Thursday, July 14th, 2011
100

"My family is eating stir-fried dandelions out of yards to keep from starving."

What are we to do about the disgusting plan to keep America's unemployment high? Since we're not marching on Washington, the right and the left aren't unifying on this issue on which we both agree and basically no one in the business world cares in the slightest, all we can do is create a few jobs ourselves and also keep putting out there what's really happening, which Yahoo!'s The Lookout is doing admirably. They've created a Tumblr where people tell their stories—lots of people. They got thousands of letters when they asked people to tell them what's really going on. You could just start here at the imposing wall of stories, or maybe you'd like to start with this one and page back.

100 Comments / Post A Comment

Ugh. As a long-term unemployed (since 2008), I couldn't stomach that Wall of Stories. Too much, too close to home. Rather than offering solidarity and commiseration—to say nothing of inspiration or encouragement—it just took the wind out of me.

sox (#652)

I have thus far only read the headline, but actually dandelions that have not been treated with adverse chemicals actually provide greens found in any average bagged salad mix and the roots are super great for your liver (BALK)when made into a tea.

Also, since you're probably paying to water that lawn, you could eek out some space to replace the grass with edible plants, saving money and improving your health. Just sayin'…

sox (#652)

@sox Actually.

InfoMofo (#505)

@sox I had the same reaction. I am paying an upstate farm something like 25 bucks a week to deliver me dandelion greens among other things…

Moff (#28)

The dude who wrote the "start with this one" post linked to is right: Start your own business. People with money seem more inclined to give you some of it if they don't have to (1) put you on a health-care plan and (2) do a bunch of other paperwork for you. And you can bill them more than you'd make per hour as an employee!

@Moff Also, people will still judge you for being unemployed even in this economy. If you start your own business, you can list that on your resume.

mrschem (#1,757)

@Moff truth.also, this is how i learned what 'operating at a loss' meant.

cherrispryte (#444)

I just can't.

I'm fortunate enough to have been steadily employed for 6 years, BUT haven't received a raise in 3, and a year ago my hours were cut back. I'm still technically full-time so I can't collect partial unemployment, but I live alone and am having a very hard time making ends meet. The unemployment numbers don't reflect the plights of people like me. The problem is far worse than the statistics suggest.

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

No offense, but that dude kind of looks like a bum. Maybe he could go to the gym and eat less now that he doesn't have a job.

Real sad story that he is out of work. But if he has only gotten one call back in a year he is doing something seriously wrong:

(1) Not actually qualified. 1% callbacks means employers probably don't like what they're seeing on his resume.

(2) Not trying hard enough. 100 applications in a year boils down to less than two applications a week. No one gets jobs by sitting on their thumbs all day. Dude should be figuring out how to make his resume stand out, following up on every application he sends out, asking employers what he should do to look less like a bum and working on getting new skills.

(3) Thinking inside the box. Maybe the employers are wrong and he should be hired. If that's the case than he should have the skills needed to identify an area of potential profit and start a business to take advantage of it. In school right now but I plan to start my own business eventually. That's what every generation in my family has done going back to 1850 when they fled here from German anti-Semites. Interest rates are historically low and he doesn't have anything to lose.

Bettytron (#575)

@Daniel.CLS Brilliant satire.

@Daniel.CLS No offense man, but you might want to reread that with this question in mind: "Did I mean to sound like such an asshole?"

Let's have this conversation again, maybe, once you're out of school.

Moff (#28)

@Daniel.CLS: Thank goodness for the internet! It's so much easier to give asshole advice to people you don't know based on an 800-word blog post and a single picture than it was 20 years ago!

That unemployed guy should join one of those free gyms!

Moff (#28)

@ontologicalpuppy: Jesus Christ. I missed "in school right now." Oh, well. We were all 20 once.

cherrispryte (#444)

@Daniel.CLS I assume the school you're in right now is high school? Your post shows you know absolutely nothing of how the world actually works.

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@Bettytron Cool story. But seriously, this dude and apparently hundreds like him have decided to post pics and articles about how much they suck at getting a job. Might as well include "blames others," "wallows in failure" and "self-obsessed" under the skills section of his resume.

