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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thomas Friedman, "How to Get a Job": Tom Becomes the Ann Landers of Job Hunting

Do you remember Thomas Friedman's March 2013 New York Times op-ed entitled "Need a Job? Invent It" (see:, Thomas Friedman told us that in order to avoid unemployment, our children must be schooled in innovation:

"This is dangerous at a time when there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job — the thing that sustained the middle class in the last generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. That is, it either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being buried — made obsolete — faster than ever. Which is why the goal of education today, argues [Harvard education specialist Tony] Wagner, should not be to make every child 'college ready' but 'innovation ready' — ready to add value to whatever they do."

This was marvelous advice for that one tenth of a percent of American youth capable of heeding this "wisdom," particularly given that only some 50% of new businesses in America survive five years (see: These are not great odds for "innovators" seeking to strike out on their own and implement new ideas.

But not to worry, Friedman is back with more great job hunting hints in his latest Times opinion piece entitled
"How to Get a Job" ( Tom Terrific now tells us:

"Underneath the huge drop in demand that drove unemployment up to 9 percent during the recession, there’s been an important shift in the education-to-work model in America. Anyone who’s been looking for a job knows what I mean. It is best summed up by the mantra from the Harvard education expert Tony Wagner that the world doesn’t care anymore what you know; all it cares 'is what you can do with what you know.' And since jobs are evolving so quickly, with so many new tools, a bachelor’s degree is no longer considered an adequate proxy by employers for your ability to do a particular job — and, therefore, be hired. So, more employers are designing their own tests to measure applicants’ skills. And they increasingly don’t care how those skills were acquired: home schooling, an online university, a massive open online course, or Yale. They just want to know one thing: Can you add value?"

Can you smile? Are you empathetic? Are you ethical? Do you work hard? Who cares! Tom would have us know that in today's brave new world, it's all a matter of whether you can add value.

Well, the vast majority of people can't "add value," except to the extent that communication skills and integrity can be deemed as such. Me? I'm hooked on integrity, but heck, I'm a 21st Century dinosaur.

You're lacking in communication skills and integrity and are given to narcissism? Well, not to worry. Find the right team to coach you opposite a teleprompter, and a wonderful job in the Oval Office might just be waiting for you (see:

1 comment:

  1. Oh, the advices of the rich and famous.
    A couple of years ago, Ivanka Trump wrote a book advising the disadvantages youth how to be hired. She, Ivanka, was employed and naturally she had all the right qualifications to teach the poor and hungry girls and boys how to be where she was. So, she advised how to dress and smile and clearly was proud of her good work.
    This was a sad day on NPR's Lopate's show, when the host, who was clearly ordered to invite and show a "genuine" interest in what our fully employed Trump had to say, was squeezing his questions through his protesting teeth and listening to her answers through his protesting ears.
    Thomas, my beloved Thomas ... For many years, our billionaire Thomas has been doing the same, suffering on thoughts of unemployed and poor and hungry youth and giving them advice, more advice and even more advice. Precious, of course. I will never forgot his precious column (one of the two which I read) in which he shared information how he, Thomas, prepares his girls to compete in the tough global world. One small piece was missing in this column, namely the fact that, his little girls will never have to ... COMPETE.