I ran “job-seeker open threads” regularly for several months as a quixotic, try-anything response to our ongoing jobs crisis.
My thinking was that even the longest of long-shots was worth a try, so why not offer the comment section of this blog as a networking forum for those looking for work? There was a slim chance that someone might post, “I’m a research librarian looking for a job in Dubuque” and someone might respond “My cousin is a head librarian in Dubuque and she’s looking for help, here’s her email.”
But then it didn’t happen. And even though I’d thought of this as like a no-cost lottery ticket — slim odds, but why not? — I eventually came to think that those open threads did have a cost. Losing ticket after losing ticket contributes to the sense that you’re losing, or maybe even that you’re a loser. There’s an emotional toll from every click, every resume sent into the void, every application for a less-than-ideal position, where even applying seems like a compromise, like settling, only to find that you’re not allowed even to settle or to compromise.
So I stopped posting these job-seeker open threads, because a fruitless, head-against-a-brick-wall job search is disheartening enough without periodic reminders from me.
But the jobs crisis is still with us. People need work. The ratio of job-seekers to job openings has improved slightly, but it’s still at 3.3 people for every open position. And the response from Washington is still to focus on budget deficits — ignoring the fact that mass unemployment is a huge contributor to those deficits, and that job growth is the best and fastest way to end them.
So let me ask: Are those job-seeker open threads worth reviving? Is the long-shot chance provided by one more venue for “networking” worth the deflating emotional cost of one more venue for disappointment?
Let me know what you think.