Moff (#28)

@Daniel.CLS: How many jobs have you had? Full-time, long-term (not seasonal) jobs, I mean?

I had a whole three paragraphs about the hilariously fallacious assumptions contained in the "Interest rates are historically low …" bit of the original comment, but I'm just going to go with "you're an idiot."

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@Gef the Talking Mongoose Cool story guys. Did mean to sound like an asshole. Really annoys me when white educated men complain about their lot in life.

Worked every year for at least the summer starting in 10th grade. Got hired by a private equity firm before I graduated college. Worked there for three years and got three raises, 6 bonuses and two promotions. Now in law school. Never had to go through this unemployment game because I worked hard, got into an ivy league school and spent time working on my appearance and people skills.

I know other people spent more time doing other stuff. Probably not as qualified as me. They have to work harder in the job search. Known lots of unemployed friends that went through the same jobs market as him.

Free gym? The YMCA is like 10$/month and the track at your local high school is free. Come on.

cherrispryte (#444)

@Daniel.CLS You like Ayn Rand, don't you.

roboloki (#1,724)

@Daniel.CLS would your planned business involve stomping puppies or drowning kittens?

@Daniel.CLS Where do you live where the gyms are free and they hand out money?!?!

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@cherrispryte No. There is a big difference between Rands' objectivism -and- saying educated white American men(the most structually advantaged class in the world) need to stop complainig about being one of the bottom 9.2% of workers.

He also looks like a bum.

Bettytron (#575)

@Daniel.CLS Patrick Bateman?

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@winchesterwolcott Already talked about this above. In New York City the YMCA gym can be free for any student or unemployed person. Lots of public parks, tracks and courts.

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@Bettytron If only.

@Daniel.CLS Hmm. They don't let you enter local schools in my area for security reasons and the Y is definitely not $10/mo.

Moff (#28)

@Daniel.CLS: When you keep deleting your posts*, it makes it very difficult for us to speculate on the odds of a Jewish Ivy League graduate currently in law school not having had some kind of leg up on, you know, a lot of other white guys out there, even before you were born!

But anyway, I won't do that. I'll just reiterate: What you know about this guy is based on 800 words and a picture. There are people — even college-educated white men! — in dire circumstances as a result of things that really are largely out of their control. The guy in question may not be one of them! But he may, and you don't know, and anyway, believe me, the WHO recently reported that worldwide rates of Unnecessary Assholery are rising just fine without your contributions.

Also, I live in the inexpensive Midwest, and it's $45 a month to join the Y here. Get some clues.

*It was gone last time I reloaded!

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@winchesterwolcott Thinking getting inshape is impossible for unemployed people almost certainly correlates with not being able to get a job.

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@Moff Yeah, duh. My privelege is inseperable from my economic success. I get that.

My problem is not that he is unemployed. It's that he decided that he should post a pic of himself with a story about how hard his life is on Yahoo! and the Awl.

"Might as well include "blames others," "wallows in failure" and "self-obsessed" under the skills section of his resume."

@Daniel.CLS

May your demonstrable "people skills" take you far. You've definitely got that covered.

I like how you seem to think this actually boils down to whether or not this guy goes to a gym. As if structural unemployment could be solved by Obama giving out free Crunch memberships.

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@ontologicalpuppy Nah, I briefly mentioned it. The gym bit is what all of you are foucsing on. Including the bum, check the quotation above his picture.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Daniel.CLS You may not be aware school boy, but there is a serious recession out here in the real world. Therefore: by definition, it's not their fault. I'm pretty sure there is even something in the text books about it.

Moff (#28)

@Daniel.CLS: You understand that he neither decided to post this on the Awl nor chose the pull quote for the Tumblr, right?

Not to mention the whole thing where a news site actually asked people to share their stories, and there are numerous valid reasons (personal and therapeutic, and social and journalistic) for these people to do so? You are so smart and capable that you're not actually that clueless about the mechanics of this thing, right?

IBentMyWookie (#133)

@Daniel.CLS I really, really hate you a lot. Except…maybe you're not real? I mean, you can't be.

