Run on East Side Bank, N.Y. 1912 February 16. Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

Today’s Job Market: The Unemployed Stay Unemployed

E. Forrest Christian Careers Leave a Comment

People make the mistake of assuming that the job market for them is the same as it is for everyone else. In today’s financial crisis influenced hiring, that’s simply not true. Steve Eddington has some interesting comments on today’s job market (“The Hiring Decision – In the Current Job Market, Who’s on First?”):

As the headhunter, we have the distinct pleasure of being the guys in the middle. This allows us to speak with the employer and the candidate and get the perspective of everyone involved. Because of this, we sometimes find ourselves in the line of fire from 2 different directions.

The candidate perspective in the current market is generally “who do I have to kill to get the job” and the employer side is usually, “we see no reason to hire you at this time since you are one of 1000 guys who wants our job and we’re in no hurry cause the job can get filled whenever we see fit with whomever we want.”

The job market has shifted, and the unemployed are being seen, he notes, as somehow being idiots for not being able to keep jobs.

Or having jumped from job to job over the years. As so many educated Generation X workers have been forced to do.

The New York Times saw it as a big enough of a problem to publish an editorial (“The Unemployed Need Not Apply“, 2001-Feb-19) describing the problem. It’s not just a feeling that you have: if you don’t have a job today, you are going to have a hell of a time finding one.

The message — “the unemployed need not apply” — has at times been explicitly stated in job announcements. In other cases, unemployed job seekers have reported verbal rejections after a recruiter or employer learned they were not currently working.

The Great Depression wasn’t that bad, as long as you had a job. Prices kept falling, but wages couldn’t. If you lost your job, there was something wrong with you. Welcome to the new old world.

What happens when you create a permanent unemployed class who were previously working and earning a good living? It’s not that they are falling on bad times but falling into a permanent, unending joblessness. This is a social danger, but it will be ignored until it is too late. Sooner or later, they’re going to get their guns from the closet.

Run on East Side Bank, N.Y. 1912 February 16. Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

About the Author

Forrest Christian

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E. Forrest Christian is a consultant, coach, author, trainer and speaker at The Manasclerk Company who helps managers and experts find insight and solutions to what seem like insolvable problems. Cited for his "unique ability and insight" by his clients, Forrest has worked with people from almost every background, from artists to programmers to executives to global consultants. Forrest lives and works plain view of North Carolina's Mount Baker.  [contact]

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