Ketchum, Paul M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 42, Number 5 (February 1938)
Pfeiffer, A. H.
The first job, p. 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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