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The practical and the pretentious

Review: Career guides and guises

Weddle's Guide(s) to Employment Web Sites 2001 -- for job seekers and recruiters
By Peter Weddle, AMACOM
and
"Success@Life"
By Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold, Newmarket Press



By Porter Anderson
CNN Career

(CNN) -- Children and ironies first.

•  We're talking here about guides to employment Web sites. And the guides are old-fashioned books. Hard copy.

•  Those guides are the more valid material covered in this article, and yet the duller stuff to discuss. "Success@Life," a new and predictably fluffy thing that advocates "zentrepreneurism," is livelier to talk about -- and silly.

These truths being self-evident, at least from this vantage point, let's start with the meal and save the snack to last.

Weddle's Guides

Peter Weddle has been "at it," since 1996, researching the resources available on the Web to both job-seekers and recruiters. He's the former CEO of Job Bank USA, which he sold in '96. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, Weddle has written seven books and now lives the life of one of these expert-consultant-observer types who seem to do so well for themselves as free-lancers -- telling the rest of us how to be full-time employees. Another irony, gang way.

All Weddle's Gaul is divided into three parts and he'd love to sell you all three.

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•  There's "Weddle's Job-Seeker's Guide to Employment Web Sites." That one breaks down its information about various work-search sites into general site information; search and career management services; and a given site's self-description (rather telling stuff here).

To get an utterly impartial example, we stood high up on something and threw the book onto the floor. It fell open to the listing for IdealJobs.com.

Under general site information, we learn that the site went up on August 4, 1999, is owned by the vaguely barnyard-sounding SILYX Corporation and is visited by 200,000 people per month.

Under search and career management services, we learn that IdealJobs.com posts full- and part-time jobs, some 40,000 positions all told, with a national scope, no fee for storing a resume or profile, a confidentiality feature (to keep your boss from knowing you're looking) and a 90-day storage period for resumes.

Under the site's self-description, we find this refreshingly unassuming and hype-free text: "IdealJobs.com is a free resume and job-posting site. Many free features are available, such as e-mail, enhanced privacy and resume and job management."

•  The second part of the Weddle empire is "Weddle's Recruiter's Guide to Employment Web Sites." Recruiters get general site info; job-posting info; resume sourcing; other recruiting services offered; that self-description material; and e-mail and phone data for contacting the job site in question.

Again we're on something high -- OK, it's a matter of standing on the desk, this is professional research, you know -- and the book lands on the floor open to the listing for CollegeRecruiter.com.

Under general stuff -- the site went up in November 1996, it gets 400,000 unique visitors and 1.5 million page views per month, its statistics audited by Super Stats.

Under job-posting services, we learn that CollegeRecruiter.com has full- and part-time job listings, national, charges a $100 fee to post a job for 30 days, will let you link the posting to your own site, offers volume discounts, broadcast postings to Yahoo! and 80 other career sites and so on.

Peter Weddle
Peter Weddle  

Under resume-sourcing services, we learn that 60,000 resumes are archived on the site for 90 days, those resumes coming directly from candidates.

Under recruiting services offered, we find that CollegeRecruiter.com offers banner advertising (don't be shocked, now), a special area for recruiters and human-resources pros and automatic resume-job-match notification.

The site's self-description is satisfying for the type of hype we know to be truly American: "Leading site (aren't they all?) for college students and graduates who are seeking internships, part-time jobs, full-time work, career positions or continuing education." And the listing wraps up with e-mail and phone information for CollegeRecruiter.com's president, Steven Rothberg.

•  The third part of the Weddlian triumvirate is "Weddle's Directory of Employment-Related Internet Sites." This, Weddle suggests in his "what it is" little intro, is best used "just as you would a traditional telephone directory." Sites are categorized here -- from advertising to volunteer positions -- and also some geographical breakdowns.

It's all excellent stuff but where is CNN.com/Career? Self-description: "History's most informative and riveting media coverage of career issues, bar none, end of discussion." In fairness, Weddle lists no other journalistic outlets' career-issues coverage sites, either. As well he shouldn't. Why bother with those also-rans? Just get us in there, Peter, and all will be forgiven.

From the sublime to ...

OK, then there's this "Success@Life" book, out from two guys who identify themselves as "Ministers of the Republic of Tea." Oh, boy.

Not since we came across a corporation's staff position called "director of fun" have we seen such over-caffeinated nonsense as this. Just when you think the Californians are coming around at last, you find something like this.

From the sublime to ...

The Republic of Tea is a company with what the dust cover of this book euphemizes as a "whimsical identity." It's something in the water, right? Or maybe it's all those rolling blackouts and things. "People working for the Republic of Tea," the blurb reads, "are not managers or vice presidents; the company designates its employees as ministers and ambassadors, its customers as citizens and its sales outlets as embassies. "

They knew what to do about this in Boston Harbor.

But running amok as they are in California, "ministers" (and I'm the Prince of Paprika) Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold have somehow been allowed to get hold of writing implements. The result is "Success@Life: A Zentrepreneur's Guide -- How to Catch and Live Your Dream."

Make no mistake, we're all for catching and living dreams here. But each reader's on her or his own when a book offers such aphorisms as this: "Let the dream be present and you will become genuine. Let it guide you and you will flourish. Let it become a reality and you will become one with the universe."

In fact, like so many folks who enjoy talking about "enlightenment and discovery," Rubin and Gold seem fond of nothing so much as aphorisms. (Why is this? Where is it written that all New Age people must have little sayings all over their lives, their walls and their books?)

Here are a few: "Act your sage." "Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me and I'll understand." "For now and zen." "When an old pond gets a new frog, it's a new pond." "Know what you know and know what you don't know." "One who moves mountains begins by carrying away small stones." "Fall seven times, stand up eight."

Ron Rubin
Ron Rubin  

Let's all stand up and chant "Desiderata," shall we?

Between such pebbles of poetry, Gold and Rubin are throwing you some of the most common rocks of reality available. "Superstardom," they write, "has made Schwarzenegger and Stallone the emperors of glory you see up on the screen today. But it was always more than anything the power of their passion, the unquestionable hard-driven desire, commitment, stamina and steadfast focus to live their dream that got them there."

Whew. Blinding "enlightenment and discovery" there, huh?

Not content with the aphorisms they can gather from the usual sources of proverbs, Rubin and Gold get out their own original devices. They exhort you to practice "your ABCs ... Action. Belief. Clarity. Let's call them the ABCs of Personal Responsibility."

Stuart Avery Gold
Stuart Avery Gold  

Now, that concept -- however frivolously phrased -- does translate for the "ministers" into some laudable corporate consciousness. They're able to overcome their modesty enough to write in their book, "In our little Republic we support and donate our time and treasury to many worthwhile and deserving causes, dedicating a portion of ourselves to the force for positive change."

Seriously, the company supports efforts in breast cancer research, rain forest preservation, abused-children response, all good. And clearly, there's an audience for this sort of book. That audience, however, was likely a bigger in the 1980s and huge in the 1970s. The Republic of Tea is, of course, as welcome as any corporate entity to promulgate its business philosophy and the spiritually positioned tenets of its administration.

Some will find "Success@Life" inspirational and energizing. Like a cup of tea. Others may feel otherwise.

I could have had a V-8.

[watercooler]







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• The Republic of Tea

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