When things get me down, I get overanalytical. A month into unemployment–granted, not that long–I’ve noticed a thing. It seems like anyone might take this as a “duh, goes without saying,” thing. But for the first time in my adult life, I stopped short and thought about it.
Why is it that when bureaucratic employers test applicants for positions in clerical roles, they seem to test only for proficiency with hard copy and electronic file management, Microsoft Office (or other software), legislation, policies, customer service, teamwork, conflict resolution, and more, but not the ability to talk on the phone? In short, they test for all the things but that one thing?
In the process of applying for clerical positions, the requirement of communicating by telephone has come up in some but not all job postings. Yet, testing for the ability to communicate via telephone is not done, nor is testing for appropriate communication over the telephone. It’s just assumed that all people who may have the experience and skills to provide customer service, problem solving, and legal/policy support will also be hearing and speaking, and a specific kind of hearing and speaking.
On a personal level, I’ll not be applying for these jobs anymore, though I passed at least two levels of screening for one position before the ability to communicate on the telephone came up. It was a waste of their time and my time. I hesitated to write about it here because I hate feeling like I’m whining about a very specific example of a very large societal issue. And it’s a vulnerability thing too, oh yes. But, ah, it needs to be said, and I’m learning to talk about it more, not just when my back is up against the wall and disclosure is the only option, but because it’s an aspect of being human, no less than or more than any other. (Just like unemployment).