Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Howling for a job?

They came in jeans and business suits, with briefcases and hand-held resumes. They were looking for a new job, a better job. Any job.

For three days last week, at Lowes Motor Speedway, thousands of hopefuls stood in lines that sometimes stretched for hours, waiting for an interview with a new hotel coming to Concord. They came from sales positions and accounting firms and poultry plants - all of them with something in common:

In a few moments, they would be howling.

Great Wolf is a high-energy resort concept, bringing about 500 jobs here, most of them full-time with benefits. The people who get those jobs will be enthusiastic, bouncy. "We hire bubbles," sales manager Tina Jones told the people in line one afternoon.

She also told them that if they weren't willing to howl when they got inside, they might as well turn around and leave. No one did.

Theirs is a story about the downturn. It's not about being demeaned, because no one was in the Great Wolf line. It's about having to see our lives - and ourselves - differently than we once did.

For some, that means finding a new job, a new career, a new direction. For many, it means bracing for the uncertain future or adjusting to a uncomfortable now. It is about being squeezed - in many different ways.

Beginning today, we introduce a new feature - weekdays on CharlotteObserver.com and regularly in this space. It will be your guide to navigating the downturn, no matter how your life is impacted by it.

We'll bring you the latest news on jobs and the economy in Charlotte and nationwide, and we'll bring in experts to help you sort through what it means. We'll help answer questions you have about your investments, your job, the house you want to sell.

We'll also tell your stories - both struggles and uplift. For that we need your help. Tell us how the downturn has changed your life in ways big and very small. Tell us, too, what questions you want answered and what information you want to see.

We have one suggestion already: "I want to hear some good news," said Oscar Bennett, standing in line, waiting for a Great Wolf interview. He is married with two children, and he's been looking for a job for a few months since losing his at the Perdue plant in Concord. He stood next to the bartender who would like a better job, near the salesperson who would like any job, near the marketing manager who thinks her current job might not around for long. Squeezed.

They were a few among thousands, and when Tina Jones gave them the signal, they walked toward the first step of their interviews. In business suits and jeans. With binders and briefcases. And all of them howled.


Anonymous said...

"We hire bubbles"???? You are forced to "howl" or you won't be considered for a job? What kind of sick, sadistic company is this? I'm sorry, but I'm laid off too, and I need a job bad. Not that bad though.

This is about people trying to take advantage of people who are in dire need, and they know that some are so desperate for work, that they'd go along with this BS.

This company needs to go out of business, not hire people.

I can see them telling people that their howl wasn't really satisfying enough, and there are other people who are giving their howl all their heart and soul, and that's the people we want.

Very sick.

Is this the kind of future that, we, the unfortunate, have to look forward to?

I guess this is the change that Obama has envisioned for us, to be mindless slaves to the government and businesses who will thrive under this administration.

James Thomas Shell said...

I would rather people be honest with me about today's economic environment. The one guy wanted some good new and unfortunately there is none when it comes to the job market. You just have to keep grinding and looking and eventually your number will come up.

It is bleak here in the Hickory area. i remember the days when if you didn't like one job, then you could switch to another, Now you are basically stuck, even if you aren't happy.

Their is little faith when it comes to the economy. Seek the good news by hanging with the ones you can believe in, your family, your friends, and your faith.

The Hickory Hound Blog

Anonymous said...

If you lost your job in mid to upper management positions and you are stupid enough to stand in line for a position like this then you deserve what you get.

These people in HR know you are only looking for a "job" until something better comes along. If you were making 45K per year and this position offers 25K you have NO CHANCE. They are going to hire the young worker that was making 19-22K per year.

Great Wolf will file for bankruptcy within 3 years.

Larry said...

Why not break the cycle before it begins. How about this plan?

Make a reserve and keep it protected so you can live at least a year without any future income.

Oh if you missed this opportunity then try this.

Don't pretend you still have a job financially or to other people.

Stop spending and call the cable, satellite radio and any other service you can cut back and make arrangements. Call your major creditors and explain that you have just been given a layoff and find out what options they can offer in the near future is the need should arise. You will be surprised the payment vacations and other options they have.

Again, DON'T KEEP IT A SECRET, go to every last person you know, family, friends old employers and anyone else and give them a copy of your resume and make sure they know you are looking to lend your experience and expertise to any company no matter the position as you will be happy to discuss any openings. This will make you a possible source of jobs for others, as you know of jobs you may not want, but others would be perfect for.

Finally this is the time for you to volunteer in schools, communities, soup kitchens and other groups which are in real need. Do this because it helps but also you have something to tell the interviewer when they ask what you have done lately.

Remember the rules, two percent of jobs come from the Internet an even smaller from the paper and the majority from networking.

Oh and in closing, what is your favorite movie? Why is it your favorite move? Is it the story the action or the actors. Did you know that all of these take revision, planning and rehearsing? So revise your personal movie.

Revise your resume until it is the story you want to convey. Plan you week so you do not sleep until noon, get up and make at least three sales/resume drop offs a day and finally actually rehearse your interview skills over and over with several people and even go out and interview/practice on jobs you are not sure you would like but seem interesting. Again this makes you a source of potential jobs.

