Now that Yazaki is gone, where to from here?

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Orlando Huaman*

Note. I dedicate my article to my good hard working people of Yasaki.

I am referring here to the one article titled: “Just transition of Yasaki workers critical for Samoa”, and the editorial piece: “End of Yazaki a sad day for Samoa”

Yes indeed, it is a sad day for Samoa to have 700 employees of Yazaki out of a job. This reminds me of what happened after the conclusion of the WWII. Why? Because thousand upon thousands of soldiers and officers were returning to the U.S. What for? To look for civilian jobs.

Were they prepared for it? No. So there was a big problem for the government of the U.S. to provide jobs for them. Military experience was all they had. So here was the solution: Somebody have to develop a type of resume that would make individuals of these men instead of dog tags, and to stress their achievements that their future values to an employer would be immediately apparent.

This type of resume was not a simple one. That could be filled out in a few minutes, that finally emerged. This somebody who invented that resume did not want the boys to get simple jobs in which they might be trapped for weeks, months, or years before they discovered they were getting nowhere. 

It began by asking the boys to analyse their achievements. Now the boys knew what they can do well. Other steps follow. This method was so spectacular that led to the development of the Functional Resume to assist civilians faced with similar problems.

For a sharp reader who could detect  a parallelism between the above and what are confronting  the boys (and girls at Yasaki) after the shut down the 25th of August 2017, is clear: that is, unemployed young people with limited skills, and education looking for a rewarding employment.

However, I take exception to the course taken by Mr. Peni. Mr. Peni, you can not come out with “career counsellors” out of the staff at Yasaki! To start with, to be a certified  Career Counsellor the person has to have a master degree in higher education, among other qualifications. Also Mr. Uelese Tupuola mentioned the fact that the “trainers” have reached out to 130 workers. I wonder how.

The good intentions of these two gentlemen are commendable, but the results are highly questionable. 

Let me give you a personal example to illustrate the above aberration. Failing to obtain a desired job by myself, I looked for a career counsellor. This particular career counsellor was non other than the inventor of Career Development. Anywhere. His 10 day Seminar successfully prepared me to obtain the job I wanted. Would I say that I was a career counsellor? No way. But I studied his methods that 40 years later allowed me to publish my book. A copy of which you have. 

By the way Mr. Peni, The I.L.O. publication: MY GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT. For young people in the Pacific, does not fill the bill- in my opinion- for people looking for employment. Too elementary. Example: Age range not specified; the word accomplishment/achievements is not taken as relevant to applicants; neither how to analyse them; emphasis is given to the applicant not to the company. Your list of skill on page 22 is absolutely irrelevant, as the applicant has to check off, without evidence of having them. Why? because you can’t say I have this and that skill without any proof.

By reviewing  that Manual, with a critical eye, is telling me that the expertise of I.L.O. is not centred in the Job Finding Strategy.

Statistical data supplied by Mr. Donglin Li of I.L.O. are relevant, as well as of Mr. Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling. 

Among the I.L.O. partners, I also take exception to the S.N.Y.C. It says that can generate C.V. automatically. Let me remind this partner that C.V. generated automatically does not have any value from an employer point of view. An employer hires whoever he/she likes based on achievements and the help he/she can get from that applicant. And that selection is based on a C.V. that reflect the applicant personality in his/her own words and not on a document format generated by an impersonal machine. 

All and all, I think I.L.O. and its partners are doing an excellent job in trying to find out a suitable employment  for those displaced from Yasaki. But I.L.O. can do so much. But at the end of the day, as they say, the buck stops with you, the job seeker.  those whose behaviour (rule of thumb: more time looking for a job, the less the despair) adjust more closely to the way in which a job is found will be more  successful at the end.

This is what is going on in the mind of those people. Some think that there is no hurry in getting a job, and wait till Xmas pass. Some with pressing family responsibilities think that now is the moment to hit the road and find something as an income. Some are thinking in going abroad and make more money than here, possible. Some will retire to their respective plantations and help the old folks produce and sell more taro and banana, etc. Some or a group of them are planning to open up a little business; that would help them just fine. And some will do nothing and join the crowd parading Beach Rd.

As the time goes by, the money they receive from Yasaki will slowly but surely will decrease day by day. If they are not careful and plan ahead and avoid superfluous spending like there is no tomorrow. Some will “celebrate” just this weekend. 100 or 200 plus will fly out the window for a moment of pleasure. But around the first month of the 2018 they will sorely miss those tupe foolishly spent. Those who are very generous with their churches, better watch out. 

