Newsflash: Giving Up Will NOT Help You Find a Job

whiningGood morning, my fellow Americans.  I have an important announcement today that simply cannot wait.  Why?  Because it has to do with your ability to earn an income, support your family, and achieve the American Dream.  Is there anything more important than that?

Let me answer.

No, there isn’t.

Let’s start with the backstory on today’s post and what has me so fired up today…….

The Unemployed Have Given Up

I recently wrote an article that ended up on Yahoo Small Business.  (You can read it here: Harris Poll: Nearly Half of Unemployed Not Looking for Work)  For those who don’t want to read it all, let me summarize.

Basically, a recent poll of unemployed adults age 18 and older showed that 47 percent of the long-term unemployed have given up on their job search entirely.  Out of those who have given up, 45 percent blame the economy for their situation, 36 percent blame themselves, 19 percent blame their most recent boss, and 18 percent blame the government.  A full 82 percent of those polled also agree that they are “becoming more discouraged the longer [they are] unemployed.”

I feel for those who have given up because, as we all know, it’s brutal out there.  Jobs created in the last few years have not been of the highest quality, and a growing body of research indicates that many of the jobs created in 2014 are merely part-time and in low-paying industries.  But, what do you do?  Crawl in bed and refuse to get out?  Wave your white flag and give up? 

Is that truly the answer?

Find a Job…Any Job

I’ve worked in a wide range of menial jobs, even as an adult.  For example, I used to clean houses for a living in my early 20′s.  I worked in a group home for adults with intellectual disabilities.  I worked as a nanny for several families.  I even worked as a waitress more than once, despite the fact that I absolutely despise working in food service.

I hope that I am never in the position to work in any of those jobs again, but I certainly will if I need to. Why?  Because that’s where you have to start sometimes.  Because the low-paying, menial jobs are often a stepping stone for bigger and better things.  Because I want to pay my own bills and I never want to have to rely on someone else to support my family. 

This is the mentality I learned to adopt when I was growing up, and I believe it’s a mentality that is lost on today’s workforce.  And comments like the ones left on my Yahoo post prove it:

“Adjust their (our) expectations? So I take a #$%$ part time retail job where the employer expects me to be on call 24/7 if they need me to come in, making it hard to schedule other job interviews (assuming I get one), or go to school to better myself, and then I get pigeonholed as someone who has no experience whatsoever, making it even harder to find a better job? No wonder so many people, like me, have pretty much given up on finding a decent job (you know, one where the employer respects your contributions and the work and the total job experience isn’t completely degrading).”

-Erik

“I’m 49 and haven’t worked since 2006. I gave up after a few years of not being able to get an interview with anyone.”

-Jim

“Last time I checked, going back to school required some amount of money. If it comes down to going back to school, or making sure I keep a roof over my head, food on the table, or my electricity on, I know what the obvious choice is.

People are barely making their bills, never mind making their bills and having enough left over to further their education.

Christ…these writers couldn’t be any more #$%$ dumber.”

-Vinny B.

“Yes, it was my fault for not wanting to get out of bed at 2:00 A.M. to make $9. I actually spent more on gas than what I would make so they fired me.”

-Denise

Newsflash: Giving Up Will Not Help You Find a Job

While I don’t know everything, I do know one thing for sure.  Giving up will not help you find a job.  And neither will trolling Yahoo for opportunities to announce your intellectual superiority to the world.

Ahem.

However, actually looking for a job might yield some results.  Consider hopping on your computer (or heading to the library) to create a simple resume on Word.  Don’t know how to create a resume?  Head on over to WikiHow where they can teach you how to do almost anything.  Once you’ve completed that step, create a profile on LinkedIn and attempt to get your foot in the door (any door) that way.

If you don’t like those ideas, leave your house immediately and approach businesses directly to see if any might be hiring.  Ask friends and family members if they know who might be hiring too.  Also search your local Help Wanted ads for leads.  It can’t hurt!  You can even consider looking for work online.  Hell, I know people who literally tweet articles and comment on blog posts for a living.  If you can type and speak English, there are ton of jobs all over the internet with almost limitless demand.