Now you are going to feel like everyone else is moving at a faster speed than you and for some reason your world is going just a few seconds slower than theirs.

The reason for this is because you have become more aware of life and the rhythm of what we do everyday. Some people call it being in the zone. Others state is it is a zen like state. In fact it is our old primordial hunting skills from way back coming back to protect us in this time of what we perceive as time of want and need. You senses are in tune with you and how you hone your hunting skills will get you the kill or excuse me the job.

Use this time to enjoy life and see if you need to go back and get the additional education you always wanted.

But don't take that cruise or trip you always wanted but did not have time for. It will be the most miserable trip you ever made. Now if you get a job and have time between the date you start then go for it and it will be the best trip you ever made.

Anonymous said...

Those who are complaining about the "howling", get over it. If that's their custom trademark and they require it to get a job, then get over yourselves. On another note, I encourage any of you looking for work to brush up on your computer skills, such as learning Microsoft Office. You would be surprised how many more positions you could qualify for simply by gaining some computer skills, even if it's only data entry.

Buzz Waldron said...

How many former Observer employees were in that line?

Anonymous said...

It seems everyone has forgotten the great economic machine of the 1990's.

It was always a big hoax, there never was any economic boom, just the largest financial bubble in all known human history.

The job market has been poor for decades. The majority of jobs were always low wage service positions.

The answer to this "depression" is for elected officials and citizens to throw off the false axioms of the last 35 years and demand a return to the policies of FDR and JFK.

Otherwise this depression will worsen to dark age proportions.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME advice! I hope everyone takes the time to read your comment!!!

Anonymous said...

Larry's advice? Maybe I missed his point. It is a WASTE OF TIME to randomly stop in and drop off a resume.

Working a 25k to 30K job it is IMPOSSIBLE to save a years worth of income.

Larry might as well told us all the stimulus package was our hope.

Glad someone enjoyed his book. I though it was useless.

Anonymous said...

Here is part of the problem! 4 year degree and you want to start me at 23K!

Job Title: Human Resource Benefits Clerk
Location: US-NC-Charlotte | Company: AAA Carolinas
Job Description:
AAA Carolinas is looking for an ENTRY level Benefits Clerk to join our Human Resource team to provide data entry and other processing support to our benefits specialist. In addition this position supports the entire HR team with filing and other general duties as required.
Job Duties and Responsibilities:

• Provide data entry and other processing suppport to the benefits specialist and other HR team members.
• Handle all human resource filing.
• Answer all incoming HR phone lines
• Be first point of contact for all visitors to Human Resources.

This is an entry level position. Starting salary is $23,000

Job Requirements:
• 4 year degree
• 1-2 years human resource or benifits experience.
• Must possess excellent accuracy in work and fine attention to detail.
• Demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills.
• PC Proficiency in Microsoft Office required.

• Ultimate HRIS background

Anonymous said...

Right on the mark Anonymous. Larry's advice is worthless, as are most of these self help gurus. They're all impotent.

It's a fallacy of composition. How do you personally survive a "depression"? Unless you're fortunate enough to have an FDR come along and save the nation, the answer is "you dont".

Anonymous said...

Jobs are overrated. The best thing to do is just work for cash. A lot of people do it. I have one friend in his forties who has never paid income tax. Ever.

The only problem is health care. That's where they get you, and force you to howl. Health care is overpriced. Even if you're not paying taxes, it's hard to come up with 10 grand for a simple outpatient procedure. And people are wise to the whole cash only subculture now, and they often won't pay the going rate, knowing you have to take handyman jobs when you can. But it pays more than Great Wolf, I can tell you that. That name, Great Wolf, jeez. The real metaphor for a wolf is the guy who's out there working for cash, bucking a system that wants you to be a howling puppet.

Anonymous said...

What I cannot understand is how this newspaper and other media outlets here talk about how Charlotte is fairing much better than most places. If that was the case why is our unemployment (the last time I checked at 8.5%) while the likes of other cities are significantly lower (Chicago 7.2%, Raleigh 5.5%, Boston and New York just shades over 6.0%) and countless other cities of comparable size and larger are fairing much much better. Hell we are even a full point above the national average. How bout the papers and the news stop saying how Charlotte has faired this recession better and will pull out of it better than other places and offer real suggestions on how to improve this mess on a local basis.

Working for a living said...

I think Larry gave excellent advice. Seems to me, if you want a job, it would make sense to follow it. If you just want to talk about what you can't do, then go ahead and talk while you stand in line for another handout. If you want to do something about your situation, read Larry's advice again. You may just find something worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

What I cannot understand is how this newspaper and other media outlets here talk about how Charlotte is fairing much better than most places


The media has been lying for years about the state of the economy. They mistake "debt" for "growth".
Their banking empire is bankrupt hundreds of times over and the foolish government is trying to "bail out" a quadrillion dollars of worthless derivative contracts. It cant be done.
The first step in a solution is to put the current system into bankrutpcy protection.

Larry said...

Following up the comments.

Thanks to those who know that an open mind is the key to any success in business/life.