Moff (#28)

@Daniel.CLS: Also, I believe we're focusing on the whole gym thing because your suggestion that homeboy join one kind of sums up our whole concern that maybe you don't know what the fuck you're talking about in a nutshell.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

I'm reminded of a Simone Weil quote. "For the sense of human misery is a pre-condition of justice and love. He who does not realize to what extent shifting fortune and necessity hold in subjection every human spirit, cannot regard as fellow-creatures nor love as he loves himself those whom chance separated from him by an abyss."

I'm glad things are going well for our friend Daniel.CLS, but when I read "Never had to go through this unemployment game because I worked hard, got into an ivy league school and spent time working on my appearance and people skills," I get the sense that we're dealing with someone who doesn't get that there are plenty of hard-working, honest, in-shape people just like himself who were unfortunate enough to be put on the chopping block.

@Niko Bellic Isn't "Now in law school" kind of the dead giveaway? Explains how Danny Bootstraps got "callow dipshit," "blames individuals for macroeconomic policy failures," and "pompously holds forth on things he knows nothing about" in his skillset.

@IBentMyWookie It's not real.

cherrispryte (#444)

@Daniel.CLS You worked for a private equity firm? So you're claiming partial responsiblity for the recession, right?

Also, good luck getting a job if/when you finish law school.
Because if there's one field that's absolutely overflowing in new talent with nowhere to go, its the legal system.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Moff Nah, man. Fuck the gym thing. If I had to choose my favorite, it'd be how according to his theory of survival, if there was only one job left for fifty million workers, all of them should just do their best to "make their resume stand out", and in the end there will be one person who did it right, while the rest of them will only have themselves to blame.

I mean, that's how it works in football right? At the end of the season, if you are not the champ you have only yourself to blame. And who can argue with the success of the NFL? Amirite?

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@Moff and others-

9.2% unemployment sucks and hurts lots of people. Obviously, there is room for the government, business and society to make changes to reduce that rate.

Maybe it's important politically for people to publish stories about how hard unemployment is. But it's my impression that everyone already gets that. Or at least, these stories are not going to change anyone's mind.

As far as how tumblr and The Awl works. Sorry for playing along and responding to your blog's question: Would you hire him?

Still got to say – probably not. 99% of employers tossed his resume in the trash without calling him. He lacks the initiative or people skills required to follow up and get them to take a second look. He isn't looking in other fields. He only sends out two resumes a week knowing there is a 99% chance he won't even get a call back. He is fat and ugly.

Most important, he thinks that his bad feelings about being unemployed should be therapeutically dealt with by complaining about how hard his lot is in a public forum. That's classic self-obsessed and lazy behavior. Especially for a white man with degrees.

Moff (#28)

@Niko Bellic: Oh, that is a good one. I also like how sharing your unemployment story after being asked to do so is "self-obsessed"; but being certain you understand a total stranger's situation well enough to explain what he's doing wrong is apparently, like, not that at all.

@Moff : Actually, the tipoff could equally have been the use of "interest rates are historically low" as a reason why starting a business should be super easy right now. As if low interest rates == banks lending every spare dollar to startups and untested small businesses. You know, because banks are totally doing that right now.

gimlet (#10,400)

@Daniel.CLS Okay, even disregarding the part where you're being a dick … did you not read the part where this guy has a full-time job now?

I mean, fucking SERIOUSLY, dude. I'm in awe of your obliviousness.

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@Niko Bellic Yeah, because there are 50 million Americans competing for one job right now. Good point.

@Riff Randell : I guess he started going to the gym? I mean, I wouldn't hire anyone whose lats weren't quarter-bounceable.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Meanwhile, Daniel.CLS is in this thread calling Coach Taylor an asshole.

gimlet (#10,400)

@boyofdestiny OH NOW IT'S ON.

Moff (#28)

@Daniel.CLS: Dude, we could go on, but you really are either a troll, or it's just too bad. Good luck!

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@Riff Randell Strong point. Looks like this guy is not a total bum.

Still seems like he's saying the same thing as me:

"My tips to other 
people are to take a long, hard look at what you’ve been doing and if
 it is in a declining career path, study what careers are up and coming
 and do what you can to retrain into them."

