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How Dare Unemployed People Seek Jobs!

, , , , , | Working | March 11, 2021

Years ago, I was laid off from my IT job along with about twenty others. It wasn’t personal; the company was experiencing a downturn and simply didn’t have enough work for all of us. One of the nice things the company did was to connect us with an outplacement agency. The idea was that the agency would help us fine-tune our resumes and practice our interviewing skills.

Outplacement Agent: “One question interviewees always get asked is, ‘Tell me about yourself.’ This is an opportunity for you to do a thirty-second ‘commercial’ on how awesome you are. Now, you were all laid off, and even though it was due to no fault of your own, it’s something that your ‘commercial’ should include. Your interviewer will find out about it sooner or later, and it’s better coming from you.”

So, I come up with my “commercial” and I make sure that it mentions the fact that I was involved in a layoff due to my former company downsizing. I get an interview, and this is how it goes.

Interviewer: “Tell me about yourself.”

I think, “Great! Here’s my chance!”

Me: “I worked for [Company] for eight years. Earlier this year, I was part of a mass layoff due to the company having to downsize.”

I continue to speak for about twenty more seconds.

Interviewer: “Mm-hmm. Tell me about your current position.”

Me: “Um… well, my former position at [Company] was—”

Interviewer: “I said your current position.”

Me: “As I mentioned, I was part of a mass layoff earlier this year—”

The interviewer stares at me.

Interviewer: “Oh. So you’re unemployed.”

She says this with the same tone that you’d use to say, “Oh. So you have LEPROSY.”

The rest of the interview stumbles along, but it is clear that she’s lost interest in me. Then, she mentions this gem.

Interviewer: “Our employees work very hard. They never take coffee breaks, and if they take lunch breaks, they always eat at their desks and are back at work in fifteen minutes.”

Me: “…”

I desperately needed a job, and if they’d offered it to me, I would have taken it,but I can’t say that I was heartbroken when that didn’t happen. I got an offer from a different company eventually, and eighteen years later, I’m still there.