Those pastors will be waiting for the Yazaki people to hand over all their money to them. And what would they get?  a “God bless you my brother.” “Because God is watching you how much money you give me. Your place in heaven is already reserved in your name.” Vices like alcohol, tobacco, gambling better cut them to the core. Good for your health my friend also.

Depending of how you handle your Yazaki’s money will determine how serious you are in finding a job. Remember, family first and foremost.

Now let us take a closer look at those job seekers. First there is a disadvantage in the level of education. Second, there is not much variety as far as skills are concerned. Not too many, I suppose, are what we call “bilingual”. Those who have not savings and mishandle the money received will have a hardship in the long run.

Here we have a very homogeneous group of people with repetitive skills competing for available jobs, among themselves, everywhere. So, what makes them different?

So they have, almost, a common denominator. What makes them different is: HOW MUCH THEY KNOW ABOUT THE ART OF GETTING A JOB. Luck does not count in my opinion. Neither paying attention to the “We will call you.”

Considering that a great percentage of the job seekers (male/females) are young, these are the qualities that prospective employers will be looking for:

In this order: Attitude, Enthusiasm, Experience, Appearance, Skill Match, Qualifications and fit with the organization culture.

As you can see attitude toward the job counts a lot, way above qualifications.

As far as paperwork is concerned there is little to show for. All of them have had just one job and with a fixed set of skills. Bear this in mind. If you write down in your resume  WHAT YOU HAVE MADE of your job, your chances will be better than those who write what the job made of them.

Therefore, their C.V. will look just the same. Remember this. Do not copy the job application form that comes from the MCIL. They are no good. Too much irrelevant information that does not have anything to do with the job at hand.  Your name and your contact will suffice. And if the employer is interested in your services, only then, he will ask you all kinds of relevant  questions..

As long as we understand that getting a job is a serious business, we are OK. Those who think otherwise will soon complain that there is no jobs for them.

And to finish my “peroration” here is a good advise from an old timer who has had many jobs in many different countries, and under trying circumstances. Meaning; I have always depended on myself. It is good to think abundance not scarcity. Don’t go as a beggar for a job, hold on to your potential and resourcefulness, believe me. Learn how to sell yourself. And how is that? you may ask. What do I have to sell? What you have to sell is: Listen to this very keenly: WHAT YOU CAN DO WELL, ENJOY IT WHILE DOING IT, AND FEEL PROUD ABOUT IT. That is the secret, the rest is just filling.

Note. You may not know, for sure, what you do well. You can easily find out at the library-read below. Good riddance.

This is a very good advise: try to live only with ninety percent of your earnings, the rest put it aside for rainy days, just as it is the case for you people of Yasaki.

 If money is no problem ( a good fat bank saving, for instance) you can take your sweet time and be selective about the job you want. But if tupe seems to be kind of scarce-by the day; this is what I would do, if I were you, and I have done several times in my 41 (1962 to 2003) years of active work. Now, this advise is optional: take it or leave it! Nothing to loose, but your job!

Here it is; Grab any job somebody  offers you. Why? because it is better to have some money coming in, than some money going out. BUT, here is a good but. Do not loose sight of the job you would prefer to have. I myself have held jobs that I really hate them. Here some examples: Have worked underground in the zinc/iron French mines at the highest altitude possible, 12 hours a day, and 6 days a week. I only saw the Sun on Sundays! And you know why I endured it ?, for a year, very excellent pay. 

My saving were enough to keep me going after my dream job. Another one: worked for a big car insurance company from 10:00 P.M. to 8:00 A.M., two hours away from home, no car. The funny thing was that the day they were going to fire me was the day I accepted my first international job. Coincidence? good luck? I don’t know. But I never went hungry. Also, have had 4 part/time jobs in a week at low wages, besides going to graduate school at night. I never gave up! So would you. Life is not a picnic-for some.

Did I enjoy all these hardships? Of course I did. No  choice! You know why?, because at the end I got the dream I was after. I paid in advance in cash:Pain before pleasure!

 And by the way, those job seekers who have never had the chance to step into a library, this is your great opportunity. While there ask for a book needed for a job seeking youth. And remember, I am more than willing to help those who need a little push. See add in the best newspaper in town.

All the above can be summarized in two great sayings; One by J.F. Kennedy who said: “Ask not what the company can do for you, but what you can do for the company” Actually, he did not say company but Country. Ha, ha. But the message is there. The other was Maxime Gorky who said. “If your work is a pleasure, life is a joy; if your work is a duty life is slavery.” You choose, the ball is in your court!.

 

*Orlando Huaman. Job Counsellor. Malololelei.

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