Job seeking in urban and suburban areas of the United States of America is not easy, at least not for many of us. And maybe it’s even harder in the rural U.S., but I have less experience with that. Unemployment or underemployment are burdens not only on the job seekers’ finances but on their sense of self-worth. Even if the job seeker has supportive people in his or her life, the search can feel very lonely, and self-doubt and social pressures only exacerbate that. For the entirely unemployed job seeker, the copious amounts of free time may become a weight rather than a resource. If the unemployment period is long, structure hunger sets in, and some of us don’t know how to reach out and let that hunger be fed. Sometimes a person stands in our way, and sometimes that person is our self. We reach out through job applications, but that process can be mechanized, automated, and cold.
The job application process on one level, especially for the wounded job seeker, is a repeated question asking of “do you want me”? Getting back a rejection is one thing, but getting no response compounds a succession in a serious of blows. The application process can take hours of a job seeker’s time, and a lack of response communicates something along the lines of “no, we don’t want you, and we don’t even feel enough a connection to dignify your application with a response.” Seriously. That’s what it says. We are using technological tools and models of behavior to the abuse of our fellows. Many job seekers are strong and persevere, but why not make it more human? Why not make the job search serve our fellow humans rather than the other way around?