Hope in 2011 for the Unemployed? (January 4, 2011)


As a long-suffering member of the long-term unemployed community, I look for any sign that career fortunes are about to change, and grab on with the tenacity of a starving rat. So when I encountered articles late last week, like this one from Daily Finance that claims “Signs on Wall Street Point to Job Growth Ahead,” I couldn’t help but get a little excited.

Yes, I realize there are risks in attenuating to the predictions of a group of money changers who wrecked our economy in 2008 while running off unscathed with the gold, but dammit, I need to believe!

The article states that “Internet job listings surged to 4.7 million as of Dec. 1, compared to 2.7 million from the same period a year ago, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal. Many of the new jobs are in the retailing, accounting, consulting health care, telecommunications and defense-related industries”

Well I don’t work retail, am not an accountant or doctor and want nothing to do with defense, but bully for those sectors! And I am just chipper enough today to assume that a 50% increase in available jobs over a year must necessarily be good for almost all of us on the government cheese. More accountants will need up-to-date tax pamphlets, which will require more writers. I can buy into trickle down economics in this case. Why not?

So what we’ve got is quite a few more job openings, but are companies actually hiring? This is where the situation grows a bit murky. I have been on no fewer than seven face to face job interviews in 12 weeks, including one this afternoon for a travel outfit, and one on Thursday for a major player in the banking industry. In almost all of these cases, I am confident that I looked professional, spoke eloquently (for me anyway), and performed well on the myriad pre-employment assessments and writing tests that have become a de rigueur part of the process in the 21st Century.

But for all that work, I have little to show for it. In other words, I remain jobless. In some cases, I didn’t speak enough Spanish, in others my rate (twice minimum wage without benefits) was way too lofty for managers who knew they could take advantage of less experienced, cheaper labor. In a few cases, I am outright confused as to why I was not hired, but try getting answers from an HR department once they have written you off.

I have numerous friends and colleagues facing similar dilemmas. My question is then: are employers really ready to hire, to fork over a reason to get out of bed in the morning to the jobless and depressed, or is this just an illusion designed to create enthusiasm in the stock market? I said I was ready to believe again if presented with the right evidence, but that doesn’t mean I was born yesterday.

Consider this quote from the lead paragraph of Daily Finance’s article, “Still, with corporate profits booming and the stock market rallying, signs are piling up that employment may finally be poised for a comeback, too.” Oh, so after a full 12 months of hoarding stock piles of cash and the meteoric rise of the Dow, companies “may” finally feel benevolent enough to create some jobs for those who helped build these same companies, only to show them the door.

It’s a testament to the continued emasculation of the middle and class (male and female members alike) that we are forced to wait, and wait with smiles on our faces, for these dangled carrots to materialize.


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