[an error occurred while processing this directive] ZEPHYR Magazine

                              T H E
                           Z E P H Y R
                  __     M A G A Z I N E
                 Issue #24                8-16-86
            A weekly electronic magazine for users of 
                        THE ZEPHYR II BBS 
                    (Mesa, AZ - 602-894-6526)
                owned and operated by T. H. Smith
                    Editor - Gene B. Williams 
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                            (c) 1986
   School will be starting again in a few weeks. Some of you 
will be going back to junior or senior high. Some will be 
returning to college. Others will be moving into the job market.
And more than a few will be doing a combination of schooling 
and a part time job. Maybe even some of you are trapped in a 
job and are looking for something better.
   Regardless, at one time or another almost everyone finds 
himself or herself trying to find a job. It might be for 
something temporary, or it might be working towards a career.
   The topic was stimulated first by Bob E.shtmlan's two articles 
(on financial planning, and on home study); and second by a 
discussion from Synopsys (run by Tom Hart).
   Not every aspect can be covered in a single article. But 
that's what the discussion between issues is all about. Ask 
questions. I or some other user might have the answer for 
you. Or just share your own experiences and knowledge, and 
any tips or tricks that you have learned.

   At one point a few years ago the national unemployment had 
surpassed 10%. In other words, of every 100 adults more than 
10 of them were out of work. At present, it's about 7% (or 7 
people out of 100).
   Employment Rates can be misleading, however. First, it talks 
of a national average (or a state average). Until you see a 
breakdown you can't really see what it means. For example, if 
the average for Arizona is 7%, it might actually means that 
there is a 1% unemployment rate for Paradise Valley, and a 20% 
unemployment for South Phoenix.
   The rates also don't take into account job mobility. Someone 
leaves a job because of a desire for a better opportunity. That 
person might join the statistics of the unemployed for a month. 
Meanwhile, someone who has been out of work finds a job. The 
statistics don't change, but the actual effects do since a 
portion of that percentage is for those who are only temporarily 
out of work.
   In some ways it's important to keep both sides in mind. If 
you're out of work, think of the others who are also out of 
work. You're not alone. On the other hand, for every person who 
is out of work with you, that makes one more person who is also 
in competition with you for the job(s) you're after.
   So,  1) don't get discouraged; and 2) keep in mind that you 
have to present something to the employer that the other guy 
                        Job Applications
   With most jobs, the first step is to fill out a form. This 
form is to put in one place all the basics about the applicant. 
It gives a rough background and history, and also serves to 
give the employer a single place to keep that applicant's 
address, phone number and so forth. It doesn't (and can't) let 
much personality shine through and often ignores some important 
information that would show that -you- are the special person 
that employer wants.
   Many job seekers get tired of, and even angry at, those 
application forms for this reason. They don't fully represent 
the applicant. (The employer knows this better than you.)
   Even so, it's "part of the game." Fill it out if that is a 
part of the employer's routine. If it makes you feel better, 
think of it as the Information Form for New Employees.
   People often make the mistake of exaggerating on the form. 
They'll claim jobs, duties, or education they never had, going 
on the assumption that the employer will never check it out. 
While it's true that it's rare for the employer to try to 
track down that information, IF you're hired, those little lies 
will come out sooner or later. And don't expect your employer 
to be too sympathetic or understanding when it does.
                           The Resume
   The general nature and impersonality of a standard job 
application form is obvious insufficient. You can't easily 
present your best side. For many - if not most - of the better 
jobs, the applicants design their own application form. It's 
called a resume (with the last "e" sounding like an "a").
   In many respects, the resume is quite similar to the standard 
application form. It still gives the basics, such as personal 
information, and work and educational history. However, by 
being designed by the individual, it (hopefully) shows that 
individual in a better light.
   You won't need a resume for all jobs. In some cases, it will 
actually hurt your chances. (You wouldn't bring in a resume for 
a burger jockey job - although you would if you were applying 
for the position of head chef at a fancy restaurant.) You have 
to use some intelligence to know when to use one and when not to.
   Designing the resume isn't difficult if you just keep in mind 
what its function is. At the top should be all the basic 
information (who are you? where do you live?). Then will come 
all the other information, in order of importance.
   For example, if your educational background is the most 
impressive, that should come first. If your work background is 
more impressive, -that- comes first. 
   The idea is to put all the pertinent information on a single 
sheet. Easy to see, easy to read, and well organized. The 
prospective employer can find all of the information at a 
quick glance.
   A second sheet can be used for an "Amplification." This is 
where the resume works for you. It gives you a place to put some 
information about yourself that doesn't fit elsewhere, but which 
could impress the employer to hire you instead of someone else.
   For example, working for 2 years at Dairy Queen could mean 
anything. There's no room or place for other information. But, if 
you were so well respected that you took care of ordering, 
opening and closing the store, and hiring and training of all 
new employees, all of a sudden that hash slinger job becomes 
something more impressive.
   The important thing is to keep the information relevant. If 
you won a beautiful baby contest at age 2, that has very little 
to do with a job programming computers. However, if you've 
designed and built your own computer from spare parts, the 
information won't fit anywhere on a standard application. It 
-will- fit in the Amplification of a resume.

