Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Careful Out There!

Since I'd mentioned my unemployment in my last post, I thought I'd write a post about it here. I've been holding off writing about it for fear that potential employers would find it whiny or angry or at least find something they didn't like about it. But not blogging hasn't helped me find a job, so I'm just going to go for it.

It's not easy, you've probably already imagined.  It's tough on the psyche. Susannah Breslin is blogging and tweeting about it for a Forbes blog called Pink Slipped, but I think she's skipping a lot of important detail.

Looking for work in the 21st Century, at least from my perspective--an introvert with few connections--is a cold, impersonal daily exercise in what I can so far call futility.

I check,,,, and Craigslist. In the search fields I put "writer editor," and in the location field I write "Dallas" or "Irving".  I average about five to nine applications a week, and it's snagged me interviews with three companies, the first of which, I completely flubbed.

The second company made me suspicious that they were on the up-and-up. They claimed to be a 501c3 but I found no evidence of that. I had a pretty strong interview at the third company but it could have been stronger. It was a panel interview with three editors who were so eager to get someone new that they overwhelmed me with every publication they cranked out the previous year. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights, which was how I felt. Also, the position was a tiny bit farther than I want to travel every day. But now I'm six months looking for a job and still without one, so I wish I'd expressed more eagerness to jump right in.

Anyway, job searching is an online wilderness, thick with traps to fall into and hucksters to fall prey to. After you sign up for job search sites, your e-mail address is sent to all kinds of folks not interested in hiring you but interested in "helping you get a job." They "help" you get a job by luring you to their site with an position that looks appealing. You click "Apply." The next page has you fill in your personal information--name, address, phone numbers, etc.* You finish that and click "Next." The next page has you fill in your work history. You finish and click "Next."

About three more pages follow asking you to fill in your education, references and whatnot and then you get to a screen that says something like, "Only one more step to go. Click here."

For only $89 a month, they'll send you open positions in your field that closely match your resume, blah, blah, blah. Got that? You just spent an hour or so for a huckster. It's bad enough to be unemployed, but job agencies that trick you like that -- bah! It's salt in the wounds.

Speaking of salt in the wounds, I got an e-mail from one "job counselor" telling me my resume was all wrong. This is after I had it professionally done by a recruiting company my former company hired to help me find a new job when they laid me off.

That e-mail was just mean. (Note, I'm using AP Style for "e-mail." Is that killing you? It's killing me! Who gives a hoot about an AP hyphen?)

This guy says

The official unemployment rate may have fallen, slightly, but the real unemployment rate — the number of working-age Americans who aren’t working — rose from about 12% before the 2008 crisis, to about 23%, and hasn’t come down. 
(Via Instapundit.) Huh. I don't know if that makes me feel better or worse. But I do think the way people live and are going to live is changing. I like working. No, I LOVE working, so I hope I find something suitable soon. If I don't find a professional job, my kids want me to work at the local ice cream shop. Now you know that will be hell on my waistline.

*This site and some others that don't even require subscription has just sold your phone number to a college that will "help" you get a job by furthering your education.  As soon as you click "Submit"on your job application, your phone will ring.I told the person who called me that I was still paying off my graduate school loan. So. No thank you.

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Blogger katherine catmull said...

God what a lot of crap to wade through. Hang in there. I feel like something is on its way (with my mystical powers! I do feel that, though.)

4:02 PM  

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