Saturday, February 21, 2009

No wonder the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache forest service can't get firefighters

Recently, an acquaintance said he had been musing about Barack Obama's call for sacrifice. When he read that the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache forest service needed seasonal firefighters, he decided to bite the bullet, even though he would probably lose money being away from his regular job. He's an ex-military firefighter, in great physical shape, and I agreed they would be lucky to get him.

Later, he announced that he had given up on it. Was it the pay? No. The fitness test? No, lugging 45 pounds for 3 miles in less than 45 minutes would be child's play. It was the online application process.

Via Google, he found the website, and clicked on "Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Seeks Seasonal Workers." That took him to... a press release. OK. Then he tried "Apply Now for Forest Service Firefighting Jobs" and got...another press release. Then he clicked on "for information on applying," and got actual information. It said applicants can apply online - yea! So he clicked on that, and got...a website where you have to register even to be able to apply. Like us, he hates having to register to use a website.

Also on that page was an announcement that those who registered online between Feb. 2-11 might have had their location preferences erased (oops). He registered, but "Search for Jobs" didn't work on his Mac. Via several more clicks, he eventually found 269 jobs in Utah (they use the same process for all jobs; nothing specific to the Forest Service), tried to click on one, and got...sent back to the main menu again to start over.

If you do eventually find a job to apply for, you have to open yet another account -- and choose a password containing a combination of both upper and lower case letters, a number, and at least one symbol. "How the [heck] am I supposed to remember that?" he asked. Soon afterward, he was advised, "There was an unexpected problem processing your application" - but it didn't tell him what the problem was or how to solve it. Oh, wait -- he had foolishly not "created a resume." Clicking on that link led to another long application form, etc., etc.

I was skeptical that it was as "[darn] complicated" as he said, but when I tried it, I couldn't even get that far. I didn't see "Job Map," so I tried "Apply for a Job," but that didn't have a job- or state-specific search. Another link sent me back to the earlier page, etc., etc.

This is a family blog, so I can't print the second password he chose. Suffice it to say that it ended with an exclamation mark.

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