Was Ben Stein ‘Dissing’ the Unemployed?

In short, Stein says No Way, No How and I believe him. I think he’s one of the sharpest minds in America today. (Therefore his movie, “Expelled,” has been effectively banned from public schools and dismissed unseen throughout academia!)

Briefly, Stein observed that of the unemployed he knows, many have poor work habits and difficult personalities. At the moment I’m unemployed, and I’d have to concede that shoe fits me pretty well. But I’m unemployed more by choice than bad luck. Most of us are if you really dig–we’re not willing to take ANY job.

I know how to get and hold a job, here are my rules and they haven’t failed me yet (however I have failed to follow them a few times):

    Getting The Right Job:

1) Take (almost*) any job
2) Keep looking.
3) Meet and learn all about people doing your ideal job, especially about their employment history, education, accomplishments and experiences in their current and previous jobs. People love to talk about themselves, remember, it’s THEIR turn. Stroke their egos and they’ll tell you their secrets (you might even take notes or record their responses)!
REPEAT. Keep at this until you retire (or are for some reason really certain looking is somehow hurting you–do it even if you think there is no better job out there–it keeps your mind and your options open).

(*I say “almost” because I think no one should ever take a job that offends their moral compass, casts them in a diametrically uncharacteristic role so people think they are liars, or asks them to regularly violate their beliefs or the law.)

    Keeping A Job:

1) Work hard! Overtly and covertly, internally and externally, think outside the box, but never neglect the nuts and bolts of your job description, WRITE(journal, keep emails and written records ), READ (1-Internal/personal material: policies, memos, emails, phone messages, training materials, and marketing materials, and especially refer back to your old writing. 2-External material: publications at the cutting edge of your field, news, publications broadly related to your business area), think “I am always working, always representing and promoting my company by what I say and do no matter where I am.” Yeah, it’s hard work–that’s why I said “Work Hard!”
2) Shut up (about anything not directly related to actually getting your job done.) This includes watching what you say, but also what you write in memos and email, and even where you point the browser of any company computer.
3) Make your boss and his/her boss look good. (REALLY–this may be job security item #1.) Take a bit less credit than you are due, but never take none. If anyone tries to cut you out, prepare your resume because they’re planning to let you go.
4) Make yourself indespensible by finding a need no one else sees or understands and filling it. (If making the bosses look good is #1, this is next.) Sometimes you’ll make such a valuable contribution which no one else understands that they won’t dare touch you–and you can even negotiate for a better package. Keeping your options open by always looking for other work strengthens your negotiating position.
5) Did I mention that every subject is taboo unless it positively impacts the bottom line? Well it is. No politics. Nothing even hinting at sex. If your religious beliefs shape your ethics, as much as possible own the ethics without reference to faith (i.e. Say, “I think abortion is disgusting and tantamount to murder and I totally refuse to participate or support it.” rather than saying “Participating in abortion violates my religion.”)
6) Keep work at work and the rest of your life away. This is really a restatement, but your relationships, finances, civic activity, religion, hobbies, politics, music, art, etc. have no place at the office with the exception of very neutral things like a family portrait on your desk (or maybe a team sports trophy–but even that’s iffy).

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Categories: World Events

1 reply

  1. Wise words. As of today, I’ve been unemployed for 10 months myself, but have a chance at doing some contracting work. It’s been a good motivator to explore other entrepreneurial options outside of music, and I quite enjoy it.

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