Musings: Episode 1 – Job Hunting and the Unemployment Epidemic

I just finished watching Transformers: Dark of The Moon.
Mostly at the beginning of the film it starts out with the main character, Sam Witwicky, freshly out of college and job hunting for what’s implied 3 months or so. He’s living with his girlfriend, frustrated and feeling low because she has a job and he doesn’t, and as the man in the relationship believes he should be doing better.

There’s a line in this film that really stood out. Right after he goes from interview to interview, he winds up at a company, and finally retorts something back to the interviewer, who’s denying him the job he applied for and trying to steer him towards a menial, low paying mail room job: “Mister, I saved your life twice. I can’t tell you how, or when, or why, but I have done shit that matters and I’d just kinda like a job where I matter again.”

Such is the epidemic Generation Y is facing today.

A buddy of mine was at my place, and I hear a loud “BANG” against the wall, after she calls up HR to the county she lives in earlier on this week. I walk into the adjacent room and see her sitting there. Frustrated, she starts venting:

“Well that went well…”

“What did?” I ask slightly concerned by the tone in her voice – and the fact that a large smack on the side of the wall just happened.

“HR. I called HR and…”

“and…?” I say pressing her to speak further, walking closer to her realizing she’s now almost in tears.

“and I thought I would call and ask some simple questions right? You know, because HR gives their number to people so they can help right? But no…I call, and I explain my situation, and the woman on the phone was just so…ugh. The audacity of her!”

Suddenly she starts crying more. Worried, I sit down next to her pulling her into a half hug. By sitting down I realize she’s thrown the notepad I lent her full clean into the wall in front of us, explaining the loud noise heard earlier.

“Oh no….tell me – what happened? What did she say?” I look at her trying to get eye contact.

She explains the situation to me and apparently it’s been going a little like this – a month and a half ago, this girl was laid off of her job. Come to find out a week later, she discovers she wasn’t laid off, but fired and replaced with another current employee. The reason? Retaliation by her supervisor, because one day, she decided to stand up for herself and bring it up to him that she didn’t appreciate him mentally and psychologically abusing her.

Now I’ve met the guy, once or twice, when I’ve had business to tend to at the location. Initially, he seems like a nice guy, but when you pay attention to the way he switches up characteristics depending on the situation, I understand how him exuding that type of treatment is highly probable.

Back to the story, a month and a half ago, my friend here was fired – because she stood up for herself. Since then, she’s been applying for and following up on job applications like crazy.
She’s not at all unintelligent, and has at least 6 plus years of college work and street smarts under her belt. Basically – the girl can learn, and learn quickly…and she’s not lacking in the looks department. She’s frustrated because she is on her own, with no safety net, meaning nobody to really help her if times get very rough – an example losing her job.

One of the places she had been applying to, the county, i.e. civil servant jobs, she had applied to over 15 times.

Let me repeat that again – 15 times.

She only made it to one interview – a position which merely required a high school diploma – and 2 weeks later was sent a rejection letter, stating she did not meet the necessary requirements.

Honestly, after I read the position details – in my opinion, they could’ve interviewed monkeys, the job was so simple.

Every time she applied, they were all positions she was qualified, and often overqualified for. So, being the initiative kind of person she is, she decided to ring them up one day, asking for the person(s) in charge who sort through the applications.

She (understandably) finds out there are multiple people who sort through the applications, but would just like to know if there is a supervisor over those people who monitor them.

This, I find out, is where the conversation goes downhill.

“The secretary on the phone pulls up my information, and says I’ve applied for practically everything. I explain to her I’ve been applying for a while,” she says only to continue,

“Then, in a sort of snide voice”

Side note from me: (you’ve gotta check out Transformers Dark Side, it gives the perfect example of this)

“she says : ‘Well honey, you can’t just apply for everything, you’ve gotta be QUALIFIED at LEAST. Like right here – it says automotive technician – you have to know about CARS honey.” she finishes, just staring at the wall blankly.

“Uh-oh” I think to myself. “Oh, shit”. It hit me – this is what pissed her off. Why?

The thing about my friend is, she’s very well versed. Raised in a family of automotive enthusiasts being one major factor in her life. She has knowledge of many “guy related” industries, something you wouldn’t believe just by looking at her. Engage her in conversation though, and sometimes it can be like talking to an encyclopedia.

“and I told her,” she continues “I DO know about cars. It’s right THERE on my resume, if someone would just read it. Every position I’ve applied for I have knowledge of. Does anyone read over there???”

This is a problem she’s been dealing with for years – the age-old adage of “never judge a book by its cover.”

But people do.

And people can.

Because no one’s there to monitor them.

They automatically look at this girl, who I think is brilliant at being able to know so many things (often, more than me), and put her into a tiny little box of whatever pops into their head.

But she’s not the only one.

This happens everyday, every hour, to more and more Generation Y people. They graduate high school, are told if they go to college, bust their ass and study hard, they’ll get a “great, better paying job than the average high school graduate.”

But what are we finding?

No such thing.

I myself went to college and find that the best jobs I’ve gotten were better paying and less of a bullshit process than the ones that “required” a Bachelor’s Degree.

“Can’t find a job after graduation?” They ask,

“Oh, well you know, it’s the economy and all,” the media states, providing an excuse. Even Bloomberg chipped in their two cents regarding the issue we’re facing today.

