Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why employers are beating down the dude's door

A good friend of mine is beating the odds against a sucky economy. Without actively pursuing employment, he's had three (3) design firms personally approach him, offering him a job.

Many people are having a tough time jumping out of the unemployment line and this happily employed dude gets three (3) out-of-the-blue job offers. How? Lucky streak? Good karma?

Well, I don't believe in luck or karma, but I can tell you what this dude** does posses that turns him into someone who is sought after by rabid employers. Rabid, I say.

1. I don't mean to insult your intelligence with the obvious, but what the hell: The dude knows his craft.

"Well, duh," you say. "So do I!"

Sure you do. You and a thousand million billion other designers out there. Even if the work varies from weak to excellent, any graphic designer (or copywriter, art director, pool cleaner, etc) worth their saltines knows his or her craft.

While knowing what the hell you're doing within your particular profession is extremely important to getting the job done, that is only a small portion as to what would make an employer kick in your door.

2. The dude has a killer work ethic.

When someone is early to work, eager to work, likes his work, and cranks out work that is of a high quality, then such dazzling work practices get noticed. The dude has made plenty of connections through his freelance jobs. As word about his honesty and integrity in his work spread, so did his job offers.

3. The dude is not arrogant about his work.

Some may think, "People mistake arrogance for confidence." Yeah, only arrogant people say that.

When someone is arrogant, it's hard for them to see their mistakes, although it seems to heighten one's abilities to see the mistakes in others' work (usually to try and cover insecurities in their own work). Because of that, people will not really want to come to them for advice on…well, anything. Arrogance is the cock block of teamwork, and if you're not a team player*, employers don't have much use for you.

4. The dude's helpful.

Simple, right? If someone has a question and he has the answer, he'll help out. You would be surprised at how many peers enjoy watching others sink or swim - especially if they sink.

Another friend of mine writes code at a local web/design firm. We'll call her Sally. When a new employee came into the office for orientation, Sally thought it would be nice to write out a few things to help the newbie get situated. Why? Because my friend had an absolute hellish first month when she started at the company. While her manager at the time was very accommodating, her peers were not only unhelpful with any questions or problems she faced as a new employee, they were downright mean.

Sally wanted to help out, not to brown nose the boss (because she didn't blab and blab and blab to her boss and the rest of the office about how she is taking it upon her fragile shoulders to help the poor new employee), but just to be team player* and to genuinely help someone avoid some of the pitfalls she experienced.

5. The dude is nice.

This appears to be an add-on to #4 since "helpful" and "nice" seem to go hand in hand, but you don't necessarily have to be nice to be helpful. You could be a world-class asshat of a mechanic and still help people to get their cars working.

What I mean is this: Have you ever worked with a peer whose attitude was so piss poor that they made everyone else in the office uncomfortable? The angry grumbler who surrounds him or herself with the eggshells upon which you must carefully tread?

Some people are so full of suck that no one in the office wants to work with them. Which, by default, places them in the "difficult" and "not a team player*" corner.

6. The dude is not a freaking drama queen.

Bringing personal problems to work, constantly panicking about every little thing, crying, pouting, and being the personification of a sore that itches does not make others want to work with or around a co-worker. Giant freak-outs about a moved deadline or a typo are not warranted.

Put dramatic spasms into perspective: Cancer is serious. Car wrecks are serious. Getting mugged is serious. A color change on a proof is not.

At least not enough to wave the arms all around and scream throughout the office like a crazed banshee, making both peers and boss sick to death of the dramatic crapola.


7. He owns up to his mistakes.

Yep. Anyone who will throw others under the bus in order to cover his or her mistakes is someone NEVER to be trusted. Why? Because when someone makes a mistake at his or her job and doesn't come clean about it, they are essentially lying.

Owning up and willing to correct work-related mistakes shows character-built integrity and honesty. If all someone can do is find ways to cover their tracks and point fingers at others who have nothing to do with the problem, then word will spread fast enough to brand the person completely worthless and untrustworthy in their job.

Although such a person deserves to have their freaking teeth knocked out, doing so would brand you as a rash and violent person. So don't go around knocking people's teeth out no matter how much they have it coming. Be a team player* and do your job well, knowing that the moron must learn not be such a lying clown shoe or they could be bounced out of a job.

*Let me end here and explain what I mean by "team player".

A team player is not necessarily someone supportive of design-by-committee or to bend over backwards for the detrimental-to-your-work benefit of the group. It's not about group brain storming or sheep-like group think.

A team player simply recognizes that they work for a company with a group of other individuals, all of whom should be treated with professional respect. No more, no less. They have a job to do, you have a job to do, and you are all (ideally) on the same team.

Employers like to see this dynamic work, and if you are the one pissing all over it, then don't expect anyone to do you any favors.

** No relation to Lebowski.

1 comment:

Kramer said...

Loved this post. I'm often part of the hiring process where I work and believe it or not you can get hired in this harsh employment climate if you are exceptional.

The dude abides.