she invited me to consider attending the Professional Networking sessions they have on Tuesday afternoons. I immediately asked her how pathetic they were, since I imagined men in white oxford shirts with pocket protectors and briefcases with nothing but a pen and post-its in them whining about how potential employers (and girls) don't recognize how valuable they are. Like a 12-step program for those who are overeducated and underemployed.

Then I related this to my final work for grad school - which is an exploration of why the Supreme Court thinks that people who take care of people aren't worthy of basic employment protection like, oh I dunno, a minimum wage. The people who keep disabled children safe and make sure elderly grandmothers have eaten once or twice today. That bathe and talk to and give medicine and, you know, care about people who can't care for themselves. So if I can type 75 words a minute, what does that make me worth? How do we create a measurement of care?

But 75 WPM is good, isnt' it?

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