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Daniel.CLS Aha. And how many Americans are competing for how many jobs right now? And how do we call that state of the economy? And what would be the possible solutions for that? Yep. You didn't even crack open that text book, right?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Moff Here is what it is: people like him lack the ability to comprehend or relate to other people's problems or pains. To them, if something bad happens to anyone, it's their own damn fault. That's how they bail themselves out of the responsibility to feel for or help to others.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@Daniel.CLS: He's not saying the same thing as you.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@Niko Bellic: You'll admit, it's a good way for him to stay clear of finaglers. Other than himself, I mean.

Or maybe it's Barea?

Moff (#28)

@Niko Bellic: He should use drinking instead! Like the rest of us!

Also, what's the deal with this?

Sorry for playing along and responding to your blog's question: Would you hire him?

Where does it say that? Where is that even implied as the takeaway? I will tell you what: I am never hiring this guy as my lawyer! He is terrible at reading and things! He is pretty bad at arguing, too!

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@Niko Bellic Dude, last post before I bail. You don't know anything about my politics, intellectual interests or emotional maturity. I only say this because you are missing the boat.

Like I said before: I feel bad for the dude. There is a lot of stuff the government, business and society could be doing differently to make it easier for more people to work.

But that has little to do with what individuals should be doing to increase their chances of getting hired. Being fat, whining about unemployment online and artificially limiting employment options is counter productive.

Being more agressive, applying to more jobs, getting in shape and learning new skills is productive.

Moff (#28)

I mean, I just think you should get three main things out of law school: how to read, how to argue, and how to drink. We're looking at zero for three here! That's all I'm saying.

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@Moff Hover your pointer over the image at the top of the article. The question is in all caps and showed up in my RSS feed.

@IBentMyWookie He can't be real because law schools don't generally accept "Ivy League" graduates who can't spell "privilege" or "inseparable."

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Moff Would you hire him? is hilarious! No need to even see his resume or interview him. Just write him off without ever giving him a chance. Should make for a another great Tumblr post for him, ha!

Moff (#28)

@Daniel.CLS: They won't let you bail when you are losing in court! The word means something different there! There is still time for you to sue your law school! Godspeed!

Moff (#28)

@Niko Bellic: Oh, God. I don't have the time to explain <TITLE> tags to him. Oh, God, oh, God.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Daniel.CLS But that has little to do with what individuals should be doing to increase their chances of getting hired. Being fat, whining about unemployment online and artificially limiting employment options is counter productive. Being more agressive, applying to more jobs, getting in shape and learning new skills is productive.

Uh… OK, I'm going to have to agree with those who said you have got to be kidding. This is just too funny.

@boyofdestiny Heh. I guess now it's "performance art"?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Moff Ha, ha! Oh, pity those who come to The Awl based on it's "title" image attributes! This revelation explains so much! I always wondered where do some of these people come from?

Moff (#28)

@Niko Bellic: I thought it was just Facebook, but I guess not!

@Niko Bellic

This is key. And the corollary is that as somebody who has had bad shit happen to him, it is compounded all the more by the existence of idiotic pricks telling me—despite my strong education, my sincere efforts to fix the situation, and yes, an acceptable "personal appearance"—that there is something fucked-up with myself that has brought all of this on me.

(I don't exactly look like a bum. Really more of a waifish gay street urchin).

Speaking, again, as a long-term unemployed person, who in two years has dealt with:
-Having been told three times after multiple interviews that I am overqualified for jobs that I was nevertheless desperate to take.
-Having had to contend with recurrent major depression, which is quite a different thing from "wallowing in failure"
-Having had to wait to treat said serious psychiatric complaint until my unemployment benefits ran out, because, in a bit of NY State bureaucratic idiocy, receiving my level of unemployment benefits actually disqualified me from receiving state insurance. By a margin of under $100.
-Having had to deal with the stresses of having no income, viz. debt collectors, housing arrangements, food, etc. etc.
And on top of that, all the regular incidental drama of life
-Having to deal with aging parents and family illness, a very close friend dying in an accident, relationships ending, etc. etc. Thank god I don't have kids.

