Sunday, November 7, 2010

Scars of the Recession

Today I read an article that said the young generation will have life-long scars from the recession. This means we will make less, marry less often, have less children (if any), and be skeptical of investments.  Personally I think we are lucky to have seen the recession start to finish (well, sort of finish) at this time in our lives. Generation Y had just finished college, polished up the résumé, and headed out into the big world when - BOOM! Things exploded. Suddenly the "you can do anything" catch phrase was thrown out with the business cards. People tucked money under the mattress and searched for any job they could find.

I am completely guilty of being a "job snob," if you will. I thought of myself as above many jobs and bought into the stigmas against grocery stores, fast food chains, and anything 'dirty'...ew. Well I got a wake up call. I found myself without a job in the middle of the recession, as many did, and truly did not understand the severity of the situation until I began the new application process. I went door to door, mailed in applications, emailed dozens of people a day, all for nothing. I told people, "Oh, I'll be fine! I have a college degree and plenty of work experience. And have you seen this ass? Who wouldn't want to hire me?" I laughed it off until days turned into weeks and I still hadn't found a job.

A month and a half later I received a phone call telling me to come in for an interview!

"Please come in at 11 am for a group interview."
"A what?"
"A group interview. We put all the applicants in a room and ask you questions. The doctor likes to see the group dynamics."

A group interview? Are you kidding me? Well I dressed up, headed to the chiropractic office, and saw eight other people sitting on uncomfortable metal folding chairs. I needed this job so badly but so did the other girls in the room. (Note, there were no males in the room except for the doctor.) We sat awkwardly in our skirts and dress suits staring at this 30-something man sitting in front of a framed picture of Jesus. I saw the picture and subtly glanced around the room to see if anyone else noticed it. If they did, they completely hid any reaction by nodding and smiling eagerly. I brushed passed it and listened to his introduction, complete with wild hand gestures and a face like an inspirational speaker:

"....and we believe in healthy lifestyles complete with exercise, healthy eating, family, chiropractic work of course" (insert uncomfortable laughter) "and a devout relationship with the Lord. All of our employees report to me on their healthy lifestyle and every Wednesday we have Bible study. Also, you will receive a monthly bonus for taking notes on the Scripture."

Was I the only one hearing this? Now I have nothing wrong with a healthy dose of faith in anyone's life, but I thought I was applying for a secretary position, not seminary school.

" if you look around our office you'll see framed testimonies from patients throughout the years." He held up a frame in front of all of us. "Here you'll see a local woman who was suffering from cancer who chose to try my chiropractic routine and give herself to the Lord. Take this as you will, but her cancer was gone after I was finished."

He was claiming to cure cancer?! Excuse me but I do not see a Nobel prize among all the testimonies and Jesus posters in this office.

" comes the point when I will leave the room and you can either decide to stay and continue the interview or walk out if this is not right for you." The second he left I stormed out, frustrated that my only job interview required me to pray in the office and give him weekly notes on my Scripture readings.

I left crying, believing that I had been defeated. I couldn't believe that after almost one hundred job applications I had to walk out of the only offer I had been given. As hard as this experience was, it greatly humbled me. I realized that I was not "good as gold" on finding a job and I would need to open my eyes a little. But even though I may have dropped my arrogance, I did not drop my morals and character, which I am proud of.

Several weeks later I was offered a job as a retail associate in a sports store. It was a typical "9 to 5" paying minimum wage in a depressing "big box" store. I had to wear an ugly uniform in the hierarchical work world and write down my lunch breaks.

I had never been happier.


  1. that is an incredible story. i agree, this recession is going to make our generation stronger, overcoming defeat and swallowing pride. you are such an incredibly talented writer!

  2. What's the point with Jesus!? I can't believe it!

    In France, when I tried to apply for a product manager position few months ago, (with my master degree), they did not have anything for me. Instead, they proposed me one workshop day "How to make a resume"(thank you, but I like mine) and MORE! "How to manage the job research's website"...

    What I replied to that girl in front of me, which was trying her best to help me:"Please,I guess we both are loosing our time, don't you think?" And she agreed!

    Soooo, I understand why you left Jen, we def have to keep our hope and dignity!Good Luck!