                          The Interview

   If the company has any interest in you - and with many even 
if they don't at the moment - the next step in the process is a 
interview with someone responsible for hiring. This is to help 
the employer come to know you better and to have the opportunity 
of asking you questions and for getting clarification.
   The trick here is to relax - which is not always easy to do 
when you're desperate for a job. Some say to act like you don't 
really need the job. Personally I'd revise that to going in 
with the attitude that if you don't get this job, you'll get 
something different - maybe something better - before much 
   As will be mentioned in a bit, it's also good to keep in mind 
just exactly what you are doing. You have something to offer 
the company, and the company has something to offer you. It's 
a business deal. You're selling yourself, so to speak.


   Many people object to it, but appearance IS important. That 
goes for the resume, and for the applicant. Many people have 
hangups about appearance. You don't have to like it, but you DO
have to accept it as fact. Show to the interview with purple 
hair, an earring in your nose and a dirty shirt and you've 
probably blown your chances.
   How you dress depends on the job. Showing up for a job as 
an automechanic while dressed in a tuxedo in inappropriate. 
Showing up for a bank manager's job dressed in overalls is 
also inappropriate. 
   Once again you have to use good sense. Having some idea of 
the company and what it does will help to guide you. Also be 
thinking of what your particular job choice will entail. Then 
dress accordingly.
   No matter what the job, neatness counts. So does cleanliness. 

