Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Making a move, for better or worse

In the movie “Manhattan,” there’s a scene where Isaac (played by Woody Allen) simply has had enough.

A writer for a TV show called “Human Beings: Wow,” he explodes in the control room as an interview is filmed with a couple, one of whom is a catatonic woman. Isaac, who apparently wrote the scene, grows frustrated and declares that he’s had enough and he’s quitting.

In the next scene, he’s in a bookstore with his best friend Yale, and he declares that he made a terrible mistake. For a minute, he says, he was a hero — but now it all leads to unemployment.

At the end of February, I will leave my job at The Bradenton Times. Maybe it’s the worst move I’ve ever made – and snotty comments from a certain person will be deleted – but it’s one that had to be made.

The site is a legitimate news operation, but I want to finish my teacher certification. In the meantime, I’m back in the vortex of plowing through job postings that may or may not be real and applying for positions.

The harsh reality is that I’m at the wrong age to be looking for work in this economy. Employers are looking for youth, and at 49 that’s long gone for me. Sure, there’s experience and insight and responsibility and work ethic, but hiring a 49er brings the knowledge that he or she will expect a certain level of pay, health insurance and then there’s always the possibility that something better might come along and off goes the 49er to greener pastures.

I could end up moving in with my brother or moving out of state for a job and abandoning my house if I don’t find a job soon. That puts me in good company, but I can kiss my up-to-now outstanding credit score goodbye. But many of us in this economy have seen our lives blasted to smithereens; I feel fortunate that as a single man with no kids the damage is limited to me.

It’s not like I’m sitting still, though. I am leaving the job to devote more time and effort to teacher certification, and have begun applying to the Manatee County School District for a job as a substitute teacher.

One issue I have had for a time is that this may be the recession that destroys the reputations of the big-two job search sites. Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com seem to be more focused on selling ads to “career colleges” and allowing MLMs to post fake jobs than really connecting people with employment. True, this could be the rant of someone who has had no success in finding employment, but plowing through Monster’s listings turns up operations with similarly-worded ads pitching sales jobs.

Don’t be fooled, people. They are MLMs. No employer is going to hire you out of community college and pay you $60,000 a year plus benefits. There’s one outfit that’s pitching jobs at the community college where I’m taking alternative teacher certification, and it’s an MLM. Nothing is guaranteed, save that you’ll end up working for free.

I joked with a friend the other day that I had an intense desire to show up at a job fair with a baseball bat and “mark” every table that was pitching an MLM or “training.” I’d have a ruined baseball bat, that’s for sure. The one thing people know is that the unemployed and economically dislocated still have a few bucks left, and separating them from that cash is their goal. I have to admit they’re doing a good job of it.

Now is not the time to be all wide-eyed and trusting. Now is the time to really parse job ads and see what’s being offered. Even then, remember that employers can lie through their teeth about what a job entails. I still burn over how I went to a job interview at a bowling alley. What lured me to apply was the prospect of a 40-hour week, pay and benefits.

Well, in the interview, I was told that the week could be as little as eight hours, the pay was $8.50 an hour, and there were no benefits. As for the ad, well, that was just to attract better-quality applicants.

My nightmare is this: I get “hired” for a job that I think is one thing (work for pay) and then when I show up on the first day I’m taken to a desk where there’s a phone, a headset, a computer and a script, and I’m told to start selling steak knives or timeshares or whatever. And when I ask what happened to the job I applied and interviewed for, I’m told that things changed.

That may be the new reality, but I won’t accept it.

So maybe I’ve lost my marbles, but that’s the course I’ve chosen.

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February 13, 2010 - Posted by | Living in the modern age, The jobless chronicles | , , , , ,

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