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Why Are We Still Unemployed?
Overqualified and Unemployed
I want to tell you all a story.
This is about a very good friend of mine who, for the past six months, has been actively trying to seek a job in the business sector.
She has a masters degree in Project Management, specializing in Organizational Communication. This is on top of her Bachelors in Business Management. Not to mention the various accolades and honors she has amassed over the years. She worked where I worked, in telecommunications, and had an overall sterling track record. There are even proven instances of her leadership ability, and her skill at adapting to rapidly changing environments.
If you were to read her resume in fact, you would think this is a person who should be a CEO, if nothing else. This is all information that is verifiable, and useful for any position she may choose to apply to. Being a tech savvy woman, she knows all the right keywords to use, to get her resume seen.
So here's the rub: Why is it that with her superior skills, by-the-book resume and interview talents, and desire to accept less money than she is most likely worth, is she getting rejection emails on a daily basis? Often it would seem that someone in their late thirties is being considered overqualified, because they took the time to not only further their education, but hone their skills at being one of the best in their industry. There is something inherently wrong about this scenario, and to be honest, I am scratching my head when I get a forwarded email of her rejection for a vice president position, doing similar to what she has done for years.
In one instance, she told me she was rejected by a major company because, they said she would be such a great fit that she would eventually be "bored" with the company and want to move on to something better.
The (Not So) Starving Artist
I'll tell you another story, about a long time professional graphic artist friend of mine, who decided to take matters into her own hands.
My friend has her Associates in Commercial Graphic Design, and over the years has worked in quite a few advertising houses. She has managed to rise up the ranks from a junior designer, to the executive level. This is a woman whose middle name should be "meticulous". She strives for perfection in everything she does, and in her relationships with clients, they respect her for this attribute.
In recent years, jobs of her caliber have been harder to come by, so she took several pay cuts to work freelance jobs that would come her way. She was scraping by, to say the least. Then, the jobs apparently dried up.
Now what, she asked.
After some serious soul searching, she came to the decision that "looking for a job" was the issue. Instead, what she has done is create a brand OF herself. With her vast knowledge of online social networking, and good old fashioned advertising, she created a system of "credits" that prospective clients will buy into, in order to secure her artistic talents, and more importantly, her time.
Here's the fun part. It WORKED! She now has clients purchasing her services, instead of clocking into a nine to five art job, being overseen by creative managers who might not even grasp the correct way to hold a mouse, let alone a number two pencil. Her business has gotten so good over the last few months, that she is actively being courted for full time positions, preferring instead to politely decline so that she can retain control over that which she has created.
She reached that point where she was well and truly "DONE" with job hunting. She let the jobs hunt for her!
And The Rest Of Us
There are those of us who have seemingly gone from pillar to post, when it comes to jobs, accepting what is right for us at the time. I am sure there are many of us out there who, like myself, have done almost everything under the sun since their teenage years. We are the Jacks-of-all-trades. While in some cases, the things I have learned have made me a better fit for some jobs over others, it would seem that the uncertainty permeating the job market has made it so that finding something of lasting substance that one could call a "career", is becoming few and far between.
Just take a look at the popular job search engines out there, and you will see no shortage of positions that have become more discriminating in what skill set they are looking for. As a result, the competition has become fiercer, and the ubiquitous "form rejection letter", more prevalent.
So what do those of us do, who habitually fill out application after application, talk to recruiters, tweak our resumes? We all know the bills will not stop coming, and savings can only last so long.
Do we, like my artistic friend, change our mindset and market our own skills as a service to be bought, instead of figuratively becoming a cog in a corporate machine? Do we, like my business whiz friend, just keep plugging away in the hope and faith that the Universal spirit will show mercy on us and get us the jobs we would like to have, or even settle for?
Or is there another way?
The world has become more complicated, and at least for myself, i have found that having a support group of fellow unemployed friends has helped to keep sanity through it all. After all, we all got laid off around the same time. I find it hard to believe that while the US Department of Labor reports unemployment at 7% for November 2013, this encompasses ALL the people who are truly unemployed.
There has to be a better way, America. Our people are struggling. We need fresh ideas, and ways to bring purpose back to the lives of those who feel lost. While some may say it is not what you know but whom, I feel in a country as grand as this, there is no good reason why we all cannot help each other, when it comes to survival, rather than the competitive atmosphere that has been fostered. Perhaps we as a people should seriously reconsider a barter type system. We all have at least one talent, and there is bound to be someone else out there willing to pay for said talents, whether in currency, or a service of their own. It's not too late, as our dollar has not devalued to the point where we literally fight to survive.
As for myself, I will continue writing.