   One of the great mistakes made by many people is to go into 
the interview convinced that they will -not- get the job. Instead, 
go in thinking that you can get it - that you are special enough, 
and qualified enough, to land it. After all, if -you- don't 
think you are able to get the job, how is the interviewer supposed 
to think so?
   That doesn't mean to be cocky or over confident. 
   You have something to offer that company. The company has 
something to offer you. It's a trade. A business proposition. 
And you're both trying to "sell something" to the other. 
   Imagine a salesman coming to you to offer a certain product. 
If he comes in with an attitude that you don't want or need that 
product, he's less likely to make the sale. If he comes in with 
a high pressure pitch, he probably still won't make the sale. 
    Well, in the job market you're that salesman - and the product 
you're trying to sell is yourself.
   Attitude is connected to confidence. It also goes far beyond 
that, both in find a job and in keeping it. Next to incompetence, 
more people fail to get, or lose, jobs based on attitude than for 
any other reason. (I still fire more people on this basis than 
for any other reason - such as recently when I fired 8 people who 
had BEGGED for a chance, and then showed that a party, movie, or 
weekend skiiing was more important to them than a promise.)
   Put yourself on the other side for a moment. You're the employer 
or company owner. You have an employee who shows up late, goes 
home early, likes to sit around a lot, never does anything beyond 
what he is specifically told to do, talks back to you, argues with 
the customers, etc. etc. etc. How long will you keep him (or her) 
   If you get the idea that this is how the employee will be if 
hired, will you hire him (or her)? 
   A second employee shows up early, goes out of his (or her) way 
to find something useful to do, is pleasant even to the rude 
customers and if he has some gripe about the company, at least 
he doesn't tell everyone who will listen. 
   Attitude makes a lot of difference. It sometimes means having 
to swallow your pride (within reason, of course). It might mean 
occasionally doing tasks that are not your job to do (sweeping a 
floor, or whatever). 
   It's not always easy. If you're being paid a low wage, and 
the big boss doesn't seem to appreciate your fine attitude, it's 
tempting to change that attitude and take on one that serves 
you better.  The less important you consider the job to be, the 
greater the temptation. 
   As is so often true, those people with the worst attitude 
problems are usually those who recognize it least. As you spend 
more time working, you'll see this for yourself. Those employees 
who gripe and moan the most are generally the ones who contribute 
the least, who cause the most trouble - and then wonder why 
they get fired time after time, or at least end up going from job 
to job trying to find happiness.
   A friend of mine was hired by a company to carry out various 
cleaning and maintenance. Each night when he came home he did 
nothing but complain about how he hated the job and the boss and 
how he always had to do "the dirty work." On more than one occasion 
he would leave a floor half swept at quitting time.
   If the job is not turning out to meet your expectations, fine. 
Leave it and find another job. But keep in mind that your next 
employer just might contact the present one. 
   Above all, never never NEVER bad mouth a past employer when 
applying for a job. No matter what has happened on your past 
job(s), complaining about it to a prospective employer will only 
tell him that you're likely to do that to him one day.
                      Gaining and Learning
   One of the things brought up in the discussion on Synopsys 
was a statement something like, "What can you learn at a job 
where you wrap burgers?"
   First - if you're not satisfied, you're not being forced to 
stay. There are plenty of other jobs around, including quite a 
few you'll like even less.
   Second - making a claim that there is no learning or gain to 
a particular job is a cop out. Maybe no great intelligence is 
required to throw a hunk of meat into a bun and wrap it in 
paper. You can learn how to do it like an expert in less than 
an hour without too much strain on the brain.
   So what? 
   Take a job that is so potentially boring. No mental strain. 
What more perfect opportunity can there be for thinking and 
developing your own thoughts? Or for reviewing your outside 
   As a practical example, I once had a job where hours at a 
time were spent in driving highways from place to place. That 
has just slightly more of a mental requirement than wrapping a 
burger. In other words, it could have been incredibly boring, 
and sometimes was. But instead of allowing that boredom, on 
those long drives I would let my mind rove to create new stories 
and articles. I also developed a method for myself to make mental 
mathematical calculations quickly, accurately and without having 
to resort to either a calculator or paper - a system I still 
use. During those drives I also learned morse code and electronic 
theory enough to get my ham radio license.
   What you learn doesn't necessarily have to be limited to the 
job at hand. Watch the other people at work. Watch the manager 
or whoever is in charge. One day you might have people working 
for you. What are those around you doing wrong, or doing right?
   Then there's customer relations. Instead of flying off into 
a snit, when a customer is rude or unreasonable, use it as an 
opportunity to observe and study human nature. Make it a challenge 
to satisfy that person. 
   In short, if a job is boring, you have only yourself to blame. 
FIND something interesting. Think up a better way to do that simple 
task if possible. If nothing else, use the time to stretch your 
   And if wrapping burgers and wiping off tables is beneath you, 
very simply don't take the job in the first place. But if you DO 
accept that job, why not make the most of it?
   This simple thing can make ANY job enjoyable. More important, 
it can be of great benefit to you in a number of ways. 
                        The Ultimate Job?
   Very simply - it doesn't exist. More than one person on 
Synopsys talked about wanting a job that paid lots and lots 
of money, allowed even more personal freedom, and required no 
effort. Be realistic. Even there WERE such jobs, who would 
get them? Such things certainly aren't handed out like free 
candy in kindergarten.
   My own means of making a living seems to many like something 
similar. I work my own hours, basically when I feel like it. 
If I decided at this moment that I wanted to watch some program 
on television, or settle down with a book, or just take a nap - 
fine. I can do it. And I *do* make a very good living. (Ask those 
who have seen my house and surroundings - all of which will be 
100% paid off in less than 2 years from now.)
   Quite a few fail to see the years it took to get where I am - 
or how long and how much effort it takes anyone who seems to have 
the ultimate job. 
   The doctor who is now earning $100,000 per year SEEMS to be 
putting in only 5 or 6 hours per day, with extended vacations. 
What isn't seen are the hours upon hours of continuing study, 
the incredible stress that makes medicine the source of one of 
highest rates of suicide and ruined marriages, or the years of 
being a starving student and intern.
   In my case as the writer (hey!) who has it so good, people 
don't see the struggle against deadlines, or days with little 
or no sleep to meet a deadline, or years of 18 hour days only 
to be rewarded with rejections with the craft is learned.
   Those "ultimate jobs" don't come by magic. They are almost 
always earned -only- after years of dedicated work and sacrifice. 
Unless you happen to be one of the few who has been born into 
an ultra-rich family with an established family business, you're 
going to have to work hard. (Even if you ARE one of those few, 
if you sit back on your duff, that family business is likely to 
fold up under your feet. And believe me! I've seen that happen 
more than once.) Going to an old cliche - God help you if you're 
one of the -UN-fortunate few who has been born into a family 
that gives you everything and anything for doing nothing in 
return. (I've known those, too - and not a one of them is worth 
diddly squat.)
   Put very bluntly - if you want that ultimate job, you're 
going to have to bust your buns for it, with very little chance 
of ever achieving your goal. In almost every case, if you DO 
achieve that goal, you're very likely to find out that the job 
isn't what it seemed to be from the outside.
   You might even find yourself wishing to be back wrapping 
hamburgers rather than worrying if your next patient is going 
to sue your socks off because you didn't bother to pay attention 
to one class; or that you won't sell another article or book 
for a year; or that the voters will believe the other guy's line 
of bull and toss you out of office.
   One final item (lecture?) is in order - that of background. 
Some has already been mentioned. 
   Another major point on Synopsys was that of lousy teachers 
and a lousy school system. Admittedly, our educational system 
leave much to be desired. But before you condemn it you must 
stand back for a moment and analyze why it is that we have become 
one of the least educated countries in the world.
   Teachers aren't respected. They're ridiculed. "Oh, you're a 
teacher, huh? Is that ALL you can do?" and "Those who can, do. 
Those who can't, teach." and the ridiculous, barely living wage 
that teachers are paid.
   If you're still in school, pay close attention to the class. 
You'll find that about 25% of the students don't want to be 
there at all, and make this VERY well known. Another half are 
more silent, but still do what is required and little more. In 
that class of 25, maybe 3 put forth some real effort and go 
beyond what is required. And those 3 are often the outcasts, and 
are even laughed at.
   THAT is the teacher's life. 25% hate you for no reason; 50% 
don't care; and a class every second or third year where 10% make 
an effort and show come concern and care is all that keeps you 
   What does learning the capital cities of the world have to do 
with wanting to become a computer programmer? More than you know! 
   Once again drop into the role of employer. Two people come in 
to apply. Both know the stuff needed for the job. Of the two, one 
knows that and only that. The other knows the job - maybe not even 
as well - but is also someone who knows a little something about 
the world, and that Stockholm isn't a part of China.
   If nothing else, think of difference between two prospective 
employees - one of which cares about nothing but the minimal 
requirements, and the other who is curious enough to take on and 
learn new and different things.
   As with any job, your education is what you make of it. If you 
run into a bad teacher, fine. Learn inspite of it. If the teacher 
is mediochre, fine. Go beyond the minimum requirements. If the 
teacher is one of the rare ones . . . . 
   Think about that for a moment. That rare teacher is just who I've 
been talking about through this entire issue. He or she gets very 
little reward (financial or otherwise), is dumped on all day and 
every day by society, students and faculty - 
   At least not right away.
   Education, work and life in general is just exactly what YOU 
make of it. If class requires that you memorize by Friday the 
names and locations of 10 of the European capitals and you stop 
right there - you'll be bored. And the fault is your own. Take one 
extra step and find out something special about those cities and 
countries and the people who live there. Spend an hour researching 
in an encylcopedia instead of watching reruns of Mr. Ed and the 
Brady Bunch.
   A couple of years, or even months, of this and all of a sudden 
it becomes habit. And all of a sudden you find yourself becoming 
the kind of person who the company CAN'T let go, or who finds 
himself or herself in a position of being able to choose between 
the top three companies in that field.

