Would You Hire an Unemployed Person?

The other day I filled out a job application through a computerized system, and one of the questions I had to answer to move forward was: “Are you currently employed?”

I answered yes, but I also clarified that I had part-time work and I was hoping to transition to full-time work. I also said I could start immediately.

I have heard that many employers “discriminate” against unemployed workers. I use quotation marks because there is a legal distinction that is important, I should probably say “prefer the employed” or “tend to disinclude the unemployed.”

There is a stigma that comes with being unemployed. I used to freak out and want to quit, and then slow my breath and think, “well, at least I have a job.” Now that I don’t have a job-job, I am forced to prove on a daily basis that I am a smart, capable employee with potential, not just a temp who doesn’t know how to use a copy machine (I just don’t know how to use your copy machine). I am seen as suspect, and my version of my “was told that my position could no longer be funded, so I took a new job then quit because it was horrible” is not taken at face value. If I was so good at working, wouldn’t I be working?

My dad always said that it was easier to get a job when you have a job–the networking, the skills-building, the routine of working everyday are all in your favor. I am considering adding a freelance consultant line item to my resume, in order to capture all the volunteer work I have done over the last 3 years as a producer, grant-writer and generally awesome advice-giver to young theater companies and artists. Will this make me seem less unemployed? I don’t know. I doubt it.

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1 comment
  1. I’m just going to go around commenting everywhere, because I should really be doing other things, but I love your blog. Anyway, I’d totally put the freelancer line in if you’ve done something that’s relevant to the job you’re applying to and just didn’t get paid. You did some pro-bono work, because you are a lovely and generous person, right? Then again, I am not above lying about my previous salary, so . . . whatever.

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