Sunday, January 11, 2009


It seems that employment news could not get any worse for job seekers. Unemployment has risen to 7.4%, its highest rate since the recession in 1993. At Reason, Commerce, Justice & Free Beer, however, we urge you to stay confident. You can find a job, as long you have the determination and skills necessary to serve an employer. With the right attitude, you can get a job. It may not be a great job. You may have to clean feces from public toilets or shine a banker’s shoes, but your service will enable you to fulfill your financial obligations. Remember: Good people are responsible people. They pay their bills no matter what adversity befalls them. If paying your rent means slinging burgers or washing dirty hotel linen for minimum wage and no health insurance, then so be it. You may hate your existence, but at least you will be responsible.

Today, we bring you a piece from a lead hiring coordinator at a major insurance brokerage house. As part of our continuing commitment to assist you in finding suitable and rewarding employment, we are proud to host Ms. Theresa G. Bucker. Ms. Bucker has been hiring employees for over 16 years. She knows what she is looking for, and through her insights, we are confident that you will learn the skills you need to find a job, even in tough times like these. Good luck from all of us here at Reason, Commerce, Justice & Free Beer!


By : Ms. Theresa G. Bucker, M.S., Senior Human Resources Director; Fare Thee Well Mutual Insurance Brokers of America, LLC; A Fortune 750 Company.

I have hired thousands of employees for thousands of positions at our company. We have a wonderful company. We provide competitive quotes for major businesses seeking all kinds of insurance coverage. It is exciting work. I am always excited about coming to work each day. I get up every morning happy, because I know that my work will provide insurance to major companies all over the country. I do my part. And the company has rewarded me for my dedication with several plaques and an overall 4.3% salary increase since 2002. I am grateful for that recognition.

We do important business. In order to do our work well, we need dedication at all levels, from the Board of Directors all the way down to the janitors. Believe it or not, age has everything to do with dedication. When hiring prospective employees, I first look to see whether they are between the ages of 21 and 30. Young people in their 20s are the best possible employees. They are eager to prove themselves. They do not usually have families, and their health is excellent. They are not tired. They have not gotten up on as many mornings as a 50-year-old has, nor have they experienced life’s difficulties as much as an older person. In short, they are less easily distracted from their work. At Fare Thee Well (FTW), we need sprightly employees who go the extra mile, not tired employees whose only concern is seeing the hour hand reach the five o’clock position. Young people want to work hard and succeed. For them, life is fresh, new and exciting. Employment is an adventure; and they want to drink to the hilt. That is the kind of excitement we seek in our employees.

Nonetheless, we make one caveat here: We do not hire young women who likely may become pregnant. Maternity leave damages productivity, and mothers tend to pay more attention to their children than their jobs. That is unacceptable. We fire employees who fail to disclose that they intend to become pregnant within 7 years of their start date—no exceptions. Motherhood is not consistent with FTW’s economic mission.

We do not favor older applicants, especially those over 40. Although Federal law mandates that we exercise equal consideration to all applicants without regard to age, there are easy ways to avoid this requirement. Put simply, we must get around this requirement, because older workers are far more trouble than they are worth. Older people have worked for decades. They are sick and tired of getting up every morning and taking orders from ornery supervisors. They hate the way they look and they regret having spent their best years toiling at an insurance brokerage house for minimal pay. Their bodies ache. They get sick far more often than young people, impacting company health insurance premiums. Worse, they tend to have wives, children and families. This creates dangerous, conflicting loyalties. At FTW, we expect maximum dedication to the company’s success. But married people with children cannot afford that dedication. They secretly would rather be with their wives and children enjoying “family time.” This is a fatal distraction. That is why we do our best to avoid hiring older employees.

Older employees question things more often. In some cases, they even endure “midlife crises” while on the job. They wonder how their life might have been different had they not worked so hard for 20 years, causing self-doubt, defiance, apathy and lackluster work performance. At FTW, we procure competitive prices for insurance; we do not soul-search. Older employees do this far too often, and we strongly discourage it. Nobody wants to be around someone who questions their supervisor or ponders the meaning of life. This is an insurance brokerage house, not a philosophy classroom. Older employees think they can get away with these things. They are wrong. At FTW, we find ways to replace overly reflective older employees with 22-year-olds who actually want to collate papers for 16 hours a day.

Young employees want it. They are hungry. They want to work. They want to make a name for themselves. They want to impress their superiors. They are excited every morning because they are in a new phase in their lives. For every year in their brief lives, they have simply gone to school. Now they are out in the world, making their own money and living in their own apartments. They put on their fancy work clothes and they wear clip-on company ID cards to tell the world: “I work for a company!” Their enthusiasm shows in their work. While they may be hopelessly naïve and stupid, that is fine with us. Hopelessly naïve and stupid people are exactly what FTW is looking for. Embittered old coots who regret having spent their lives procuring insurance quotes do not serve us well. By contrast, bouncy 23-year-old women who are excited about work advance our company’s purposes far better.

At the interview table, I give special consideration to young people. True, I do not expect them to know what they are doing, but I will simply post them to a job that requires high effort but low intelligence. I know they will not question their lot. They will learn the protocols. They will obediently do their jobs and work as long as we tell them. I know they do not have wives, children or sick relatives to distract them. While they might make cell phone calls to friends during work hours, a little discipline can cure that flaw. It is much more difficult to scare older employees than young ones. When a 29-year-old supervisor reprimands a 51-year-old employee for speaking to his wife during work time, it carries less force than when a 26-year-old supervisor berates a 22-year-old trainee for texting his sometime girlfriend. In a word, young people respond well to discipline. Older people do not. They actually question authority, and that is not good for anyone in our company.

At FTW, we want enthusiasm and mild stupidity. Those characteristics most commonly manifest themselves in young people. By contrast, older people tend to be less enthusiastic, more jaded and even wise. We do not seek wisdom at FTW; we seek competitive insurance quotes. This is not a monastery or cloister; this is a Fortune 750 Company. In our work, age matters. Young people can handle the boredom, monotony and indignity because they have not yet experienced work life. Older people reject boredom, monotony and indignity because they have experienced it for a very long time and cannot take it any longer. We know that. That is why we do not hire older people.

I have simple advice for job-seekers: Be a bright, young person. Show me how much you will do for the company. Smile. Show me how many hours you can work. Show me that you will not become pregnant any time soon. Show me that you will not get married. When I tell you that we do not pay overtime, tell me: “That’s no problem! I wasn’t expecting it, anyway.” Tell me that you want to set customer service records and expand our business reach.

Do not be old. If I see aged defeatism in your eyes, I will not trust your answers. If I can see furrows on your forehead or white around your temples, I will put a mark against your name. We do not want old people here. Old people are more trouble than they are worth. They leave early. They get sick. They ask for vacation time to be with their wives and children. And worst, they question directives. Experience matters in our business. But experience is a two-edged sword. If experience disenchants you to life and work, you can forget about employment with us. For us, only word processing, email and Microsoft Office® experience matter. Experience in life’s heartache, longing and spiritual emptiness will not open our employment door. If you are old, don’t even bother applying with us.

Go to the Social Security Office. You are not fit for modern private employment, no matter how much life you have “experienced.” You are old and tired. You can’t take it, and we don’t want you.

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