Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Wannabe Clever College Graduate

Time and Newsweek are dinosaurs in the news publishing business today.  Rarely do either ever accomplish any investigative journalism or in-depth analysis.  This week, Time pulled one brief five-star article out of the bag and noted a trend in America.  We aren't hiring college-graduates at the level we were a decade ago.  There's problems brewing, and the hiring mechanism in America is looking suspiciously over at colleges being at fault.

It's a good read, if you have ten minutes.

The emphasis of the whole piece?

Kids arrive at some company after four years, and HR with the management staff discover that the kid can't write to any technical level or comprehensive level.

Then they discover that the kid after four years....can't think critically or decisively.

Then they discover creativity isn't one of the positive skills that the kid developed at some twenty-five-thousand-dollar a year university.

Solving problems?  The kid doesn't seem to grasp that talent or skill.  Whatever was mentioned in various classes to problem-solving.....was just a marginal exercise of sorts.

Then HR and the management guys get around to their favorite topic of team-play.  It was a big deal back in the 1970s and 1980s.  Guys showed up and could pick up the slack.  They saw themselves as part of the staff and team.  They wanted the team to "win".  That unique talent....isn't being noticed with the new group of university graduates.

Organizing and planning?  Well....it was a great talent to have a decade ago.  A kid went though the university process....knew class timelines, schedules, and the demands of class projects.  This all translated over to success as they came into the companies.  Today?  It's not a skill seen often.

My brother, the engineer, always notes the new crowd doing interviews each spring.  Attire or lack of professional attire....usually comes up as a point of humor.  After four years of college, it seems that half the kids have no suit or professional-skirt for the interview.

I listened to a DC manager comment last year that he had to interview two dozen young graduates one day.  Each barely got ten minutes to introduce themselves and say something beyond their resume.  It was summer, hot, and most of the young ladies dressed in some gimmick dress that was acceptable for a college campus but not a job interview.  Several wore flip-flops.  He just didn't see reasoning to hire those folks.

It's hard to say what has happened to the American university system in the past decade or two.  Some individuals have taken the class requirements and turned them into clever gimmicks....pretending that the kid is gaining some great insight to Julius Caesar, philosophy by Plato, teamwork by Vince Lombardi, creativity by Thomas Edison, and determination by the Roman Empire.

Motivation?  It's mostly to move from high school to a four-year university, graduate with a critical piece of paper, and get hired on with some company that thinks you are clever and smart.  Naturally, good pay figures into this scheme.

The companies?  They review the kid, his certificate, and answers to the interview.  Rather than hire a loser and hope on mentoring him into a halfway decent employee....they just skip that kid, and the billet goes unfilled for weeks....maybe months.

Yeah, our lack of mentoring skills has disappeared from the business world as well.  Half the guys working for companies today....can't mentor.  They actually offer classes now....trying to teach guys and gals how to mentor......as if it was a teachable skill.

The end result?  In a couple of years....someone will notice a fair number of college graduates working management jobs at a car-rental shop at some airport.  It was a manager's job that used to be for high school graduates, and we've cheapen it enough....with an abundance of unhirable college grad's at the door.....and just accepted it as normal.

In a decade, it'll be normal to hire college graduates to run fish-and-bait shops, write menu packages for restaurants, and manage theaters.  There's something wrong here.....but it's best not to tell the university folks they've screwed up big-time.

The Pill of the Future

Imagine tossing back five beers that tasted completely like your regular old beer, and not being wasted.  Imagine sipping a dozen glasses of wine, and having no dizziness.

Yesterday, via the BBC....a British scientist basically out and said that compounds exist at this point where you could create alcohol-products....that would have the sensation and taste.....but no ill effect.  He even suggested that there's a compound or two that you could take and totally reverse the drunken state in a matter of minutes.

Course, he also got to the problem at hand....the drink industry....beer, wine and alcohol....really wouldn't desire such compounds on the market, and they'd fight this tooth and nail.

It'd be an awful hard sell to convince millions....to give up their traditionally held view of booze having an effect on them.  The trip to the local pub and taste on their tongue of a halfway decent beer? The visit to some wine cafe, and the light-headed effect after two hours?  Folks would just shake their heads and skip this topic of transforming the drink industry.

Science has taken up a mighty sword over the past couple of decades.  They made sodas with no calories, soda without caffeine, and soda without any sugar.  They developed cars that would comprehend ice and adjust braking on their own.  They engineered radios that work off satellites.  They discovered a way to pick up oil off concrete with a cat-sand-like substance.  They built a simple little gadget that noted your position on Earth, and it's relationship to the road....telling you the way to Memphis and noting all the gas stations along the way.

So I'll make this prediction that in a dozen years....so compound will exist that you pay thirty bucks for and you digest the pill to dissolve most of your drunkenness away in a matter of five minutes.  No coffee.  No hassle with the cops.  No lost license.  You wrap up the evening and pay the bartender the thirty bucks....who flips a pill into you.  Minutes later, you walk to the car and are decent enough to drive safely home.

People desiring this?  No.  It's thousands of years of development to get us to this modern age of a thousand styles of beer and ten thousand types of booze.  And to mess around with all that effort?  We just couldn't accept that.

Parking Cars

Years ago, in sudden hurry, I had to drive up to the Frankfurt airport to dump someone off.  I parked my car in the adjacent parking garage, and did the hour in the airport.  Then I walked back out and to the parking garage.  There, I had this sudden reality.....I could not remember the floor, or the section that I parked the car.

The Frankfurt airport parking garage is roughly six levels, and twelve sections to each level.  I ended up spending around seventy minutes walking around and eventually found my car.  Ever since that event, I always write the floor and section down before I leave the car.

This brings me around to this story that came out in Germany yesterday.  Some Italian guy came up for the Oktorberfest in Munich a few weeks ago.  He found parking in a more remote part of town, and caught a subway train to the fest.  He ate hearty food all day, and sipped some fine German beer.  By late evening....he'd had enough.

The problem now develops.....he didn't remember where the car was.  He spent a number of hours walking around with no luck. The next day?  No luck.  He had to return to Italy without the car.

Over the past month, he's return five times, but had no luck in finding the car.  He put an ad finally in the paper, and advertised a reward.  Someone spotted the vehicle on some street, and called it in.

I sat and pondered over the story.  It's the kind of reality that guys get into.  We plan on the outer fringes of an event.  Getting down the finer details? Well, that's traditionally not what we are famous for doing.  If it hadn't been for the advertisement.....the car might have sat on the street for months, if not years.  Course, it'd make you wonder if 2,000 cars are abandoned on the streets of Munich.