While the common narrative seems to be that jobs are everywhere but nobody wants them, the suggestions for side gig work are the same things we’ve been reading and hearing over and over again for the past several years. Articles on job advice websites continue to recommend driving for Uber or Lyft, filling out surveys, and signing up to do things like walk dogs on Rover dot com or offer babysitting services via Care dot com. Almost none of the content is different. They just change the title of the article to suggest that these opportunities are going to take off in the coming year.
Finding a second salary or wage earning job that brings you as little stress as possible remains the most secure option for earning supplemental income to help with holiday expenses for the 2021 holiday season, or to reach a goal or have a little extra in the coming year. But the process of finding and securing these jobs has undergone some noticeable changes over the past year and a half.
Auto responses and interviews by bots are increasingly common.
Submitting a job application on indeed dot com often generates a congratulatory message letting the applicant know that the company is interested in moving forward with their application. While this would be great news during job searches of the past, today these messages arrive before anyone at the company would have time to even open someone’s cover letter with the click of their mouse, never mind read the cover letter and resume and make a decision. Rather than indicating interest in you as a potential employee, these responses let you know the person in charge of hiring is not at all interested in reading over your credentials. They want you to call, or in some cases, come into the place of business, as a first step in the hiring process, not the second or third.
Being asked to complete an online skills test in customer service or other skills related to the job, or being asked questions by a bot before scheduling an interview also seem to be used more and more by employers.
Job requirements have grown more demanding, even for entry level and other low wage jobs.
There is a meme circulating on Facebook titled “This is the problem.” The text consists of a copy of a job ad for a part-time, entry level position at a preschool. According to the ad, they are looking for someone to accept the responsibility of caring for and teaching a room full of very young children on their own for only ten dollars an hour. And the creator of the meme did not even select one of the more extreme help wanted ads out there. It is not uncommon to find job ads asking potential employees to combine the work of two or three jobs for a single minimum wage. One local ad, for a temporary job cutting and packaging a single item for holiday party trays and gift baskets, asked how many years of experience people had with that single item as a screening question.
Entitlement and “professional victimhood” seems to have gotten a promotion to management.
Entitlement and “professional victimhood,” has been a problem for many years. Kids are given participation trophies and awards for behaviors that would have once been considered common decency, and they grow up to be adults who expect raises and promotions at work simply for showing up at the office. People are raised to believe that nothing should ever displease, inconvenience, or upset them in any way, and they grow up to call the manager because a store clerk didn’t smile at them, or worse, call the police because somebody who doesn’t look, think, or live exactly like them has something they’ve come to believe should be theirs and theirs alone.
In today’s job market, many in charge of hiring have embraced this mentality wholeheartedly. Managers hang signs lamenting that “nobody wants to work” or they need patience and understaning because they are “short-staffed,” as though anyone jumping to take any job they offer is persecuting them. One hiring manager responded to an applicant’s marking themselves unavailable on Saturday not by taking on the responsibility of filling the job openings with people who can cover all shifts, but by begging the applicant to change their own schedule because they, the manager, really need someone to come in on Saturday.
Job seeking has always had its challenges, and finding work you can do in addition to the main work of your career can be especially difficult. Hopefully, knowing a bit about what to expect can help make that a little easier for those seeking work for the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022.