I tried for over three years to find a decent job in IT after I was laid off. Looking for work, and generally trying to improve my IT knowledge and skills, became my new job. I went back to school to improve my IT skills. I gained several new certifications, picked up many more books and attempted to improve my skills as best I could. Over three years of job fairs, workshops, endless resume rewrites, countless applications, all sorts of professional and personal networking, honing of cover letters, (you name it, and I did it) but nothing worked. In three years I got less than five interviews. I tried everything. Of course, plenty of people had advice for me on how to find a job. Some was good, a lot was bad, and much of it was contradictory.
I blamed myself.
But lately I have seen much evidence to help me understand why it was so hard to find anything in IT. A recent list of the 25 college majors with the highest unemployment rates on Boston.com was quite illuminating. The number one college major for unemployment is information systems at 14.7 percent. Computer science, the major I saw most requested in so many of the IT jobs I applied for, was ranked #14 at 8.7 percent. My own major, history, was tied for #11 at 9.5 percent.
And there is more. I read this story on the NPR website about employers finding ways to not hire American IT people. And I have heard endlessly about how the problem is ALL with American workers: we need retraining; or how American workers – workers – are too greedy and demand too much (an “expert” told me I should cut my expected salary by 20 to 40 percent); or that we’re lazy (despite evidence productivity is actually going up); or that we should expect less and less from employers, like lower pay and less or no benefits like vacation time and such. We, the workers, are at fault, in the minds of a great many American business “experts”. And I think I internalized that for a long time, until I had tortured myself for so long that I was literally making myself sick. I have actually heard these arguments not only in the media and on the Internet but from people I know.
Garbage. Utter garbage.
The economy is doing great, at least for some. Too bad that they have figured out a way to pretty much take it all and not share a whole lot with us lowly peons. I am tired of it all. I am no longer going to be the whipping boy for a poor American economy. I can’t and won’t do it anymore.