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Advice to the Unemployed

by sd Sunday, Jun. 08, 2008 at 6:53 PM

Advice to the counter-corporatists.

I've seen an increasing number of articles in major newspapers, as of late, about searching for jobs, the mistakes you can make in a job search, and advice about why you should not do anything that might hurt your ability to find a job, such as writing about your beliefs online or burning bridges. Looking at those lists, I can say that I've done quite a few things that they advise against and I do believe it has hurt me from time to time when job hunting. Nevertheless, I think the advice much of the advice is largely propaganda designed to assert the authority of the employer class.

Let me begin with the advice about not writing online about your beliefs. The assumption is that potential employers, upon reading of your views, will decide not to hire you. The consequent portion of the assumption is: "It is a bad thing if an employer decides not to hire you." Is not being hired by some specific employer always a bad thing?

Let us suppose that you are a socialist, a feminist, an anarchist, or a Muslim. A bigoted potential employer learns of your views online and decides that you should not be hired. That potential employer just saved you from years of living under cover and worrying about whether your employer will find out about your beliefs. If I had been open before about my beliefs, a certain mentally unwell president of a defense contractor, himself on Ted Kaczynski's hit list, would never have hired me and I would have been saved from the misery of working for the twisted tyrant. Is that really a bad thing? I don't think so.

Because the world knows I am an anarchist, war mongers don't approach me about possible employment and this fact saves me a lot of time rejecting them, or explaining to them that I do not do work that assists in war or in killing other human beings. Conversely, those who do respond are the type that do not care about my political beliefs and are interested, instead, in my skills and abilities. That is the kind of employer I want to work for. Of course, if you are not one to deeply hold beliefs and are willing to conform your soul to the whims and beliefs of a person with more power than yourself, not writing about your beliefs might just be good advice.

There is also the thing about not burning bridges. I agree that doing anything out of spite is not a good thing. I believe this not because of the future consequences, but because spite itself is a bad thing. Spitefulness is an attribute of petty and hateful people. Not being spiteful makes you a better person and that is all the reason you need to not be spiteful. On the other hand, if you feel that your employer is truly unethical and has truly wronged you, I do think you should speak your mind when you leave. It is the silence of the victims that promote the behavior of sociopaths. It is far more noble to tell an evil bastard that he is an evil bastard and instruct him on how to be a better person than it is to swallow that sentiment for fear of future consequences. Yes, there will be consequences, but that is what life is about. There are ways to handle such consequences. For example, warning everyone in advance about the sociopaths in your history so they will know what they are dealing with when contact occurs. In my case, I let everyone know about my stalker.

Next, there is the suit thing. I don't wear a suit at interviews. I stopped doing that many years ago. I dress the way I would dress if I got the job and had been working there for years. If someone is going to judge me on the way I dress, I don't want to work for that someone.

Another piece of advice the corporatists give is to treat finding a job like a full-time job. This advice is flat-out stupid. First off, if you spend all your time looking for a job, you might starve. You need to make money, so some of the time available should be spent making money. If that sounds like a paradox, you need to free your mind and think outside of the advice that the corporate world wants you to swallow. There are many things one can do while looking for work and some of those things will earn you money.

First of all, there are short-term jobs you can do while looking for a full-time job. These jobs belong to categories such as gigs, day labor, consulting, contracting, tutoring, and temp-work. You can find gigs online. If you are willing to do some real work, you can do day labor. Think about it. If undocumented workers can find day labor, you can too. If you possess special knowledge, you can tutor or consult. If you posses special skills, you can do contract work. While you are doing these things, you will meet other people and some of them will link you up with other people who might be able to help you.

If, due to the lack of work, you cannot afford an Internet connection, go to your public library. Most public libraries have computers with Internet access. You can use these computers to search for work and to post ads offering your services. If you're even worse off and cannot afford a normal telephone for your self employment activities, purchase a prepaid disposible mobile telephone, and use that as your contact telephone for work only. If you have a computer but cannot afford an Internet connection and you plan on doing some contracting or work online, go to an Internet cafe and ask them if you can pay to use their connection. I did this during a period in my life when I was between jobs. I went to the library to find a gig online. Upon winning the gig, I took my computer to an Internet cafe and rented a private game room for the day at a cost of .00. During the subsequent 10 hours, I earned about 0.00 on the gig. I did this over and over until I found permanent work. I made enough to live off of.

Due to this work I found on my own, I could honestly report that I was self-employed for that period of time. The experience taught me a lot about being self-reliant and gave me the skills I needed to make myself more valuable. I developed a lot of connections doing this. It helped in finding a full-time job. That job was found not by making the job-finding process a full-time job, but by creating my own full-time work which, in turn, led to a full-time job.

As a counterweight to the corporate advice, it is my hope that some people will benefit from this advice. The worst that can happen by speaking your mind is that you will alienate the people who hate you anyway. If you are unemployed, do not become a slave to the corporate class, forming your life around their expectations, and acting like a dog in a dog and pony show; employ yourself and see where it leads.

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