Unemployed Whiners

07Jul09

In my searching for a job, I’ve come across a lot of people who are frustrated about the whole process.  They complain that they send in a resume and never hear back.  They seem to expect the company call every single person who even sends in a resume.  It is an unrealistic expectation.  When you consider that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 2.5 million job openings in April (a record low) and at the same time there were 13.7 million people unemployed.  If you figure that people are sending out 100 or more resumes to get a job, suddenly those 2.7 million job openings are getting an average of almost 550 resumes.  Just acknowledging them at a rate of one per minute, it would take over a full day.  Then when you consider that we’ve all been reading all the job-seeking advice that has been plastered about over the years (find out who the hiring manager is and talk to them directly; don’t just ask if you can have an interview but when) and every time the hiring person gets hold of someone directly it’s a no-win situation: either they end up engaged in a 15 minute phone conversation politely saying “We’ll be in touch if you fit,” or if they manage to keep it short they get labeled as “extremely rude”.

Another complaint I’ve seen a lot is companies posting a job but not putting in the company’s name or direct contact information.  Perfectly understandable in my eyes.  Right now easy contact info will just get you flooded with phone calls and even spur-of-the-moment visits.  (“I just e-mailed my resume to you.  Have you received it and when can I have an interview?”  The last place I worked did accept e-mail applications and I did get phone calls and visits like that more than once.)  Who needs a surprise interruption in their day when most everyone already has too much to do?

The frustration shows in other ways.  I’ve been using Craigslist as a source for job openings for myself.  More and more I see posting from disgruntled and/or desperate job seekers popping up in the listings.  First the “Must Have Experience” dilemma.

“Companies keep posting must have ___ years of experience because they want to spend as little time as possible training people. Well how are people going to get experience if no one will give them a chance?  Every restaurant job I see says ‘must have at least 2 years of experience.’  Well, can someone please tell me where to go to get 2 years of experience so I can get a job in a restaurant?”

This one is not exclusive to the current down economy and not just the restaurant industry.  It shows up even when workers are harder to come by, and yes, the poster has it right.  Companies want experience because they want to spend less time training people, and less time fixing mistakes.  They want to know you can do the job.  I do wonder what jobs this person has been looking at.  I can find many jobs in the restaurant industry that aren’t explicitly asking for experience–it all depends on your expectations.  If you’re looking to become a manager at high-end place with no experience, good luck, not likely.  I’d love to become a news host on MPR, but I’ve got no qualifications that show I can do it, so I really don’t expect it to happen.  If you’re willing to start lower in the food chain, both what and where, work hard and you will eventually get there.  In the meantime, you go ahead and apply to anything you feel you can do.  My wife has gotten two jobs by convincing people they didn’t need someone with the qualifications they listed, they needed her.

Another thing I’ve seen is former employees posting “rebuttals” to job postings.  I don’t have a problem with people expressing their displeasure at their former employers–we do have a fairly well established freedom of expression.  Also, they are former employers for one reason or another, and often not for happy reasons.  I was displeased with my dismissal from my last job (first paragraph here) but I will not publicly bash them.  Sure, I know of many people who quit that company because they didn’t like how they were treated or were fired for good or bad reasons.  But I also know that there are a lot of people who still work there and are perfectly happy with their situation.  Different people need different environments.  One in particular complained that he had been told they didn’t have hours for him any more and they would let him know when they needed him again.  Then he found the same place posting an ad shortly after.  Yes, I would have been upset, too.  Obviously the place lied to him.  But then he proceeded to post his rant every few days for a month and a half.  Why not just get over it, move on and find a better job.

These posts also often use atrocious spelling and grammar and rows of exclamation points or question marks.  I know they are trying to emphasize their point, but that only works when it is limited.  Go ahead and put your rants on paper or the Internet.  If there are truly bad employers out there, the rest of the job seeking community deserves to find out about them.  But it won’t happen if the complaints aren’t presented well.  If every sentence ends in “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” it makes it look like babbling and people will just ignore you even if you had a valid point.  Don’t do it in the heat of the moment.  Put together coherent thoughts.  And avoid the personal attacks, because you never know: your next interview could be with their best friend.

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2 Responses to “Unemployed Whiners”

  1. So you’re a newbie, eh? Give it about 18 months, then check back with us and see if you’re not whining.

    I love this:

    “I can find many jobs in the restaurant industry that aren’t explicitly asking for experience…”

    Really? Do you have any idea what a bloodbath the restaurant industry is in right now? There aren’t a lot of jobs out there.

    You remind me of me, all bright eyed and bushy tailed for the first couple months. It gets bad when your benefits run out. It hurts your marriage, too. It ended mine. Stare homelessness in the face and then tell me about whining.

    • Wouldn’t quite call myself a newbie anymore–been on the job prowl for over 5 months now. I don’t feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It is depressing to send out resumes and hear nothing. It sucks to go out on interviews and get not a sausage.

      I do understand the bad situation in the restaurant industry, because it is the industry I am in. Some jobs exist, not nearly as many as a few years ago, but some are there (maybe I should have said “several” instead of “many”). The particular person I had issue with in that statement seemed to have no or little experience and wanted to walk in to a job a few steps up the ladder, when we’ve got people taking two or three steps down just to get a job.

      I know there are people out there that have it worse than I do. I feel fortunate that unemployment is below national average here in Flyover Land and there still exist brave souls here that are opening new restaurants. I’m hoping that means I can land in one of the spots that gets created. Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but that’s the only way I know how to be.


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