Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Waiting

Have a good job?  Don't mind getting up early or going the extra mile now and then? Then I can understand why someone who  doesn't constantly search the want ads, hit up friends and relatives for leads and find more doors closed than open can regurgitate unkind words on a career forum.

There's a different mindset when things are going right compared to when they're not.  If everything's worked out for you it's hard to understand why all these people are whining about no jobs, ageism, abuse, and discrimination.

The times when things are going well can blind us to an uncertain future.  Most of us would rather not think about the possibility that things won't always be the same no matter how hard we try.  Perhaps the less fortunate have more insight than those who've never experienced real hardship in their lives. 
Never forget, there's always more people suffering in the world than not.  Remember that callous comment posters, we outnumber you.

To know how truly bad things can get allows you to appreciate how good things are. 

It also gives you compassion which is something sorely lacking in contemporary recruiting practices.  Resume scanning software, discrimination,  job boards full of spammed listings and recruiters more interested in punch lists than ability are just a few of the failings of the "new" way to find work.

Even if you're fortunate enough to navigate this minefield of uncertainty and land a job interview the contest doesn't end there.  Often you're left wondering and waiting for weeks, maybe months to hear something, anything about your starring performance.

We're told the wait isn't necessarily their fault.  Job interviews are a low priority in an otherwise busy day and depending on what's going on may postpone a decision for weeks.   It makes you wonder how much your contribution would really matter when you think of it.

Send a follow up email or letter, make a phone call, do anything to stay in the front of their mind you're told.  That's impossible and we know it.  Those who've sat on the other side of the interview table  more often than not ignore such overtures like spam in their junk email folder.

So we wait and as time passes become more dejected over our prospects.  We continue to apply and interview (if we're lucky) but in the end, we just wait.
The problem is real and the cause sits squarely in the lap of a corporate culture that treats the "Human Resource" as little more than cattle.  Selected, groomed and ultimately led to slaughter.

It's easy to advise we lost souls of the unemployed to seek alternatives like consulting or a home based business.  Hell, I got so tired of this sick game that I went out and actually took their advice and it worked for awhile.  Problem is, eventually most of your clients end up in the same boat you are.  A vicious circle is revealed.  If we help each other we can ultimately help ourselves but we, all of us, have lost our power.

We've lost it to the employer who hires illegal immigrants to avoid paying a fair wage or the corporation abusing H1B visas for the same reason.  We've lost it to offshore outsourcing and cheap products produced by laborers in faraway lands where worker's rights and safety are only of marginal concern.   
It's good for the bottom line but you, dear reader, are not part of it. 

Small businesses are usually made up of dedicated people offering a unique product or service found nowhere else.  In the past decade we've seen millions of them fail not because they did anything wrong but rather just the opposite. 

They did their jobs too well and found themselves driven out of business by a cheap pale imitation of their offerings.  Again, a vicious cycle.  If there are fewer small businesses there is less work spread among the now desperate independents that support them as they scrounge for every scrap.

So much for going into business for yourself.  Trust me, corporations don't hire anything but other corporations when they need something done.  I can guarantee "You.INC" isn't on their list unless you happen to be the only one in your field.

So what do we do? Revolt? How? we can't even afford the bullets. 

The only hope, try to be unique and offer something vital but impossible to replicate.  That's a tall order but unless you want to just accept the way things are, it's your only hope of rising above the morass of the job hunt. 

My final bit of advice, don't spend too much time commenting on the bad advice of headhunter columns.  Misery loves company and always travels in groups.  Offer something constructive, ignore the moronic comments of the uneducated and move on.