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Ketchum, Paul M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 42, Number 5 (February 1938)

Pfeiffer, A. H.
The first job,   p. 89


Page 89


THE FIRST JOB
           by A. H. PFEIFFER '23
I DON'T think the problem of a graduate finding his
   first job after commencement is any different in one
   college than it is in another. Nor is it any different
than had he never been in college. His method of ap-
proach, of course, is different and so are the results. Un-
fortunately, his first task is not an engineering assignment.
It is rather a selling job-a job selling his services-not to
the highest bidder, but to the one that, in his estimation,
shows the greatest possibility into
which he can fit himself.
  As in any sales campaign, it is nec-
essary to do a certain amount of pre-
liminary work. The peddler rings the
doorbells from house to house and
depends on the law of averages for
his meal ticket. The higher grade
salesman gets his leads in other ways
and usually bats a higher average.
You can put yourself in either class.
You can go to the larger cities and
hit employment offices along the fac-
tory streets. If you do, you can stand
in line out on the sidewalk and wait
for the "nothing today, boys ... come
back next week," and, by the end of
day, your feet will be weary and you
* This article,
employment m
large manuf act
in Milwaukee,
bryo engineer a
what is expect
when applying
He tells what qi
employment mi
for in young X
in particular, h(
ter during the i
the third or fourth
won't be so enthusi-
astic at the dinner table. Maybe you have had experience
selling magazines a summer or two ago and have had the
knocks. That situation you had better avoid. Not that it
won't do you any good, but it won't find you that job
you're looking for. It will give you a chance to study hu-
man nature; it will give you sympathetic understanding
that you won't easily forget; it will give you some advance
information on just how hard-boiled the fellow is that you
hope eventually to get to. But if you want to get a job,
you'll use your head more than your feet. Don't misun-
derstand. You can't sit at home and wait for a call. There
are a lot of employers who have never heard of you, and
it's up to you to make yourself known to them. The ques-
tion is "how?"
  Before we get to that, however, we have to do a certain
amount of preliminaries. You have to figure out what
employer you are looking for. You are an engineer-let's
say an electrical engineer. There are many varied fields in
electrical engineering; there are a great variety of jobs in
each of these fields. In the course of your four years at
f ebrItary, 19.-38
school, no doubt one of these fields has stood out in your
mind. One has had greater interest than the others. You
have had mental pictures of yourself in certain jobs. May-
be you have narrowed it down to the electrical motor. If
so, what phase of this field appeals to you? Are you go-
ing to design the motor? Are you going to manufacture
the motor? Or are you going to sell it? It requires tech-
nical electrical engineering training to do any one of these
                    three tasks. Decide tentatively which
written by an
anager in a
uring concern
gives the em-
in idea of just
ed from him
for a position.
gualifications the
tanagers I o o k
engineers, and,
)W to pass mus-
nitial interview.
one it is and go out after it.
  Why are all these preliminaries
necessary? To answer that question I
must give you an idea of what the fel-
low thinks of on the other side of the
desk. How do we go about hiring
men?
  In the selection of men for a large
metal trades shop, it is possible that
in busy periods, we may interview a
hundred men from half that many
trades in one day's work. We hire
pattern makers, molders, coremakers,
chippers, blacksmiths, hammersmiths,
welders, foremen, structural workers,
carpenters, painters, clerks, machinists, toolmakers, tin-
smiths, wiremen, draftsmen, designers, electricians, book-
keepers, accountants, stenographers, typists, and any num-
ber of other skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled help.
  In their desire to find something that will give them a
livelihood, many job seekers have become rather proficient
in "displaying their wares" at the employment office, but
have trouble making them stand up when they are put to
work. This sort of thing is wasteful of time and money
and we must keep it at a minimum, for it is our job to
separate the grain from the chaff and put all the kernels
in the right basket. It is true of the skilled, the unskilled
and the technical applicant. Selecting the right man is a
delicate process that must be done in as short a time as
possible and without offense. The method is about the
same in all cases, but the greater the skill, the more time
it may take to get the right label.
  After all, we are the purchasing agents of labor and
cannot select on the applicant's need for employment un-
less it is accompanied by qualifications to do the necessary
work. Before the purchasing agent accepts a carload of
                   (continued( on page 94)
                                                 Page 89


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