Underemployment and Demanding Companies

In my last post, I mentioned that I am trying to diversify my freelance client base. That is just one strategy. I landed a pretty good writing contract, but need to find another revenue stream until I can build up some savings. So I am looking for other jobs as well, and this is what I am finding in LA county:

*It is still an employers’ market and they can be as demanding as they want to be.

*Many employers are insisting that employees live within a certain distance — about 15 miles from the job site to mitigate lateness problems with traffic. Kind of difficult to do if the job is in an expensive to live place such as Glendale or Pasadena.

*Employees may have to use their own car with no reimbursement for gas or mileage, and use of public transportation such as light rail or the bus system will just not do.

*Potential employees are subject to an inordinate number of interviews for one position (I did 6 interviews awhile back for one company, and they ended up not hiring anyone — an expensive process for both sides, especially when parking at a downtown high-rise can cost more than $25 per hour.)

*More employers are refusing to start benefits such as medical insurance until after the employee has passed the 90 day probation period.

*Salary information is nonexistent in the first stages of applying, with many jobs not listing a salary or “DOE” dependent upon experience.

*Payment at an hourly rate does not guarantee you will not have to work unpaid overtime, although this is illegal.

Given all of these demands, I’m inclined to tell potential employees to have a few of their own. I think everyone has a right to ask about pay up front, although this used to be a no-no. Why go through several interviews to find out the job pays $11 per hour full-time when you cannot live on that?

Potential employees also have the right to meet the immediate supervisor. One ploy companies use to mitigate the damage difficult supervisors can do in the interview process is to leave them out of it and not give them any say on who gets hired. This is a problem because this supervisor can make your life a living hell as revenge for having no say in hiring you. And you are not even warned up front because you have not met this person before you start the new job.

Potential employees have the right to see the full job description before being hired. Sorry, but “other duties as assigned” just does not cut it when you’ve been hired to be an accounts manager and you end up doing reception duty.

If the hiring process demands potential hirees to take a personality inventory test, the job posting needs to say so. It also needs to detail what is checked in a background check, including drug testing requirements, driving records and credit history.

I realize that this is still a tough job market, but I am thinking I am not going to let these companies have all the power. Stand up for your rights before you get hired to ensure that the next job experience will not be a miserable one.


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