Sunday, May 29, 2011

HR and Candidates Debasing Themselves

This isn't anything particularly new, but in the economic crunch of recent years, I have witnessed just how much people will sacrifice their beliefs, time and money just to land a job originally advertised with much better conditions.

Yes, back when I was unemployed and looking through some of the job posting at the government employment agency "Hello Work", I found some particularly bad jobs (trilingual full-time translator (English, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese) making minimum wage - highest possible income only reached after a few years with the company - yes, I checked into this - but in reality I wouldn't expect the salary to increase any)

These are not the ones I'm talking about. Some people need the money and I don't hold it against them for trying to get anything out there in times of need. If a job is advertised with low pay and/or long hours, at least you know up front what they are asking of you.

The problem is when an employer lays out a decent job with decent conditions/pay and then pulls the rug out from your feet at a group interview just to see how cheaply he can land a slave.

It almost seems criminal for some of these employers to cram 30+ people in a room and cutting people out of the running if they won't budge on hours, conditions or salary (it is a Battle Royale, with the HR staff reducing the offer gradually and seeing who is left at the end). I know it is real tough landing a job here, but you aren't doing yourself a favor by taking on a mountain of responsibilities with long hours for peanuts. It just leads to depression and anxiety, and the worst thing is that you have set a precedent that your boss (thinks) he can just easily find another slave for peanuts if you dare complain. If you have a family to support or even live in a decent apartment alone, you may very well not be able to support yourself/family. (Working Poor, as it is known)

I know it is an employer's market out there, but it would be nice if the labor board of Japan wasn't so toothless. In a few of the interviews I have been given I have been asked some outrageous things.

* Will I work 300 hours a month?
* Will I work for minimum wage (as a Unix Sysadmin) just to land the job?
* Do I have a problem paying transportation costs to/from clients offices around Japan at my own expense (for a job that doesn't pay that well to start with)
* Would you pay for an apartment close to the office (at your own expense) so you can work longer hours instead of wasting it on the trains home?

I could go on, but why isn't this sort of questioning and behavior illegal? Even when I have phoned the labor board on some of these people, very little comes from it, almost like it were just a slap on the wrist. And to make matters worse, as long as candidates think that the only way to get a job is by debasing themselves to the point of slavery/poverty, things won't improve.

I'm happy for those out there that have decent paying jobs at fair conditions. They say it is all about what you know but the smarter ones of them will say it is all about who you know. When you don't have that option, the rat race is an...interesting place, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. "* Will I work 300 hours a month?"

    Ouch! 60 hour weeks are hard as it is, anything beyond that would run almost anybody into the ground. I think this happens where this is a glut of talent and the employers get to set the standards. It's happening in the USA now but I highly doubt it's as severe as what you have in this post.