June 14, 2011

The Fog

A certain former blogger--a man who always made friends easily and never had a harsh word to say to anyone, ever, honest--made the following post on FaceBook recently:

"Wanted, Administrative Assistant, salary $2,000/month, must have at least ten years experience as president or vice president of Fortune 500 company (advanced degree a plus), Spanish fluency required, must be willing to work nights/weekends. To apply, please decode the following asymmetric key algorithm and go to the website indicated."

It was meant in jest, mostly, but it's really not that far off the mark. I consider myself a seasoned veteran of the online job hunting process--I know Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com better than I know my own blog--and it routinely astounds me how some of the job descriptions for even entry level positions require an education and skill set that reads like the side effect warnings that play at the end of boner pill commercials.

I mean, you'd think editing and writing job descriptions would be pretty straightforward, requiring things like "excellent English and grammar a must" and "experience with word processing applications necessary," but I'm regularly surprised how even some proofreading positions require experience with PhotoShop and video editing expertise. I've tinkered with PhotoShop once or twice, but I'm hardly well-versed, and my video editing experience is limited to the software that came with the Flip video camera I won back in 2009 (unless you consider making xTraNormal cartoons video editing, I mean).

I'm not necessarily worried about all the extra requirements, because they're so stringent and demanding only three people on the entire planet probably possess that kind of skill set, although I do, however, harbor a sneaking suspicion that the written word just isn't all that valued right now in the current world of Web speak and Internet comment threads and forums where misspellings and mangled grammar are tolerated to the point they're actually considered correct.

Still, I have enough freelance work coming in to convince me good, prolific writers are still valued, but in terms of an actual 9 - 5 desk writing/editing job, I've pretty much resigned myself to thinking they're more of a figment of my imagination than anything else anymore.

All of which brings me to this general feeling I've been picking up on over the last couple years or so. I've been reading and writing about the "Great Recession" and all the repercussions that have played out as a result, but there's something bigger going on out in the world than the news articles and reports can really convey.

When I'm out walking or driving, or meandering a strip mall, or if I'm just generally out and about, I swear I can almost feel a sense of despair permeating seemingly everything. It's almost as if a palpable cloud is hanging over everything even during the brightest, sunniest days. It's hard to describe, but the closest I can come is to explain it almost as a feeling of having given up, or about to give up.

I haven't given up, personally, mind you. As I said, I have so many freelance projects coming in right now I sometimes wonder if I'll be able to complete them all under deadline.

However, if my days were filled surfing job Web sites and sending resumes out into the digital ether for positions that have ridiculous qualifications 99.9999999999999999999999 percent of the world's population can't match, I'd feel a bit of despair and a creeping compulsion to just "give up," too, and I think there's a lot more of that going on in this economy than we'd generally like to admit.

Posted by Ryan at June 14, 2011 11:05 AM | TrackBack
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