Job applicants with unrealistic expectations

By placing a local help wanted ad, I learned that most respondents don't understand how supply and demand makes their labor less valuable when there are considerably more applicants than positions available: a situation that puts employers in the driver's seat. Applicants can ask for anything—and they do. Some recent high school grads with no job experience asked for $50 to $100 dollars per hour even if they don't meet half the job requirements.

Most physicians don't earn $100/hour even after a decade-plus of training totaling 40,000–50,000 hours, so it makes me wonder what occupational embryos are thinking when they want to be paid more than doctors.

Some successful people practically had prosperity fall into their laps, but most worked long hours for years before they hit pay dirt.

The work I recently offered required no education or special training. It was safe and wouldn't cause anyone to sweat or get dirty. It was pleasant, easy work, and something that people could later proudly tell their children about. Very few jobs are easier than it, yet many applicants still wanted me to pay through the nose for their services.

16 Examples Of Steve Jobs Being A Huge Jerk

Ronald Wayne, who co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, “described Steve Jobs' personality as colder than an ice cube.

Unlike Steve Jobs, who cruelly brushed aside people in Apple's core and roots, I want to be generous with people who do a good job and help me without bleeding me. However, perhaps the best way to help people who want an arm and a leg for working is to give them an introduction to the real world: a world that thinks very few people are worth $100 per hour even when they know what they are doing and conscientiously do it year after year, giving future employers good reason to value their skills.

I don't understand people who would rather sit at home and earn nothing than work for $15 per hour. I began working in 7th grade for $1 per hour (equivalent to about $5.50/hour in 2011 dollars), working 8 hours with no break, food, or water in the hot summer sun, then walking 8 miles home. I later did the same, walking even further, and pushing my lawn mower while carrying a gas can and a smile, thrilled that I had a job at a time when the economy was in much better shape than it is now.

I didn't wait until I was old enough to drive to begin working; I had two legs to take me where I wanted to go, literally and figuratively. I couldn't afford to buy a lawn mower, so I took a junker that barely ran and fixed it, learning mechanical skills that saved me a bundle of money and helped me earn even more as an inventor. I recently read that not one of the 35 students in an incoming college engineering class had ever operated a drill press, which is one reason why our country is failing. To build products that don't drive consumers bonkers, engineers must learn to build and maintain real things in the real world, not just manipulate CAD drawings on a computer screen.

I took every job offered to me in those days and quit only one: a job in a pop bottle recycling plant—a job that would make OSHA inspectors go bananas. My task was to pick up bottles from a rapidly moving conveyor and throw them hard against a concrete wall about 6 feet away—close enough so that glass shards flew by my face every minute or so from bottles I threw, or bottles thrown by workers standing next to me. I knew it was only a matter of time until I was struck in the face and potentially blinded, so I walked out, valuing my health more than the pittance I was paid.

By placing the help wanted ad, I also learned that most people want jobs, not entrepreneurial careers. Entrepreneurial work is usually more challenging, time consuming, and iffy, but the payoff is potentially much greater in terms of money, satisfaction, and lifestyle flexibility. But no, most just want a paycheck. Am I living in the United States?

What do you want to be?


  1. Twelve Sites That Will Put You to Work Now
  2. Three Types of People to Fire Immediately Want a more innovative company? Get rid of these folks. Today.
  3. How to Land a New Job (One bit of advice they give is to create your own business, adding that “many of today's most successful companies started in … the Great Depression.” That's true. They said that “innovation and business growth comes out of downed economies because entrepreneurs are problem solvers.” That's also true. However, I disagree with their conclusion: that “we are in the age of the entrepreneur.” If so, where are the great ideas? Where are the people ready to risk getting behind those ideas? If most people walked into the Silicon Valley garage in 1976 in which Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple, they'd dismiss the two and their initially single computer, not having the vision to see its potential. Fact: Most people gravitate to the security of paychecks, whereas entrepreneurs accept risk as the price of pursuing what may turn into an enormously larger payday. I work with a very entrepreneurial corporation, but such companies are few and far between.)

“So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'”
Steve Jobs

The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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