Tag Archives: unemployment


Discriminated Because of Unemployment?

There was an article that I read recently discussing the stigma of being unemployed written by Stephanie Chen of CNN. In it she suggests that hiring authorities and in particular recruiting/staffing companies discriminate against job applicants who are currently collecting unemployment as a “why bother” applicant and not even invite them in for an interview.

“Some recruiters interviewed say companies perceive the unemployed as weak performers or fickle workers. Or they worry that a person without a job has rusty work skills, especially if they haven’t worked for more than six months. Or that an unemployed person will take a lower paying job out of desperation and then flee when a better job opportunity arises.”

The entire article rubbed me the wrong way. Really? They do? Can’t be! My fur stood on end so to speak and I wanted to find out if this was true. Personally I’ve been in the staffing industry for over thirty years of my professional life and that attitude has never been in the forefront of my mind even though I’ve experienced 4 of our “recessions” with the eyes of a recruiter. But is it true for others? So I tried a little test of my own to determine if staffing experts had preconceived opinions of unemployed individuals.

I went to Champion Professional Systems, a larger local staffing company in Cleveland, Ohio, and asked two of their staffing experts the same exact question, “When you see a person has been on unemployment what goes thru your mind?’. I didn’t explain why I was asking. I didn’t change the question. It was the same for both experts.

Sarah’s response:  “Well, I like to get their side of the story before I judge them. I usually ask how long they’ve been on unemployment. If they’ve been collecting a long time I ask why?

Me:  “Depending on their answer then what do you think?”

Sarah:  “Well some people have told me that the reason they’ve been on unemployment for such a long time is because they knew the economy was bad and that nothing was happening. I usually tell them that it’s moving fast now and that I’m glad they came in! I also ask what steps they are taking to find a job and depending on what they tell me reveals how serious they are in finding that job.”

Julie’s response:  “When I bring them in I ask what happened, how long and when it expires. But I do ask if they’ve been looking. Their answer to that tells me a lot.”

Me:  “How so?”

Julie:  “It shows their motivation. Have they been looking and if not why? If they haven’t been looking then maybe they don’t really want to work and are just going through the motions. Or it tells me that they had family obligations. If they can fill in the gap to explain why they’ve been collecting for a long time it gives me a better feel for them and their motivation. If they can’t explain their gap in employment then I hesitate about their seriousness.”

I could have asked more Staffing Experts at Champion by calling other offices but I felt I had a good feel for the company’s culture. These two staffing experts said the same thing only differently.

Can’t say I know what life is like in Boston or Indiana but at least here in Cleveland, Ohio there is at least one staffing company where discrimination for collecting unemployment does not happen.

Ways To Handle Unemployment and Feeling Lousy

Yep, been there, done that and felt worthless and scared. It feels like someone has a hold of your heart and is making it beat 25% faster, all the time. More often than not you have been in control until that time, able to see a lot or a little ahead in your future, then BAM! The pink slip, or in the case of a business owner, the funds run out.
More often than not we feel worthless and scared when we have time to dwell on things, or if we take on a negative attitude about life in general.

Here are some fundamentals that have helped a lot of people:

1) Clean your house/ apartment completely. Spend as much time as necessary getting everything spotless. Clear out the clutter, clear out the junk. Make a new start. Do this every week you are looking for a new career. The work takes your mind off negatives, puts you into thinking positives and gets you physically active. It is AMAZING how much better you will feel after you are finished and how much better you will feel (and think) in a clean environment, every day.
2) Clean your car. This will also make you feel better as you go on interviews. It will also make a better impression on anyone from a company you happen to be interviewing with who happens to see your car, inside or out. Cheap do it yourself car washes can cost $3.00 in quarters. Get rd of the junk in the car.
3) Clean all your clothes: Wash, dry clean. Regardless of the type of career you are seeking, you need to have CLEAN, unwrinkled clothes to go to meetings, and you may need them instantly. Having clothes prepared means you have one less thing to be concerned about.
4) Polish/ clean your shoes. For men or women, your shoes need to look like you are in the military (spit shine). Do it yourself. It will make you feel good and strong (wear cleaning gloves so you don’t get polish on your hands that won’t come off). If you have the dough and the time, go to a classy hotel that has a professional shoeshine guy. It’s worth the $10 and tip to get yourself distanced from your competition. (It’s the attitude). If you are in a career where your shoes don’t need to be shined, clean them and wear shoes that look good. It is true that people look at your shoes second to your tie or hair. Looking good will help you feel good.
5) Turn off the news on TV, or turn off the TV completely. TV channels sell bad news constantly. As a matter of fact they are 51% responsible for how our country feels. They constantly remind us how bad things are, which is why those things get worse. Watch a good “upbeat movie” if you watch TV at all. Movies like “Rudy” (pick your own underdog movie).
6) Get OUTTA the house. Take a walk, work out, and stay active. Sitting on the couch will kill your attitude, and attitude is key to your interviewing and your living.
7) Find a friend who won’t “commiserate” with you, but will remind you of your specific talents and worth and can be a positive help. DON’T hang with someone who is going to help you blame everything and everybody.
8) Make a specific plan and act on it. Make big or small steps to your goal, and feel good about it.
9) Remind yourself of the good things you have done. Constantly. And remind yourself that everything will in fact work out. Yes, it will.
10) Do something you have always wanted to do, but never had time for. New experiences have a great way of getting your creative juices flowing. It is a different point of view on your life.
These will help. They are NOT “sure-fire” for everyone, but for most people they will help clean out the “fog” of being without work or future money.

Here are some basic “don’t do’s”:

1) Don’t drink booze or beer. Alcohol is a depressant and will make you feel worse and perhaps cloud your judgment.
2) Don’t do drugs. Period. You can’t afford them anyhow.
3) Don’t blame anyone, including you. The key element here is to stay positive. It doesn’t matter that you got screwed over. It is the past. Deal with the future.
4) Don’t think that you won’t get the job before the interview. It will show, and you won’t. Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you won’t, you will do everything to make sure it won’t happen, subconsciously or consciously.
5) Watch the amount of caffeine you have. It will make you jittery and anxious. Exactly what most people don’t need, some need it just to get moving.
6) Don’t act the victim. Many people think that others will help or feel sorry for you when you act like a little kid who lost the dog. People really don’t care about your troubles. They care about theirs.
7) Don’t wait for something good to happen to you. It won’t unless you cause it to happen.
There are more, and in subsequent installments of de glu, I’ll get into positive actions you can take in your life to cause positive results.

Last: if you don’t think highly of yourself, why should others? At least try to fake it for a while. It could become a habit.

Thanks to The Great Workplace.com for allowing us to reprint this article!