Adventures in Job Hunting

By David Glenn Cox


http://theservantsofpilate.com

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.

Remember

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.

I’ve

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 And since customer service is obsolete,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.

The

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.

I

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!”

Unlimited

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.

Or

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.”

But

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

History.”

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.