The Face of Unemployment

Kate Stewart recently wrote an article about how the unwillinglyunemployed struggle with coming to grips about job inequality, companies you don’t hear from and job opportunities that could be created. I can definitely attest to what she’s gone through.

Getting absolutely no response is worst than rejection. That, I can tell you. Apathy is one of the worst reactions you can get. Imagine a scenario where you’re asking out s   omeone if they want to go to dinner with you. They could either 1) say yes, 2) say no, or 3) say nothing and walk away. I don’t know about you, but closure is good. Rejection may hurt, but shows you where you currently stand and allows you to pick up the pieces and move on.

It’s not just me that’s had to deal with this kind of behavior from employers. A friend of mine, who is currently studying for her postgraduate degree told me  she called human resources once to check up on her job application, after hearing nothing for two weeks. She was met with an irate woman’s voice, who claimed “Why did you call me? We’re still reviewing the applications.”

If you think that’s sloppy, you should have read this stock e-mail that was supposed to thank me for my application:

(insert subject here)

(insert content here)

Best Regards
Lazy HR Woman

Big Multinational

That was the actual email I received, minus the change in names. Obviously, I didn’t get the job at the big multinational where the lazy HR woman worked, but you get the idea. I understand that people can make mistakes and that mistakes are loci for learning, but people actually get paid to make mistakes like these? At least I’m not getting paid to send blank emails.

When I was younger, I was naive and I didn’t think I would ever be unemployed. Even during high school and chugging through college, I didn’t think I’d be unemployed for this long. But it’s given me a vantage point that I would have otherwise never seen. It’s a little bit like George Orwell and his experiences living with the working poor in France and becoming a much better writer and person because of it.

Now I get the frustration of job inequality that Kate is talking about. Some people are overpaid, some people are underpaid. It’s as simple as that. But why is no one challenging the system? Why is it okay for some guy in a suit like Paul Henry who is clearly 1) racist, 2) misogynistic and 3) homophobic to have so much paid airtime on TV and radio? I’m just going to take a punt here and guess that some people really thrive on controversy.

And for those of you who don’t know who Paul Henry is, he’s this guy. Basically, a man who couldn’t contain his laughter over minister Sheila Dikshit and her surname, while his female co-anchor sat next to him, embarrassed by his uncontrollable fit of insanity. Also, note the nervous look from the male host.

Now I know the general consensus among stereotypes for Americans is stupidity, but that incident made me think, ‘Now who’s the stupid one?’ No wonder everybody thinks that there are only cows and sheep in New Zealand. And kiwis – let’s not forget the kiwis.

The trouble is that resource allocation – especially that of money, not usually put to good use in the corporate world. Most of it is horribly unnecessary. You see non-profits blowing their budgets on advertising when it could be better spent on training and work development programs for the poor. Same goes for the non-non-profits: so McDonalds can afford to dish out $9 million dollars to some guy, while sales have been falling and no one’s been getting an increase. Where is the logic in that? Well, there is I suppose. Just fire a few people. Or maybe a few thousand. That’ll be enough.

The problem with facts and figures  is statistics. Statistics lie. People lie. They don’t link numbers to a certain face or person. They don’t tell you about how someone like Kate has to take care of three kids, three cats and a dog while looking for a coveted job and living on welfare.

But that doesn’t mean I’m exactly hateful towards those that have accumulated a lot of wealth. Nope. If you’ve worked hard for your money, share some with others and don’t do anything stupid (like squandering it all on drugs or the casino) while enjoying some of it, then go crazy. I mean it’s YOUR money. I can’t dictate what you can or can’t do with it. All I can do is hope that you put it to good use.

It’s the same with feeling happy for someone else. When I say that I am really happy to hear that The Honking Goose got a new job, I really am. Unemployment is a rough boat to ride. Her success doesn’t take anything away from me. I’d even wish to hear about other people finally landing their jobs and/or living their dreams, even if that person isn’t me.


2 thoughts on “The Face of Unemployment

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