Will work for nybbles

Posted on March 26th, 2009 No comments. The post is really that bad, huh?

A few days ago I received a heartwarming email correspondence from a guy I’d never heard of. It brought unintentionally good tidings regarding employment in Toronto (at least in my field of work), as well as reaffirming my disdain for that barnacle of the professional world, the head hunter.

First the employment.

I don’t want to paint an unnecessarily rosy picture; there are certain sectors out there that are getting beat up left right and center. These seem to be mostly in old, established manufacturing jobs with most of them tied to car makers. However, many emerging and newer fields are on a broad upswing. Consider the letter I mentioned above. What makes that email uplifting is that it’s for the job in which I’m currently employed; I know because I helped to write the job description. We could chalk this mistake up to ignorance (more on that later), but le’s say for a moment that this was for a job that I wasn’t already in; what does the email say about the job market in my field (Flash developer, if you didn’t bother)?

First of all, the employment agency went to the trouble of describing my employer as a “Medium Sized Trendy Company”. In a brief discussion about this, my fellow developer and I came to the conclusion that we most certainly are the heppest things since hep became a word.

Going to the bother of adding trendy words indicates that a little bit of extra oomph is needed to attract candidates, something to which I can definitely attest. We’ve been trying to fill this position for about a year now. There have been a lot of dismal, head-shake-inducing entries and unfortunately, those that have been good were poached by competitors.

I don’t think that this job situation requires any heavy analysis (like this helped any “experts” forecasting our current monetary troubles); it’s a simple matter of supply and demand. Most high-tech skills, especially really nerdy ones like programming have large gaps between what employers need and what they can get. Sure, the learning curve is pretty steep but I think that an intensive six month course in your technology of choice should be enough to get you in on the $60K/year gigs. More often than not, there will be good room for negotiation.

Most developers I know are aware of the current global economic fiasco by name only. If you’re looking for a job, Toronto is probably faring a bit better than most places, but it’s hurting just as bad in those areas where people are getting axed globally. Despite this, it seems to be smooth sailing for all the fields that are opening up either because of changes in technology, ageing of the population, or recognition of global problems like the environment. By new, I mean somewhere in the neighbourhood of five to six years. I’m considered senior for God’s sake!

Don’t poopoo jobs because they’re different. Work environments are bound to change; if you’re freelancing now you probably have a better idea of what the workplace of tomorrow will look like than the standard nine-to-five guy. Keep your mind open when looking for a new job; the opportunity may seem unlike anything you’ve ever tried, and that’s usually what makes it the one to go for. There is an element of uncertainty, but as a general risk-averting pussy, I can honestly say that it’s a lot smaller than you think (mostly just an excuse).

In closing, I wanted to just touch on head hunters in the employment maelstrom. You can do without them! After all, their modus operendi is to make money off of you in exchange for providing a job seeking service as well as backing you up when you’re on the clock.

At least, that’s the theory.

In my experience with about seven different agencies, most fucked off after my first day on the job. In most cases I had to hunt down my rep who, more often than not, would be generally unavailable because of “meetings”, and that didn’t go down well on payday when the cheque didn’t show up. For the forty-odd bucks they were charging on top of my hourly, you’d think they’d be able to actually do what they say they’d do. Besides this, I had better luck finding good jobs myself ; they exist and agencies usually don’t have exclusive dibs. My delicate feet never hit pavement either.

And do keep in mind the level of competence exemplified by some of these chuckleheads; like the one who sent me a job offer for my own job. I wonder if he has opposable thumbs.

What's on your mind?