Unemployment Rate Falls

I overslept this morning.  That isn’t amazing in itself.   I can easily sleep half the day away if I don’t force myself out of the bed.  Once I’m up though, sitting on the edge of the bed at least, I’m good .  But the oversleeping this morning seemed to have a disquieting efffect.  I was incoherent when my wife woke me to tell me she was leaving for work.  Again, a common occurrence for one who has been woken from a deep sleep, dreaming of something better than what they will probably face today.  One of those, “where am I” moments that I truly don’t like.  And a feeling of distress.  Something not being right.

The headline: “Unemployment rate falls, lowest in nearly 3 years,” screamed out as the featured story on my Yahoo page while I checked my email for responses to my recent blast of online job applications. “A burst of hiring in December pushed the U.S. unemployment rate to its lowest level in nearly three years, giving the economy a boost at the end of 2011,” was the lead.  The unemployment rate has dropped to 8.5 percent just in time for the election, or so it seems.  Except, as the article points out, when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate was only 7.8.  “Only 7.8” percent was not a good unemployment rate either.

And I can’t get an interview.  I’m not over-educated, or over-experienced in any one field, but I am now “old” in many respects.  Age discrimination aside, even though they can’t ask me how old I am in a job interview, they can eliminate me from consideration by asking when I graduated from high school.  Just like they figure out at the grocery store if I’m old enough to buy the booze they’re too young to ring up.  Do I think they eliminate me from consideration when I say 1971?  Absolutely.  During the one and only interview I’ve had since I moved here, for an outside sales job, the Regional Sales Manager who was clearly in his thirties, said I was “dating” myself when I started talking about the Bell System breakup of the 80’s.  He said he was very young when that happened, but he, unlike many others, remembered it.  I think I “dated” myself when I walked into the interview with gray streaks in my hair and a goatee that has gone mostly white and a double-breasted suit I haven’t worn in 25 years.

The truth is I have little or no outside sales experience, so I was surprised that I even got the interview.  Didn’t really want the job anyway, didn’t think I would get it, but thought I might practice up on my interview skills since it’s been a while.  I can’t really see me selling sandpaper to body shops.  But then it was a job, and I need one of those.

The job application process has changed drastically over the years too.  You can’t really check the newspaper for job openings anymore or “hit the streets” looking for opportunities.  You go instead to the thousands of job board sites and search for job openings in your area, and then you spend an hour or more filling out an online job application and, of course, the now famous personality test.  “Do you think you are good looking?”  Hell yes, thanks for asking.  But then they also want to know if you think you’re handsome, attractive, beautiful or someone that would make a train take a dirt road, in subsequent questions, all designed to “trip” you up.  The instructions say that you should answer the questions truthfully, not how you WANT to think of yourself.  Does anybody do that?  Yep, I’m so ugly, when I was younger, my mother had to tie a pork chop around my neck so the dog would play with me.

What really sets me off when filling out these online job applications is that the first thing they ask you to do is upload your resume or copy and paste it to a box.  Then the next ten pages of the online application asks you to regurgitate the entire resume information into their specific boxes.  It infuriates me.  I have to tab back and forth from the Word document and the online application to give them the information I uploaded ten minutes ago.  And I was already eliminated from consideration when I put 1971 in the box three pages ago when it asked when I graduated from high school.  And what’s this “Degree” or “Significant Course Work” in relation to high school?  Do you choose a course of study in high school now?  Something other than reading, righting and rithmetic?  I put “General”.  I’m probably eliminated then, if I haven’t already been with “1971.”  But the worse thing that happens during the online job application process is the computer will freeze up after you’ve been entering information for 45 minutes and you have to start all over again.

When you’re old like me, shouldn’t you have developed some contacts over the years?  Someone you worked with back in the day that you can call and say, “Hey (insert name), I’ve moved back to town and I’m looking for a job.  Got anything with Xyz Company?”  That’s the company where your good friend is now CEO and knows you would be a perfect fit for that Director of Marketing they’re looking for.  Or how about that night janitor position they haven’t been able to fill.

Time to stop feeling sorry for myself and get back to the process, I guess.  Checking the boxes next to “hard working,” “attractive,” “funny,” “outside-of-the-box thinker,” “dedicated,” “team player,” “good looking,” “leader,” “problem solver,” “handsome,” “smart.”  Here’s one:  “Have you ever thought about stealing more than $5  from your employer?”  WTF.  Is anyone going to answer in the affirmative to that question?  If I only thought about stealing $4.95, is that okay?  Later in the same personality test, they up it to $10 and ask the same questions.

I think that’s why I overslept this morning, woke up disquieted and with that feeling of distress.  I have to fill out more job applications and wonder whether I have ever just thought about embezzling $4.95 from any of my last employers without being caught.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Unemployment Rate Falls

  1. Shannon

    Loved it. Try not to get discouraged when you see those jobs listed in perpetuity. I think that most of the companies keep jobs listed “just in case”. You start to see posts where you know you applied and were qualified, so if they were really hiring, why didn’t you get a call?
    How do those people who make a living blogging swing that? You’re great at blogging. Or, you could call Bravo- Real househusbands of New Mexico. They could film you making toys, and for dramatic purposes they can supply you with Jack and Coke. Will he cut something off or won’t he? Tune in next time. Sometimes I crack myself up.

    • Yeah, I applied for one yesterday listed on Monster. After an hour of filling out their online application I got an email saying thanks but they didn’t have any openings in my area at this time. WTF. I once had a video of me putting in a kitchen recessed lighting fixture. I called it “This Old Piece of Shit.” I still think it has potential. And I do worry about cutting something off sometimes, but I’ve been drinking Bacardi and Zero lately. Not that that changes anything, but just thought I would clear that up.

  2. No way could I deal with job hunting. I accepted long ago the only way to survive is to take what I can get. I wouldn’t fit in a workplace anyway, never really did. Don’t play well with others. I’d rather rake leaves than deal with officious twits more concerned with their “brand.” I don’t know what kind of jobs they’re talking about that are pushing those numbers, but one thing for sure is I wouldn’t qualify. And there’s no way to disguise your age, for chrissakes just look at someone’s resume and see where they were working in the ’70s.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t really fit into the “workplace” either, but I haven’t figured out a way to “take what I can get.” “Officious twits.” Love it. Thanks for stopping by. Haven’t heard from you in a while.

  3. You catalog the reasons why searching for a job is so difficult on so many different levels. It’s not just the paucity of jobs, it’s the subtle forms of discrimination and the application process itself. All so discouraging.

    If you don’t know someone in “the know” anymore, your chances of getting a job that pays a living wage are slim.

    If it’s any consolation, I’d hire you in an instant, but I don’t have much money myself and Scrappy can only take so many walks during one day, His little legs get tired. He’s 10 years old and finally slowing down….

  4. I graduated in 1965, so I’m totally screwed job-wise. On the up side, I intend to have both feet firmly planted in the Medicare trough this June, so–woo hoo for me!

  5. Danny Amira

    I don’t know really what to say except that is some funny shit and by the way the uneployment was up this morning

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