Job Fair Observations, Tattoos 2

May 20th, 2010

Although I was being somewhat facetious in my Jobs of Tomorrow post in which I suggested tattoo removal as a future franchise concept, today's thread on awesomely bad tatts shows why it might not be such a silly idea. You'll find that link at the bottom.

At yesterday's WorkForce job fair, I saw plenty of unemployed people with tattoos on arms, legs, faces, and backs. Many looked like they were going to a cook-out at Ala Moana Park, or on their way to a pick-up game of hoops. Some guys wore ties and long-sleeved white shirts, which kind of confused me -- were they Mormons on a mission, or just over-dressed?

It makes sense to wear a sharp suit if you're applying for a sales job in the men's department at Macy's or Nordstrom -- two new participants I hadn't seen at prior job fairs. Otherwise, I'd say leave the tie and suit at home. Business-type aloha shirts and pressed slacks is the norm, so go with the flow, fellas.

What bugged me the most was overhearing how locals were talking to each other. Lots of casual profanity with every other word being "f---ing" this or that. Young guys were the worst offenders in that category. I seriously wonder if they would be capable of conducting a normal conversation if the "f" word was removed from their vocabulary.

It's also apparent that many of these unemployed people don't read newspapers or watch local TV news. If they did, they wouldn't be showing up unprepared and dressed for failure. Which brings up one of my big pet peeves: people (not you since you're reading my blog) who SHOULD be looking for every bit of free advice they can get are not taking advantage of what is available to anyone who wants it. Plain and simple, they aren't doing their homework.

The cost of a newspaper subscription is cheap compared to all the useful info you can find related to job searches and career advice. In the Sunday Advertiser classifieds, Beth Busch -- the WorkForce executive director -- has written some really useful columns for job seekers. I feel our website also offers plenty of valuable tips and links to resources. Yet we aren't getting as many visitors as you would expect with so many local people out of work. What the heck are these unemployed folks doing with their free time?

On a positive note, there were more employers looking to hire -- Beth said they had 135 participants, which is about a 20 percent increase over last year's job fairs. There were also about 10 percent fewer job hunters attending, so it appears more people are finding work.

The problem though is most of the jobs are of the low-paying variety. I mean, it's great to see hotels and the hospitality industry were seeking workers, and entry level is better than no jobs at all. But for older, more experienced professionals, it's still tough going. They'll have to either upgrade their skills or get advanced degrees if they want to continue working in certain career fields.

We did manage to find some job seekers who were brave enough to go on camera and pitch themselves. Other people we approached didn't have a clue on how to sell themselves to a prospective employer. If you can't say out loud why someone should hire you, why should anyone hire you? Next job fair we plan on bringing in a professional business consultant to coach candidates in that area.

Here's the link to a thread on bad tattoos. Warning: some of the photos are mildly NSFW or kind of gross... such as the belly button-centered tatts. Ewww! (My original post on Tattoo Removal Parlors idea.)

And if you know anyone who is looking for work, please tell them to check out our show on OC16! They can get details and times at our CCTV website. Mahalo.

16 Responses to “Job Fair Observations, Tattoos 2”

  1. Michael:

    Parle vou Francais?
    Speak unto others as you would have them speak to you.

    If I am not hired by anyone, their loss. I feel if one does not give me a chance to prove myself, why should I care working for that person?
    One wants to know my reason why they should hire me, give me the job and find out for themselves.

    I think when I see someone job seeking, if they approach in shorts and t-shirt, I feel this person wants to work but would rather be at the beach surfing. In a coat and tie, I would think this guy is looking like a peacock, as if in mating.

    If I decide to work again, I should have a whole bunch of resumes ready to present. Why fill out applications at stations when I just pass them out and move on. My time is planned and I take as much or as little as needed.

    Body tatoos, I would be associated with Yakuza. Loyalty and dedication is one trait I have. I do have all my fingers, too.

  2. Scott:

    I don't know much about how unemployment benefits work, but maybe these guys were going to the fair just so they could report to their benefits counselor they had made an actual attempt. Who knows. Yes, with regard to the cussing locals, I observed that a lot. Since I was a haole from the mainland I had to keep my comments to myself, but I really don't miss that thuggish ainokea ignorance in Hawaii. The mainland is very refreshing. Some lovely cities and people with civility. Lots of that lacking in Hawaii with the young people. I've had some recent discussion in my new profession with mainlanders who vacation in Hawaii and many have made comments about the mistreatment by local folks. I just said, yep.

  3. Rich Figel:

    Could be some were going through the motions to fulfill requirements for unemployment, but I think most that were dressed inappropriately were just clueless about things like that. We don't teach it in public schools, I don't think. And I hear that even college kids don't get much guidance in that area (public colleges, anyway).