   Or you could be one of the many who prefers to wrap burgers 
and complain about how bad you have it?
Until Next Time
   Okay, okay. I got a little carried away at the end there. I'm 
sorry. It's just that I've been on both sides of that proverbial 
fence and have seen it. 
   I've wrapped burgers; I've worked with the public in various 
capacities and have had to deal with rude customers; I've been on 
both sides of the teacher's desk. I've swept floors and have 
cleaned toilets and have . . . .
   What it comes down to isn't WHAT you do, but HOW you do it and 
what you make of it. 
   I come from a lower middle class family from a poor and 
predominantly black section of the midwest where my family had to 
struggle and save for 10 years before we could get a new car. Now 
I'm worth . . . . naw, that's none of your business. But it DOES 
show that it can be done. If you just make use of your opportunities 
and DON'T GIVE UP!!!
   End of lecture.
   And good luck to ya! Just keep in mind that you can do it, if 
you just want to bad enough.

   Next time? 
   Before that, you may have noticed that downloads of the past 
issues are no longer available. The reason is simple. Zephyr has 
become popular enough that the hard drive was literally run into 
the ground. Thane (our Sysop) has kindly kept the system up and 
running on disk drive. But we already have nearly two disks full 
of back issues of the magazine. Put those into the drives and all 
of a sudden there's no room for anything else.
   These days, there aren't many magazines you can subscribe to for 
less than about $15/year - and that for monthly issues. Those 
publications that come out weekly cost in the $50+ range. 
   ZEPHYR MAGAZINE isn't quite like one of the slicks, obviously. 
But I'd like to think that you'd be willing to kick over $10 - 
less than the cost of a CD and not a whole lot more than a stint 
at McDonald's - to keep it and the board alive. 
   If just 40 users could see their way to part with that precious 
$10, we'd have more than enough to replace the hard drive and 
bring this system back up to where it should be. If 50 would do 
so, that would even go towards helping Thane pay some of the other 
bills involved.
   We're not Channel 8, but we're still in need of public support.
   Your contribution will be very much appreciated.
   Send to:    T. H. Smith
               PO Box 17274
               Mesa, AZ  85212


Zephyr Magazine is © Gene Williams. All rights reserved.