Got Jobs?

Maybe it was the full moon or some other phenomenon, but lately I have been in several meetings where the topic of Jobs has come up in a significant way.  In the last 8 years we have been adding about 250,000 jobs per month around the USA. Unemployment is the lowest its been in years. San Diego is particularly successful. Nationwide, things in general are good…for instance, the stock market has risen from 8,000 to 18,200.

Seems like our focus has focus has moved on; in general, things seem good.

Unless of course you are looking for a GOOD job. University grads are taking positions that pay less than their tuition and are racking up big loan debt. Students in the process are worried about their opportunity come Graduation Day.

And as I found out recently, a very large number of members of the military are exiting service every day. More specifically here in San Diego a large number of Navy SEALS are mustering out and transitioning forward into new careers.

I was invited last week to “audit” a session of The Honor Foundation at UCSD. Please Google it for more detailed info, but let me tell you that this is a Not For Profit organization dedicated to making the transition from SEAL life to civilian life as successful as possible.  There were 38 men and women at this particular meeting. They meet twice a week for 27 weeks. The Foundation underwrites the cost…which is substantial, approximately $65,000 per person.

The curriculum is amazing: the premise is preparing for the second half of life.  It is a significant program. I set in on a Life Coaching session. While the attendees are preparing for the second half of their lives, it occurred to me that I better prepare for the last few minutes of the fourth quarter of my life.  The process was equally valuable for young and old.

But the point of this is that WE as an industry do very little to help these amazingly qualified people get into our industry. Trust me all you gnarly surfer types, a basic Navy SEAL has water skills that make us look like, uh, rookies. But that's not their real asset. These people are skilled, focused, team players and highly experienced in all the things it takes to make a very big operation (US government) work. We need their skill sets in our business.

So what are we doing about it? The San Diego Economic Development Corporation as a significant JOBS program. Sea World has a very significant “First Jobs” program with an emphasis on Operating and managing a huge facility like theirs.

And what do we have in our SAL world? Really, nothing cohesive. If you work in a bigger organization, you probably have an HR Director. Did you ever try to get a job through an HR department?  I have a friend who was a senior Executive in a major company. He made a “pro forma” resume up and applied for a job through his own HR department, and then waited for a response. Nothing. He placed a call and a VM, nothing. After a reasonable time he convened the HR Team and laid it out. “people want to work for our Company, probably because they like our mission or product. They get the courage to try to make the first steps. We meet their enthusiasm with indifference. We don’t respond. They try harder and we still do nothing. At the end of the day we have converted someone who likes us and buys our product into someone who really dislikes us and thinks we are fakers or worse. From here on, we will answer every single job seeker without fail. That's the mandate. Please understand what that means for you!”

We small biz guys are not much better. It’s hard to imagine there might be talent beyond our immediate network. But trust me, I met 38 people ready and able to help any company succeed.

So here’s the SAL industry challenge. Let’s do the basics : add a Jobs section to your web site. Treat it seriously. Post all your jobs. Respond to all inquiries and treat candidates seriously.  If you can hire one of the Honor Foundation graduates, all the better.   Make it happen, your company will be the beneficiary!