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The 5 Most Common Assumptions About the Unemployed and 6 Tips to Silence Them.

Updated on June 25, 2014
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Everyone is talking.....

Nearly everyone has been here: jobless. But jobless has a different impact at different stages in life. A jobless high school graduate can comfortably seek employment from the basement of their parents home and not worry about how they’ll get their next meal. Their cell phones will be paid by loving parents, and that car that is likely already paid off will remain theirs. But for the 30+ crowd, it’s a whole new song and dance. Mortgage, children, car payment, groceries, all of these worries plague you while you seek employment. The clock is ticking, and unfortunately—people are talking.

Oh yes, they’re talking about you.

What are they saying?

Here are the 5 most common assumptions about the unemployed:

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What do you DO all day??

Oh, just kicking my feet up, catching up on the newest Orange is the New Black series, and enjoying an involuntary vacation while the jobs come to me. Totally not worrying about paying my bills, or finding a career in a saturated market. Seriously, any person who asks this question has not been unemployed after 30. Looking for a job is a full-time job. Hours are spent in seeking employment. Resume writing and revision, creating usernames, profiles, and logins to countless job sites and employer sites. Questionnaires are filled out and background checks are authorized.

Next, if a job match is located, it can take 15 to life to fill out the employer’s application with the very same information on your resume, along with their 50 question personality test, optional questions, and references (names, phones, and addresses, please!)

If you are lucky enough to be contacted for an interview, a series of phone interviews, tests, questionnaires, and personality screens are nearly the norm, again, taking time. Employers are looking for quality candidates, and quality candidates will invest the time in their application.

According to the Washington Post, 35 percent of all unemployed people have been out of work for at least six months (May, 2014). Although this number is down from 2010, the jobs are too.

This means more people applying to the jobs you are, and more work for the HR department to sift through applications. What does the unemployed do all day? Look for jobs. Seriously, it takes all day.

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If You Were Smart, You'd Take ANY Job

This is something most apathetic people will irrationally force down an unemployed person’s throat. Yes, forget about your $25,000 student loan debt, your $1500 mortgage, car payment, and other bills. If you are REALLY serious about not being unemployed, you will take a server job, a receptionist job, or even a volunteer job. Because getting any job is better than no job.

Let’s get real. When people are unexpectedly unemployed, they are seeking employment in their field of experience to meet their financial responsibilities. Around this age, the process to obtain a professional position takes time and networking. Applications, pre-screening questionnaires, numerous interviews, and subscribing to 50+ search agents on 30+ job boards. To take a position –any position, simply to be ‘employed’ is counterproductive to the situation. A comparable job is sought so that the unemployed person can still pay their bills, not wait tables while fielding collection calls and dodging foreclosure papers. And again, you need available time to invest in seeking employment. Taking a $10 an hour job for 40 hours a week may get you $300 a week after taxes or less. But it also will take considerable time away from job searching. In order to make this decision, you must review your budget and expenses and determine if you can "afford" this job. Some of you may be getting unemployment compensation, which offsets the loss of income, and some may not. Some may have a partner assisting in their financial contributions, others may not. You must make this decision based on your circumstances, and ignore anyone who doesn't agree with your honest assessment.

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Your House Should Be SPOTLESS If You're Unemployed

Although I find cleaning therapeutic, I can say that a clean house is not my top priority when unemployed. During unemployment, I have personally been on a computer from 7:30 am to 3pm searching for jobs. Every Day. The process is meticulous, tedious, and very time-consuming. Many job boards have outdated postings. So when you use their search agent, you may click on a position, be redirected to the employer’s website, required to create a profile and upload a resume—only to find out “this job posting has expired”. Try this mind-numbing experience over, and over. You look at the clock and its 2:30, and you’ve successfully applied to 3 positions.

But don't let the house succumb to dust bunnies with fangs. Do step away from the computer and throw on a load of laundry, make the beds, take a break and make your home a representation of your mental state-in control, organized, and orderly. It can be cathartic to clean, but you don't have to be Martha Stewart either.

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There Are TONS of Jobs Out There!

Sure, this is true. There are TONS of jobs out there. But not in specific fields of expertise. If you went to college for marketing. You aren’t looking for a welder position. I have experienced job search agents where for WEEKS the SAME jobs are sent to me. No new ones. I have signed up with recruiters, 27 job search boards, and still have come to a grinding halt on new positions in my field of expertise. Let’s get real: You have a better chance of obtaining a job relevant to your experience than say, operating a forklift. So, while there may be TONS of jobs out there, there are not TONS in your specific geographical location, and in your field of expertise. The best way to ensure you aren't missing out on the "tons" of jobs, is to sign up with job boards and create search agents. (see tips below)

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There is NO Justification For Entertainment Spending While Unemployed.

