Class of 2013: You’re Screwed

A big study released yesterday by the Economic Policy Institute called the “Class of 2013” confirms what you’ve already seen up close: high school and college grads are in serious trouble. Half of all high school grads under 25 are underemployed, while 30% are unemployed; 18% of college grads are not working enough, while 9% are out of work altogether. (Compare that to 5.7% unemployment before the recession started.)

When it comes to Pennsylvania, things are looking a little less bleak. PA’s unemployment rate for the under-25 set stands at 13.4 percent, well below the low-20s numbers you’ll see in the deep South and California. [EPI]

Let’s Make the Unemployed Do Community Service

There was a time when collecting unemployment compensation benefits meant that you had to show up at some dingy government office on a regular basis and convince a pencil pusher behind a desk that you were making some amount of effort to find work. Assuming these meetings went OK, every two weeks, you’d get a check in the mail, which you’d then take to the bank. Then, you’d go to the store and buy groceries. But thanks to the Modern Age, that’s all changed. And not for the better. Read more »

The Internet Isn’t as Powerful As You Think

It’s hard to find statistics on the effectiveness of job search sites. And by hard, I mean they don’t exist. Go ahead: Google it. Ask Google how good is at finding you a place to work. Google will probably ask you if you meant something else. Like, “did you mean you want to work for a monster”?  Read more »

11 Things You Need to Know to Get a Job

My business is part of the unemployment problem in this country. I’ve had 10 people in my company for as long as I can remember. And that’s not going to change anytime soon. That’s because I, like so many other business owners, feel that I can get more work from my existing people … and outsource to make up the difference. But as the economy recovers, I very much hope to hire more people in the next decade or two. Not that you’d want to work for me. I can be unstable, demanding, argumentative, indecisive and frequently insensitive. My jokes are not funny. I’m often inappropriate. By mid-afternoon I begin to smell a little. And those are my strengths.

Still interested? You’re crazy. But OK. Here are 11 things you need to know before I consider hiring you. Read more »

Funemployment Tales: Don’t Have a Job? Volunteer!

Hello, my name is Liz and I’m a workaholic. My friends started young, but I resisted the peer pressure for a really long time. I didn’t take my first job until college, and it was just part-time. But it’s true what they say: Part-time really is a gateway to full-time. By the time I entered grad school, I was working full-time but hiding it from my teachers and schoolmates. “Gotta run,” I’d say. “I have to study.” Little did they know I was going to a corporate office building to don a blazer and supervise a market-research call center. Now that I’m freelancing, I should be glad I’m not compelled to drink weak coffee in a linoleum-floored break room while making chit-chat with people I’d never talk to otherwise. But there is no pink cloud, just pink slips. And I miss the 9-to-5 high. Is it really work if my clothes are so comfortable? Read more »

Funemployment Tales: “Sex for Phillies Tickets” Woman Available for Hire

You might remember Susan Finkelstein as the 43-year-old woman who was arrested for allegedly offering sex for tickets to the Phillies’ World Series game in 2009. The outlines of her story caught the media’s attention thanks to the the Bensalem Police Department, which issued a press release and held a news conference about the “crime” Finkelstein committed: having a flirtatious conversation with a police officer under the amused eye of four of his beer-drinking cop buddies at Manny Brown’s in Neshaminy Mall. As the Daily News‘s Ronnie Polaneczky reported, in the wake of the publicity around her arrest, Finkelstein chose to confront the charges in a brash, outspoken, even humorous way—including a semi-nude photo shoot for Philadelphia magazine. That behavior resulted in her losing her job—and as you might expect in the age of Google, it’s been very hard to find another. Finkelstein, whose conviction for “attempted prostitution,” was overturned this week, wrote to talk about her struggle with funemployment. Read more »

Who Says Congress Doesn’t Work?

There are more than 5,600 bills winding their way through the legislative maze that is the 112th U.S. Congress. And in between the latest efforts to take away American’s civil liberties, give the Border Patrol the authority to trample (literally) all over 36 environmental regulations, and force a 1,700-mile-long oil pipeline down the throats of citizens in six states, it’s possible to find a bill or two that actually does something useful. Here are three. Read more »

Funemployment Tales: What Jobless Benefits Can Freelancers Get?

A couple weeks ago we asked readers to send in their stories of being unemployed—stories on the lighter side. Truth is, though, it’s really hard to be out of work and sometimes dealing with the red tape isn’t that hilarious. That’s how reader Laura L. felt when she was out of work and was offered a freelance position, of which the folks at unemployment disapprove. (They probably disapprove of the morning-after pill too. We’ll call for comment and get back to you.) Like me, Laura had to fill out a questionnaire that asked impossible hypothetical questions bordering on existential. Here’s her story:

I’ll preface this by telling you that I am now employed. Despite that, I still have a hard time finding humor in the runaround that is the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation system. Read more »

Funemployment Tales: Of Beagles, Meaningless Degrees and Midlife Changes

Okay, ladies and gents, we’re back with more stories from the unemployment lines. First an update on my own situation: I have another mystery-employer phone interview tomorrow. An email arrived from an HR company requesting a screening interview, but the job in question wasn’t specified. I suppose it doesn’t much matter; it’s not like I applied to be a dog groomer here and an arson investigator there. They’re all writing and editing jobs, so the skills are the same. I’ll simply answer the questions and be pleasantly surprised when I’m hired as the managing editor of the Hatchechubbee Post in Alabama.

Meanwhile, we’ve got mail. This is from Philly Post reader (and fellow dog-lover) Jim Tosh, who took a buyout from Acme Markets after working there for 30 years. He took a year off to retool his skills, and went back to school as an adult to get an IT certification. He says his subsequent journey was frustrating, but “at least it was funny at times—if you like dark humor.” Here’s the rest of his story: Read more »

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