No matter how trendy it might seem, you don’t have to resign yourself to being unemployed for the rest of your life.  And if you have a family, you should never stop trying to support them.  Look for a job- any job- and know that your efforts will eventually pay off.  If not, at least you can say you tried and that you never gave up. 

What advice do you have for someone who has given up on their job search?  Do you think there are jobs out there?  Why or why not?

 
About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. Holly
    If you want to ssee the long term unemployed and people who are perpetual victims read the yahoo comments. So many of them have negative defeatist attitudes. They should ask themselves if you had a business would they hire someone with their shitty attitude.

  2. Thankfully I’ve never been out of work for an extended stretch so I can only imagine the stress it must cause. But those Yahoo comments are insane (as they usually are). They’re just excuses. Networking is one of the best ways to land a decent job. If you don’t have a network then start building one. Join local groups in your field of expertise. Go to events. Talk to potential employers. This is the best way to find quality work. Much better than using job postings and going to 100′s of interviews.

    • Yahoo comments are always the worst! I agree 100% on the importance of networking. Don’t burn bridges with people and use your contacts to help with your search for employment.

  3. You hit the nail right on the head Holly. The biggest thing that has often perplexed me when I hear about the long term unemployed is that I know I would go out and find absolutely any job if I were in that situation. I mean, cleaning hotel rooms (which is a job I used to have) is better than nothing, right? You’ve gotta start somewhere!

    • I cleaned hotel rooms in high school and that really was a terrible job. One time I had to clean up a giant pile of puke with green beans in it. I think I quit shortly after that.

  4. During the dot-com bust in 2000-2002 I couldn’t find computer work anywhere. But sitting around feeling sorry for myself was not an option! I worked as an appliance delivery person (refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, etc) for several months until a contract computer installer job opened up. That wasn’t much of an upgrade though, I was mostly delivering and unboxing computers all day. It took a full year and a half before some other opportunities opened up for me, first to move up at the computer installation company, then to move on to a job in my field.

    Don’t give up!

  5. I was unemployed for 6 months after I graduated from college, and it was H-A-R-D. I held out as long as I could financially to find a job where I felt like I hadn’t lost my dignity, but when it came down to it, we needed money, so I took a job I didn’t want. It sucked, but we had money.

    As a result of that whole experience, I’ve been scarred in a way, emotionally and psychologically, but you know what? We’re still afloat financially. And the whole experience led me to start writing, which has opened up so many doors. And complaining never got me anywhere.

    • I’m glad you finally found something. I think I’m scarred from some of my old jobs too. I still have nightmares about working in the group home…that was a terrifying job. Someone once came after me with a frying pan and I had to hide behind the refrigerator door!

    • My first job post college was working the night shift in a warehouse…alone, for $8.50 an hour. The lights would go out since they were motion sensored, and I was processing returns (ie working in about a three foot radius most of the time).

      I worked that job for about 4 months while living in my parents house before I finally started getting interviews for positions that I actually wanted. Funny thing is, that I got a valuable reference (from a manager who I spoke to once per day for about three minutes, but he liked my results), and I used stories from the job in my interviews.

      Really getting any experience at all is valuable for entry level jobs.

      I don’t know how I would do being long term unemployed at a more senior level like I am now.

  6. I see this among members of my husband’s family – long term beneficiaries. They have been hit hard by the reduction in lower skilled/unskilled jobs and don’t seem to have the drive to upskill – they don’t really know where they fit in this new economy.

  7. I certainly feel for the long-term unemployed and know it’s a tough situation to be in, but I don’t understand just giving up. Taking a job that you think is beneath you can still provide a ton of opportunities. You get a chance to do something you may have never gotten to do, you are out meeting people, and it’s just going to look good to your next employer that you were doing something. Such a job will just be temporary, but sitting around feeling sorry for yourself and hating the world is not.