Most people will secretly judge you if you splurge on a movie, or go out to dinner occasionally. “If you were really worried, you wouldn’t be spending any more money than you absolutely have to”. These people are unrealistic. Often the unemployed have children, or their sanity to care for. Being unemployed wreaks havoc on self-esteem and leaves in its wake --depression. Finding a job may lead someone to finding their own self-worth and value, or finding themselves feeling like a deflated balloon with each rejection email “While we appreciate your application, we have found other candidates more closely suited to our needs”. While these long days of uncertainty and fear take a toll on the mental state of the unemployed—going to a movie with the kiddos or going out to eat once in a while can make the whole unit feel ‘normal’.


So we've covered what everyone is saying about you, or to you. Let's talk about what you can do to expedite the process and silence the nay-sayers:

6 Tips for the Unemployed

  1. Online Portfolio: If you haven’t done so already, ensure you make yourself visible online. Create a LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com and start networking. They say “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and sometimes, you don’t even know WHO you know until you network.
  2. Search Smart: Create search agents with job boards like www.monster.com, www.careerbuilder.com, www.wullo.com, www.ziprecruiter.com. You can upload your resume, create a search agent for your keywords relating to your profession, your preferred distance, and email preferences to have jobs delivered to you daily that meet your parameters. This is a good tool to not fall off the job search wagon as you will be sent notifications daily with RELEVANT job postings.
  3. Be Prepared: Get a binder and fill it with sample business writing, or projects you have successfully completed at your last positions, along with letters of recommendations from former colleagues and friends so that you have them readily available for that unexpected interview call. Include copies of certifications and your degree to demonstrate to your next prospective employer that you are prepared and able to represent yourself well.
  4. Recruit Recruiters! Don’t be afraid of recruiting agencies! Refer to the first tip: networking! They know people, and in turn, so can you by simply taking 30 minutes to meet with recruiting firms, and leaving them with a good impression. They have as much motivation to find you a job as you do to find a job.
  5. Professional Websites: For Free. Create a professional website. At www.yola.com or www.weebly.com you can set up a free professional website and link your resume, professional accomplishments, and executive summary. It is a good thing when a prospective employer ‘googles’ you and finds additional professional information at their fingertips, as well as a candidate who is seriously serious about finding a position by professionally marketing themselves.
  6. Take a Break. Finally, accept the fact that finding a job will take time. You are not alone. In fact, there are 9.8 million people just like you (Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 6, 2014). Take a deep breath. Prepare yourself. And every once in a while, go to a movie.

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    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great job with this topic! It's awful that so many people are not only so judgmental but also so uninhibited about sharing said thoughts with others. Wishing you the best of luck with your search.

    • Pool Of Thoughts profile image

      David Steffy 3 years ago from Southern Ohio

      You are spot on with this article! You can tell that you have had the experience of being unemployed. It is sad...real sad but you have nailed it! Taking a lower wage job or going on welfare also makes you look bad when you finally get an interview out of the 200+ job applications that you've filled out also.

      Great Hub. Voted up and useful!

    • erinshelby profile image

      erinshelby 3 years ago from United States

      It's certainly true that there are jobs, but those that match what college grads are looking for are in short supply. While there's no shame in work of any kind, anyone with internships, paid work experience, and a degree with great grades would hope to get an offer outside of fast food. Thanks for sharing.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 3 years ago from Manhattan

      Wonderful article. I have been unemployed for over 6 months..it's an awful situation. Your article was very straight forward and truthful. I think the really difficult part is knowing what others think of you when you can't find work. And, boy it is a difficult thing to even think about taking a job at 7/11 when you are a college graduate and a professional..just because you can't find anything. I am 53, you think it's tough at 30 something..it's torture at 50 something!

      Voted Up and Shared!

    • Fred Arnold profile image

      Fred Arnold 3 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      I love your snarky attitude in this Hub! It goes well with the information you are giving. To me the most important part about finding a job, which I did not see on here, is to actually go out and meet your prospective employers. You can make a big impression on a possible employer by seeking them out in person and showing them that you are comfortable in social settings with everything on the line.

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 3 years ago

      I finished a 20 year career and began a new start at the beginning of the recession. I have done many jobs including some I would never do again. I have been fully employed and never that poor in my life and I owe no one money beyond monthly living expenses. Anyone condemning the unemployed must be living pretty good. The ratio of part time employees working at base pay to full time employees is 10 to one in some businesses. Still they even cut these peoples hours if they can. In most cases you can still request unemployment and its better pay then your job. I have met employers who our so dirty that you might as well be a criminal, because they are. My point is that we are at the mercy of a system that no longer betters our lives. Employed or unemployed I am always looking for something better. I know a lot of people who work harder then ever and are just as bad off. You do what you can and always prepare for the worst. There is no such thing as job loyalty and in fact every job these days is like watching a revolving door as employees come and go. To get any loyalty you have to work your butt off and no you will probably never be paid a real wage for your effort. We are fighting for hours and not even wages any more.