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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Thomas Friedman Tells Readers How to Get a High Paying Job Writing About Your Daughter's College Roommate

Thomas Friedman Tells Readers How to Get a High Paying Job Writing About Your Daughter's College Roommate

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Wednesday, 29 May 2013 04:23

Okay, that's not exactly what he did, but he did devote a NYT column to tell readers about the business started by his daughter's college roommate. He claimed that this business shows how the labor market is changing. He produced literally no evidence whatsoever to support this claim.

The article tells readers:

"Underneath the huge drop in demand that drove unemployment up to 9 percent during the recession, there’s been an important shift in the education-to-work model in America. Anyone who’s been looking for a job knows what I mean. It is best summed up by the mantra from the Harvard education expert Tony Wagner that the world doesn’t care anymore what you know; all it cares 'is what you can do with what you know.'"

And we know about the big changes in the labor market because of the start-up started by the roommate of Thomas Friedman's daughter that is designed to test workers to match them for jobs. According to Friedman, the company has about 50,000 registered job-seekers. He also tells us that they receive an average of 500 applications for every job opening. If we assume that job-seekers submit an average of 100 to 200 applications then this start-up would have between 10,000 and 20,000 job listings.

According to the Labor Department there are over 4.2 million hires every month or roughly 50 million over the course of a year. That means that this start-up's listing account for somewhere between 0.02 percent and 0.04 percent of job openings. Perhaps we should wait a little while before declaring that the shape of the labor has changed.

Comments (16)Add Comment
What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander in a Tight Labor Market
written by Last Mover, May 29, 2013 5:23
What an inane column by Friedman. Consider this:

People get rejected for jobs for two main reasons, said Sharef. One, “you’re not showing the employer how you will help them add value,” and, two, “you don’t know what you want, and it comes through because you have not learned the skills that are needed.” The most successful job candidates, she added, are “inventors and solution-finders,” who are relentlessly “entrepreneurial” because they understand that many employers today don’t care about your résumé, degree or how you got your knowledge, but only what you can do and what you can continuously reinvent yourself to do.


Now imagine if the tables were turned and the labor market was tight and healthy rather stuck in the wallowing mud of a completely unnecessary jobless deep recession. Then change the paragraph above to read:

Employers get rejected for jobs by applicants for two main reasons, said Sharef. One, “they’re not showing the employee how they will help them add value,” and, two, “they don’t know what they want, and it comes through because they have not learned the skills that are needed.” The most successful employer candidates, she added, are “inventors and solution-finders,” who are relentlessly “entrepreneurial” because they understand that many employees today don’t care about an employer's résumé, degree or how they got their knowledge, but only what they can do and what they can continuously reinvent themselves to do.
Seriously?
written by Jeffrey Stewart, May 29, 2013 5:26
"He [Tom Friedman] produced literally no evidence whatsoever to support this claim." -D. Baker


This is par for the course for Tom. And that's why he's considered a Very Serious Person.

Someone on kos wrote that s/he finds it terribly ironic that two VSP columnists for the NYTimes and WaPo, who ostensibly write on economics, have last names of Friedman and Samuelson.
He's not all bad
written by Jennifer, May 29, 2013 7:14
As stupid is the column is, is does demonstrate that Friedman has a generous nature. Just as he has reached his current status by who he knows and not by any demonstrable skill he's happy to return his favor for his daughter's friend.
Sampling surveys, Friedman style
written by Grumpa, May 29, 2013 7:15
Friedman is basically a tea leaf reader in VSP clothing. But a sample size if 0.02% can be sufficiently large if its over ~1000 in size IF the sampling is truly random and the survey is well-designed. The problem with Friedman's logic is not the sample size, it's the sampling technique and lack of a properly designed survey.
Tom Friedman - VSP
written by Rick Beckley, May 29, 2013 7:27
Honestly I never took his twaddle seriously because of that idiotic picture. That's the only evidence I needed to see that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Too bad that the real truth is what that comment said a couple up from mine, that it's "who" you know.
Doppelganger
written by Bummer, May 29, 2013 10:28
Sometimes when I try to envision Friedman, I end up with a picture of Dr. Phil in my head instead. And surely enough, I now hear Friedman block quotes (god forbid I read an actual column) as read by Dr. Phil in my inner monologue. It's getting to the point where they're occupying the same space in my brain.

Coincidence? Hardly.
...
written by PeonInChief, May 29, 2013 12:06
Ah, the person who did the Friedman automatic column generator will have to update it to include "daughter's college roommate", right up there with "cabdriver in Mumbai" and "street seller in Bangkok".
...
written by David Eoll, May 29, 2013 12:12
His sample size usually consists of whoever was driving him that day.
...
written by watermelonpunch, May 29, 2013 12:22
It is best summed up by the mantra from the Harvard education expert Tony Wagner that the world doesn’t care anymore what you know; all it cares 'is what you can do with what you know.'"


Well, this Tom Wagner certainly doesn't impress me, if this is his tagline claim to fame quotable quote. LOL

At best it's stating the obvious.
At worst it's completely inaccurate.

Most likely, it's irrelevant or at least erroneous.
...
written by watermelonpunch, May 29, 2013 12:36
And whoa - talk about erroneous B.S. nonsense talk...
thanks Last Mover

People get rejected for jobs for two main reasons, said Sharef. One, “you’re not showing the employer how you will help them add value,” and, two, “you don’t know what you want, and it comes through because you have not learned the skills that are needed.”


I find so much wrong with this assessment...
That I'm just going to assume this is "yes man" talk, designed to aid poor hiring personnel using ridiculous methods, in making their employers think that they're actually doing a good job with hiring. Like a pat on the back... hiring managers are doing their job well, even though there's problems... it's the candidates that are just stupid & don't know how to search for or interview for jobs.

The only other explanation I can think of is that it's simple propaganda used to make luckily or connectedly employed people blame unemployed or underemployed people for their own situation, rather than the lousy economy, crappy wages, and piss poor hiring methods used these days.
It also helps keep the employed people in line, not questioning their own crappy wages... because deep down, they're fearful of becoming one of those stupid unemployed people themselves.
You Can Tell Who Said Things Like That
written by James, May 29, 2013 2:26
"the world doesn’t care anymore what you know; all it cares 'is what you can do with what you know.'"

From folks who have benefited much from the "Legacy" system. Such as Legacy system give you more points bc your family graduated from exclusive colleges so the same schools will give you points for that.

Anyone hear about Alum Network from those exclusive schools?

Yeah, it's not what you know, it's "Who You Know?"
Shorter MOU (Moustache Of Understanding)
written by Harry R. Sohl, May 29, 2013 6:05
Shorter Friedman: "Ya know, Romney was right. You should just borrow $10 million in start-up funds from yer parents. Just like our kids did."
The mustache of understanding
written by Harry R. Sohl, May 29, 2013 6:08
Shorter Friedman: "Ya know, Romney was right. You should just borrow $10 million in start-up funds. Just like our kids did."
...
written by denise, May 29, 2013 6:56
Because of course if you're not the one person in 500 who got the job, it's your own fault.

Because what's important is that you be the winner, not the fact that there are 500 applicants for one job.
...
written by Matt, May 29, 2013 7:08
Y'know, I can remember when employers knew how an employee was going to "add value" because they HAD A PLAN that they were hiring people to do...
...
written by watermelonpunch, May 29, 2013 10:10
written by Matt, May 29, 2013 7:08
Y'know, I can remember when employers knew how an employee was going to "add value" because they HAD A PLAN that they were hiring people to do...


Bravo Matt!
EXACTLY.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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