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Confessions of the Unemployed-Part two

Updated on September 28, 2009

In Part One, the two men have been out of work for a year. Now, with unemployment benefits exhausted, the experience continues.

When I asked about just working at some shit job, both had the same responses, despite the age difference. They are summarized as follows:

  1. They feel stupid to apply for jobs than some teenager can do. Self esteem prevents them for stooping so low. They are willing to "grin and bear" it.
  2. They would only do it if others around their age are doing it. This is the, Misery Loves Company therapy.
  3. Pay is so low, it is not worth the effort nor make any difference in their situation in real terms.
  4. It is a waste of every one's time. From the manager POV, to hire an educated man that has been well paid in the past for a job paying $12-15 hr is bad business. Obviously, they need work, which is why they apply, but they need training and as soon as they are trained, at some point in time, they WILL find a gig in their field and exit. For the manager, back to square 1. So, hiring such skilled employees who really do not want to work in the shit job is self defeating. Might as well hire a kid who really needs it and will stay with it. From the interviewee POV, they really do not want to do this but have to for either money or self-worth purposes. They know they will split ASAP if the right job is offered. They come with jaded attitudes due to their financial situation and maybe a problem.
  5. I am too old for such a job.

Both men have recently swallowed their pride. One applied for a clerk position just down the road from his house. The grocery store has many age groups, so at least it can be dealt with, but the pay is not more than $15 hr, something he made some 20 yrs. ago. He felt like he was hitting bottom and depressed by it. During the interview, which was with a young 25 yr old woman, she said everything he expected her to say, he knew her dialogue before she said it, he knew the outcome before she said, " Thanks for coming in. Nice talking with you. We'll be in contact should anything come up".

That was her error. He then fired his salvo, " But, I applied for a clerk position that was advertised as open".

Caught off guard, she stumbled with, "Yes, of course, I meant, we have other applicants to interview and will be in touch one way or another".

My friend pursued, "Do you feel I am qualified?". Like a sword fight, she parlayed with, "you are well educated and while your past jobs have nothing to do with being a clerk, so there is a training issue. With this position, you cannot hit the ground running". My friend was checkmated.

He never heard back from them despite attempts he made to recontact. Seems to confirm Nos. 4 and 5. The other guy, meanwhile, applied for some hardware store job, just a simple sales thing paying $13 hr. He went into the interview with the most positive attitude he could conjure up and walked away with nothing. He followed up a few days later, the manager (around his age of 40) said he was still interviewing. A week later, he was told, he was still a candidate but there were others with more direct sales experience. Two weeks went by and he was told, "position was filled".

He also hit a low. His self-esteem was hit hard by the rejection once again. He thought it was incredible that someone else thought that he could NOT sell some f.... hardware at a store, how hard is that? Anyone can do it. Just because he had not done it in 20 yrs or so, and earned double what the hardware store manager earns in the past, does not mean he could not do it. Yet, the store hired some much younger person because their recent jobs had all been earning around the same and were in sales.


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