Are job-seeker open threads worth reviving?

Are job-seeker open threads worth reviving? January 14, 2013

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.”

You never know, it could happen.

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.


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  • Magic_Cracker

    Well, a one-in-a-billion shot is better than zero.

    Anecdote: I’m job seeking now. The only solid lead I’ve gotten is not through want adds, Monster, searches, or temp agencies, but by way of referral, i.e., friend-of-a-friend. Turns out the company is trying to that particular position and all potential positions at the company by way of referral, meaning that they’ll probably never post the position by way of want ads, Monster,, an agency, or some other open-to-all platform.

    I have a feeling this company is not unique in that regard, so it may not hurt for Slacktivites use their networks to help one another.

    That said, I did not participate in the last job-seekers’ open thread series, so I can’t speak to its’ relative strengths and weaknesses or how it could be improved.

  • MaryKaye

    I went to a big kids’ chess tournament once.  Someone misplaced a black pawn, so there were not enough to go around.  The pawn-shaped hole moved from board to board all weekend–a pawn would get captured and someone would snatch it and put it on their own board, but then next game the first board would be missing a pawn and they would snatch someone else’s.

    All you are likely to do by adding yet another job-hunt site is to move the job-shaped hole around.  There are still not enough jobs.

    (Caveat:  I am not currently job-hunting, and if those who are want such a service, they should feel very free to ignore me.)

  • I tend to keep a pretty good relationship with most recruiters, but I’m generally looking for software development exclusive work, so while I’m certain that I could pass along a number of positions that come across my desk in any given day (seriously, I can’t tell you the number of unsolicited emails I get advertising jobs I don’t care about) if you know how to develop software, you’re probably not having a difficult time finding work.

  • As a jobseeker, I would not be averse to making more connections (Customer service in the Twin Cities area is my primary search.)

  • Jessica_R

    I desperately want out of retail hell, so why the frak not? 

  • P J Evans

    Eric,, you need to find a blog that’s better aligned with your thinking.

  • P J Evans

     that’s eric-the-primary-color.

  • Seriously. Eric, there are a lot of misogynistic porny blogs in the world. Go there. I do not choose to participate in your sexual fantasies about being punished by strong women. Shoo.

  • The_L1985

     1. Why on earth would you expect someone to take ANY of your advice when you insult them that crassly?

    2.  Sales is always hiring, but Fred, as a college-educated journalist, is overqualified and thus would probably not be hired.

    3.  Wow, the femmephobia is so blatant in this comment it can be seen from space.  You may want to consider counseling for that, because I’ve never seen anything so crude and hateful in the comments of this site before (and that’s quite the accomplishment, considering some of the other people Fred’s banned here).

  • Rhubarbarian82

    3.  Wow, the femmephobia is so blatant in this comment it can be seen from space.

    Yeah, it’s so bad that it’s almost like he was intentionally trying to get a rise out of someone!

  • Vile as Eric is, I’m more concerned about the people who ‘like’ his comment. At the moment, it’s the most liked comment on this thread. WTH?

    @Rhubarbarian: A sudden stream of hateful slurs on a normally respectful site is like a surprise bucket of icewater to the head. It ruins an otherwise pleasant experience and I’d prefer some warning so I can brace myself, thanks. It’s hard not to react to a surprise bucket of ice water. Blame rightly belongs to the bucket-slinger.

  • The_L1985

    I was being polite and respectful, for me.  If he’d gotten a rise out of me, you’d see a lot more cursing and insults instead of “Maybe you should consider counseling.”

  • Aha! I was like “Uh, Fred’s a pretty good representative of my thinking! :( Why does making me a programmer make me hate Fred?”

    Don’t worry, I’m usually this confused.

  • Sarah Brand

    Maybe, instead of having a new thread every week, there could be one thread that you link back to every week? That way, people don’t have to post more than once, and anyone who’s interested can periodically skim through the comments to see if there are any new posts that are relevant to them. Basically, it seems to me that it would be best to concentrate all the potentially useful information in one thread, but I could be wrong on this point.

    Okay, back to lurking.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    @ c2t2 and The_L1985: Engagement is encouragement. You engage, and then just as we saw with Winston Blake and all the other trolls we’ve attracted recently, the rest of the thread becomes about the troll and their ability to manipulate commenters into giving them attention.

    Seriously, the internet’s been around for a while; we should be familiar with this troll thing by now. Direct complaints towards Fred and/or Patheos for refusing to ban blatant trolls.

  • SisterCoyote

    If anything, what Sarah said seems like the best option. Maybe instead, drop the link somewhere into the weekly-ish salmagundi? That way, you don’t have the frustrating, head-wall feeling of throwing message-bottles into a void, as the job-seeking threads might engender, but the option is still there, and help could still happen.

  • I am quite familiar with the internet.

    Please note that my comment was wondering about the people who “liked” the troll, and my specific reply to you was meant as a gentle reprimand for snarking at people who flinch when hit with metaphorical icewater.

    And if your objective was to stop the troll from derailing the conversation, then perhaps your contribution should not have centered on the troll.  

  • LoneWolf343

    We’re really too widely scattered to be much use to each other vocationally.

  • Kit

    I always liked the job seeker threads, but didn’t find them very useful. If there was only a single thread available through the bar at the top, that might lead to better use from people who don’t check extremely regularly.

    @Scott Jamison: I’m from the Twin Cities, but not there now. My best friend is an amazing customer service person there who’s fully employed but desperate for something with benefits.  She went to high school in Hinckley and was raised Lutheran, so I was amused when I clicked onto your FB. If you’re interested in hooking up on LinkedIn and swapping resources, since I’m betting you’re in very different places in your career, I think you could both benefit at least a little.

  • banancat

     If you click on the ” 2 Likes” that is directly to the right of the “X time ago” (not the actual “Like” button next to “Reply”), you can see who liked the comment.  And it’s 2 guests.  So I’m assuming Eric the Red logged out and liked his own comment on both his computer and his phone.

  • Never know. Someone willing to move would probably get some  hits.

  • I’m job hunting, soliciting manuscripts for a fledging publishing company and looking for freelance writing and editing jobs. I would be more than willing to post on open threads.

  • Eminnith

    In the comments to a French Revolution (anti-gay blog on Patheos’ evangelical channel) entry from June 2012, Eric the Red said:

    “Enjoy being ostracized from polite society, bigots. Pretty soon you’ll be sitting in caves banging rock together, which is just where you troglodytes belong.”

    People, it has no opinions of its own. It’s just trolling.

  • JoshuaS

     But is he wrong?

  • JoshuaS

     Wait, never mind, just saw his earlier post. Yikes!

  • Cosmicdancer

    The problem with “going into sales” anyway is that in order to sell stuff, people must have money to buy things (anything really).   The more people don’t have jobs,  the more people can’t  buy things.  As customers dry up,  businesses fail, and it creeps up the business food chain.    That’s why even extremely poor people who can only shop at gas stations and dollar stores are still important consumers,   because they’re out there buying things,  which is why  throwing money at  the unemployed/underemployed is not such a waste after all because at least they can be customers at shops in their community.   I mean, a lot of people forget that, but I bet dollar store  owners never do.    

     But if  there aren’t enough people to buy things,  then what’s the point of going into “sales”?  Are all the salesmen just going to go around trying to sell to each other like a bunch of robots stuck on endless repeat?

    There’s a job-shaped hole in all of us

    And most of us are  searching

    There’s a job-shaped hole in all of us

    And we really need to pay our bills

  • Lori

    What Eric needs is to develop thinking that’s better aligned with interacting with decent, intelligent human beings.

  • LoneWolf343

     Oh, people are willing, but are they able?

  • Derek Stouffer

    [url=]Beat your friends to a job[/b]

  • PollyAmory

    And you think your post was conducive of that goal?