By David Glenn Cox
With our unemployment numbers ballooning every week, there are
literally thousands of newly unemployed. I thought I would take a few
minutes to orientate them to the new realities of the job hunt.
when you were in high school? Remember that guy with the thick glasses
and pimples on his face that sat in the back with a pocket protector
and who picked his nose when he thought no one was looking? Well, that
is today’s job hunter. Now, before you take offense, I include myself
in the herd because, you see, the jobs available today are that of
good-looking head cheerleader.
Experience is both your friend
and your enemy. If you send out your resume with lines like,
“Twenty-two years management experience” to prospective employers they
see a fat bald guy, wheezing, trying to get up the stairs, just waiting
to have a heart attack ninety days after being hired. You are a torpedo
headed straight for their healthcare plan; in other words, orgetfay
ouryay experienceway. But I did say that there is good experience;
there was the story of the young man who worked in the mail room and
after his first week the CEO invited him up to his office.
“Young man, you’ve only been here a week but they tell me that you do good work.”
“Thank you,” the young man answered humbly.
“I’m going to promote you to department head with a big raise. What do you say to that?”
“Thanks,” the young man answered, looking at the floor and shuffling his feet.
“Thanks? That’s all you’ve got to say after I give you a big promotion?”
“Thanks, Dad, I’ll see you at six. Mom invited me over for supper tonight.”
The moral of the story is to use your friends and family connections; they are better than the best resume.
worked in sales and management and at one time felt pretty safe. As
computers changed the industry, it still seemed to me that there would
always be a need for someone to press the flesh. Oh, how wrong I was.
They don’t do it that way anymore. The new business model is take it or
leave it! Customer service is as obsolete as the spittoon. The
factories now deal with everyone directly, eliminating a whole echelon
of dealers and repair networks. And since customer service is obsolete,
“We’re out of stock on that part. Never stocked it,” and, “If you want
to pay in advance and pay the freight we’ll order one from Hong Kong.
Should be here in a month, six weeks tops!” becomes the mantra.
long-term unemployed have probably already experienced this part; this
is for the newly unemployed. I landed a job working for an ambulance
company. I did customer relations; I talked with hospital directors and
retirement communities trying to get contracts for their transportation
needs. It went well. It was an easy job as they were a young, ambitious
ambulance service. By my second week I was getting in to see the
administrator who would never previously meet with us. I got them on
the contract bid list for the upcoming year. All was going well, then
they called me into the office and cut my hours to three days, then to
two days. This young company was owed over $700,000 by Medicaid. They
had maxed out their own credit cards and borrowed from relatives. They
had screamed at bureaucrats and begged Congressmen but to no avail.
then got hired by a company that cleaned heating ducts. I had applied
for the sales job but my experience with parts and warranty repair got
me diverted to warranty management and registration. But when I showed
up for work the door was locked, and there was a seal across the door.
It was a large sticker. Sealed by the Georgia Dept. of Revenue. I never
heard from them again, not that I expected to.
My next job was
working with the Board of Elections, attending classes and working the
polls. It was a good fit. I’m outgoing and I like meeting people and
with most folks, if you treat them respectfully, you will be treated
the same. After my third round of elections I was promoted, and then
the election cycle ended. But it was nice to be reminded that I could
hold a job if one was available.
Now, if you are new to being
unemployed, you probably don’t know this yet. To those of you who, like
me, have been unemployed for some time, you just nod your head while I
tell the newbies. Somewhere on a mountainside, chiseled into the rock,
is a universal truth. Your relatives know more about the job market and
where and how to get a job than you ever will. You will be inundated
with comments and recommendations of what you should be doing and what
you’re doing wrong.
I’ve been told about companies that were
hiring that weren’t even in business anymore. An elderly relative would
tear want ads from the newspaper to give to me when she saw me two
weeks later. She’s never been online and she means well so I don’t try
to explain that the newspaper had that ad online three days before she
even got her paper.
These ads look appealing to the uninitiated;
they don’t realize that that ad has been in the paper for six months.
“Exciting Opportunity with Unlimited Earnings potential!”
Earnings potential = commission sales, selling cars or insurance or
jewelry, all the things that no one is buying. The ad is a come-on;
they hire someone who might sell a car or a watch or a policy to Uncle
Frank, and then they’re toast.
Ground Floor Opportunity = New company, maybe you’ll get paid, maybe not.
Urgently Needed = Suckers urgently needed.
We Need Truckers! = We need truckers to buy trucks from us.
We’re Hiring = employment agency.
my favorite ad, “Looking for part-time help, must be willing to work
nights and weekends between two and four AM. Must speak Swahili and
have a master’s degree in French Art History. $9.00 per hour.”
in this down economy nothing lures them in like the promise of work.
Lincoln may have freed the slaves but he never said a word about
interns. Why pay people when you can hire them for free? In business or
journalism or a host of other professions, there are eager young
interns receiving college credit for getting coffee or doing other
grunt work with the promise of a job someday. “I’m sorry, we hired
twenty interns but there is only one job, working nights and weekends
between two and four AM, and you only had a bachelor’s in French Art
My son called me from the bank the other day. “Hey,
Dad, when I got to the bank, guess what? Somebody had robbed the place.
The tellers were all standing around shaking and they had a cop car
blocking the drive-through.” I thought to myself, well that’s not a
surprise. No applications, no jumping through hoops, no lying about
your experience or dying your hair to cover the gray.
No fees or
license needed, you work your own hours, unlimited earnings potential!
Just stick the gun in their face and scream; “Give me all your money!”
Sadly, when my son told his girlfriend about the robbery she explained
that her girlfriend from school works at that bank and that it has been
robbed three times in the last six months. It has been robbed so many
times that management joked about putting in a dedicated robbery window
to speed the process.
Police and law enforcement decline to
discuss such matters, describing the event with the terms like “unknown
assailants and undetermined amounts of loot.” They understand this job
market, and that if the news got out, “Bozo with a gun lightens local
bank of $25,000 and gets clean away,” this field of employment would be
overrun with applicants!
photo by by Paul Russell99
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.