The job I lost
I was laid off in 2005 after 21 years of working at a major university. I worked for over 25 years in higher ed aministration at three schools. I was laid off three times over those years. This is how higher management at these institutions deal with their fiscal problems. They also don't give raises, lessen benefits, have hiring freezes, etc. Staff morale tends to drop under such conditions and people are fearful that they will be the next to be let go. These policies do not contribute to an atmosphere of collegial camaraderie.
What it's like being unemployed
It has been frightening, demoralizing, and demeaning. I despise filing applications via computer/e-mail. I despise the poor etiquette of not acknowledging applications or sending an automated form letter. After the first 3 years of this, I began to see an emerging pattern. There are too many companies, websites, etc. trying to make money off of the unemployed. I spent a lot of time going to libraries, career centers, websites, etc. Very little of that was helpful The next big problem is age discrimination. I'm sick to death of 20 versions of my resume, and I loathe writing cover letters. No one reads the latter anyway. When I participated in some interviewing during my career the cover letter was the first thing to go into the trash. A lot of employers have seriously bad attitudes now that so many people are competing for the same jobs. Nothing on my resume is fake, and I apply for positions that I feel strongly qualified for and I still don't get interviews. Last year I had 1.5 interviews. The .5 is because it was by phone which is a really lazy, stupid practice these days. So far this year I've had one interview and got a letter that I'm on a list. I have hundreds of e-mails, cover letters, job descriptions and copies of my applications saved on my computer. I am tired of reading info about what not to do in interviews. I could write an article about some of the awful and even bogus interviews I've had along with tips for interviewers on how to write a job description, evaluate a resume in terms of that description, conduct a decent interview, not ask stupid, irrelevant questions, and not to make incredibly biased or tasteless personal remarks. For the first few years I was able to get part-time/temp work but that dried up by 2008. Now, seven years after being thrust into this nightmare I have gone through most of my life savings trying to survive.
- Don't expect anyone or any organization to actually provide you with any real help. It is all pretty much do it yourself. That's why it is so exhausting and depressing. A lot of "advice" such as how to write a resume will be totally contradictory. If you are middle-aged don't expect to be called for many interviews. Many years of experience are not necessarily valued. A lot of employers prefer to hire at entry level and then promote from within over time. A lot of job ads are written so that you know the ideal candidate should be young, male, or both. Discrimation is widely denied and widely practiced.