‘Painfully obvious they were looking for the younger shake-‘n-bake folks at substantially less money’
I assume we would begin at the end. “Terminated” suddenly on a Friday afternoon by the new owner of an auto repair business I had successfully run for over 7 years, Sept. 10, 2010.
Prior to that enjoyed a career as a retail sales and facility manager for the Winston Tire Co. from Jan. of 1988 thru Dec. 2002 after 23 plus years as a supermarket manager back in my home state of Michigan. WOW! Jobless after over 47 years of continuous employment which of course included paying into unemployment funds, social security, etc … Two functions required my immediate attention, filing early for social security AND unemployment.
As to job search, certainly I “made the rounds” of all my contacts and aquaintences within our industry locally. Lots of good talk and ideas exchanged, but, painfully obvious they were looking for the younger “shake ‘n bake” folks at substantially less money. Ah! Age discrimination alive and well. Don’t blame or condem them, far too many years in their shoes.
Over the past 9 plus months have filled out well over a hundred online employment applications as well as attending what can only be termed as the occasional “cattle call” where a company drags in numerous applicants for physco babble type interviews aka “tell me why you are the best candidate here today”. Gone with the wind are the days of an actual job opening being interviewed for by honest and ethical folks with a respectful personnel department representative.
Loyalty? Dependability? Integrity? Work ethic? Forget it! Those are qualities considered old-fashioned and out-dated by today’s movers and shakers.
But alas … all is not lost. And we’ll keep searching as long as the good Lord strengthens me to do so. God has blessed wife and I for well over 43 years now, we know He’ll continue to care for us until it is time to go home.
B of A is threatening to take our house of 22 years, having denied a home loan modification application back in March (just like they have to millions across our once great land). We’ll see how that shakes out before Christmas, I’m quite sure.
Thomas, via comments
‘I took up a serious study of the Bible to help me understand how we arrived at this miserable state of affairs’
I have worked most of my life as a legal secretary. In March 2009, I received a $1,500 raise but by August 2009, business slowed down enough that my employer made the business decision to let me go and reduce another secretary to part-time status.
After six months of what became long-term unemployment, I began to look at consumable products and balk at the price. It started with Charmin toilet paper. Twenty-four rolls for $12.00? I don’t think so. Not when their CEO was pulling $25 million dollars out of the company for his annual salary while sending jobs over the border or overseas. No where on Charmin’s wrapper did it say “Made in the U.S.A.” I began to scrutinize all consumer products and, with the help of frugal websites, many were permanently cut from my shopping list.
My COBRA health insurance expired March 31 and I am now uninsured. Health insurance is simply not affordable especially now that it is no longer major medical. High deductible insurance policies have contributed to the empty waiting rooms of most physicians.
My unemployment ended in April following a traffic accident. An inattentive driver totaled my car and rendered me unable to work. I am still eligible for emergency unemployment if I refile before Dec. 31 but I don’t see myself doing so. The minute I got off of unemployment, I started to feel better about myself. Instead of seeing myself as unemployed and undesirable by employers with ads saying “unemployed need not apply”, I now view myself as “retired” and living off savings (I regret not having saved more). The cost to corporate america will, of course, be significant. My monthly spending has dropped to $660/month except for those months when I have auto insurance or property taxes. This seems fair to me given that our economic troubles started with corporate America’s greed.
How do I spend my time? I took up a serious study of the Bible to help me understand how we arrived at this miserable state of affairs and yes, the answer is within its pages. I started vegetable gardening in a few pots, expanded to a large flower bed and then to a 12 foot by 25 foot plot this spring. The bounty was shared with friends, neighbors and relatives. I wrote 140,000 words towards the Great American Novel I had wanted to write since 2004. I also assist my elderly parents with their needs, including cooking one meal a day for my mother who is ill. So my life has purpose, direction and I am happier than I was working in dog-eat-dog environments to earn money to spend on things I didn’t really need.
Linda J., via email
‘There is definite skill atrophy, even though I am reluctant to admit it’
I am the college graduate who can’t find a job. I have been unemployed for exactly two years. Even though I have a master’s degree in a technical subject from a top-ranked university, it has been hard for me to find work.
Being long-term unemployed is deeply emotional and deeply depressing.
There are big emotional swings. Phone and 1:1 interviews are big things that you really look forward to. Afterward though is the slow fall and sometimes “crash” when you wonder how you did and try to figure out from how the interviewer talked if you moved on. Some days are really good and you are quite optimistic. But most of the time you can barely get out of bed because you worry so much about your future.
