On the long and rocky terrain that was my unemployment I bounced around near the bottom for a while. That terror train seemed to roll and roll and roll. Were it not for a wife that makes more than I ever did, and a father that helped me a ton, I wouldn’t have survived.
There’s MY privilege.
I was lucky enough to be born into the right family and to find the right partner.
The system isn’t built to help you though, just to allow you to survive. To tread water until you either sink or swim and too many of us are sinking.
The system just isn’t really built to help people with careers or well paying jobs to be able to do more than to tread that water. Yes, we all take on debt willingly, since no one forces us to buy things or to even go to school. We take that debt on.
But when things fall apart, for whatever reason, the safety net is very thin, and very weak.
You can get on unemployment for a little while, and maybe can get food benefits, but the higher you were, the harder it is to find the services to help you rise again.
There ARE services though, if we can get past our pride, the true killer of any of us. Services that help us. Save us. But you must find those services and qualify for them.
There’s the rub.
The thing is that it shouldn’t be as hard as it is to get a job if you are qualified.
Sure, lots of people just apply to anything they see.
They shotgun it.
But not everyone does that.
Not people who know what they can do and what they want to do.
It’s heartbreaking watching people you know trying desperately to find something that fits, and when that won’t happen to find something they can live with, and when that doesn’t happen, to find SOMETHING at all.
That’s the thing.
Business doesn’t work that way though.
The tables have been tilted their way for a while, if not forever.
I applied for over 210 jobs.
I got five interviews, I think.
I am a college educated person with a lot of experience.
Sure, I punched out of my weight, but I also punched under as well, a lot, and still got nowhere for nearly nine months.
I got lucky, like I say, or things coulda gotten much worse.
I was at the point where I was putting things aside that I could sell.
You do what you have to to survive.
We hear so many politicians bragging about how great the economy is but, for whom?
People have to get second jobs to survive.
They have to struggle to pay healthcare costs.
Heck, for many years I just ignored dental care because I couldn’t afford it.
Yes, we choose the paths we are on, but we aren’t the ones that put the boulders in our ways.
We shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get a job.
We shouldn’t have to do group interviews.
We shouldn’t have to prove ourselves ON the job only to not GET the job.
Ask for the things you need – references, proof of your skills, a demo reel. Don’t make me come to your office and work for a day, paid or not, then have to see if I was good enough.
Who can work well under those conditions?
There are so many games in hiring it’s a wonder anyone qualified gets found.
I remember going to an interview for a marketing position, driving an hour to get there for a five minute interview that bombed when I realized it was a sales position in stores and said – I don’t want to do retail, I don’t wanna do sales.
Waste of my time.
And that’s lost in all this.
As the job seeker you are treated as cattle. Your time doesn’t matter. Your needs don’t matter. You don’t matter.
If you don’t want or get the job they’ll get someone else.
And they do.
Because a lot of us need work.
And it’s hard to retain that hope.
So you hustle.
And you cut back.
And you hope.
And you keep applying.
I remember being on hold for the unemployment agency for over three hours. I had to Tweet at them to get something done.
I remember going to check a place out and never even getting an interview, odds are because I lived ‘too far’ away.
I remember an interview where I had to take a test and afterwards the guy who owned the place, an insurance company, asked if I worked well with someone in my face who was loud and I told them ‘no’. Well, that was how he motivated people.
We are not cattle.
We are humans.
Even if they don’t think we do.
The system works against us at every turn so all you can do is adapt and keep moving forward.
Find things you are passionate about to pour yourself into while you hustle.
While you look.
It gets hard though, looking again and again and the same sites, at the same jobs.
The system works against us so we can’t work against ourselves.
So, we hustle.
And we focus on our passions.
And we have our network looking.
And we keep…moving…forward.
That’s all that matters.
To keep moving forward until you get to where you need to be.