Thursday, September 1, 2011

HR guys writing those job descriptions

Originally published in the Tuscarawas County edition of the Bargain Hunter.

Every month I get via e-mail a list of media and marketing jobs available in northeast Ohio. The listing is aggregated and the various human relations departments of the companies and organizations looking for employees of a certain kind obviously played a role in the job descriptions and requirements.

Scanning through the most current list, it occurred to me that it ought to be required reading for entering or returning to college. You’ve got a lot to learn, folks.
A digital bookseller is looking for a public relations and social media specialist. Sounds straight-forward enough, doesn’t it?
Here’s a small part of the job description:

“The public relations and social media specialist is responsible for providing quality PR and social media communications and support for (the company’s) marketing initiatives. This position involves interaction with many of our important audiences, including our trade media, library partners, end users, national and community organizations, and industry professionals. This position will use discretion to make recommendations, develop innovative, actionable strategies and messages for (the company’s) PR and social media (e.g., blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) initiatives…”

Responsibilities of the job include “drafting high quality communications, including press releases and blog posts, while balancing the demands of brand management and cost/deadlines for PR and social media initiatives; manage target media list, relationships via email and phone, list database and wire service, also tracking media mentions and industry news; manage blog editorial calendar, and (the company) presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets; provide quantitative and qualitative analysis (ROI) of results across all media targeted; and provide support and input for other (company) marketing initiatives as assigned.”

Whew. I’m tired already.

USA Today reported recently that a lot of people are abandoning the stress-filled corporate world, opting for less pay but better job satisfaction. After reading hundreds of similar job descriptions, I understand why.

Back when I was hiring reporters, I focused on only a couple of requirements – a degree in journalism or communications; ability to get along with others; a natural curiosity and love of news; and a strong command of the English language, i.e. good writing.

I’m sure an HR stiff could have scared away a number of good candidates by rewriting the previous paragraph to include all the tasks and skills that a good reporter needs and which at one time newspapers were willing to teach.


I’m reading “Miracle at Philadelphia” written by Catherine Drinker Bowen in 1966. It is the story of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which was a contentious affair by any standard, but one from which our current elected leaders – across all spectrums – could take a lesson.

In her preface, Bowen wrote this:

“The Federal Convention, viewed from the records, is startlingly fresh and ‘new.’ The spirit behind it was the spirit of compromise, seemingly no very noble flag to rally round. Compromise can be an ugly word, signifying a pack with the devil, a chipping off of the best to suit the worst. Yet in the Constitutional Convention the spirit of compromise reigned in grace and glory; as Washington presided, it sat on his shoulder like the dove…

“Men rise to speak and one sees them struggle with the bias of birthright, locality, statehood – South against North, East against West, merchant against planter. One sees them change their minds, fight against pride and when the moment comes, admit their error.

“If the story is old, the feelings behind it are as new as Monday morning.”

Perhaps “Miracle at Philadelphia,” which arguably saved the experiment and gave rise to our great nation, should be required reading for our congressmen, our state legislators, our governor and all the other politicos to whom we entrust our future.

Had Gov. John Kasich been willing to compromise earlier this year, he wouldn’t be facing what appears to be an impending landslide repeal of Senate Bill 5.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is but the latest example of a politician who doesn’t get it. Perry, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, called Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s policies “treasonous.” No, they’re not treasonous, Gov. Perry, for goodness sakes.

You may not agree with them and that’s OK. But statesmen and leaders don’t make dumb statements like that.

Perry’s already a disappointment two weeks into it. He’s another guy who ought to read the book.

Speaking of dumb statements, here’s the all-time dumbest call-in remark that seems to get reprinted on a regular basis (only the target changes):

“Listen up, Dover City Schools. What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?” (Grammar corrected.)

Now, why would you print that? What does that statement add to the debate over whether Dover voters should or should not build a new high school?

And is there really someone out there who believes he/she speaks for everyone? Well, yes, obviously there is.

Here’s my take: Dover High is decrepit and outdated. It needs to be replaced. It is beyond renovation.

I understand that this is a tough time to ask voters for additional tax dollars to build a new high school. And some people really can’t afford another hit on their income. I’d prefer not to pay any additional taxes either. But right now I’m inclined to support the request because I think a new high school ultimately will benefit Dover and all of its residents by maintaining and even increasing property values.

I have no kids or grandkids, who will directly benefit from a new high school. So, there’s nothing personally in it for me except perhaps being able to live in a better and safer community.

It’s no secret that communities with great schools have weathered the recession better than the have-nots.

That’s my thought. And I’m not speaking on anyone’s behalf other than my own. If you want to vote against it for whatever reason, that’s fine, too. Have at it.

You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter (dfarrell_dover).

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