    Re the foul language and gangsta culture, isn't that kind of how it is all over with the younger generation? To be fair, it starts with mainstream media. Cable stations, the Comedy Channel, hip-hop on the radio, may bleep the "F" word, but it's being used more and more by people I actually like -- hey, Jon Stewart, it's not automatically funny just because you add "f---ing" or "f---" you to a comedy bit! After awhile it gets old.

    I miss creative insults and putdowns.

  4. Michael:

    When one is told not to get personal, what is the limit to creative insults and putdowns?

    I missed days when there was a "Kill Haole day". Haoles used to stay home the whole week. Should look it up. It was part of our days when younger.

  5. Rich Figel:

    Michael -

    Don't make me invoke the Rosette Rule of deleting posts that stray too far off topic. I just don't want commenters on this blog making anonymous remarks about each other that go over the line and start sounding a little nasty, comprende? Let's keep it friendly... except for the haoles.

    BTW, growing up in Jersey, since my classmates knew I was half-Japanese, they used to "hoof" me on "Remember Pearl Harbor Day" when we'd be out drinking in December.

  6. Scott:

    On topic, bet lots of them haoles who stayed home that day are living quite well in Honolulu. Education pays, ignorance and violence do not.

  7. Michael:

    I do keep it friendly, it's the Haoles who can't take it.

    Whose fault for drinking on Remember Pearl Harbor Day? Like saying Kick me with a sign on your back. I suppose you let them go home without any damage. Education pays but ignorance and violence do not. Someone must be ignorant to get beat up.
    I hope you consider this a friendly insult and putdown. NO hurt intended.

  8. Manoa Mist:

    Dude, saw a visitor in our office yesterday. He had two things stuck thru his ears, and tats on every finger and all over his neck. Dr. Strangelove. Wasn't sure what he was there for, but I felt like calling security or at least searching his bag. How do folks like this really think they'll be hired in the corporate world?
    Fat chance.

  9. Rich Figel:

    Maybe subconsciously (or intentionally) they DON'T want to be hired by "traditional" or conservative type companies, and this is how they advertise their "individuality" or creativity? I dunno. To me, it's like walking in with a chip on your shoulder and daring your future boss to knock it off.

    Also, it's got to cost a pretty penny to have all those piercings and tattoo work done, no? I'd rather spend my money on trips or other stuff. But to each his or her own, I guess!

    Just curious, but aside from the tatts, did the person seem like he was dressed appropriately for an interview or meeting? Or were you so distracted by the other stuff that you didn't even notice?

  10. Michael:


  11. David In Oregon:

    Rich: You want to have some fun? Go and check out this website. It is called Hanzi Smatter.

    While it is all about the misuse of Chinese characters (language) in things like billboards, signs, etc., many of the entries involve tattoos. I can't help but laugh over the many people who have Chinese or Japanese characters tattoos, and have no clue what the characters mean. It's completely ridiculous.

  12. Rich Figel:

    Hey, David -

    Thanks for the link! Fun stuff -- interesting notes on usage too. Speaking of cultural/language mix-ups, the NY Times recently ran an article about funny Chinese/English signs that were put up for the Expo in Shanghai, which mangled translations (happens in Japan a lot too). The Chinese actually have a different mindset too when it comes to their signage. For instance, they think of plants as living things -- so instead of just saying "Keep off the grass," the signs say something like, "We're sleeping, please don't disturb us" (meaning the grass). Kind of like the Japanese Shinto concept that all things, including inanimate objects, have a spirit or soul.

    Here's the link (click on the slideshow too!)...

  13. Rich Figel:

    And more NYT strange signs from abroad:

  14. David In Oregon:

    Rich: those links were hilarious. One of them reminded me of a sign in Downtown Portland. Bicycling is rather popular out here. One of the signs was posted to illustrate the danger (to bicyclists) of rails used by the light rail trains around here. It showed the bicycle with its front wheel turned sideways, and the bicyclist flying through the air. Well, some comedian out there decided it wasn't funny, and added their own piece to the sign. They added an alligator to the sign, so it looks like the cyclist is flying into the open jaws of a hungry alligator. :lol:

  15. Rich Figel:

    Ha! I love when people get creative -- but I hate ugly graffiti. I get it when someone is trying to do "public art" like Keith Haring used to in NYC subway stations back in the day when I lived there. Unfortunately, most of the tagging I see in Honolulu is just ugly scribbling. That I don't understand... ditto for the graffiti I saw in Rome when my wife and I were there. Even on centuries old buildings and churchs! Sheesh.

    So David, are you going to school in Oregon or working/living there now?

  16. David In Oregon:

    I don't blame you for hating ugly graffiti. It drives me nuts to see such stupidity spray painted all over the walls and sidewalks of the neighborhood.

    I'm currently living here in Oregon (over 10yrs now). I'm thinking of career changing, which is why this blog is so interesting to me.