It takes a toll
Re "Ugly reality looms for job seekers," Sept. 5, and "The unemployed," Editorial, Sept. 6
I am irritated by the self-righteous who complain about extended unemployment insurance, grouching that it causes people not to seek jobs aggressively or to avoid taking low-paying jobs.
My wife was laid off two years ago. She has done everything she could to find another job, has taken technical courses to supplement her university degrees and has done unpaid volunteer work to diversify her job experience. Currently she is doing routine freelance work in another county, below her qualifications and at one-third her former salary.
So, dare to tell us that she is taking life easy on the dole.
This job-seekers article is informative, insightful and a slap in the face by reality.
After being unemployed for more than a year myself and having to move back in with family for support, I know what it's like to be the one struggling.
The ex-associate at an investment bank certainly knows how to hold a positive outlook in such a depressing and undermining situation. Best of luck to all the others; I know how your self-esteem and worth get taken away when you keep fighting this long, hard battle.
Frustrated and discouraged job seekers need to understand that the traditional system of finding employment — i.e. standing in line for hours at job fairs, mass distribution of resumes, responding to every posted job and waiting for the phone to ring —no longer works.
Whenever possible, job seekers need to avoid HR (what I call "Hiring Resistance") and start targeting companies, not jobs.
As a career management professional, my advice to those willing to change their mindset: Contact hiring managers (potential bosses) in companies of interest where you know your skills, experience and expertise would be of value at some point in the future. Broadcast your value, not your resume. That way, you'll be on the short list when a position does become available and needs to be filled.
Thank you for all that in-depth information behind the new unemployment figures. This is why traditional journalism must never die.
However, there's another reason the unemployment rate will remain high even after the economy seriously begins to recover. Businesses have learned not only how to replace workers with technology but how to squeeze every last bit of work out of as few employees as possible.
The economists call this "productivity." I call it making those who remain on the job do the work of laid-off or never-hired employees.
As the recession finally wanes and hiring picks up, businesses will hire back fewer than they originally laid off.
Enter the world of the "new normal." Productivity will zoom, businesses will be profitable, the stock market will surge, but many will remain jobless.
Management is always looking to lower labor costs. That can mean restricting pay and benefits, moving jobs out of the country or automating work.
Likewise, the housing bubble of the last few years pumped so much money into the system that the transfer of millions of jobs overseas and the loss of millions more to technology was noted only by a few. Consumers liked the low prices. Corporate profits surged.
Well, the bubble has burst. While the business sector is strong, few jobs are being created, and those are generally low paying. That may be good for corporate profits, but it isn't good for the larger society.
It's election season; politicians of both major parties claim they can best create jobs. But they can't. Despite campaign rhetoric, the drive to eliminate jobs is inexorable. Every ATM transaction, online purchase, e-mail and self-serve eliminates a job. And because we are not going to give up those efficiencies, we have to deal with the consequences.
Your editorial regarding unemployment is helpful in understanding who has been most affected by the recession. As a healthcare worker of over 25 years' duration, I've noticed something interesting about this recession: how many people have undergone retraining in another industry to escape unemployment in their previous industry.
The unfortunate effect, however, has been to prolong their own unemployment because of inexperience. Every time our office has advertised for an experienced healthcare worker, we've been besieged by resumes from people with little or no experience. The skilled workers submit few if any resumes; they seem to have job prospects or are opting to stay where they are.
According to your article, one office manager who lost her $44,000 job last year cannot find work. Having mailed out hundreds of resumes and scoured employment websites, she found little besides domestic work.
The implication is that of course she would not take such a demeaning job.