A couple years back, in the economic trench that began with the failure of Lehman Bros and faced with the need to get employed again, I took a series of classes, a job-search how-to; resumes, interviewing, the lot.
For over forty years, I’d never given much thought to the “how” of searching for a job, but the game had changed and I had to admit I’d never been very good at it.
After attending a mini-session discovered on the internet, I registered for the full series of specialized training being offered by Paul Anderson. At the time, Paul and his company, Prolango, were one and the same. And in the dark days following 2008, Paul was having no trouble filling every seat in his training room.
Paul dispenses valuable stuff, far more thought than I’d ever given to the process. My model was to scan the help-wanted ads posted by the employers, submit a resume and wait. Old school. Paul opened me to concepts and techniques that went far beyond my rather passive methods.
At the end of the series, I immediately put much of what I’d learned into use. But I’ve never completely given up my lifelong habit of scanning the job postings.
The troubled technology company where I was hired for a 90-day term and have now remained for two years, was an opening I found the old fashioned way. The business has been buffeting heavy weather this entire time. As things grow worse, each set of results pointing in the wrong direction leads to business decisions designed to stem the downward inertia. So far, it has not.
My reaction, in the short time I wish to continue working, has been to gauge the availability of, as my friend Dan says, a limb to fly to. So I’ve been doing what I’ve always done; scanning the job postings. It’s been a disappointing experience. Very much like 2009.
I’m not a cynical person, but I can play that role. Last week, I found this, printed by The Seattle Times. Its author offers his explanation of what I’ve been experiencing via Indeed.com:
July 17, 2012 at 9:50 AM
Bernanke’s job-crisis failure | Jon Talton
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in his semi-annual testimony before Congress, said reducing the ranks of the unemployed will be “frustratingly slow.” The unemployment rate has been above 8 percent since February of 2009. The official unemployment rate in June was stuck at 8.2 percent.
But consider this: The Bureau of Labor Statistics U-6 measure counts the “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.” Translation: This measure includes those working part-time when they want full-time employment, and the short-term discouraged workers. This broader measure stood at 14.9 percent in June. That’s pretty bad, Mr. Chairman.
Yet the official numbers, even U-6, have long been criticized for understating real unemployment, especially after a change in 1994 that narrowed the broader measure to only include short-term discouraged workers. That’s where Shadow Government Statistics comes in. This private firm includes the long-term discouraged who would like work but have stopped looking and the unemployment rate is 22.9 percent. Mr. Chairman, that’s Great Depression territory.
Bernanke’s line about the central bank “standing ready” is wearing thin amid this jobs crisis. Unemployed Americans know that the Fed bailed out the big banks, Wall Street and politically connected grifters whose poor judgment and frauds that brought on the Great Recession even if they don’t realize the specifics: $16 trillion in emergency lending and trillions more at risk from assorted guarantees and “facilities.”
The irony, as Paul Krugman pointed out, is that Chairman Bernanke is failing to heed the advice of Professor Bernanke, when he was criticizing the excessive caution of the Bank of Japan in 2000. The Fed is not out of options. It just won’t act. Meanwhile, it’s darkly entertaining to watch lawmakers demand Fed action when they won’t use fiscal policy to address the unemployment crisis. Pot, meet kettle. Anyway, they’ve all got jobs. What crisis?