So no. The point is not that this is a sob story. It really isn't. Throughout all of this, I had to fight hard to conquer the notion and stop internalizing the callow blame-the-victim tendency, here present in DanielCLS and in so many others, that I had somehow screwed my life up royally. I haven't. The recession is hardly my fault. I'm doing the best I can do, and my prospects are improving.

But I get animated when some shit-ass 22-year-old law student dispenses bullshit boostrapping nostrums and idiotic advice. I feel bad for how unprepared he will be to deal with his own misfortune when it eventually strikes.

saythatscool (#101)

@all: so good.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@ontologicalpuppy Maybe I should mention how some seventeen years ago I was sitting unemployed, uneducated, with no connections, with most of my family and relatives broke, and in a country doomed to war and visa bans only to somehow have everything I wanted eventually come true (such as living it up here at the top very of the world – in Williamsburg!). If anyone should lecture others on how you can do absolutely anything, no matter the circumstances, if you just do so-and-so, it should be me dammit. See, that could be the part that pisses me off the most: get off that fucking box, it's mine and it's left empty for good reasons!

MollyculeTheory (#4,519)

@Daniel.CLS Have to say, must've missed Ivy League class on eschewing pronouns. Guess am going to die poor and alone ):

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@ everyone reacting @ Daniel.CLS: Thank you for being you and not like Daniel.CLS (I edited out my name calling using the letters CLS make your own)

C_Webb (#855)

@whizzard: And all this time I'd been thinking NewtoJezebel was going to die alone.

@C_Webb NTJ's way too good for 'im.

MichelleDean (#7,041)

This tumblr was all well and good until the one where the person mentioned they were "natural born Americans" and then I could not read any further.

zidaane (#373)

@MichelleDean Taking back our unemployment.

Matt (#26)

Damn, this kartoffelsalat is tasty.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

it's an old Creole Jass standard.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

I can't wait for the next opportunity to vote against my own interests… or better yet, not vote at all.

deepomega (#1,720)

Is there room for being sad about unemployment and also being unimpressed by 100 job applications in a year?

zidaane (#373)

@deepomega Are you dating my ex?

deepomega (#1,720)

@zidaane I am your ex.

(Mostly I am doing the math and that is two job applications per week, which… unemployment is a job! A really shitty, depressing job, like restocking supply cabinets in a morgue, but still a job that takes work.)

@deepomega Note to Daniel.CLS: That is how you do that.

zidaane (#373)

In practical terms- if you were just laid off after working in something very specific for many years you would not want to start off flooding your resume around. You would want to slowly get your resume up to speed (as well as your cover letter) and when you've had some responses indicating your resume is OK and get an interview or two (on jobs you may not take), then go after what you think are the most promising opportunities. It's not really a volume thing. Once you've seen everything in your area and have followed up on all of those in a measured way it could definitely be under 100 in a year. You only get one shot at these things and a quantity attitude is the opposite of what you should do.

I'm not directing that at anyone other than the number 100 which is not ideal for all situations.

handsprung (#241)

@Daniel.CLS: Sorry, I'm still stuck on the fact that you said "thinking inside the box" is "doing something seriously wrong" with no trace of irony.

melis (#1,854)

Think outside of the box. Work smarter, not harder. Plan your work and work your plan. Believe it and achieve it. Take a leadership role. Find the win/win situation. Failure is not an option. Paradigm Shift 2.0.

zidaane (#373)

A Q&A with Daniel. CLS author of "Overcoming Your Birth Defects".

C_Webb (#855)

@zidaane Maybe unemployed people can get low-interest loans to join gyms.

Being unemployed is not a job. The only "work" you have to while you're unemployed is not blowing your brains out, which after six months is pretty hard.

@Raymond Malloy@twitter Unless you actually want to find a new job? In which case, yes. Work.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

I'm all Awled-out for a while after this one, in a good way. Awlgasm.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

I mean, not in a great way, unemployment is a downer…I JUST AGREE WITH EVERYONE (except D.CLS of course).

SeanP (#4,058)

Hey, but at least our upstanding elected representatives are focusing on what's important: cutting the deficit. And not with any wimpy tax increases either.

Someone please shoot me.

Moff (#28)

@SeanP: I can't afford bullets!

But I can throw these dandelions at you real hard if you want.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

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