We Are Hiring! And Begging! And Giving Bonuses!
There’s no time like now to be out of work!
By Ed Goldman
SPECIAL MEMORIAL DAY NOTICE: The Goldman State is not hiring. Nor have we begun a round of layoffs, either compassionate or hostile. Nor do we have counselors or life coaches available to aid you in your next career move. Or happy meals and ponies. Grow the hell up.
I mention this because many industries, companies and nonprofits are suffering from pandemic-inspired employee desertions or downsizing. In desperation, the organizations are posting signs, decals and bumper stickers on the Internet, their places of business, their car fenders and conceivably, their foreheads.
They share one three-word theme: We Are Hiring. The other three-word theme is more subliminal: We’ll Do Anything!
But is that enough to rouse someone from the serenity of unemployment to shower and slip into laundered undies more than once a week?
More must be done. Accordingly, here are some recruitment and retainment approaches from The Goldman State’s department of R&D (Regrouping & Dyspepsia):
1. DON’T BE A “DUTCH UNCLE” TO YOUR CURRENT OR POTENTIAL EMPLOYEES UNTIL YOU FIND OUT WHAT “DUTCH UNCLE” ACTUALLY MEANS.
I first encountered the expression “Dutch Uncle” in the mid-1970s when a department dean or provost at Cal State Long Beach—whose name, and I’m not making this up, was Blaze O. Bonazza—sent a memo to all of us on the faculty stressing the importance of not letting anyone drop out of our classes until we were at least a few weeks into the semester.
The reason given was strictly fiscal: our department would lose some valuable full-time equivalency (or, FTE) funds from the government if enrollment dropped precipitously.
“So be a Dutch uncle to your students! Cajole them!” advised Bonazza, ignoring the possibility that if we were simply good teachers, the kids might not drop out.
But since I’d never heard the term “Dutch uncle” before that—I figured there must be a warm children’s story out there, set in Amsterdam, about a lovably avuncular guy named something like Noyken Van Cuddles—I looked it up. I can’t recall the exact definition from then but here’s one from Merriam-Webster: A Dutch uncle is “One who admonishes sternly and bluntly.” In other words, he’s your tough-love mentor, Fight Night trainer or drill sergeant. To recap: He’s not giving you any silver skates, Hans Brinker.
2. DON’T HAND OUT SIGNING BONUSES LIKE PARTY FAVORS AT A BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR DRUNKEN CHILDREN.
Okay, the potential genius employee could turn heel at your interview, walk across the figurative street (or the actual one if your office is in San Jose) and get whatever he or she wants from another company—like a personal coffeemaker in his or her office (and possibly named Cristal, Tessa, Logan or Wolfie) or a rent-free townhouse in Santo Domingo or frequent-flyer points on Elon Musk’s intergalactic Starship Tesla or Elon Musk himself (but remember, he needs to be back on Earth in time for his oatmeal cookies, milk and temper tantrum every day at 3 p.m.).
On the other hand, you’ve been a management pro for a decade. You have an MBA and continuing-education credits (as a continuing-education creditor, or something like that; honestly, who cares?).
Thus, faced with this kind of recruiting competition, you know what to do: Go apply for a job across the street.
3. SHOW YOUR POTENTIAL HIRE HOW HE OR SHE WILL FIT IN WITH THE CURRENT GANG AT THE OFFICE.
Remember, Central Casting is just a phone call away. Its reps will send over all the components of a happy workplace:
– a guy named Hal who memorizes all of Jimmy Fallon’s jokes each weeknight;
– an exotic woman named Aphrodite about whom everyone wonders: Is she a far-, middle- or near-east princess? An interplanetary peace emissary sent to do some advance work with NATO and the United Nations? A repentant Mata Hari or a former barista?
– an easily offended HR director who thinks gamma rays, lye and husbands are equally toxic; and
– a no-nonsense line manager nick-named Rocky (male, female or other) whose favorite expression is, “I don’t find that funny in the least.”
If none of these applicants work out, the good news from Central Casting is that… it’s hiring!
Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).