I feel so behind, especially when talking to my peers. Several of them have already moved on from their first job to their second one. Many are in long term relationships, something I know I can never have without a job and financial stability. I feel so … behind. I have grown much more envious of others lately.
Especially unsettling was a phone interview today with someone who was one year younger than me. I researched his blog, LinkedIn profile, Twitter, etc before we talked. He was already married, had a house, at his third job since graduation, was working at a big and popular company, found his passion in life, new shiny iPhone, etc. And he was younger than me! And he only had a bachelor’s degree from a state university! How could he be so happy (or at least stable and content) while I am struggling? He doesn’t know how lucky he is. I could tell even over the phone I was just one more thing to cross off his busy schedule. He doesn’t realize how much power 45 minutes of his time has over my self esteem and my future.
People say that it is okay to fail as long as you learn from your experience. I guess I haven’t learned anything because I am still unemployed. I used to pride myself on picking things up quickly, like a new programming language. Now I don’t feel that way anymore. Some lessons I guess are very difficult to learn. I am stubborn after all.
I’ve received one or two job offers, but I didn’t pass the reference and background/credit checks. I didn’t realize that the process continues even after an offer. I’ve also received one or two lowball offers that were insultingly low. I couldn’t accept them because then I couldn’t pay my bills. And they were too low for the industry too. I told the companies that, but they wouldn’t budge. I guess not accepting it anyway is just me being too proud.
I am blessed to have my family. They support me financially and emotionally. But I found out it is not good to ask them for specific job advice.
I have become more religious. I pray everyday, asking God for a job and a girlfriend. Does it help? Somewhat. It is better than no religion at all. Most of the time it just makes me feel better. God has given me time and comfort. But I am still waiting for a miracle—a job and a girlfriend.
I have channeled my depression into my new hobby, writing. I write short stories and hope to write a novel one day. This was a skill I never knew I had, and I am glad to have discovered it. I have a lot of fun doing it, and I hope to publish my work and become a famous author someday
I have a lot more free time now. Goobobs of it actually. I enjoy running and exercising. I like to read. And of course I like to play video games. I get to spend a lot of time now with my dog and my family, after being away from them so long at a far away college.
Yes and no. In my experience, it’s a question they ask you in indirect and polite ways. It’s like a hurdle question. If you can swing a good story like I was sick or taking care of the kids, then you can jump the hurdle easily.
There is definite skill atrophy, even though I am reluctant to admit it. As a hopeful software engineer, I have tried to keep my skills up the best I can. I have even learned a new programming language or two. But it is difficult for me to get motivated, or to maintain my skills without a clearly defined task or project that only work can provide.
Employers should be more forgiving of people’s backgrounds, and more wiling to invest in them and teach them new skills rather than expecting them to come fully formed knowing everything from day one. I think they’re being overly picky.
I would like to hear some constructive criticism and not just a polite “no thank you email”
Overall, I want companies and those who represent them to realize that job applicants and the long-term unemployed are not just resumes in a system. We’re real people too. Please treat us like one.
Todd L., via email
‘A simple mechanical failure of a major home appliance sends me over the edge’
I have been unemployed and underemployed since August 2008. I am a certified teacher with a Master’s degree in ESL. You would think with the high population of English Language learners in our country that I could get a job easily. That is not the case. Because I have a Master’s degree, I am in a higher pay bracket. I have offered to sign a waiver stating I will work for Bachelor’s level pay but none of the school systems I have spoken with will allow me (or any candidate) to work for a pay rate below their degree. (Thanks to the AEA, NEA, and all the other money-grubbing teacher unions.)
The hardest thing about being unemployed or underemployed is that I cannot pay my bills and a simple mechanical failure of a major home appliance sends me over the edge. My air conditioner unit went out last summer. I did not have the money to get it repaired. I had to suffer through the hottest part of the summer with no A/C. My church family bought a small window unit for me. That was a life-saver. I am very grateful to my church family for the love and financial support they have given me. I have also gone to other charitable organizations for help with my power bill. I do not qualify for unemployment because I have worked in education as a substitute teacher. Unemployment taxes were taken out of my checks but I am ineligible to draw unemployment.
I am actively seeking employment. There is far more competition for the few jobs that are available. Recently, I requested an interview at a school were I had been a long-term sub and was told they had 200 applications submitted for one position. I am applying for any job I can perform within the education system as well as jobs in other fields. I am also attending a church-based career assistance ministry. I get weekly job leads and other helpful information. I am very frustrated and want to give up but I cannot stop looking for work.
Nicki R., via email