Walking the Cat . . .

Because life's kinda like that . . .

And now for the bad news . . .

with 2 comments

According to an article in today’s New York Times, “some job postings online exclude the long-term job applicant”.  Most of us already know those holes in our employment histories mean we’re less likely to obtain a new job; the longer you are unemployed, the less likely it is your job skills will be sharp and the harder it will be for you to re-adjust to the 9-to-5 grind, and so are less attractive to prospective employers.  But these are hurdles easily (more or less) overcome by seeking volunteer positions or part-time gigs to show we’re still “in the game”.  In an increasing number of cases, these job history “patches” are no longer valid.

According to Catherine Rampell, author of the Times article, “. . .job vacancy postings on popular sites like Monster.com, Careerbuilder and Craigslist revealed hundreds that said employers would consider . . .  only people currently employed or just recently laid off.”  Again, nothing new, we’re all aware of the fact it’s easier to get a job when you have a job.  But that fact was tempered by the knowledge (if you were unemployed) you would at least have the opportunity to sell yourself to an employer.  Once again, this line of thought is no longer valid.  We all knew finding employment after losing (for whatever reason) a job was an uphill battle.  We’ve known — or should have known — employers were, more often than not, promoting or hiring from within their organizations rather than recruiting from outside.  Now we know what some of us have suspected for some time is true; if you’ve been unemployed for some time (the national average is nine months), it’s more than likely your resumé will go no further than the “circular file”.  This is not an “industry specific” phenomenon, it’s market-wide; from small business to corporate giant, from high-tech to fast food. And there isn’t a helluva lot to be done about it.  It doesn’t come under the heading of discrimination; unlike age, gender, religion and sexual orientation, the jobless are not a protected class of citizen (but then we’ve known that for years, right?).  So what are we supposed to do?

“Job counselors”, again quoting the Times article, “often encourage the long-term jobless to go back to school or volunteer to demonstrate they are still productive, engaged members of society.  But absent the actual acquisition of marketable skills — which many retraining programs do not provide — it’s not clear such efforts improve the chances of being hired.”  (Keep that in mind the next time you’re tempted to sign up at one of those for-profit vocational schools.  They ain’t cheap!)

So what’s a person to do?  How do we drag ourselves out of this quagmire without shredding every bit of our personal integrity and self-respect?  Well, the good news is there is a way.  It isn’t easy, in fact, it’s downright scary.  But it can be done.  And I’ll talk about it in my next (several) posts.

Until then, remember:  Never give up!  Never settle!  Keep on keepin’ on.


2 Responses

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  1. Not that everyone is equipped to do this, but when I was laid off I started my own business – if for no other reason than to have no holes in the job history. As it turned out, it also increased my prospects.


    July 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    • I agree not everyone is equipped to start their own business, but, thanks to the Internet, it is possible for more people than ever to do just that. That will be the subject(s) of my next two posts. Thanks for the feedback, Mike. Steve

      Steve Thomas

      July 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

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