Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Just In: Experience Matters

The Washington Post [h/t Digby] is reporting something absolutely shocking; experienced individuals in a given business are not completely replacable by newbies who are undertrained and knowingly ignorant of the business despite being only half the wage cost. This revelation comes from Circuit City as they laid off 3,400 of their highest paid employees to make their spreadsheet models produce higher profits:

Circuit City fired 3,400 of its highest-paid store employees in March, saying it needed to hire cheaper workers to shore up its bottom line. Now, the Richmond electronics retailer says it expects to post a first-quarter loss next month, and analysts are blaming the job cuts.

The company, which on Monday also revised its outlook for the first half of its fiscal year ending Feb. 29, 2008, cited poor sales of large flat-panel and projection televisions. Analysts said Circuit City had cast off some of its most experienced and successful people and was losing business to competitors who have better-trained employees.....

In particular, the televisions showing disappointing results are "intensive sales" requiring more informed employees, Allen said. "It's a big-ticket purchase for somebody. And if they feel like they're not getting the right advice or are being misled by someone who doesn't know, it would be definitely frustrating. They will take their business elsewhere."

Shocking people who are not impacted by the top marginal tax rates matter. What else will American business discover tomorrow?

I'm a little bit frustrated right now as I have been in and out of work for the past six months. I was working as a quality control/management analyst for a non-profit for a couple of years, designing and running a pretty tight system that looked simple and self-correcting to my boss. My boss figured that she could get 90% of my previous performance for 30% of the cost so I got laid off. Last I heard the organization I worked for has spent at least 4 times my last annual salary trying to correct their mistakes that I would have seen before they were even minor annoyances.

Since then I have been doing a combination of contracting and consulting which has been a blast and looking for employment as I am a pretty damn good analyst but I am not a good accountant or collection agent, plus I don't want to bear the income time variability risk that is inherent in running a one man business that I had spent no time planning for before I started it.

And here is where I have been getting frustrated. I am continously being told that I am either massively overqualified or massively underexperienced for everything that I am applying for. The entry level jobs don't want a masters' degree, and the low mid-career positions want the degree and five to ten years experience which means I would have had to start my career my sophomore year of college.


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