Be employable

Yes, that’s a baby with a bong.

I’ll get to that shortly.

I spend 99.9% of my time here writing things aimed at employers/business owners, but today this one is for the employees and those who would like to be employed.

Lately, I’ve noticed a few things that make it not all that surprising that some folks aren’t having much luck getting work, so I have a few suggestions…

Be in Wikipedia for a good reason

The viral news piece of the last couple weeks has been the story about the Jet Blue flight attendant who, after getting clanged on the head by an overhead luggage compartment door (thanks to a particularly snarky customer), unleashed a flurry of profanities, popped the emergency slide, grabbed two beers and slid down the slide.

Yes, many of us have been sorely tempted to do something more than a little nutty when a member of the public acts like an idiot…but most of us find a way to suppress that impulse. Slater didn’t.

If you’re going to end up in Wikipedia, try to make it for a good reason.

To their credit, Jet Blue’s public response to this has been subdued and as close to ideal as you could expect for a “PR crisis” (or opportunity) like this, but ask yourself this:

While you might relate to Slater’s frustration and find his actions funny, you have to wonder if any other airline would hire a guy who did what he did.

For that matter, would *any* other business – of any kind – take a chance on him?

I wouldn’t. I can see the guy being frustrated at the annoying passenger and upset about getting clocked on the head, but popping the evacuation slide? He may have hundreds of thousands of fans on Facebook, but how many of them will offer him a job?

And speaking of Facebook…

Don’t hang your keester out in the breeze on Facebook

Microsoft’s Data Privacy Day discussions made note of research finding that 79% of US hiring managers rejected candidates based on what they found online.

So….YES, those comments about employers that you make on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace might come back and bite you in the butt.

So might your discussions about how hammered you were at work yesterday (even though you’re sure no one noticed).

And so might those Facebook-visible photos you posted of your baby holding drug paraphernalia. Permanent link (pdf)

Don’t inhale

More and more employers perform drug tests and/or have illegal drug termination policies. When you take a look at the DUI-involved accident numbers in industries like trucking, you’ll see why.

This also goes back to the Facebook issue. If you are doing these things, broadcasting them in public seems like a bad idea. It reflects on you, but also your employer, your kids, your parents and a number of others. Is that really what you want to accomplish by posting that stuff?

Besides, you might run for office someday.

Button your shirt

I was sitting in a restaurant in Columbia Falls last weekend, having a conference with one of my about-to-be Eagle Scouts.

A guy walks in to apply for a job.

His shirt is unbuttoned. Let me correct that – the shirt has no buttons.

Thanks to the prevailing airflow in the building, I can smell him across the room (about 10-15 ft.)

If he was applying to be an extra in a rap video, maybe (smell notwithstanding) you’d sign him up.

The waitress hands him an application, he sits down.

Shortly, the owner appears. He asks why he comes into his restaurant applying for a job with his shirt like that. “The buttons popped off on the way here.”

“All of them?”, the owner asks.

The topic of smell comes up. Excuses are made. “Didn’t you know you were coming to apply for this job when you left the house?’, says the owner.

It went downhill from there, with the owner providing some quiet advice to the man about thinking through the process before dropping in to apply for the job. Hopefully he takes it to heart.

Look at it from the other side of the table

Employers are under a lot of pressure from a lot of different places. Finances, insurance, legal, employment paperwork, Feds, State, etc.

They don’t need more baggage.

Make it a no-brainer to hire you. Don’t do this kind of stuff.