Who You Know

I was thinking about this the other day, and the topic came up during lunch at work as well, and that is most jobs people obtain are often by knowing someone.  The importance of networking is emphasized both in college and as a career skill, but I’ve come to believe that’s because it is more of a necessity to obtaining a job than anything else. 

As a teen in high school I found it very difficult to find my first part time job at age 16.  I applied to the typical places, ice cream shops, movie store, etc. but never even got an interview.  It wasn’t until a teller at the bank my dad went to suggested I apply at the restaurant she worked at that I actually obtained a job.  It was a meager start; I only worked 4 hour breakfast shifts on Saturdays which resulted in very small tips since breakfast is the cheapest meal to buy.  It at least provided me something to list on my future job applications though. 

My senior year I got a positions as a sales associate at Kohls.  I’m sure having worked a job before helped, but I also had a friend who worked there as did his mom.  Having their names as references most likely got me the job.  I quit when I left to go away to college, but since I transferred back to a school close to home after a year, I found myself in need of a job once more.  I applied for another retail position and landed a sales associate job.  This is the only job I can honestly say I knew no one working there and actually believed that my personality, skills and prior experience counted for something.  I got promoted to an assistant manager, but in time found I needed a job that would be more flexible with my school hours and internship.  I applied to the grocery store that my sister and boyfriend at the time worked at.  I’m sure having a solid background in customer service and retail helped, but my actual interview for the customer service desk position basically consisted of the front end manager saying something to the effect of “Well Kasey and Jordan are great workers, so I’m sure you will be too.” 

After graduating college I applied to a variety of positions in my field, but even with 2 internships on my resume I did not land a single interview for nearly a year.  I had a few interviews, one of which was for my dream job of being the high school athletic director at my alma matter.  Sadly, yet again who you know mattered more than anything else as the person who obtained the position was someone everyone knew in advance would be offered it. 

When I moved to my current location I simply transferred grocery store locations within the same chain I was working for which was lucky for me.  Still, I wasn’t satisfied to stay there, so I applied for a position within a bank call center.  My boyfriend’s brother worked there so once more I had another connection that I can say most likely sealed the deal on me obtaining the job.  I have gotten promoted since being there which I’m glad to say was through my own hard work and dedication. 

Many people including some of my own family members and friends have said the same thing; they obtained their jobs through knowing someone who already worked there.  It was written about in our local Sunday paper the other week how school districts in this area rarely advertise positions, but rather rotate the school board members’ ability to pick who obtains the job.

This saddens me to know though that you have to “have an in” to get a job in most places, even if it’s just a teen summer job.  It kind of voids the idea of working and studying hard to get where you want to be in life.  I suppose it explains though why there seem to be so many incompetent people working in jobs that you wonder how they ever obtained.

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