You know the sensation: It’s that sinking feeling you get when your supervisor asks you to step into his office. The feeling gets worse when he motions you to sit down, and is intensified when he says, “But first, why don’t you go ahead and close the door?”
The phrase, “What did I do?” might come to most people in that scenario. You might volunteer things your employer hasn’t even considered. Remember that commercial in which an angry woman confronts her husband in the kitchen to tell him he drank the last of the milk? Before she can tell him, he blurts out a series of damning questions. “I swear, I didn’t know she was your sister. Who told you your ring was a Cubic Zirconia? … Is this about my time in prison?”
The one question most of us probably won’t ask is, “Oh, did you see my resumé online?”
Yet that is exactly what happened to a friend of mine. A capable, motivated employee, he found himself stuck in a job with limited opportunity for advancement. Not sure what his options might be, he posted his resumé online. Not long after that, he was asked to step into his supervisor’s office. Somebody upstream of him had noticed the posting.
While everyone involved was reasonably understanding in my friend’s case, many employers are not so tolerant of what they construe as an employee’s roving eye. People have been fired simply for posting a resumé online – something most Americans would (and should) consider their right as free individuals who voluntarily seek and accept employment.
The resumé game cuts both ways. Another friend, at a previous job, was alarmed to see her official job description printed word for word in a popular employment-listings website. Only the company’s name had been removed; to respond to the ad required the applicant to email his or her resumé to an “anonymized” address. When she confronted her supervisor about this matter, she was given the lamest of non-answers. “We … don’t know how that happened,” she was told.
She left the company for a better job, before our mutual employer could replace and terminate her. It was the worst handling of such a situation I’ve yet seen on the job and was directly traceable to lazy human-resources personnel who could not be bothered to rewrite the job description used to post the job opening. My former coworker at least had the option of taking another job, which – apart from simply being unemployed – was the only option in such an untenable situation. How did she find her new job? Online, of course, after uploading her resumé to what was probably the very same website.
Many of us post our resumés online and leave our job searches in place even after we find work. It is our right to know what we are worth, to track those opportunities that might become available and even to renegotiate periodically our salaries and benefits if we receive a better offer. There was a time when employers would consider matching such offers in an attempt to retain qualified personnel.
That was then. This is Obama’s now.
Our “jobless recovery” has exerted on those who remain employed – or who have lost jobs and found new ones – a tremendous amount of pressure. Companies are paralyzed with fear and indecision thanks to the climate of economic uncertainty that is directly traceable to Glorious Leader Obama’s job-killing, tax-and-punish policies. Obama’s handling of the economy has been so bad, in fact, that talking heads on radio and television now debate, with straight faces, whether Obama is deliberately trying to crash the economy to fulfill some nefarious, collectivist goal of social justice. He might not be doing that on purpose, those pundits allow; he might simply be incompetent, arrogant and stupid.
The average employee doesn’t care about this, nor should he. The average employee cares only about doing his job and keeping his job. Therein is the problem. Squeezed by terrible economic times, no matter how both sides of the political aisle try to talk the situation up or down, employers have been forced to cut workforce. Once euphemistically referred to as “right-sizing,” this contraction is driven by employers’ fears that expansion is unsustainable. The employees who remain are forced to do more and, in fear of losing their jobs, do so without complaint. What’s worse, even for those whose work situations may be miserable, there are few alternatives.
With real unemployment rates arguably above the already staggering 9 to 10 percent estimated by our government, most of us who have jobs are grateful simply to be collecting paychecks. If you don’t like your job, where are you going to go? If you’ve posted your resumé online and, by some fluke, you’ve received an interview and subsequent job offer, do you think your employer is likely to match the offer to keep you? Or will your company simply take the opportunity to further cut costs by watching you leave … and asking your former coworkers to absorb your responsibilities?
I am fortunate to have a job that I love, working with people I respect. Many Americans are not so lucky, nor do they have any prospects for improving their circumstances. Technology can help them find job opportunities that the old “pound the pavement” model of job hunting doesn’t afford. The job-seeker today can do almost everything he or she must do through the Internet. Email, Internet job boards, online applications, phone and even video-chat pre-screening … these, combined with electronic filing for and direct deposit of unemployment benefits, make almost every aspect of losing your job (and finding a new one) painless and discreet.
None of this helps, however, if there are no jobs for the seeker to find. A poverty of choice in a static economy is only that – poverty. One wonders why more Americans do not put the blame for this Sargasso Sea of economic malaise squarely on Obama’s spindly shoulders, where it now belongs.