How Does A Person Become Unemployable?
After reading an article indicating that a person is "unemployable" after being unemployed for more than a year or more, I call my friend. My friend was fully employed for the past 10 years in a field that is a niche within the IT world. He made between $60-70,000 yearly, has a family, nice cars.
That was two years ago. Today, after almost two years of unemployment via the four Federal extensions, there is a sense that he has given up. Sad, but not unexpected when you think of the the hurdles he faces: unemployment for nearly two years (except for a four month job with the US Census last year), age (he is 55), aging skills, over-qualified or under qualified for many jobs, and stiff applicant competition from all ages (those more recently just unemployed). Who said that college grads earn more than high school grads? Not always true, and he should know, he has two degrees. He was telling me that to pass time, he has tried to volunteer at various agencies and even there, there is competition because of the glut of unemployed trying to maintain their sanity by volunteering.
He, like others in the same boat, are at odds of what to do next. Go back to school? How? Major in what other field? What career could one obtain in the shortest time of a year? What happens if that also fails? Get a job a Walmart? Target? Funny, because as he told me, he has tried and either did not "qualify" by their online tests or the interviewer looked at him with suspicion about why he was unemployed. No matter what he said, whatever spin he spun his unemployment dilemma, he felt he was wasting time because of the many others, more recently unemployed, or younger applicants. Being unemployed more than one year has been said to be akin to a "death sentence" because of all of the above. That is how he feels.
He told me that when the interviewer asked about why he could not find a job, he was baffled himself. He spun his skillsets and told them to contact former references, that, nothing was wrong with his work product. The interviewer seemed not hear it or believe it because of his comments about being out of work for over a year. My friend felt like screaming at the person, a smug, coy, 30ish HR person. Even when he has pointed out that his skills are NOT outdated at all, it did not seem to make a difference.
So, this is how a middle aged, college grad, becomes obsolete and into forced retirement. I really feel for the guy, it can happen to anyone, anytime. He is at a loss of what to do, he cannot seem to get even a Walgreen's job. But, if the job market in his area and elements are bad, his far worse enemy is his attitude. I have noticed a change from a vibrant person to one that is beaten over the course of time. As he tells me, he continues to search and send off resumes like he did nearly two years ago. Some of the gigs ask for skills that he possesses but to employers they might seem dated or obsolete because he has not worked. Time and rejection has taken a toll on his self esteem, all while his savings are robbed for daily expenses. The unemployment he has received simply kept the theft of savings to a minimum. It now ends and consequences will be dire as days turn to months and months to years. He figures he can last six months with scrimping before the mortgage is threatened.
It is a good thing his wife works and earns good money, but even that area has been hit hard in terms of relationship. I help as best I can but I cannot save him.