Wednesday, March 04, 2015


I'm reading a paper about intergenerational economic mobility. It mentions the likelihood that children of well-paid individuals got their jobs through their parents' connections. This made me wonder what my connections were for each job I had.

  1. Paper boy, local newspaper: I answered an ad in the paper. I had no connections with anyone.
  2. office lackey, my father: I was heavily-connected to the key decision-maker in the hiring process. And my only competition was seven years younger than I was.
  3. photographer, probate referee: My then-girlfriend was working for her brother and then she went away to college. I took over the job for her.
  4. "Courtesy clerk" (bagger), grocery store: My then-girlfriend (different girlfriend)'s mother worked in the deli and got me an interview with the store manager.
  5. Phone operator, Sears service: My sister's sister-in-law had previously held this job, so it was recommended to me, but there was no "connection" aspect at all, since the turn-over rate was so high.
  6. Phone operator, wide-area telephone survey company: My then-girlfriend (she of the butcher mother) was working there and got me an interview.
  7. Telemarketer, "Center for Excellence" (actual company name): I answered an ad in the newspaper.
  8. Research assistant, university professor: A professor of mine liked my work and asked me to work with him.
  9. Student intern, local city government: My former-girlfriend's brother (he of the probate refereeing) was on the city's planning commission and was instrumental in getting me the job. I don't know if he just knew of the opportunity and got me an interview or if he said, "Can you make a spot for my sister's ex-boyfriend?"
  10. Stocker (not stalker), Staples: I responded to an ad in the newspaper and answered the weird interview questions correctly (have I ever written about the weird interview questions they asked?).
  11. Planning technician, local city government: My former job hired me back at a more-advanced position. Partly a result of my connection and partly a result of them liking my previous work.
  12. GIS analyst, GIS company: My wife responded to a position she found advertised online.
  13. Undergraduate teaching assistant, university: A professor of mine asked if I was interested in a teaching opportunity.
  14. Research manager, financial consultant: My wife responded to an ad she found on Craigslist.
  15. Graduate lecturer, university: I responded to an e-mail asking graduate students if they wanted to teach.
  16. Adjunct professor, university: I responded to an e-mail my graduate department sent out asking if anyone wanted to teach at a nearby university.
  17. Teacher, Chinese high school: I responded to a Facebook post of a friend saying a different friend of his was teaching at a school in China and they had openings available.

So there you are. Some jobs were heavily dependent on connections (photographer, courtesy clerk, phone operator, student intern/planning technician), while many others were cold responses to postings. I don't know if this is normal or abnormal.

1 comment:

Stephen Harkleroad said...

I need to know the weird Staples questions that were asked.

I once interviewed for Waldenbooks. It was amusing to watch the interviewer try and dance around asking the question "are you OK with selling porn?" without actually coming out and saying it.