Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It depends what you mean by...

This past week or so, I've been going through quite a little whirl of job applications, interviews, negotiations.... 
frustrations.... disappointments.

It's become a bit of a spring ritual for me: I emerge from my hibernation of 'no work from December till March', realise that I'm not going to have any work for the rest of the year unless I do something about it, and start desperately cruising around all the 'situations vacant' online bulletin boards until..... after a month or so, I remember why full-time employment and I are destined never to enjoy a long-term relationship.... but by then, usually, with a bit of luck, a raft of part-time positions have materialised out of the ether to keep me vaguely solvent until the end of the year.

During this annual frenzy of pretending to try and find a regular job, it's the repeated collisions with vapid HR-speak that most vex me.

I get particularly irritated with companies who boast that their rates of pay are 'competitive'.

That word can be interpreted with widely differing nuances.

I'd like to think it might mean: "We're keen to hire the best people, so we pay a little bit more than most of our competitors."  ('Competitive' in the sense of wanting to win.)

More realistically, you might suppose, it would usually mean: "We pay about the same as everyone else; no more, no less."  ('Competitive' in the sense of not wanting to be out-competed by everyone else; not really 'competitiveness' at all, more a sort of de facto cabal.)

And, sometimes, it seems to mean: "We pay the 'industry minimum'. Well, yes, we pay less than everyone else; but it's not that much less that you'd dismiss us out of hand. We like to think we're still just about 'in competition'."  ('Competitive'.... in a bottom-feeders do OK for themselves way.)

I've recently been in contact with a company whose pay scales are 'Type 3' competitive.... and I'm in no hurry to get back to them. In fact, I'm tempted to dismiss them out of hand. 10% less than anyone else's minimum rate? Really?? You dare to call that 'competitive'??

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