Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Discrimination against the unemployed continues in this country.  Yeah, unbelievable.  This article about it caught my eye at aol today and as I read, it brought back such memories of my own job search from 2009 through 2011.  Last year, I heard several times during the year that HR recruiters were including in their job postings and ads that they would consider only people who were currently employed.  It outraged me.

Millions of people who lost their jobs in 2008-09 and after want to work.  They have experience, skills and knowledge that could benefit employers.  Hiring these people could go a long way toward alleviating the unemployment issue, no?  These companies could help themselves and the country.  On first view, their behavior strikes me as totally illogical and destructive.  But wait, they have their reasons and here they are:

Loss of skills: people who have been out of work for an extended period of time lose their skills or their ability to use them erodes.  In order for a new hire to hit the ground running, which is preferred by the companies who have the "must be currently employed" policy, candidates must have been using their skills on a daily basis and would not need time to update and practice them to increase their effectiveness.  This issue is totally about companies unwilling to hire someone who may need a month or two to get back up to speed with their skills.

Worker readiness: I am not sure what this means.  I can guess that it could mean knowledge and effective use of office and/or business procedures, being used to working for someone else in an office setting, and maybe the ability to out-maneuver office politics and power games. Sure, someone who's been out of work for six months or more will have an adjustment period but there's always an adjustment period on a new job, no matter where the new hire comes from.

Since when have American companies been so against Americans and America succeeding?  Their reasoning sounds like whining to me.

So, full disclosure: I have been one of those unemployed for more than six months job seekers.  At least, by HR recruiters apparent definition of unemployed.  As far as I was concerned, I'd been (and still was) self-employed as a writer.  I had updated my office skills and knowledge of procedures, and I was ready to work for someone else.  During the few interviews I went on, although no one came right out and said it, I could conclude from their questions and the way they spoke about my resume that they considered me unemployed and writing was not a job.  Only people who do not know or understand everything involved in working as a self-employed writer would hold that view.  These ignorant people didn't want to know, either.  It was easier to dismiss me and my experience, knowledge and skills.  Their attitude was extremely frustrating and downright disrespectful of me at times.

I used to believe that the goal of American Business was to provide high quality products and/or services to their customers.  A company built its reputation on the quality of its goods and services, the quality of its employees and the way it treated them.  The most important asset of a company was its employees.  I used to be proud of business in America.

Now, after reading today that it may take state legislatures passing laws to compel American companies to hire people who've been unemployed, my pride in American business has evaporated.  People are no longer assets, apparently, important and respected for their experience, knowledge and expertise.  They are only a means to an end.  And the goal of American Business today, "the end," is money.  Anything that might interfere with the making of money and profit cannot be allowed or tolerated in the workplace.  

As I wrote in February in Companies vs. Government, major American companies now believe "We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems."  Of course, hiring those who lost their jobs to the Great Recession and reducing the unemployment rate in this country would be helping America solve a problem.  Too bad.  American companies could help themselves by this kind of hiring.  Unbelievable.....

No comments: