A Career Counselor’s Tough Love for the Long Term Unemployed–Are You Being Discriminated Against? Yes and You Deserve it Too.!

Filed under: Discrimination,Features,Finding a Job,Labor,Opinions/Blogs |

Are long-term unemployed facing bias? The answer is a loud and clear “yes,” says career counselor Amy Lindgren in a column from Twincities.com. Looking through the eye of employers, she also asks the long-term unemployed, “what are you going to do about it?”

The official unemployment rate in Minneapolis/St. Paul, home of Twincities.com is currently 6.9%, well below the national average of 9.2% as of August 2011.

Via Twincities.com Amy Lindgren: Are long-term unemployed facing bias?
Unemployment benefits aid begins. Line of men inside a State Employment Service office at San Francisco, Calif., waiting to register for benefits on one of the first days after the office opened in Jan. 1938.These workers will receive dfrom $6 to $15 per week for as long as 16 weeks. Twenty-two states begin paying unemployment compensation as national unemployment reached 10 million, 19% of the workforce. Photo: Lange, Dorothea,/Library of Congress

Unemployment benefits aid begins. Line of men inside a State Employment Service office at San Francisco, Calif., waiting to register for benefits on one of the first days after the office opened in Jan. 1938.These workers will receive dfrom $6 to $15 per week for as long as 16 weeks. Twenty-two states begin paying unemployment compensation as national unemployment reached 10 million, 19% of the workforce. Photo: Lange, Dorothea,/Library of Congress

“Why would an employer judge a worker by the length of his or her unemployment? One argument is that people who haven’t been working aren’t up to date in their skills or contacts. Employers could also question a person’s work habits and overall motivation after a long period of unemployment.

Third – and this is critical – ask yourself: In their shoes, would I have the same concerns about this applicant (me)? It might be difficult to maintain objectivity, because being unemployed tends to change a person. If you are experiencing long-term unemployment, you probably see more shades of gray than you would have previously.

But that’s my point exactly. Job search isn’t about the candidate; it’s about the employer. What do they think, need, want?

I can’t speak for all employers, but here’s my hunch: They don’t hire out of pity. They don’t hire victims. And they don’t hire people who can’t solve their own problems.

Never mind how harsh that sounds; just ask yourself if you think it’s true.

By now, you also should be asking yourself: Do I have any of the marks against me that have appeared so far in this article? Do I look like someone whose skills are out of date or who waited until the unemployment checks ran out before seeking work, who self-identifies as a victim of the economy? Do I look like someone who can’t find a job after an entire year or more of trying?

If you’ve been reading my column a while, you’ll have already guessed where I’m headed. For new readers, I might as well get the shock over with: On the off-chance that some employers feel this way, I’m siding with them. Not entirely, but maybe more than might be considered decent for someone who works as a career counselor.

So again, I have to ask: From the employer’s perspective, do you look like the person described here? If your answer is yes, or even maybe, then there’s only one question left: What are you going to do about it?

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