It's been over a year now since I was laid off from my last job. I took a short breather before I started looking, but soon discovered how depressing the job market really is for most of us in today's economy. So many companies are looking for employees who are cheap to hire (either entry level or desperate). Few seem to value the difference that the combination of solid experience and skills can bring to the bottom line.
I've been working since high school and never had trouble finding a job until now. Even finding temp work has been difficult, as most businesses seem to prefer putting as much work as possible on their regular employees, pushing them to the breaking point, knowing that they're not likely to complain or leave.
My first unemployment extension ran out recently. Over the past year, I didn't earn enough at temp work, so they consider me ineligible for another regular extension. I'm still within the window of time where I could apply for a state emergency extension, but I'm not sure that the requirements are worth it. They require at least five employer contacts each week on at least three separate dates during the week. They also want a log of those work search attempts mailed or faxed to them before each certification date. If I'm offered a job, any job (even if it's crap), I have to take it, or benefits will be gone.
There aren't that many suitable job ads out there that fit my work history (office manager and similar positions). In the year that I've been looking, it's been rare to find more than 2 suitable new ads in one week, no matter how many days I look. I could run all week on that hamster wheel and have nothing to show for it but a week of wasted time.
At times, I apply for one and actually get hopeful about my application, but the ad stays out there for weeks and weeks. No response. I don't know what they're looking for, but I wish they'd hire someone already.
One friend who used to work in collections - yes, collections - was laid off almost 2 years ago. A few months ago, I heard that he'd gotten a job - at Wal Mart.
I'm grateful that we have another good income in our household and that I still have money in the bank. I don't really miss going to the office. Between taking an online class, doing volunteer work, and working on other projects, I'm keeping busy enough. The certificate program I'm currently in seems likely to open up more opportunities than spending every day week after week looking for jobs that just aren't there.
The thing that hurts the most is the feeling of rejection. I have good skills. I've proven again and again in past jobs that I can anticipate needs, solve problems and make an office more efficient and productive. The idea that nobody wants me hurts much more than the loss of income.