Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's cloud illusions I recall

Today was just one of those days.
The kind that comes after 3.5 years of unemployment, and the accruing disappointments and setbacks that often pass with nothing more than a shrug, just hit you and knock you out for a while.
All it was was another rejection letter. Yet another company turning me down without really giving me a chance. It was a job I was perfectly qualified for, and really, really fit my personal hopes and needs. I had really hoped something would materialize with this job. But all I got was the standard rejection letter instead.
It was the tipping point.
I've spent the day sad and depressed. There were a lot of tears shed.
It wasn't just about the job that didn't happen. It was everything. Just the accumulation of disappointments over the past few years.
And the lack of control I have over the situation.
This article in the Wall Street Journal describes my situation perfectly, "Some Unemployed Keep Losing Ground."  (I believe the article is behind a paywall. Sorry.)
This is the part that really hit home-
"... there are signs the job market is splitting into two. Close to 25% of the short-term unemployed—those out of work for six months or less—find jobs each month, a figure that has shown steady improvement since the recession, though it remains below its long-term average of 30%.
The nation's 4.4 million long-term unemployed haven't seen similar gains. Only about 10% of them find jobs each month, a number that has hardly budged in the past two years."

"...long-term job seekers are twice as likely to leave the labor market as to find jobs, and many experts worry that many of them will never return to work. That could create a class of permanently unemployed workers and leave lasting scars on the economy.
"Once people reach a point where they no longer consider themselves employable…it is very difficult to pull them back," said Joe Carbone, president of WorkPlace, a Connecticut workforce-development agency that has developed a program targeting the long-term unemployed. "We are losing thousands of people a day. This is like an epidemic.""
I'm starting to wonder, no, strike that, I've worried for a long time, that finding a job is nothing more than a numbers game. It's just playing the odds, a gamble really. It has little to do with actually being qualified for the job. (The job I got rejected from today I was slightly overqualified for.)
But the longer the game goes on, the more the odds work against you.
I've been looking at my friends and former colleagues who are or were long-term unemployed. How did they finally get jobs? Who can I learn from?
And I realized only one friend has found a job. And (she readily admits this) she only got a job after 2 years unemployed because a cousin created a job at his company for her.
I can't think of one other long-term unemployed friend who has found work. Or at least not work in his/her field. Several are like me and have resorted to accepting a life of underemployment in a store or mall, and not in the professional field they were educated in.
It's hard accepting the underemployment. You know it means taking two steps forward and one step back. It's a paycheck, and you need it, but it makes it that much harder to get a "real" job.
I wish companies were not so biased against the long-term unemployed. They are wrong to be so biased, assuming we've lost skills, or there is something wrong with us. We're the survivors. If anything what we have done is more impressive. The underemployed have proven we are hard workers that will get the job done. We'll do what we have to do. We're not going to sit around and waste company resources and collect a paycheck. We're going to work our butts off and make ourselves the most valuable asset the company has so that no matter what, we never see ourselves on the pink slip list again.
If a company really wants to hire the best person for the job, they should look to the long-term unemployed and underemployed. No one else could ever be as grateful for a job as someone who has endured long-term unemployment. You want a long-term, faithful employee? Hire the long-term unemployed, and not the guy just looking to move up the ladder. He just wants a paycheck. Some of us want (and deserve) a lot more.

Hey You! Check out my new novels, "You Heard It Here First" and the sequel "This Just In!"

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