Specialization Is For Insects- Be a Purple Squirrel

The jobs crisis has brought an unwelcome discovery for many unemployed Americans: Job openings in their old fields exist. Yet they no longer qualify for them.”

The perfect candidate!

According to an article in the New York Times (link below) this is

  • A trend that took root during the recession.
  • Companies became more productive by doing more with fewer workers.
  • Some asked staffers to take on a broader array of duties – duties that used to be spread among multiple jobs.

According to Mark Tomlinson, executive director of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, “there are jobs available, but the worker just has to have more skills than before.”

The trend means  “employees increasingly must be able to run the computerized machinery that dominates most assembly lines. They also have to carry out additional tasks, such as inspecting finished products,” said Tomlinson.

It’s no longer “I just show up and do my job and someone tells me what to do.”

Human resource specialists say employers who increasingly need multi-skilled employees aren’t willing to settle for less. They’d rather wait and hold jobs vacant.

HR specialists  have a nickname for the highly sought but elusive job candidate whose skills and experiences precisely match an employer’s needs: the “purple squirrel.”   

 “There are lots of requests for purple squirrels nowadays,” said Joe Yesulaitis, chief executive of Aavalar Consulting, an IT staffing firm.

One of my favorite quotes is by Robert Heinlein, from his “Notebooks of Lazarus Long

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

I’d hire the person Heinlein is describing!

Are you a Purple Squirrel?

Here is a link to the article: NYTIMES

Purple Squirrel

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