Friday, September 10, 2010

A Rant

I'm really, really, really super fantastically tired of hearing about how all the unemployed people just aren't "looking for jobs effectively" or "don't know how to wage a job search" or "are discouraged from looking for jobs due to their unemployment insurance".


My name's Cortney.

I like using facts instead of random finger pointing and shaming.

So, here are some- unemployment is, on average, a hair over 10%. In some areas, it's in the 20%+ range. In addition, unemployment figures are very broad based, and don't include people who are underemployed, or who have been unemployed past a certain time period. Many economists- left and right- posit that our average is probably significantly higher.


Last I read- about two weeks ago- there were something like, oh 3 million new jobs for 15 million unemployed people.



Um, remind me again how people are just unemployed because they're lazy? Because, using my good friend Mr. Math and his life partner Mr. Logic, I'm seeing that there's... hold on, let me subtract 3 from 15...oh, right a TWELVE MILLION JOB shortage. So... sending out more resumes and pounding the streets is going to magically create twelve million jobs? What?

Look, I was unemployed for *6 months*, with a strong resume, excellent letters of recommendation, an undergrad from a respected school, and almost done with a masters. I was spending about 5-6 hours *every single day* applying to jobs- in person and on the internet- while writing my thesis in my final semester. I was with no less than *20* temp agencies, all of whom I contacted weekly- 4 a day- for updates. They never returned my calls, and I didn't get one. single. interview. with them. Oh, and I wasn't just looking in Dallas- I was looking in Utah, California, and Ohio (three states where friends offered free lodging for me to relocate and get on my feet). I was also applying to a range of jobs- yes, including McDonald's, restaurants, etc. Right before my job laid me off last September, they posted a job on craigslist for an $8 an hour receptionist position in our Colorado office. Within FIFTEEN MINUTES we had over 100 e-mails. We took that ad down within half an hour of posting it, and all told we had over 250 total applications. For an $8 an hour, temporary position. Basically, it doesn't even come down to merit at that point, because it wasn't worth the time to sift through 250+ applications. We just took the first 10 who applied, and called two of them for interviews- so, a nice shiny resume and great job experience often count for ZILCH in such situations. And it's precisely these low paying minimum wage or a little above kind of jobs that many people say are "so easy to get, but all these prideful unemployed people won't take jobs that are beneath them". I also love when people who still have jobs say "I see want ads in the newspaper every day, I could get a job if I needed it!". They are ignorant of the fact that every job, no matter how menial or low paying, has hundreds of applicants. Again, it comes down to numbers, and there simply aren't enough jobs to go around. I read a post by a frustrated man on a forum who said that at 53 years old, a former manager with a degree, he drove out of state for an interview with Long John Silver's. And he didn't get the job because he was over qualified.

In all my job searching, only TWO sent me back e-mails letting me know I hadn't been chosen, and I had a grand total of two interviews. The job I *finally* landed I got after harassing the company for 4 months, and I only ever even got my foot in the door in the first place because I had a friend who worked there, AND I knew the boss, and when they "hired" me I STILL had to wait a month and a half before I could start, and there was a chance, during that time, that the company could eliminate my job before I even started it...

What I'm saying is, it's effing rough out there. And don't tell me that my paltry $325 a week was discouraging me from working. One, it runs out, so what kind of an idiot wouldn't be busting ass to get a job? Two, at least in Texas, it's capped somewhere under $400 a week. Pretty much no one I know with a mortgage and kids could support a "lavish lifestyle" on that.

There comes a point when it's just simply pointless, naive, and condescending to tell someone who is barefoot to just pull themselves up by the bootstraps.


  1. A-Fucking-Men. Ugh. I miss your intelligence and wit. Hope you're well.

  2. A lot of people just take what they have for granted. A friend of mine from college, an international student from Africa, was saying how amazing it is that if you work hard enough in America you will find a good job. A long discussion ensued, and my point was "it's less about work, or skills even, and more about who you know." And sometimes that doesn't even help! My parents are currently supporting a family who, the husband lost his job over a year ago, and they have three kids in college, and had to sell there house for a loss and move in with my parents. If any one knew this man they wouldn't dare say the reason he is now residing with friends is because he didn't work hard enough. After seeing how this family has struggled, I really understand how bad the job market is - even in an area like washington DC! Just makes me more grateful for what I do have.

  3. Kristen- I miss you too!I need to send you the pics from Halloween when you dressed up as the chick that got "beat up", haha! I found them the other day when sorting/organizing my pics. Good times :)

    Jessica- I think you're absolutely right. People who have jobs don't really, truly know how bad it is out there unless they've gone through it, or, like you, they know someone who is going through it first hand. And it is so, so, so true that it's about who you know in a lot of cases- the only reason I got the job I got was because I knew the boss and my friend worked there, plus I was lucky enough that my friend is an incredibly hard worker and everyone there loved him, so his reference held a lot of weight for me.

    I really hope things get better soon, for everyone affected :(