  8. Actually, the bulk of new research on this topic is showing that.it is better to be long term unemployed than underemployed for finding high quality employment. There are three or four new resume studies showing this. In addition you are judging the actions of people who are often clinically depressed, as well as those who are open for work but not actively looking because they’ve decided to retire earlier than planned or to stay at home while the kids are young. They may not prefer that to their professional careers, but it is hella better than working at mcdonalds. It is a rational decision for many people who are still interested in work, but don’t need bad work or do need daycare.

    • Yeah, I’m painting with a broad brush here. There are people who don’t make enough money to pay for daycare, people who are depressed, and people who have decided to go ahead and retire early. There’s no doubt about that.

      But then there are people who don’t even try or feel they are “too good” to work in certain jobs. My friend from high school owns a coffee shop and says she cannot fill open positions because she doesn’t have applications and people have to submit a resume. Apparently that is too much to ask.

      Not only that, but this study is about people who have given up entirely. They’re not going to find any kind of job- good or bad- without at least trying. Nobody is going to knock on their door and offer them their dream job.

      If you can afford to stay home then it makes sense. But if not, get your ass out there. I would never give up looking for work if I had a family to support.

  9. There’s definitely something not quite right for reasonably intelligent people who can find more than menial jobs. Is it attitude? Laziness? I’m not saying that they should take minimum wage, but there’s something else going on. Could be depression like another commenter stated.

    • The Yahoo article also mentions how long-term unemployment benefits have influenced people to take their time when looking for a new job. That may have played a part for people who received those benefits.

  10. Holly, RIGHT ON. I see this attitude SO often these days. Being a perpetual victim will only get you more months of unemployment.

  11. I’ve never been long-term unemployed and can’t imagine how frustrating it must be. One of my friends moms has been unemployed for years as an accountant. When I offered to put a referral in for her if she applied for a job at my employer she said she didn’t want to work there. I was a little shocked at how picky she was being.

  12. I could not agree with this more. I work as a recruiter for a staffing firm that specializes in office, administrative and accounting jobs so I know it’s tough out there. The market really DOES suck but…if it were me, I’d be flippin’ burgers for McDonalds working on getting a promotion. Attitude is everything and you have to start somewhere. I am more likely to hire someone who says “hey, I have a family to support and that was the only job I could find”, rather than “well, I wasn’t going to work for minimum wage so I sat at home on unemployment.”
    Great job Holly!

  13. I was unemployed for a while, so I completely understand how hard it is to find good work. I would just advise people to take crappy part-time jobs. Then start hustling to find a way to make yourself really important to the company you’re working for. For instance, if you can develop a skill that no one else has, you will most likely get promoted.

  14. I love this. I don’t think everyone has a choice and I know that there are plenty of people out there who can’t find jobs for legitimate reasons. However, I have come across many people who just have really bad job skills.

    When I worked in retail, I would see applications all the time that were just completely horrible. Items weren’t filled out or the answers were just scary. People never cared and then they would complain about how my employer sucked because they “wasted” THEIR time by not hiring them. The same would also happen whenever we would actually give an interview to someone – about half the time the person wouldn’t even show up or give us notice, it was ridiculous.

    When I had my day job, we had a phone number that was one number off from the temp agency near by. Because of that, we received numerous phone calls from people EVERY SINGLE DAY who would yell at me because they couldn’t find a job. They wouldn’t even say hello 100% of the time, the first thing they would say was “GIVE ME A JOB!” I would then tell them that we are not the temp agency and they would actually ask me to give them the correct number or to forward them to the correct person. REALLY? I don’t work for that company!

