Am I now screwed?

I’ll be very honest here:  car sales so far has not been the answer to pulling out of the effects of being unemployed for almost a year.  If you’re on a base, hourly wage plus commission basis, as I’ve been … well, let’s just say that at some auto dealerships, even when you sell a brand new $28,000 vehicle with less than 10 miles on the odometer (like I did the very first day that I was “set loose” to try and sell), the gross because of the low markup can be so low that it’s shocking, and the sales rep can get the short end of the stick.

So, I’m still searching nationwide for a computer programming job that more closely fits my training and experience, one that could go much farther toward helping us get back on our feet.

Employment Exhibition
Employment Exhibition (Photo credit: Modern_Language_Center)

With that in mind, I can tell you that I went through a targeted, nationwide job search today that included going through a major national technical recruiting firm.  I found a job in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that was a damn near perfect fit for my skills.  Most times, these online job searches result in little more than submitting an online application and hoping that a tech recruiter responds.  That happened with me just yesterday on another job in North Carolina, getting a response about two hours after I applied online.

The job in Cedar Rapids was different.  It actually gave a phone number and a name to contact the tech recruiter, and I gave him a call to see if the job was still open.

Strike one against me was the fact that I live quite a distance away from Iowa, and the company looking for a programmer/analyst is looking for local people.

Strike two was a bit of a shocker to me.  The question was asked if I was currently employed as a programmer.  I had to answer that I was not.

The recruiter then informed me that the employer was specifically NOT looking at anyone who is not currently working in the field.  Only programmers currently working as programmers need apply.

The recruiter continued:  “The employer wants people whose skills are sharp.”  Now, unless I’m mistaken, there haven’t been huge changes in the past year when it comes to writing mainframe computer code, and there’s really only one way to spell “JCL” — that’s some mainframe programmer’s humor.

He also went on to say that the employer for this particular job was in no hurry to fill the open position, and they were just waiting for the right currently employed person before hiring.

It felt like I’d just been kicked in a very bad place.

Is this a new thing?  No, it’s been going on longer than I’ve been unemployed.  Even in the time I’d be making the hour-long commute to my last programming job, I’d started hearing about the long-term unemployed being denied so much as a small chance at finding jobs by some employers who’d go so far as to blatantly advertise “unemployed people need not apply” in job listings.

Is it fair?  Many people would answer “No.”  Is it legal?  At this point, yeah, it is.

It sucks.  And I’m feeling screwed.


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