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Fixing the Jobless Problem

Recently, I ran into two separate women who both declared

“My husband has been out of work for over two years.”

HELP imageIf you have a spouse, friend, child or anyone you know who is in a similar situation, get them help now!

Each day that goes by becomes a huge dark cloud over them. Not just for their own mental outlook, but also as viewed by potential employers.

This problem is epidemic, it is horrific and it is 100% preventable.

There are thousands of career coaches writing and speaking on how to do job search better.  But my fear is that those who need it most, aren’t getting the information.  Wait, they may hear tidbits of the information, but they don’t know what to do with it or, more likely, they dismiss what they hear as not applicable to their situation.  They reject advice because it didn’t work for them last time they tried it.  The excuses go on and on.

Angry, bitter, depressed.  These people who have been out of work for over two years have deep emotional scars.

How to Fix This?

Yes, I have ideas and I know they won’t be easy, but we’ve got to do something. No one should be out of work who really wants to work.

1. Get them together in the same room

When you are alone and depressed, the farthest thing from your mind is to meet up with others, especially other losers like yourself.  I don’t care.  We’ve got to get the unemployed out of their homes.  This feeds the isolation and depression. Rally them together as a group.

2. Give them a purpose

They lack a feeling of purpose, so let’s provide it.  Every non-profit is crying for help. Volunteers are needed in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and thousands of other places.  Let’s put these opportunities right in front of the unemployed.  Have them pick their poison. Get them involved and interacting with others and give them a purpose.

3.  Teach them how to be like Gumby

Our world is changing and it isn’t going to go back to the way it used to be.  The sooner we can stop craving stability, the better off we’ll all be.  Jobs will come and go- frequently. Let’s prepare them for this by teaching coping skills, financial skills and to be resilient.

4.  Take Healthcare out of the hands of the employer

Affordable healthcare has to be made available to individuals.  It just has to.  Please, let’s create organizations that allow anyone to buy into to affordable healthcare coverage.  We already see Chambers of Commerce doing it.  Why can’t the Department of Labor create a non-profit arm which would allow those who need to buy in to the lower costs of group coverage?

5.  Teach entrepreneurship

The long term solution to the instability might lie in entrepreneurial ventures.  Solopreneurs could potentially replace the unemployed, if they were given the tools to do it right.  There are enough problems to be solved in our country.  We just need people willing to take calculated risks and begin providing solutions by building small businesses.  No, I am not suggesting government loans or stimulus money.  I am suggesting that businesses can be started without a lot of overhead and that starting a business should be made as easy as possible by eliminating some of the barriers that currently exist.  Let’s teach people how to do this now.

6.  Employers, INVEST in potential employees

I get it.  It costs money to train and invest in new employees.  I hear employers crying that they can’t find qualified candidates, but I have a hunch they aren’t really looking.  It is a great excuse and one they are not taking any responsibility to fix.  Fix it and stop complaining already.  There is great talent out there and they just need a bit of training.

WE can do this

There are great programs going on around the country. But let’s not rely on the government to fix this dilemma.  Each one of us can do something to fix this.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • David Zinger October 12, 2011, 8:13 am

    Well said. In Canada we have public health care but we face many of the other challenges when people have been out of work. We could all be a little more Gumby like.

  • Maria October 12, 2011, 9:10 am

    You know what’s REALLY terrible Hannah? The industry that has cropped up made up of people who are making a living, preying on those who are unemployed and desperate. Companies like Career Ladders who charge a hefty fee, authors who publish books with common sense advice, or speakers that claim to have the keys to your employability. The latest that really ticked me off was an offer “Find-A-Job Boot Camp” for $99 dollars, and another group who offers a job search “accountability” group for $198.

    If you want to “genuinely” help people out of unemployment get people connected with real jobs, enough on the “hollow” advice.

    Of all of your proposed fixes, only #6 is a viable – Employers, INVEST in potential employees.

    How about proposing some different solutions – How about a new kind of recruiter who becomes an advocate for the unemployed???

    Your simplistic ideas land almost entirely on the shoulders of those who can least bear one more rejection, one more piece of advice, one more quick fix cure to the big problem. You really need to re-think your proposed fixes.


    Maria Botta

    • Hannah Morgan October 13, 2011, 5:42 am


      Each one of us needs to take responsibility for our actions. I can’t make a company hire someone, but I can help by providing job seekers with ideas on how to survive in a new world.

      You recently wrote about the hope for women entrepreneurs to get us out of this economic rut. I support you and your efforts to encourage entrepreneurial endeavors! Though not everyone is currently well suited for being an entrepreneur, it certainly does put the power and control back into their hands.

      We can only change our our behaviors, we cannot change others. Therefore, the suggestions and ideas I provide are directed at those who are ready, willing and able to take on the challenge of improving themselves.

      Thanks for your feedback on the post.

  • Eric October 12, 2011, 1:24 pm

    Career coaching and helping people find jobs has been around for the past 30-40 years- it has not “cropped up to take advantage of the unemployed and desperate.” Even in good economies people need help with careers and finding jobs after layoffs.
    It is insulting to career coaches to suggest their help is either common sense or not worth being paid for. It is also insulting to suggest career coaches are preying on the unfortunate any more than doctors prey on sick people or dieticians/excercise programs prey on overweight people. How many diet books and weight loss programs are there (and what is the ratio of good to bad?)- unfortunately far more than career management books and programs. I am not saying that there are not poor practioners and bad programs in career management, but no more than any other service profession.
    I can also tell you that I, and many other career practioners, spend a great deal of our time trying to develop innovative and effective programs
    to help people find jobs they love and earn the money they deserve (just as we deserve to earn money for our professional efforts).
    Each of Hanna’s suggestions has good merit. They are not a quick fix and they don’t place people directly into jobs however, they provide good suggestions for various challenges of unemployment.
    I work with clients every day that are struggling with the terrible frustrations and fears associated with unemployment. Job search is a difficult and arduous task. Having support (Hanna’s suggestion #1) is critical to maintaining a positive attitude, being able to continually face rejection, and continue to look for work while being assaulted with how bad the economy is and how inept our politicians are at creating jobs. I, and other career practioners, not only provide good solid job search suggestions and advise, we provide support and caring to our clients to help them endure. A valuable service-wouldn’t you agree?
    By the way- if you would like to learn something new about job search check out http://www.activeinterviewing.com- it is anything but common sense job search advise.

    • Hannah Morgan October 13, 2011, 5:35 am

      Job search is an arduous task and so many people are going about it all wrong. I speak with recruiters and hiring managers every day who are appalled, shocked, disappointed, annoyed, etc by the poor etiquette or inappropriate behaviors of job seekers. If I didn’t hear it directly from them, I wouldn’t believe the stuff they say. This is why I write and speak and want to help. There is a huge void that needs filling here.

      Thank you for speaking up on behalf of career coaches and those of us that are trying to help.

  • VIV October 20, 2011, 10:39 am

    Hi ,

    I have done MBA . After more than 10 years experience , I am now out-of-job for more than a year. Gradually , I am becoming more apprehensive of my plight , more unsure of whether I would land a job. it gets feeling very depressing .please advise what to do .