Remember the head of IBM once said of Computers that he only saw the need of two or three of them selling in a year.

As far as my advice of having a years reserve, this reserve is different than a years salary. A years salary includes taxes.

I have never seen anyone who could not cut back on their expenses. I will bet you never figured what that cup of coffee each day for a year has cost you even if you go to McDonalds.

I challenge any of you to who want me to look at your budget and I will find things that you never dreamed you could live without. Don't believe me Larry@LarryBumgarner.com and I will be happy to suggest a budget for free just to help you save this money or cut costs.

But before you write me I will required you to go to the library and read the book "Who moved my Cheese?" and "The Millionaire Next Door".

Now to those of us with degrees. We were sold a bill of goods. The fact is we are no different than those who they hire to haul brick. We have to quit the I have always lived in the Castle act and realize that taking a job some consider beneath our ability as a stepping stone. Yes you may have stepped here before but these stone are slippery and you just did not notice it before.

As far as my writing a book I am sorry as I can not think of another way to help. I could give you zingers and one liners but like I always told my employees before I sold them my company, my purpose is to make you the person you knew you could always become.

I am now 53 and retired at 45. I did so as I read the Book Working by Studs Terkel back in College in the Seventies and realized that humans have been placed on a track racing each other and some get ahead, some fall behind and some just get off the track. My question is why? Has the life you lived to this point the one you wanted all your life?

I have spent the last several years volunteering in inner-city communities, the most challenged schools and with a lot of groups just trying to make things better in this City/County/State/Country and these have been some of the best years of my life.

PS: I did the Banking, Commercial Lending and Owner of my own company route which I sold to my employees. So when I suggest these ideas it is because I know they work.

Anonymous said...


Did you see the stock market tank today after the announced all the bailout BS?


There are no jobs!

And even if this pork bill passes, we all will be doing data entry or filling up potholes for a living.

Wake up, and pull your head out of the sand Larry. Time to quit sugar coating this subject. Charlotte, and all of the USA is in extremely serious, very dire straights right now, and the bottom hasn't hit us yet.

We are being forced to become socialists, America.

Larry said...

News Alert poster.

There are no jobs you say. Are you aware that back during the depression around seventy five percent of the country was still employed?

Today we are looking at well over 90 percent of people employed.

I agree that with this stimulus bill they have bought us with our own tax money. In fact I say we should use the following for the slogan: BailOut! Better than a Military Takeover!

As far as coating it you seem to have coated it with a bitter taste. The fact is both political parties are to blame or if you like one party over the other then your favorate party could have at least warned us a few years ago.

If I need the money I will fill pot holes or do data entry nothing is wrong with honest or hard work.

Thousand of people do these jobs daily and are very professional in their work.

One thing you can depend on is change. You have no control over change but you do have the ultimate power. That power being your ability to decide how you will respond to it.

Anonymous said...

I knew you were drinking the Kool-Aid Larry, and you just proved it with your post above.

We can all get minimum wages for the jobs you are talking about, and I didn't work in my field for 25 years all to go back to what I was making 15 years ago. Alot of us have something called CAREERS before this all happened, we invested in ourselves and our families. Are you saying we have to give all that up because the politicians of this country that you voted for say so? Damn right I'm bitter.

90% employed right now????????? You HAVE to show me some viable proof for that number! I haven't laughed this hard since I got laid off!

I wonder if you'll have to give up that green leafy stuff you're smoking when you all force us to go "green" to save the planet with you socialist agenda?

Larry said...

Wow you have already weighed, measured and found me wanting without knowing anything about me.

Sorry you have worked for 25 years so hard. Before you were laid off how long had it been before you had gone to an update or school for your industry or better yet a college for cross organizational skills that would allow you walk into other successful industries which are similar but have grown or evolved the technology that made your industry grow those twenty five years?

I apologize about the 90 percent that made you laugh. I can see how this silly a number would make anyone laugh. It is actually 92.3 percent people employed.

http://www.bls.gov/ces/ as if Jan 2009 reports.

Now keep in mind that some areas like where Obama visited in Elkhart In. They have 17 or some say 20 percent. Keep in mind this is the Recreational Vehicle Capital of the World as the majority of them are built there. He does seem to like a receptive audience for the camera.

So yes you can see that we all may have to move to where the jobs are. That is sadly what they did back during the Depression.

At this point I have made you angrier and I am sorry. Today for some reason in this country we have been led to believe we are entitled to things. Credit is one. The other is that if you work and work you will get rewarded.

Rewards are fleeting. Equity is something you should always strive for. So many people working never see the advantage of getting with smaller companies and eventually buying them. Trading off extensive knowledge for future equity.

Too often we have leveraged our salaries into massive debt and a life style suggested by the work or career we may have had. That career is over. A new one lies ahead. The way to prepare for it is to cut back to a career where you can extend your resources as long as possible. And keep in mind that any income coming in is better than zero.

And in closing and just before I die from your future missives. Keep in mind that I am just the messenger. Yes driving a SUV Honda Pilot and always voting conservativish and like everyone else on the plant see how they either try to sell us global warming this year and die by the cold of space killing us all next year.