Unemployment Nine: Geographically unsuitable

In my daily futile journey through the job sites, I encountered some geographical stupidity on CareerBuilder.com.

In a search for job listings containing “editor” within 50 miles of New York, listings appeared for an executive editor in Lafayette, Ind., and a digital editor in St. George, Utah. Are you shitting me?

Whether this was the fault of CareerBuilder.com or the companies that listed the jobs, or both, allow me to share a wee bit of wisdom: As bad as the job market is these days, if someone is looking for a job in New York, they are not going to consider Lafayette, Ind., or St. George, Utah.

I mean no disrespect to those two cities, but honestly, where the fuck are they? I can tell you this: They’re nowhere near New York, in terms of location, lifestyle, or salary.

Indiana? Utah? Yeah, bite me.

The bustling metropolis that is downtown St. George, Utah. Can you feel the excitement?

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Unemployment Nine: Huh?????????

WTF???

I have vented many times in this space previously about how, with this horrific job market tilted completely toward those looking to hire and away from those looking to be hired, requirements in job listings are getting more and more ridiculous. And I found a great example of this today.

The following was listed among the requirements for a job that involved editing content for the Internet: “Applicant should be competent in operating a manual transmission automobile.”

Can someone please tell me what the fuck knowing how to drive a stick shift has to do with working on the Internet?

Wow, I seriously hate this job market more and more every day. Just when I think I’ve seen it all after nearly 21 months

Unemployment Nine: A loud, emphatic BAH!

I’ve often compared this 16-month journey of unemployment to a roller coaster, and unfortunately, the roller coaster is heading downhill again, and quickly.

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I still haven’t heard a peep from the company I interviewed with three weeks ago, despite sending a follow-up e-mail to see where they were in the process. I really felt particularly bullish about this interview, marking only the second time since my layoff that I’ve felt so strongly. While I’m not giving up yet, not hearing a word has been discouraging.

The number of job listings, which had surged with the beginning of the new year, has slowed to a trickle. I don’t know if it was just a flurry of new jobs due to 2010 budgets, but whatever caused the uptick seems to have waved goodbye.

I’ve complained in the past about job listings getting more and more specific, with companies seeking to find the perfect candidate. Hey, it’s their right: They have exponentially more candidates to choose from, and they can do what they want. But the point I made more than one year ago that I’d like to make again is that subject matter can be learned, but the ability to express it clearly, cleanly and error-free, as well as with some flair and some search-engine-friendly terms, can’t be learned anywhere near as quickly. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve skipped over some jobs that I would normally apply to because, even though I’m fully confident I can handle the work load, when they ask, “Do you have six years’ experience covering the mating habits of the Himalayan Horned Toad?,” I have to be honest and say that I don’t.

I’m just over two months away from my wedding, and while I will not let any of this crap ruin our wedding or our honeymoon, it’s still difficult to completely block the thought that while I will be having the time of my life in Hawaii, it will also represent not only two weeks with no money coming in from my part-time job, as well as two weeks where absolutely nothing will happen in my job search.  Not that I would change anything about my proposal, but I never in my worst, most glum moods thought when I proposed in August that I’d still be out of work on our wedding day, and that reality is staring me dead in the face.

This is really starting to suck. Something needs to change, and quickly.

Unemployment Nine: Someone at craigslist needs more coffee

While browsing through the job ads on craigslist, as us unemployed folk tend to do, I came across the following ad under Writing/Editing Jobs that was clearly placed in the wrong section, unless I’m missing something:

Egg donor

Egg Donor Needed (NYC Area)

NYC couple in mid-40’s seeking egg donor who fits the following description:

*female between ages of 20-30 years

*Caucasian

*blue eyes

*ready to begin

Will compensate $10,000 plus any other related expenses.

Please, serious inquiries only.

Curse the day I was born with a penis instead of a uterus! I have blue eyes, and I’ve been ready to begin for 15 months! I have to admit that I roared with laughter when I saw that the person who wrote the ad felt the need to specify “female.” You don’t say?

In any event, whoever is responsible for monitoring the job listings on craigslist might want to double up on the coffee.

Unemployment Nine: The new age of job listings

The difference is gigantic between how job listings were constructed a few months ago, before this wave of layoffs started, and what they look like now. And if you’re browsing them as an unemployed person rather than someone looking to upgrade their job, the trend is downright scary.

Let’s face it: The people with jobs to offer know they have a much deeper pool to choose from, and they’re tweaking their ads mercilessly.

For example, I’m looking for a job that involves editing, managing content and/or writing for the web.

A typical job posting from a few months ago would have looked a little something like this:

Web content manager: Individual wanted to create and edit content for Web site. Must be proficient in Microsoft Office and comfortable with content-management tools. Familiarity with HTML, Photoshop or legal content a plus.

The same job posting today would read like this:

Web content manager: Individual wanted to create and edit content for Web site. Must be thoroughly proficient with Microsoft Office, WordPerfect, XyWrite, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Final Cut Pro, at least two-dozen content-management systems and any other software packages that come to mind between now and your interview, including several that have yet to be released. Will be required to create e-commerce system from scratch during interview while using only Notepad. Law degree from Ivy League or top 10 university required. Additional degree in computer science, journalism or new age healing a plus. Must be able to offer therapeutic massage service to employees in headquarters and branch offices. Certified lifeguards welcome. Ability to walk on water or heal animals with the touch of your fingertip a plus. Equal opportunity employer.

Is it any wonder I’ve gone nearly four months without a job? People are holding out for the absolute perfect employee, because they can, and ignoring the fact that a lot of skills or assets they’re requiring can be learned easily and quickly. And the ads are getting worse and worse by the week.

This is a truly alarming trend.

Unemployment Nine: Concerned about trends in job listings

As my search for gainful employment enters month two, I’ve obviously looked at a crap load of job listings, having long ago given up the fantasy that the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch and hand me a job.

However, even in as short of a period as one month (one month and two days, if you want to be picky), I’ve noticed a lot of worrisome trends within the job listings.

Job listings

Job listings

First off, companies are getting a lot pickier. Instead of just asking for general publishing experience or Web experience, they’re really honing in on exactly what the job entails.

Anyone looking for help is obviously in a position of power right now, with more and more layoffs occurring each day in the media industry and the overall job force. So I can’t say I blame those in charge of hiring for trying to hone in on the perfect candidate.

But it’s a little discouraging to know that with every résumé and cover letter I e-mail, not only am I competing against many more people than I would be in a “normal” economy, but within that larger pool, there are bound to be applicants who have experience in that specific sector. I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic.

Another trend I’ve noticed: In the handful of listings that include the salary being offered, the numbers are dropping off a cliff. Again, I harbor no malice toward those overseeing the hiring process. Why pay more when you can pay less for the same service? And realistically, I’ve been prepared to take a pay cut. The economy is what it is and, right now, it’s pretty bad. I don’t expect a pay hike or even a lateral move.

But no matter how bad things get, I am in no position to take a job that pays one-half of what I was making. And I’m not exaggerating — I’ve seen several listings offering exactly one-half of my old salary. Since we’re talking about media and publishing, my old salary comes up a little bit short when compared with that of, say, Alex Rodriguez. The thought of settling for one-half of that is, to say the least, unsettling.

I wonder how long it takes to learn how to work a deep fryer.