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The New Underclass: The Chronically Unemployed/Underemployed

Updated on January 9, 2012

As you may no doubt know by now, the recession (which started in 2008) has taken it's toll on the unemployed the nation over. Congress has once again put politics in front of responsibility and many out there are having a hard time. I for one become unemployed, by choice in late May of this year, and find the situation frustrating.

I gave up a position with the State of Maryland (as a inheritance tax auditor) to move 1,500 miles south to the Sun Belt. We settled in Houston and my significant other was able to get a position within three weeks of the truck pulling in to her parents house. I, on the other hand, have had a harder time. I've been on several interviews and the outlook is promising, however the most discouraging component is the automated emails of rejection.

Now, I don't know if any of you have been out there recently looking for jobs. However, the playing field has changed and it's definitely not in the applicant's interest. Before being able to even have the privilege of receiving an automated rejection email, the applicant must divulge so much personal information it is frightening. Aside from the norm of giving contact information, work history as far as ten years back is not only requested but required on some applications. Others need social security numbers and accounts of any minor traffic infractions for the last 36 months for jobs that have nothing to do with driving. Others will pull consumer credit reports, and even worse have a full account, including salary, of your work history. Others still require questionnaires on your ethnic background, sex and ask if an immediate relative has received government benefits in the last five years.

Now, how necessary is all of this information for making hiring decisions? It seems employers are spoked by the recession, and the requirements for even the most entry level positions require numerous years of industry specific work experience. So once, you've divulged all of this information, several minutes later an automated email response informing you have not fulfilled the basic requirements in your inbox. I makes me incredibly worried what employers will expect when the economy recovers. Currently applicants have no recourse and we may be setting a new baseline.

The entire system is extremely predatory, I can't count how many disclosure documents I've had to to consent to before I can even be remotely considered. My email spam box has been overflowing, so no doubt the applicant pool is a great marketing tool. Information is absolutely being sold, and some ads are all together scam work-from-home positions, etc.

A vacancy will state very general requirements, which are easily met, however there is another side; run my algorithms and keyword analysis that occurs. It's perplexing how applicants are filtered with no human eyes ever seeing the application. What ever happened to the human element?!

More importantly, there is a tremendous amount of guilt that is associated with not being able to find a job. When I'm applying to positions, I feel like I'm not covering enough ground or diversifying my potential employers. When I'm doing day-to-day responsibilities, I feel guilty that I should be out looking for a position rather than folding the laundry. Then comes the weekend, when contact from employers diminishes to zero and I feel even more frantic.

I have been out of work for less than 45 days and have several interviews and even second round interviews, but these positions have been less than ideal and still no offers. My major concern is the people out there that have been doing this for a year or two. Where do they get the will-power to wake up every morning and give it a shot again. Additionally, it's a much harder sell to a potential employer if your work skills have gone unused for a few months let alone several years. I hope our government can implement some programs to get the unemployed out there working, rather than bickering over partisan politics.

I've developed a website that has helped me organized where I check for positions, so check the link out below:

Potential Employer Link Directory.

Good luck to you all!


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    • profile image

      Ricky Hooper 7 years ago

      I've been searching for a line of work. it seems like no matter how much I look the available job is always filled. What advice can you give me to snag a job?

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Pat writes: I am retired (early) and the other Patricia is self-employed. One reason why I chose to retire is the pain of writing job applications. In many jobs in England you not only have to list all your previous employers, but write an explanation of how your experience is relevant to the job. One application for a senior position can take 2 days to complete as it is necessary to re-jig all the details to fit the job.

      Other jobs begin with an on-line application which will automatically reject anybody without the required basic exam qualifications. It is beyond frustrating - actually depressing and almost demeaning.

    • cheaptrick profile image

      cheaptrick 7 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      When I was a kid my father told me"Get your own".He told me to always work for myself and the money would come.My first venture was to barrow $2 [with interest]from my dad and build a"shoe shine box".I became the best

      shoe shine boy"in town!I still Have"my own"though its Not shining shoes anymore!This hub Needed to be written!Thanks for doing it!


      PS...I'll leave you with this quote"Find something you love to do and do it to your best ability...All else Will follow"Which is what I'm about to do to You :o)

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 7 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      With so many people unemployed, under-employed or having their salaries or hours cut, it's a sad state of affairs and corporate America doesn't seem to care. I've been trying self employment lately. I hate job hunting.

    • DowntroddenInDC profile image

      DowntroddenInDC 7 years ago from Houston, TX


      That's a shame for your 'in-law'. Sounds like he did everything he could and still lost it all..

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 7 years ago from SE MA

      I really don't see any end to it soon. I have worked for myself since 1983, so I don't have to worry about quite the same things, but my income is down significantly. I am in my sixties so probably couldn't find anything but bagging food if I wanted to, but I see plenty of younger people in the same boat.

      The father of my nephews wife was out of work for two years, about to lose their home, and suddenly found a decent job. Joyous celebration! Two months later, that company downsized and he was out again. Six months after that, they did lose their home.

      It's a mess.