Both have graduate degrees, multiple skills, commendable work records and zero job search success despite diligently scouring every source available during the past two years.
Oh, another important factor in the equation of my friends' exile from employment ranks. Both friends are over fifty, a seeming Bestial Mark during this era when brazen age discrimination trumps traditional discrimination based on race, gender and disability.
Amplifying the anguish my friends harbor already from feeling their joblessness is somehow their fault are increasing reports that employers are refusing to hire unemployed people, citing their jobless status as evidence of their worthlessness as employees.
One friend's downsizing had nothing to do with poor performance and that friend avoided layoff "rust' by returning to college taking training for additional skills.
This friend's layoff came just days after winning yet another company award for record sales. While laid-off and looking for a work this friend obtained two advanced certifications each inclusive of expanding proficiencies in new technologies.
My friends, like millions similarly situated across America are the collateral damage of this devastating economic depression so craftily mischaracterized as a recession by politicians and media pundits. My friends see some pundits as enabling unwilling politicians intent on doing nothing to realistically confront the nation's economic problems.
My friends talk sadly about the mental depression, embarrassment, helplessness and isolation they endure being unemployed"all major life-wrenching realities that receive little attention from "thought leaders.' There is too little leadership looking for creative approaches to deal with this soul-crushing economic malaise.
One friend compiled a list of the ugly antics encountered while trying to reenter the working world.
That list includes things like: online job boards that require users to upgrade from free resume distribution to paid categories for "better results" that still don't pay off; paid sites that post job listings that are months old; recruiters who normally get paid by the companies when they find suitable candidates who are now doing free webinars to solicit coaching fees from unemployed workers trying to get hired, and job fairs where most vendors tell eager applicants they are not hiring but will provide the company website to search for jobs that may be posted in the future.
"You join networking groups to widen contacts. Many of these groups promise that if you attend their events you can meet with companies that are hiring. But few firms show up at these events and none have jobs available," lamented one friend.
Media talking-heads will repeatedly hype data showing fewer people receiving unemployment benefits as a recession-easing sign, ignoring the reality that fewer recipients is really a sign of more people losing benefits because they're maxed-out eligibility"not because they've found jobs.
And one of the most egregious lies confronting the jobless is the official unemployment rate, a farce that vastly undercounts real levels of joblessness because that rate only includes persons looking for jobs, not those who've stop looking because the effort is pointless, or those who never utilized official sources like state unemployment agencies another farcical endeavor filled with regimes of filling out forms with no real results.