is for the birds. I’ve been unemployed now since February 17th. It’s been almost five weeks. I get interviews – the last company I interviewed with I had three interviews, meeting a broad sampling of employees, up to and including the CEO. The CEO thought, although I had many positive qualities, I would not be happy in a job with constant phone interruptions. He is probably correct.
I’m getting interviews and doing well with them, but the companies all are going along another path, to use the cliche.
I understand the times we live in, that the job market right now is a buyers market, that job seekers must be 100% on their game 100% of the time to land that job.
This post really isn’t about me, though. What I’m thinking, given the closeness to despair that I get at times, in just five weeks, is overwhelming. If that feeling is overwhelming to me in just five weeks, what on earth are those poor people who’ve been unemployed since the start of the recession feeling? I can’t comprehend the level of stress and despair they must be going through.
Burly Man has a friend who has been unemployed for that long. He is now facing the very real possibility of “living rough” as he calls it, the British term for being homeless/houseless. This man is erudite, charming, engaging, talented and hard working. He is not unemployed because he’s lazy. Why can’t he find a job?
I was reading one of my favorite blogs a couple of weeks ago with a post about either the unemployment rate or benefits extension. One of the commenters kept posting that the unemployed should volunteer, take any job out there, etc. because who wants to hire someone who has done nothing but sit at home doing nothing?
I immediately thought of Burly Man’s friend. He has not been sitting at home doing nothing. He has been pounding the pavement, applying for everything, and still no new job for him. He tried to go into another field, but he was under qualified for those types of jobs. He applied to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, etc – the epitome of “take any job” – but was turned down for those positions because he was over qualified and the manager’s didn’t want to take the time to train him when the odds were he would leave as soon as something more suitable for him came along. His education, experience and skill-set placed him out of “just any job”.
This is the plight of today’s umemployed. I am sure there are some unemployed that delay finding a job until the benefits run out, but I think that’s a small minority. Most people I know want to work, are looking for work and are miserable sitting at home. I’m sure there are some that take advantage of the system. But they are the exception and not the rule.
I’m fairly conservative in my political outlook; I’m not for government programs to fix whatever plight someone may be in, mainly because I think the government should be the last option, not the first, and that local groups can better handle local needs. That said, I cannot buy the line my conservative brothers and sisters put out there that the unemployed are just lazy people scamming the system for that sweet, sweet unemployment benefits. Have they visited the unemployment office recently? No one in their right mind would be there if it wasn’t necessary.
There is dignity that comes in honest work. There is security and self esteem that comes in a paycheck. There is a longing for work, income, security in most of the unemployed. These people need a helping hand, not someone telling them to just “take any job”. There aren’t any “any jobs” out there.