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Menial jobs
Arran Cameron
433 Posts
How much value do hiring managers in engineering industries place in previous menial jobs for applicants to engineering positions?

I have received conflicting answers to this question. At one end of the scale are managers who say that there is little value in previous menial jobs as the employee acquires very little in the way of useful knowledge and skills, and prolonged time in such jobs dulls the mind and reduces the ability to think intuitively and make good decisions. At the opposite end of the scale are managers who basically won't employ anybody unless they have first cut their teeth on menial jobs because it signals work ethic and grit.

There is some evidence that mass immigration from eastern Europe has given work ethic a new meaning, and taken it to a much higher level than it was back in the 1990s, but has this impacted engineering industries or is it mostly with menial and basic jobs where the bulk of eastern Europeans are employed?
1 Replies
Not a hiring manager so I can only give my opinion and experience.

I think there is certainly value in having done menial jobs. Not particularly because they prove you can cope with boring and repetitive tasks, but because you often learn truly valuable skills, which are useful in all future situations. You learn how to interact with other humans, you learn discipline, and in most menial jobs (including all the ones I've done) there's always opportunities to think intuitively. So I'd see it as an advantage but not a requirement.

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