The 5 Worst Things About Being Unemployed
I’ll be following this article with one discussing the benefits of being unemployed, so if you enjoy this one, keep your eyes peeled! :)
Not having a job is tough. For one thing, you don’t have any money. But there are other disadvantages…
I can understand employers wanting someone with experience. It makes sense on their part, because they get a new member of staff who knows what to do and why they’re doing it. However, when it comes to the person applying for the job, it is a massive pain in the ass. I’ve recently applied for a number of Admin Assistant jobs, and every single time I’ve applied I get the same reply - unfortunately, you do not have the qualifications or experience needed for the role. But here’s the thing - how am I supposed to get experience if no-one employs me because I have no experience? This seemingly unending loop of fuckery will only continue unless I either get a job at an office using my past qualifications (unlikely), or I bite the bullet and do a college course. But I’ve already used up my five years of government funding in further education, so I’d have to pay for it myself, which I can’t do because no-one will hire me.
2) Social Stigma
Let’s face it, there are a lot of unemployed people in the world today. I don’t have to summarise how much trouble the economy is in, because everyone who does their own food shopping knows how bad it is (food prices always rise in times of economic crisis). In Spain, the jobless rate for young people is at 54%. Just think about that for a second. That’s a hell of a lot of people.
However, when people ask me “So, what do you do?” and I tell them I’m unemployed, you can practically see the cogs turning inside their head. Most people will only say “Oh, right” in a way that seems to say “You still can’t get a job? Bullshit.”, but some have called me outright lazy for not working.
Despite the media telling us how difficult it is to get a job in this economic climate, the idea that jobless = lazy is still there. It’s in our societies collective consciousness, fuelled by endless newspaper articles about “benefit Britain” and chavs claiming thousands of pounds for their squads of children. But I’m not one of those people. I genuinely want a job and I am actively seeking one out, yet I am still seen as somehow not trying hard enough. It’s rather frustrating.
3) Application Forms
I’ve noticed a strange trend in job applications. The more highly-skilled jobs usually ask for a CV and cover letter, and from there they can determine whether you should reach the interview stage or not. This is fine. Yet for lower to no-skill jobs, such as working in a fast food restaurant or working as a cleaner in a shop, you are expected to fill out a ridiculous maze of fuckery. Just look at this application form here. http://www.goodfoodstore.com/PDF/App_andCovSheet.pdf Look at the last page.
A person applying for work at this business would most likely be a cashier or bag boy, yet they have to explain why they want to work there. Oh, and forget about honesty, because employers aren’t looking for that. They’re looking for phrases like “team work”, “community spirit”, “passionate about food”, and so on. So if you answered the question “Why do you want to work here?” honestly, it would probably say something like this:
“I’ve been out of work for two months and I’m down to the last of my savings. My dog is sick and I have vet bills to pay. In other words, I need a job, and I don’t care where. I don’t care if you sell organic food or whale blubber, I just need a steady paycheque and decent hours, and your shop can give me both.”
Whereas you actually have to say something like this:
“I am passionate about organic food and always try to buy the best products possible, and I would love to be part of your dedicated team of staff.”
That’s all I can think of, because despite having a degree in English, I don’t have a degree in bullshit. I despise writing in such a false, sycophantic way, and yet employers actively seek people out who can believably say why working in a shitty supermarket is just what they’ve always dreamed about. Everyone knows how stupid it is, yet employers shove those questions on application forms anyway.
Bonus question from the application form: “Tell us about a favourite food-memory.”
What? Seriously, what? How about answering by saying: “That time when I was so poor I had to search dustbins for scraps because retarded questions like this are preventing me from getting a damn job at a supermarket!”
I’m going to go all anecdotal here. I was invited to an interview at The Good Food Shop, and these places sell things like sausage rolls, pasties, cakes and sandwiches. The food is cheap and they are mostly present in shopping centres. Their shop isn’t really a shop at all, it’s just a little alcove where you queue up, get your roll and go. So I showed up to my interview, and the manager was barely older than I was. He shook my hand limply and led me into the back of the shop, which was a tiny working space filled with people and trays of baked goods. But he didn’t lead me to an office or a break room. Instead, he led me to the back stairwell of the shopping centre, sat on one of the steps, and conducted the interview. An interview filled with questions like the ones I discussed in the section above, things like “Why are you passionate about TGFS?” and “Are you effective when working in a team?”
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that places like TGFS - places that don’t even have a break room or an office, places that conduct interviews on stairwells - should not bother even asking those kinds of questions. There’s no point. I can understand why interviews are necessary. Someone could look perfect on paper, and then show up to the interview in a gimp costume. Or they answer every question with “I like it when they scream. It’s nice.” It’s a way of separating the dirt and the gold. But to do that, they don’t have to make you pretend that working in a fast food joint is your lifelong dream.
5) Extra-Curricular Activities
This is a section that you’re expected to have on your CV, and more and more employers are also asking the question: “So what do you do in your spare time?”
I’m going to find it difficult to restrain myself with this one, but I’ll do my best not to degenerate into one giant FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!
So here is my first issue with asking potential employees what they do outside of work - it is none of their damn business. If you come to work on time and put some effort in, why does it matter what you do when you get home? So I don’t volunteer at an orphanage or hand out bread rolls to homeless people. It doesn’t mean that I won’t be able to type out a letter or serve coffee. It doesn’t mean that I’ll spit on every hamburger or wipe my bum on every napkin. My free time is my own time, and it does not relate to working hours in any way. I can understand if you are applying to be a photographer for a newspaper and you write down that you’re interested in photography, but of course you are, you’re applying for a damn job taking photos of things.
My second gripe with this is that it actually gives the employer another (if unconscious) way of judging you on something that is not essential to the job you’re applying for. Say you write down: “I love sports. SPORTS.” and the guy reading your CV hates sports, actually hates it with a passion, then it will colour his opinion of you. Humans can’t help it, as a species in general we make snap judgements about people constantly. If someone is wearing a tracksuit with their trousers tucked into their socks, you automatically assume they’re a NED. Likewise, if you write in your “personal interests” box that you love drinking, partying and riding around in your pimpmobile, chances are that they’ll scrap your application before meeting you.