The views of a rabble-rouser and former stay-at-home dad on protests, politics, parenthood, groupthink, and music.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I just got back from a job fair. There were about fifteen employers in the room, and just about everybody who attended looked desperate, depressed, and willing to try anything. That includes me.
I don't know why I bother going to these things.
No, that's not true. Of course I know why I go to job fairs. It's because I don't have a job, and it's been over five months, and going to these things makes me feel like I'm doing as much as I can to find a new job. Leave no stone unturned, etc.
Except that there's nothing there for me. It's all companies that a) I'd never want to work for, b) are offering pure commission jobs, or c) aren't hiring for someone with my background. It's insurance companies and Avon and skilled labor jobs and sales jobs and the National Guard and the Border Patrol and temp agencies and Comcast's sales division.
I don't think I want to do sales, particularly for a big obnoxious company like Comcast. I'm not sure I want to sell insurance, particularly if my income depends on sales. I might consider a job if there was a base salary, but I need something stable.
I sure as hell don't want to be doing home parties for something like Avon or kitchen supplies or desserts. These companies are always at the job fairs, dangling the promise of fun and hoping people don't notice that in order to make a decent living, you have to sell a lot of crap to your own friends and family. And that's fine, but it's not for me.
And then there's the other employers, most of whom are offering entry-level jobs or management jobs that require skills I don't have. I don't think I do, anyway, and they don't seem to know what to do with me when I chat with them.
It's good to see that some employers are hiring, but there ain't a lot of them. There are always so many people waiting to get in the doors, and the reward always seems so small once you get inside. But you do what you can. You chat with people about careers you never thought you'd consider. You shake hands, give out resumes, chat with the other people about what they used to do. You try to be hopeful. You look for an opening, a chance, anything.
I remember going to job fairs for nonprofits, and there were ninety organizations in the room. Nonprofits! Now you can't even get twenty private employers in the same room at the same time. It's pretty stunning. It's literally stunning, every time I walk away from one of these things. I always feel somehow less hopeful instead of more hopeful.