Business and Operations
From the Editor’s Desk: The new work ethic
The Internet and its place in the job sphere.
By Laura Aiken
At 28 years old, it’s possibly a little early to be speaking of things as “back in my day,” but I am nearly a dinosaur when it comes to the Internet and its place in the job sphere. Monster, the world’s first online job board, launched in 1994. That wasn’t very long ago. In fact, this position as editor of Canadian Pizza magazine is the first opportunity I’ve landed through online job hunting.
At 28 years old, it’s possibly a little early to be speaking of things
as “back in my day,” but I am nearly a dinosaur when it comes to the
Internet and its place in the job sphere. Monster, the world’s first
online job board, launched in 1994. That wasn’t very long ago. In fact,
this position as editor of Canadian Pizza magazine is the first
opportunity I’ve landed through online job hunting.
My first foray into the pizza business certainly didn’t begin on the
Internet. Ten years ago, I walked into a Pizza Pizza restaurant with a
help wanted sign in the window and asked for a job. I filled out an
application, explained I had a licence, had just finished high school
and wanted to work for a while before going away to university. I was
asked to start the next day as a delivery driver. Unprepared for the
impromptu start, I had to borrow my dad’s mint-condition 1965
Thunderbird until I got my hands on a “beater” car the following week.
I’m pretty sure they thought they’d hired a crazy person when I showed
up to deliver pizza in that beauty of a car, but they kept me on for
the next year and a half working as many hours as possible and doing a
bit of every job in the store. I learned to work hard and hustle, and
it’s been easy to apply the ethic to every position I’ve had since.
Knocking on the door and asking for the job was what I was raised to
do. If I hadn’t been hired on the spot, I would have called every other
day to see if they had made a decision yet.
Skip ahead 10 years, and 18-year-old job hunters are sitting online
looking to apply through the career sections of company websites,
cruising the job boards, waiting for a reply or attempting to follow up
by e-mail. Most of the job postings they reply to will ask them to
please not contact the company and to wait for an interview request.
This somewhat passive process does not continue past the onboarding
stage. Today’s teenagers are light years away in work ethic from
previous generations, notes teen employment expert Ken Whiting. Many
carry the attitude that they are in high demand in the hospitality industry, want their schedules totally customized, and generally appear
to lack gratitude for their paycheques. As employers, you can learn how
to hire them, engage them and retain them for as long as possible, but
the best thing you can do for their future is teach them how to work
hard, respect authority and produce results quickly. Unfortunately,
many of today’s teens and young adults are not equipped to bridge the
gap between their perceptions of work and career reality, where “make
your own hours” doesn’t really exist for the majority.
The soft economy may be a reality check for young people. Stories
abound of restaurants being overloaded with thousands of resumés as
layoffs ripple through North America. Those restaurant jobs that always
seem to be there might be tougher to find this year and thus feel
luckier to have. This may be compounded by recent news reports that job
postings are down as well. Finding staff may not be your biggest
concern in 2009, but investing in a long-term hiring strategy is
ongoing. People are spending more and more time online, to the point
that it makes one wonder when Internet surfing will eclipse television in time spent. E-recruiting should be an active component of everyone’s campaign.