Well, while gas prices continue to rise and hold steady to the same prices we were paying back in 2008 after the crash, prices for oil per barrel stay roughly the same.

How do you explain that shit?

I’m not going on a rant here. I just see a pattern going on.

My friend’s going through it.

I’ve been through it.

People I’ve met in cafes, bars, lounges etc… have all at some point vented about it.

They say it’s the faltering economy. They blame it on the president (and don’t get me wrong here, I’m not one to show favoritism to any political figure. Not anti-republican. Not anti-democratic. I AM however, anti-bullshit.), they say it’s the war, it’s the global chain reaction of other countries, they blame it on China and pollution, China and “cut throat prices,” this and that, this and that, that and this….but quite honestly, where’s the part where the media talks about a little self-responsibility?

I’m not talking about lecturing anyone, saying they should try harder. Many of these job hunters and people in such dispositions do, and I’m sure numerous have busted their ass daily in their previous endeavors.

My theory on the whole thing?

Though I love, and I do mean LOVE technology (the year I lived in Tokyo was paradise – a city that never sleeps) frankly I think it’s made bits of the human race who’ve been exposed to it lazy, and unimaginative.

More specifically the top half of the what I call the  “business equator,” to pinpoint the countries in the west.

Think about it. We all have what most would consider a comfortable lifestyle.

A good friend of mine who was often a study buddy back in university days would always have this discussion with me. Not in a resentful manner at all, but just for the purpose of analyzing and questioning.
The guy was from Shanghai, and agreed with other British students surrounding me that having a car while being 19 at the time was considered being “rich” or “well off,” and that living in America, most automatically thought I was spoiled and unappreciative.

I couldn’t take offense to the guy, as he had a point. Not a point in that I was undeserving, no…but the attitude attached to it that is sometimes seen and exuded by others.

I was raised and have lived in multiple countries throughout my life, the USA being one of them and for a substantial amount of time. But it was my upbringing that didn’t make me conform to the stereotype of arrogance or justified privilege. I always learned to appreciate what I have, never taking it for granted. That’s how I was raised, amongst all the technological advantages and opportunities.

So back to my point, if the mass majority takes these privileges for granted, and technology has enabled most of our work to be automated for us nowadays, right down to the processing and picking of an application or resume, this is the core of the epidemic we face today. No one’s looking out for their fellow-man. Slowly, things are being left to the technology of our world, the “computers,”  to make the decisions, because it’s easier.
It’s easier to set up algorithms and create systems that are point based, making a yes or no decision on whether or not someone’s hired because they were “1 point away from the total points needed,” and because of this the computer putting them into the “reject pile.”

But humans aren’t comprised of binary – and humanity is losing its human touch. Technology was originally intended to make our work easier, which it did at some point – but every point has its peak.
A good example of this was in Tron: Legacy, when Kevin Flynn, the creator of the game Tron was battling it out with CLU (pronounced ‘Clue’), an A.I. version of himself who in the beginning aided Kevin in building a new system he was working on, key aspects which cured human sickness and world poverty:

CLU cries out to Kevin: “I took the system to its maximum potential. I created the perfect system!”

Kevin Flynn: “The thing about perfection is that it’s unknowable. It’s impossible, but it’s also right in front of us, all the time. You wouldn’t know that because I didn’t, when I created you… I’m sorry, CLU… I’m sorry.”

It’s my belief we’ve reached a point where the majority of man believes they’ve perfected an automated system, leaving everything to the programs they’ve created and letting imagination sit in the corner to dust over.
But that’s the thing about perfection – it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly what it is…and sometimes, by trying to perfect something, it ruins it. Like an artist who messes with the ink sometimes in a piece of work, play with it too much makes it worse than before.

The standard job market has been put on autopilot, from the application process right down to the selection for interview process…hell, even the interview process itself. So for those who still believe in taking initiative, they’re knocked back by the people who control this system or the “gatekeepers” to the people who control the system…because these people rely on the system to tell them what’s right – forgetting completely about common sense and basic human judgment calls.

This is the epidemic we’re facing today.
Not the economy suffering.
Not there not being a teachable or knowledgable work force.

We are dealing with an older, post 40s generation, a younger, pre 30s generation, and technology has met in the middle.

There are greater minds today than there were 50 years ago, people are learning faster, doing more, gender roles and classifications are being dissolved, and people are creating different, hybrid viewpoints.
While some from both the younger and older generation lack ambition and meet it with resistance, many are embracing this shift.

We can’t escape it. It’s not meant to be rejected. There is no problem with the generation of today – but a resistance in mental shift, amongst the human population, and a gap in thinking.

R. Buckminster Fuller said it himself, “We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.”

Technology is great, but it’s been left to its own devices.

This is the pain my friend was feeling when she called HR.

This is the pain Sam Witwicky felt when after everything he’d done, learning about the autobots and different worlds that existed, felt when he said to the interviewer, and his girlfriend Carly, “I just want to matter.”

“I just want to matter.” I’ve heard it many times before.

We’ve gotta bring back that human touch. It’s happening, but it has to happen faster. I believe both can coexist.

Musings: Episode 1 – Job Hunting and the Unemployment Epidemic is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life