Things Not to Say to Someone Who Has Been Looking for Work for Months And Months

I originally composed these instructions for life and love and human compassion more than a year ago, and posted them on Facebook, back when I had an active Facebook account.  Within a few months of joining the Zuckerberg Empire I deactivated my account and now log in only occasionally and briefly when I feel the shameless and irresistible desire to pour over the mundane and intimate aspects of the lives of all those who I loathe, lust, and rabidly, resentfully envy.  (And, as a self-proclaimed social media profile voyeur, I sincerely view as a genuine disgrace and a disappointment the degree to which most people have shrewdly put their profiles on tight lockdown in today’s age of Facebook user empowerment.)

Anyway, when I first posted this below list as a “note,” it was a big hit.  All of my “friends”–all 19 of them–immediately reacted with either shame or exultant solidarity depending on where they identified themselves with respect to the “things.”  I’ve dug the note back up now because I am bemused with the bitter and disgusting irony with which it is still relevant today, more than a year later, after I have given up the good fight of job searching altogether and have moved back in with my parents.  In other words, I have followed the recommendation and fulfilled the virulent prophesy of #17 on the list, which is reposted in its entirety below.       

THINGS NOT TO SAY TO SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN LOOKING FOR WORK FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS

A short compilation of don’t-do-this pointers so that you can be of the most support to your unemployed loved one(s).  Derived from direct, first-hand experiences (And before anyone starts to panic:  No, I’m not talking to YOU).

  1.  Have you found a job yet? /Are you employed yet?
  1. So, any leads?
  1. Any good news?….YOU know what I’m talking about.
  1. So how’s the job search going? 
  1. I know it’s been a year and the market is a snake pit, but don’t get frustrated.
  1. I know you said you don’t want to keep talking about it, but….
  1. Have you searched on Indeed/USAJobs/Idealist/[some big database that everyone knows about]?
  1. Have you been to your alma mater’s career office?  But have you literally VISITED them in person and TALKED to them?  I don’t believe you.
  1. Have you filled out the civil service form?  That’s not true, they didn’t get rid of the civil service form!  I got my first job in 1967 by filling out the civil service form.
  1. You haven’t been looking hard enough.  The jobs are out there; I know you don’t want to hear that but they are.
  1. You can’t say you’ve been looking for work for 12 months.  You haven’t REALLY been CONSTANTLY looking 24 hours a day for the ENTIRE 12 months.  Get back on the computer.
  1. Searching on the computer won’t get you very far.  You need to get out there and stomp the ground and TALK to people.
  1. Once you stop looking, you’ll find a job.  That’s how it always works.
  1. Why don’t you go back to school and get a third graduate degree? 
  1. Were you thinking about the job prospects in this particular field when you picked this degree?
  1. The economy will start getting better in a few months, and then things will look up.
  1. You really should return to captivity with your parents at age 28.5 so that you can save your money so that you can buy a house of your own when you do find a job even though you’ve already lived with your parents as their token spinster wench until you were 24.
  1. You’re applying for an internship?  Why are you applying for an internship if you have a degree? 
  1. Don’t be so pessimistic!
  1. You’re not preparing enough for your job interviews.  You need to write out your answers beforehand and practice them…..No you’re not.
  1. Your problem is that you over-prepare for your job interviews and you go in there too “hyped up.”  You need to just relax.
  1. Don’t take so many tranquilizers before your job interviews.  They may be doing more harm than good.  Have a little bit of wine instead.
The State of Maryland is quaint.  It still sends paper rejection letters for civil service jobs (and still requires paper job applications sent via snail mail).

The State of Maryland is quaint. It still sends paper rejection letters for civil service jobs (and still requires paper job applications sent via snail mail).

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