Close to the boiling point

Screaming 1I’m going to scream.

I’ve learned a lot since I decided more than a year ago to make some personal and professional changes. Most of them have been hard lessons, a few were of the more palatable type.

But as I continue to look for the job that will move me forward into a new arena, I’m constantly running into SO MANY others like me. Most of them appear to be around my age, but we’re all looking for a career. Not just a job. If I wanted that, I could likely land any of the service industry jobs that seem to be so plentiful.

Screaming 2That’s what makes me want to scream. About every other week, I read how the economy is so strong, it created tens or hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Maybe so, but do most of them pay a livable wage? Or are they in fields other than technology or engineering or some other field that requires years of specialized education and knowledge, if not hands-on experience?

There are tens or hundreds of thousands of others who seem to be in the same boat I’m floating in as we look for meaningful work. Latest case in point was just this past week. I’ve decided to try to pursue a career that makes use of at least some of my skills to help others in some way. So I applied for a job with the local library system. They’re looking to expand hours at about 10 libraries, thanks to voter approval of a mill levy hike last fall.

While library officials stressed that applicants don’t have to have library experience listed on their application, we were told that AT LEAST 650 applicants had already been screened for only 18 or 19 full- and part-time jobs. 650!!!

Screaming 3.jpgI wanted to scream.

I’ve applied for close to 100 jobs in more than a year and in the handful of interviews I’ve had, as well as email responses I’ve received, all of them said they had at least 100 applicants. But this number blew my mind, along with many of the 200 or so other people who attended this meeting, I’m sure.

If the economy is so good, why have 650 people applied for such a small number of jobs? I have to think most of them are either A) unemployed like me, or B) employed but not making enough to meet their needs or desired lifestyle. Now, these jobs don’t pay a heck of a lot, but the range isn’t too bad. So I’m growing more and more convinced that the economy, at least in my neck of the woods, isn’t nearly as rosy as politicians and bureaucrats want everyone to believe.

In the meantime, housing and rental costs in the metro Denver area are among the highest in the nation. How do people pay rent or a mortgage if they’re all looking for jobs like these? Are they all working 2-3 jobs? That isn’t my idea of the American dream. I doubt many people want to spend their entire lives at work, day and night, on weekends and holidays, and not with family and friends some of the time.

I don’t know what the solution is. It seems the middle class is shrinking, unions are seen as part of “the problem,” whatever that means. Governments hand out millions in corporate tax breaks in exchange for a certain number of jobs, which apparently don’t pay enough for people to survive on or are only suited for a small percentage of the labor force.

It’s very, very frustrating to take the time (most applications take hours of filling out forms, refining resumes to include specific keywords and writing cover letters that sell you to the employer) to apply for a job you think you’d enjoy AND be a very good asset to the company or organization, but find out you’re one of hundreds and hundreds of applicants. I’ve never shied away from competition, but the numbers are overwhelming.

Still, I’ll soon read again how the unemployment rate has dropped even more and the number of new jobs created is up.

I tell you, I want to scream.Screaming_internally

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