IF YOU ARE UNEMPLOYED, DO NOT APPLY.
Feelings of worthlessness and rejection, no matter how undeserved, are unavoidable when the ax first falls. We try to salvage what's left of our self-esteem by reminding ourselves that in most cases it was not our fault. There are of course situations of bad employees being fired with cause, but the vast majority of today's people without jobs were let go through no fault of their own. Budget cuts, lost business, and misplaced priorities from the Great Recession continue. However, this latest development is even worse: People who have never even met you may have decided that you are "damaged goods," and therefore unemployable.
Discrimination is not always black and white.
Alex Comana, an apartment broker in San Diego, California, was asked why he didn't want to hear from anyone currently without a job. His response was, "Each case is different but when you have a person [who's] currently employed applying for a job it tells me that that person is valued enough to still have a job and brings a certain level of experience that they can immediately apply.”
So what are you saying, Mr. Comana? That a person currently working for Burger King is a more valuable human being than someone with a college degree and 20 years of experience, whose expertise and intelligence had just become "too expensive?" Do you really think that getting laid off makes you a bad risk? And for how long? Forever? Is there no redemption, no understanding of cause and effect?
So what happens now?
People without current jobs often have PLENTY of experience that they can immediately apply. However, if employers are allowed to continue to discriminate against us for other people's decisions, then we will continue to be unemployed, continue to drain the resources from social services, and continue to literally tear away at the fabric of our society. So...
Point one: Discrimination against the unemployed must end!
When we see unfair ads, we should contact that employer immediately and let them know that this isn't right. We should follow up with our state and national legislators, and we should probably bring it to the attention of the media. Stop patronizing businesses that disrespect the unemployed!
Example: Sony Ericsson of Buckhead, GA
Point two: Educate yourself on this issue.
Research facts on unemployment in your state in general, and find out what lawmakers are doing to try to help -- or how little they are doing. A truly great organization is Over 50 and Out of Work. As part of their massive efforts, they have put together an award-winning video airing in November on PBS.
Example of a less-than-great organization: US Joint Economic Committee, led by Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. She likes to put a positive spin on a desperate situation, making vague proclamations of improvement without citing statistics. Ra ra, Amy. But at least she attends the meetings (which apparently is more than some of her committee members do).
The last statistics on unemployment rates for each state were released by the Department of Labor in August. At 8.8%, Georgia is not the worst in the country, but we are worse than California (8.7%) and New Jersey (8.6%). New figures are scheduled to be released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics September 20. This site also states unequivocally that:
"In August, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.3 million. These individuals accounted for 37.9 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 733,000."
Goody. So do you agree with our President that the economy is growing, and getting better all the time?