Recently, I joined all you soon-to-be former Strickland staffers on the involuntary job hunt. Impeccable timing. After the 1994 election, it simply did not occur to me that going to DC to swim among a sea of outgoing Democratic staffer resumes was a bad idea. Stupid kid, and all. I spent months on a friend’s couch on Capitol Hill, got pretty much nowhere. Duh. So I know just how bad the next few months are likely to be. All too well.
Employers and the people who hire for them have gotten a whole lot less human in the meantime, though. I’ve been working it for about a week, against a headwind as stiff as 30 years of Replublicanism can muster in favor of at will employers who hold all the cards, a few up their sleeve, and a phalanx of dealers behind them just waiting to deal out another stacked deck. Assholeness is reaching entirely new levels.
Plus there’s the whole, Worst Economy Since 1932…thing. Then there’s the tyranny of the 1099. Today, you’re lucky to see a W2, or a form, or an employee handbook. There’s nothing for a handbook to explain. Benefits? Surely you jest. Retirement? Health care? Training? Are you insane?
And of course, there’s my own special little mountain to climb. Believe it or not, it’s become the least of this job hunter’s worries. I won’t say I consider the trauma of the last 9 years a badge of honor just yet, but now, it saves me a lot of heartache. Not only do I not care about it anymore, I use it to save me the hassle of dealing with yet another duplicitous user who, in the end, will just dip into the vast ocean of other unfortunates to exploit. I don’t have time or patience to disrespect myself anymore, so I don’t let anyone do it for me either. With the countless inhuman hurdles standing between an American and a real, honest to goodness job these days, there’s just no point beginning to navigate them if your criminal record isn’t immediately dismissed as irrelevant from the first hello.
That’s if you get to “hello” at all. Today I got into an email spat with a recruiter who enjoyed their perceived power over endless, faceless, beggars just a bit too much. It felt good to let them know it, especially after you force yourself to endure that crap 99% of the time. The 1% where I fight back is worth it to me. Sometimes you just have to let people know there’s a limit. I’m just the guy to do it, aren’t I.
I might blog the gory details of a job search destined to be long, unpleasant, and thoroughly soul crushing. Or I might not. If it seems entertaining, I probably will. After all, a lot of us are in the same boat now, might as well have fun.