Discriminating Against Recently Unemployed

Three Panel Soul Web Comic - On Solid Ground
Three Panel Soul

One of my favorite webcomics is Three Panel Soul by Ian McConville (artist) and Matthew Boyd (writer). This is the post-college version of their former webcomic, Mac Hall. A common theme is cubicle life at technology companies, such as Matt being overheard talking about buying a rifle, being let go for talking about said rifle, and being unemployed in 2007. (The Fleen interview with Matt after the FBI paid him a visit for making “terroristic threats” against his former employer.) Matt now finds himself in an uncertain job market that still discriminates against the recently unemployed who lost their jobs within the last 30 days.

Oh, crap. Here we go again.

As someone who was unemployed for two years, underemployed for six months (working 20 hours per month) and filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy before finding steady work, I don’t want to repeat that experience again.

I had numerous interviews that went fine until the hiring manager figured out that I had chronological gaps in my resume. Many such interviews ended shortly thereafter. I even had recruiters tell me that I was unemployable and shouldn’t be wasting their time. The worst part is that many companies are looking for people who they can hire without any job training. This kind of discrimination eliminates many good people who need help in getting up to speed.

My big break from permanent unemployment came when I started doing blue-collar tech work by physically replacing old computers with new computers. No comfortable sitting on your ass help desk support job. I’ve probably crawled underneath 1,000+ desks this year, including one cubicle where the carpets smelled like someone farted brimstone into them. Another cubicle had 40 cups of half-filled coffee with mold in various states of growth that most people would regard as a potential bio hazard.

With my current assignment ending this year, I’ll have to find a new assignment before the new year starts. Having worked for several different contracting agencies over the last few years, I know recruiters who are eager to get me back into the job market. However, since I’m not actively looking for a new job, my resume is being used as filler for when the recruiter has to submit five candidates for a particular position. Some things never change.