Brother, Can You Spare a Job?


I have a riddle for you—or maybe it’s a question…whatever.

What’s the difference between a cover letter and standing on a corner begging for money?  Chances are, the person on the corner isn’t delusional enough to believe that they aren’t begging.  Can you say the same?

Call it what you want, but we’re basically BEGGING people to pay attention to us, to offer us a job, to at least let us get in the door so we can do our begging in person.  You can say that you want to WOW that employer all you want to, but it’s nothing more than begging for an employment bone.  It’s depressing as hell, but I can’t think of anything else to call it.  Your cover letter is basically an expensive begging letter.  You’re telling the employer that you’re so great, you’re the perfect person for the job.  Perhaps you are—but think about it from the employer’s or hiring manager’s point of view, or perhaps even your own.  Do you pay attention to salespeople who come on too strong?  Do you pay attention to the salespeople who swarm over you as soon as you enter the store and won’t let you take a breath?  Of course you don’t—so why do you think that this method will magically work when YOU do it?

I know, I know—it’s because YOU’RE so special, YOU’RE so great, and YOU can make this company (or whatever you’re applying for) into the greatest company ever!  When you think about it this way, it’s a wonder that ANYBODY ever becomes employed—or that you were able to impress anyone to even give you a job.

Reading various websites, sharpening up your LinkedIn profile, attending webinars, putting yourself out there…where has that gotten you?  Are you still sitting in front of your computer screen, wondering why you’ve applied to over 200 positions, and yet have only gone to 6 interviews?  Is there something inherently WRONG with the entire job search process?  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that yes, there is something rotten in Denmark, and that in order to get a job before your unemployment runs out, you’ll need to find out what it is.  Do I have any answers?  Pfft!  If I did, I’d have an actual job and wouldn’t be wasting my time cranking out this crap.  The End.

“Somebody’s crazy, and it’s not you!”


When you’re looking for work, you’ve got to prepare yourself for insults to your intelligence.  Whether it’s four reminders of how to dress for an interview, the type of e-mail address to place on your resume (“No cute/joke/interesting addresses, please.”), to turns of (useless) phrases such as “Good luck,” “Best wishes,” and “Good luck with your job search.”  YOU’RE UNEMPLOYED! I THINK GOOD LUCK AND BEST WISHES HAVE GONE THE WAY OF YOUR JOB…THERE’S NO GOOD LUCK AND BEST WISHES!!!!!

Ahem, now that that’s out of the way…

I woke up this morning to insults–open an e-mail (from the ever popular Careerealism) that states I should cut down on my spending now that I’m unemployed.

No! (shocked voice)

I had no idea I should cut down on ANYTHING whilst looking for work.  And here I was, planning to catch the bus to head down to the Career Center.  Well, now I know I should WALK those 8 miles.  I would buy a bike, but I can’t buy anything, being unemployed and all.  I should also cut out any creature comforts, such as that gym membership, those Sennheiser headphones (the $1,000 pair I had my eye on), that Technics turntable (a mere $600!) and a plasma TV.

(Excuse me while I roll my eyes.)

Far be it for me to assume anything (we know where that’ll get you!) but I would like to think that if you’re unemployed and making significantly less money, you might just do these things already.  I don’t know–apparently people like spending money they don’t have during times of economic “recovery.”

Look, people feel crappy enough looking for work, and insulting their intelligence is not going to help.  If anything, they’ll spend MORE (as in more for alcohol, etc., to drown their sorrows).  Don’t insult the unemployed/underemployed–we feel crappy enough as it is.