Thursday, August 9, 2012

This Is Discouraging

During the Great Depression, it was quite common for thousands of people to show up to apply for one job.  I think we are back to that point.  A really interesting experiment by an adjunct English instructor, trying to see why he wasn't able to get a full-time job (you know, one with consistent pay and health insurance).  He put a fake job up on Craiglist--a very basic job of the sort that he would love to have:
Administrative Assistant needed for busy Midtown office. Hours are Monday through Friday, nine to five. Job duties include: filing, copying, answering phones, sending e-mails, greeting clients, scheduling appointments. Previous experience in an office setting preferred, but will train the right candidate. This is a full-time position with health benefits. Please e-mail résumé if interested. Compensation: $12-$13 per hour.
For those of you who live in the hinterlands, $12-$13 per hour translates to something like $9 per hour.  In short, it isn't a great job.  It's not even a good job.  It's just a job.  And what happened?
I published the ad at exactly 2:41P.M. on Thursday. The first response came in at 2:45—just four minutes later. Ten minutes later, there were 10 responses. Twenty minutes later, there were 56. An hour later: 164. Six hours: 431.
At 2:41P.M. on Friday — exactly 24 hours after I posted the ad — there were 653 responses in my brand new inbox. Not wanting to face any more after that, I promptly removed the ad from Craigslist.
And if you go and read his full account, it is depressing to realize how many of the applicants were well-qualified and trying really hard to get this not very good job.  And please: click over and read his full account of what happened--the advertising revenue that your visit to his blog will generate may be the only bright part of this experience.

The question is: will these people vote to re-elect the man who has utterly failed to solve the problem?  My guess is that many will, because the alternative is tar yourself as a racist.


  1. Psychologically arranging for people to "get permission" to allow themselves to vote their conscience, is a major task for the right this election. This is not something that conservatives generally seem to be very comfortable talking about.

  2. I have it on good authority* that the private sector is doing fine.

    *okay, it was an empty suit.

  3. To vote against Romney would be a flagrant example of religious discrimination.

  4. "the man who has utterly failed to solve the problem": I've read your Constitution and nowhere does it say that the President is responsible for all features of economic performance. Or indeed any features of economic performance.

    You guys treat your President as if he ought to be some sort of magic medieval monarch.

  5. He claimed that if we didn't pass the $787 billion stimulus, unemployment would go up to terrifying levels...and it did, and it has stayed there.

    The normal business cycle would ordinarily be well over by now. The health care program has greatly increased anxiety and uncertainty among business owners, discouraging employment.