  15. Part of the problem is that 1) people have no pride. 2) Unemployment is extended for way too long. The U.S. has such a good safety net that people get comfortable not working. and 3) Welfare benefits are generous enough that people don’t need to work to have a quality of life they are willing to settle for. I once saw a John Stossel segment on TV where he interviewed people in the unemployment office’s line where they told him why they couldn’t find work. Then he and his crew went out and inside of two hours all of them had job offers. No, they weren’t executive positions but it was a job. One diner where my husband and I get breakfast has a man who has been their dishwasher for years. It isn’t a glamorous job but he gets his butt out of bed and gets to work at 6AM every morning. I have much more respect for him than the whiners who claim they can’t find a job. I bet if unemployment and welfare was cut off, they’d find a job pretty quickly, but as long as they have enough for food and cable TV, they are happy. (Yes, I know this is a harsh outlook. )

    • I feel the same way about extended unemployment benefits. I’m sure they help many people, but they also make it easy to put the job search off indefinitely.

    • Hmmm….what you say here is absolutely incorrect and can be easily proven wrong.

  16. Well I think that pretty much sums up the haves versus the have nots. The victims versus those who are resilient. There is nothing I loathe more than the victim mentality. Or the word can’t…what you really mean is “aren’t’ willing.” These are the types of people that life happens to them, not the other way around. Not much you can do I’m afraid. Usually (and I really don’t anymore save for a few aquaninstences or people on FB), I drop those kinds of people from my life. I surround myself with people who are go-getters and positive in nature. It really does make life better. :)

  17. I have always found it easier to find a job when I have a job. Most people I have talked with won’t take a crap job. They believe it is below them. I would be out anywhere doing anything to make ends meet. I always find Yahoo comments to be the worst of the worst.

  18. I have members of my own family who’ve done this. They took the two years of unemployment, didn’t really try to find work during that time, and then just stopped looking. It’s weird, but it’s a really sensitive subject, too. When I visit, it’s a fight waiting to happen if I ask, “So, um, any luck finding work?” (subtext: “Have you tried at all?”)

  19. I love this post. I always wonder how someone can think a job is below them when they can barely put a sentence together, are high school dropouts etc. I used to have people come in looking for jobs/interview in the tiniest shorts, tank tops, saggy pants etc. We used to have one of those hiring stations where you fill out your application right on the computer, and they would ask me to fill it in for them!!! Or they bring their moms to interviews ..the stories go on and on. My first job was a hotel maid for like $3.65 per hour! No pity for most of the people. I’m curious, if they gave up looking for work, how do they cover their expenses?

  20. We’re hitting all-time lows in America. It’s a sad day when we’re so addicted to laziness that we can’t reach out through the haze and look for a job.

    Am I oversimplifying the problem? Absolutely. But it’s pretty embarrassing to read some of these comments.

    By the way, who the hell has time to be comment #2,431 on a Yahoo! article?

  21. Someone mentioned people don’t have any pride but I think people have TOO much pride and aren’t willing to take what might be considered menial jobs. Would it suck to work at McDonald’s? Probably. Is it HONEST work, hell yes! Get over yourselves people and focus on putting food on the table!

    • I agree. I would probably *try* to avoid fast food if I could, but I would do it if that were my only option. There is simply nothing wrong with honest work.

  22. Giving up on anything means you will not reach your goal. I sometimes think my tenacity is too strong and I should re-evaluate my goals, but I keep trying anyway.

  23. I think that we all have done some menial jobs as you have said. And I agree with the overall sentiment, if you can work, then WORK in some fashion. I believe that even if I become financially independent I will want to do something whether it be part-time work, volunteer, or whatever projects I feel like doing. But I have a ways to go until I can fully choose what work I want to do :).

    Also, I agree with the comments regarding the comments. I am also going to comment about this, and I am basically trying to stop looking at those major news sights. Just all completely negative. I am finding that browsing blogs is much better and you learn more too!

