Wednesday, June 11, 2014

From American Dream to American Nightmare.

The American Dream has slowly evolved into a living nightmare! Not one person is secure in the knowledge that their dreams won't turn into nightmares. One day living in the lap of luxury and comfort, the next in unbridled misery and grinding poverty where hopelessness is the order of the day and slowly the trappings of a life savored are sold off to provide for the most basic needs. Some descend even further from top players to living on the streets, out of a plastic bag. It can happen seemingly in the blink of an eye. The catalyst may be many things - a company downsizing, a family illness, a family death, a divorce, burglary, a downturn in an already shattered economy or just intense competition.

I swore I wouldn't put anything personal in what is or was a photography blog. It seems to have become a bit of everything blog at the moment though with the emphasis on business and a slight hint of photography. Occasionally I'll do a book review too - usually to do with photography or business and always an e-book. Cutting to the chase. Back in January my position was eliminated when the company I worked for closed the premises that I worked in. Since then I have applied for every job I could find that I can reasonably do and completed training meanwhile to be a certified Medical Coding and Billing Specialist. That's in addition to the Bachelor's degree I earned years ago and the TESOL certificate I also earned, years ago.

At the beginning of my hunt for a new position, I opened a new email account, dedicated to job hunting. Since then it has had 1,374 emails posted into it - mostly acknowledgements of receipt of an application. No personal email goes into this box. This means that since January (aside from a month when I had a temporary position) I have applied for over ONE THOUSAND positions. During this time I have had perhaps three job interviews and that is all.
While I was in my previous position in which I was chronically underemployed, I applied for at least 5 positions a week - for the five years that I worked there. That's 250 jobs applied for every year for 5 years or to date approximately 2,750 jobs. If I include the number of applications it took to get my previous position which was 600 then over the last 6 or 7 years that's around 3,000 - 3,500 job applications resulting in one retail position that I was supremely overqualified for. I took that position as it was the only company that said yes.

 Since the biggest hurdle before I took the retail position was my lack of US citizenship, I took on US citizenship. Thus the only position I am unqualified to do is to be President and that is merely due to the geographical location of my birth. It seems to have changed nothing. It doesn't matter how many bits of paper I have nor how intelligent I am. I did pass the LSAT with a good score but couldn't afford to go to law school. Given the difficulty I have finding employment now, it would be foolish to take on debt.

I have jumped through hoops like a performing seal. One company demanded I accompanied my application with national and local background checks plus a driving record check - all of which cost a small fortune and proved that I'd not got as much as a parking ticket and had never had any interactions with the police. That application went in and I heard nothing. I visited to nag them a few times and nothing. That's the last time I do a fool thing like paying for something like that!

Of course, applying for jobs is fraught with ludicrous websites. Honestly, websites are probably the biggest reason why people don't get jobs. This is one I tried to complete today. Apparently South Carolina is not a member state of the union any more. Perhaps the Governor sold South Carolina to China and we're all going to have to learn Mandarin?
Getting political, my dental hygienist is a full blown Republican. She was telling me that everybody on Food Stamps should be prosecuted for fraud and made to repay the money. The same she said for unemployment insurance. I kept my mouth shut rather than take on such a narrow-minded individual. Wake up and smell the roses - it's almost impossible to get a job these days!

By now I bet you're thinking - he must be a really nasty person. How could I have been a nasty person when my previous job involved retail sales and when during that job I was promoted? That argument falls flat on its face. If I was truly objectionable then I would not be working as a volunteer with a hospital either.

The other day, I was offered a scholarship to do a computer networking & security course. The course was free, assistance with transportation fees were offered if my daily journey was over 50 miles round trip. My daily round trip would have been 42 miles so I would have been ineligible. In any case, the course would have been full time meaning I'd have had to abandon my current voluntary patient advocate work at the hospital. Not only would I have had to do that but there was no guarantee of work at the end of that course. Needless to say, the offer was declined. Past experience has shown that there is no work in computing despite what everybody thinks and hears. It's a skill that out-dates so quickly that it's not worth pursuing. Indeed, I regret that I didn't follow one of the others on my computer courses of the 1980s and switch to accountancy. That had a future - computer courses have no future unless work is there as soon as the course is done. 6 months later is way too late - the knowledge gained is so out of date, nobody wants it. Of course, it's great business for colleges - selling washed-up, worthless courses because there are always suckers that fell for them wanting to retrain in something else.  What I need is not yet another qualification but a job.

Since December last year, the number of companies shutting down or shutting down their Columbia South Carolina location has exploded. I have a feeling that South Carolina never really recovered from the Civil War, over a hundred and fifty years ago. The big plantations are mostly gone, replaced by towns in which the population eke out a miserable subsistence lifestyle.

So, what are my plus points? Intelligent (IQ of 133), qualified, easy to get along with, amenable, kind, considerate, compassionate, logical. My resume has been redesigned and redesigned so many times by so many different people that the resume cannot be a problem. The problem has to be something else since nobody ever gets back to me for an interview. I'm beginning to suspect that the "jobs" have already gone before they're advertised and go to people that the recruiting officer already knows. I also suspect that the "jobs" on many of the recruiting sites are just advertised in order to get resumes for agencies. I remember applying for one job with an agency. That ended up with an interview.

During the interview I wondered exactly why I was there since the company was entirely woman run. There were no men anywhere. Needless to say as I knew some of the other people being interviewed, we chatted and amazingly enough, none of the men got hired but all of the women did. Sexism in action. The men were just sent along to give things the air of equality.

And yes - I am absolutely fed up with the situation. I want a job. I like working. I enjoy making a contribution do come out with suggestions as to how to improve productivity etc. I hate this enforced idleness - it's cruel and unusual punishment. I was born to do things with my brain, not just to sit around like a lemon in front of a computer, applying for mythical jobs. Nobody ever got a job applying for it through some piece of electronic junk yet that's what I'm told is the modern way. Where are the Human Resources personnel that are willing to meet and chat with real people? Where is the human element in all this abominable electronic garbage? We have succeeded through computers to turn the American Dream into the Never Ending Nightmare.

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