Originally posted on the Tembua website on April 20, 2010.
I saw him enter the room and, from his apparent age, judged him to be mid- to upper-level management. He carried himself with confidence that he could talk to the other networkers knowledgeably. When I introduced myself, I saw that his name tag identified him as a member of our organization, yes, but one who was between jobs. A perfect place for him to be, I thought: 70 or so people from related industries.
As we talked, I learned that he was educated, experienced, and out of work for almost a year. A bit later, as I talked to a young engineer who was making a point of impressing me with his expertise, the older man walked up. I introduced him, saying they both worked in the same field and would probably know the same people. He extended his hand, but before he could even complete a word, the engineer looked down his nose and said, “I don’t have any jobs. Go to our website and register.” He turned on his heel and strode away.
The older man deflated. Very softly, so that only I heard, he said, “If one more person tells me to register on their @#$&* website I’m going to put my fist through his face.” I had no answer, but he looked at me grimly and said, “ I only hope the lunch is worth the $25.”
The stock market is turning up, but the unemployment rate remains close to 10%. Even if you’re not unemployed yourself, you most surely know someone who is. Over the past year, we have received a flood of resumes. Each one represents a person or maybe an entire family struggling to keep it together. Obviously we can’t hire someone for a job we don’t have, but we can be compassionate and answer each with respect. Someday that young engineer may be out of work, too. I hope I’m there when someone tells him to register on the website.