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Tips to make yourself employable in the modern world.

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I am currently in Singapore, then heading to Thailand and from there to Hong Kong,  5 of my nieces and nephews are in China currently and are also due to be in  Hong Kong next weekend. I contacted them to find out what area of Hong Kong they would be staying in because the place is broken up into different islands and not that easy to get around.

I haven't heard back from them for about 5 to 7 days, despite the fact  I've written on Facebook email etc and even sent text messages to their mobiles. 

This is very typical of the millennial generation.  They have 800 dollar communication devices and are expert at taking selfies and pictures of what they are about to eat, but try to arrange a meeting with them, or book a hotel that is nearby and they are completely incapable of responding and telling you where they are going to stay or even intend to book.  Nothing.

Oh no.  I am being asked to make a decision.....dear in the headlights.  I will ignore and send a what's app post 3 days after I have been there.
 Smartphones and stupid people don't get any work done.

The stupidest thing is that I am not paying for my Hong Kong hotel and they are from their own pocket.  They have had their flights booked for at least 1 week, probably 2, and those flights are non cancelable. So at that point you SHOULD be booking the hotel without delay.  Leaving it this late and with 6 people in their party they are going to get really stung for hotel rates.  I reckon 300 per night per room for anywhere half decent.  So that is 1000 dollars on rooms for the weekend.

Which skills do you think you need for the modern world of work?

You think your client, prospect or customer gives a rat's ass about what you had for dinner.  Your employer certainly doesn't. They want quick, intelligent articulate responses.  They don't want to chase you or wetnurse you.  They have children, at home.  They don't need more at work and they certainly don't want to chase the suppliers whose invoices they are paying.

Tip.  Communicate.  If someone writes to you who is not a spammer and you see any future value in them knowing who you are or tapping them up for a job in the future then write back an articulate response.  People want to deal with people who can communicate properly.  It is a sign that you are reliable and dependable and a very good way to set yourself apart from the millennial crowd.

I got off a 14 hour flight from London 10 hours ago, after a turn around flight of another 10 hours and a 14 hour delay.  I have slept for 5 hours and since I arrives I have sent and replied to 14 work related emails to my bosses.  I have fixed 3 appointments and written back to a customer in the UK.

And these nieces and nephews have full time jobs.  Admittedly not very good time jobs, but then what do you expect?

I wouldn't employ any of them.  And yet someone did.  But they are earning 50% of what they would earn if they were a useful employee.

If you want to stand out from the sub 35 crowd, communicate.  Rapid, articulate responses. If you cannot give an answer them acknowledge the request and say when you can respond.  Customers, sales prospects, HR managers and bosses like this sort of behaviour.  This used to be called common professional courtesy but now it is as rare as rocking horse poop. But the 45 year old plus generation still has it.  And they appreciate and value it.

The 19 year old I just placed in a job is better, but even he is sometimes slow to respond and leaves people in limbo.  Valuable lesson here. The older generation with money fire emails backward and forward 3 to 10 times per day.  If you want a decent job you had better switch of Facecrap and check your freaking Gmail

The Curt Jester:
I am finding that that people in their forties are quite bad at communication, too.   This includes responding to phone calls (they don't), leaving messages (they rarely do), and replying to emails (usually too late, if at all). 

Could be the case.  But I can tell you this.  Senior managers want short, articulate and quick responses to questions.  Or they cannot take actions which is the essence of what they do.

Pretty much the entire world seems to be bad at communication.  Most people pass on bids and refuse quote requests by silence rather than a professional and polite decline notice.  Contractors are very notorious in this area.  They'll book an appointment then skip the appointment with no explanation.

Supposedly Craigslist was built upon little else besides a founder who was willing to personally respond to every (numerous) email until his business took off.

John Lamb:
I wouldn't call what you're describing "communication", it's more like mere signalling.

--- Quote ---communication (n.)

early 15c., "act of communicating, act of imparting, discussing, debating, conferring," from Old French comunicacion (14c., Modern French communication) and directly from Latin communicationem (nominative communicatio), noun of action from past participle stem of communicare "to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in," literally "to make common," related to communis "common, public, general" (see common (adj.)). Meaning "that which is communicated" is from late 15c.; meaning "means of communication" is from 1715. Related: Communications; communicational.
--- End quote ---

The reason people prefer communication over facebook and instagram, etc., over signalling and bossing each other around over email, is that it is actual communication: social bonding/sharing.

I remember reading that one of the principles of the art of letters, of sending personal letters, is that you don't mention business at all, and if times / places / dates do need to be arranged, then, for the sake of politeness, they're tacked on to the end as a kind of secondary or unimportant after-thought. The reason is that it goes against real personal communication to be making demands and putting burdens (even minor ones) on people - it ruins the sense of companionship to be communicating with someone for a reason (business), rather than for the sake of the person themselves.

My friend was telling me about one of these old, eccentric, traditionalists priests who from an aristocratic background, and who hated using the telephone. He called it that "thing", and whenever it rang he would open the cupboard, take the box of its shelf, get the telephone out to take the call, and once it was done he put the telephone back in its box, on its shelf, in the cupboard. I suspect the reason that he despised it so much is that he had a sense of how rude it was to be disturbed by the loud, shrill noise of a telephone ringing, to have to answer to a person's disembodied voice, for the sake of some minor point of business. My friend is actually the managing director of a company and he's constantly taking business calls, even when he's in the pub and should be relaxing. These modern "communication" devices are an example of modern technology which is so convenient that it becomes inconvenient. I personally find it very irritating when someone expects me to drop what I'm doing at any moment in order to answer a phonecall; and when they become impatient with me because I've missed their call, I tend to feel impatient with them.

This kind of signalling reminds me of this passage from the gospel:

--- Quote ---"And the centurion making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
--- End quote ---

Notice what the centurion is saying: I'm not worthy that you should enter under my roof (enter into a polite, intimate communication with you), but I am worthy to be signaled to and bossed around by you, in the same way that I signal and boss around my subordinates. An act of humility on the centurion's part, but also an admission that this "signalling" form of communication is servile.

I'm not saying that these things should be ignored, but I definitely understand people's irritation and reluctance to engage with them. Especially when it's a family member and they're speaking to you like a business colleague arranging a meeting. People have an instinctive sense that this kind of "communication" (signalling) is boorish and rude. I think a big part of good manners is reducing this form of "communication" to a minimum.


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