Down But Not Out

Reading through Yahoo news this morning, I came across an article, and subsequent link, to this: Down But Not Out:

It is a compilation of stories (in their own words) of those who have been unemployed for an extended period of time and what it means to them; short and long term effects.

Curiosity got the better of me and I started to read through the individual stories. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Each and every story is one I’ve heard before; no one story stood out from the others. Not to diminish their situations, it is just that none was unique. I’m not sure what I was looking for, maybe at least one story to say, “See, you could have done something different to change the outcome!”, but I never found one. Each of these letters came from someone who wanted to work, and could work, but for reasons beyond their control, weren’t doing so.

Instead, what I found were some very cold employers, a market that is severly disabled due to work going overseas, negative stereotypes of people who have been unemployed and a large section of corporate America who is not willing, for whatever reason, to help out those who are trying to do the right thing (mortgage modification, benefit plan adjustments, affording day care to continue to work, etc.).

Another similarity among the stories were the suggestions made by each and every person that were very valid. There is a big difference between a program working ‘on paper’ and how it works in real life. If these suggestions were made to those doing the hiring, creating and executing programs, foreclosing on homes, etc., we may come to some sort of agreement and be able to help some of these people get back to work.

For any employer reading this, please don’t overlook someone who has been unemployed/underemployed at any point over the past 4 or so years. In most cases it was due to some sort of downsizing, layoff, change in ownership or outsourcing. There are some very good, qualified individuals available but we are overlooking them due to our own preconceived ideas of what constitutes a ‘good’ employee.

So, recruiters and hiring managers everywhere, please do your part to help out. Please give feedback as often as you can to candidates who you have interviewed but didn’t receive an offer from you. Please let them know if there is anything they can do next time. Education, age, drive distance, etc, are all poor reasons for not hiring someone. Take a look at their skills and their personalities. Hire people who are qualified and will fit into your company. THESE are the people who will be your most dedicated employees. THESE are the people who aren’t going to come to you telling you they are going to quit unless you come up with a counteroffer. THESE are the people who will make sure your clients/customers are taken care of on your behalf. THESE are the people who truly understand the value of the job and will work extra hard to stay employed. THESE are the people on which you can grow and thrive in your business.

You know you will be able to count on them. After all, they are “Down But Not Out”.

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