  24. I know you wrote the article, but I still wouldn’t read the comments in anything on Yahoo. It’s kind of like reading the comments on the Matt Walsh blog….just. don’t. do.. it. You will get sucked in and never come back! However, I did think the article was great ;-)

  25. I completely agree with you Holly. I just had a 24 year old woman ask me for help with getting a job (I know her through family so I could get honest) and I told her that I would not help her until she helped herself. She got a degree in psychology or something and “tried” for 6 months or so to get a job and now 6 months have gone by and she is doing nothing but live on her mom for free. I told her that if I was a hiring manager, I would NEVER want to hire someone who was sitting on their a$$ for a year doing nothing. I would much rather see someone who worked at McDonalds than the other person. I know it is a rough job market out there, it doesn’t mean there aren’t jobs. And I would rather have the person who sucked up their pride and took the sh&t job for a year to make ends meet than the person sitting around complaining about be overqualified for anything. No matter what job you have you will always have sh&t work to do and if you can’t prove that you are capable of doing it outside of my company, I don’t want to take a gamble and figure out if you can do it inside of my company.

    • Sometimes there is shit work to do even in “good jobs.” My husband, for instance, sweeps floors and dusts all the time when he’s bored. Sure his job is a professional one, but someone has to do that crap!

  26. I like these three rules to being successful in almost anything:
    1. Show Up
    2. Show up on time
    3. Be dressed to play ball

  27. Right on Holly! I’ve been unemployed before, though thankfully not for a long period of time. It always meant going out and finding some job, any job that would let me make something. It always turned into something else and the rest is history. I know it would suck now, since we have the kids, but I sure as hell wouldn’t give up. I think, no I know, there are jobs out there. They may not be glitzy or exciting, but they’re jobs. I think a good bit of it goes back to we think things are below us if they’re menial or that things should just be handed to us. If push came to shove, I’d much rather take on that menial job to make ends meet as opposed to sitting there with my pride and nothing else.

    As for the Yahoo comments…they’re just nuts. Though my favorite ones, like Vinny B, just crack me up when they slam what they think is ignorance with ignorance of their own.

  28. Seriously. It amazes me how many people think it’s somebody else’s responsibility to do everything for them, as well as find/provide them with a job. But if nobody does that for them, there is someone there who will provide them money/beneifts not to work. I know there are some people out there who actually do try, but we’d be better off if everyone stopped bitching about their situation and got off their ass to change it.

  29. It’s funny, I write for USNews which is often times picked up by Yahoo! finance. It’s incredible how nasty people can be in comments. Anyway, I’m with you. One thing many don’t know about me is that I was homeless for about 8 months. I never gave up, I never stopped looking. Eventually I found a job. Sure, it was a crappy one, but it was enough to get me back on my feet…look at me now! Giving up never helps…unless we’re talking about giving up smoking!

  30. YES!!! Like you said, I get it – it’s rough. But you gotta do what you gotta do! Stop blaming others/the system/etc. and get the sucky job because you need it. If you have the luxury of not working, then you’re not really in need.

  31. SO MUCH YES. Laziness and that’s what it is, kills me. Work 10 jobs if you have to. Hard work eventually pays off but we’re in a society that is seemingly afraid to get their hands a little dirty.

  32. I think some of the conversation about the unemployed and those who have given up looking for work is misdirected. It’s misdirected because the thing isn’t that people want ANY job, they want a job that can justify not continuing to receive unemployment benefits, free health care (yes, it is essentially free if you make less than 10k a year), free food via food stamps, etc. There is absolutely no reason to take a minimum wage job if you crunch the numbers. It’s hard for me to blame people for not going that route.

  33. Its easy to give up when you’ve been working at it for so long, but you are right, that won’t help you. You’ve got to keep trying no matter how hard the struggle. Something is better than nothing at this point, so push push push!

  34. I have never been unemployed for long, but when I was seasonally employed I HUSTLED. Cleaned houses, pet sat, odd jobs, anything to make a buck. I had a master’s degree and it sucked but it was sure better than moving back home. My dad is part of the long-term unemployed. He’s been unemployed before it was cool — i.e. in 1998 he got laid off, looked for a while, then just gave up. It’s kind of a sore spot for me.

  35. Not having a job is worse than having any job and not to mention it won’t look good on your resumé. Also when you start giving up on one job you tend to pick up the habit and you will easily quit future jobs that you think is not good enough. If you think things are too much, find alternatives or take a break…but never give up.

Speak Your Mind

*