Sued51's Blog











{September 17, 2010}   Job Fair—What, no Fried Dough? Bummer…

For me, the word “fair” invokes thoughts of old-fashioned fun and farm animals, as well as guilty pleasures like fried dough and cotton candy.  Though at my age, I’m a little leery of the rides, I like the happy, relaxed atmosphere.

I got tired of  just dropping resumes into the black hole called the Internet, and I decided to attend a job fair; it was not the fun I had hoped (not that I seriously thought it would be).  No trained animals, but lots of people wandering around in suits, who had been trained to shake hands, smile, and show as much energy and optimism as they could.  Their treats for their performance were pens and cookies (from Panera Bread).  The carnies just didn’t have the same energy; they really looked like they would rather not be there.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I had surmised that I would see a lot of young people, fresh out of college, but if anything, I would say the scale tipped more toward the balding and gray-haired.  Although many of the jobs were entry-level, the people attending were not.  I overheard men with grim smiles asking, “Any engineering positions”?  Out of fifteen employers, one was an institution looking for students; one was a collection agency looking for employees to call delinquent debtors (I wasn’t very nice to them…shame on me, but I couldn’t stop myself); three were agencies dealing with mentally challenged adults; and one was the U.S. Secret Service, whose jobs were mostly in Washington, DC.  A representative from Fed Ex was there, looking for seasonal drivers; I had a moment of hope–no special license required–but only the experienced need apply.  Any administrative jobs?  No.

I found myself following a woman older than myself, listening to her ask, “Any administrative jobs”?  No.  She saved me the trouble of asking the same question, and throwing away resumes.

I walked out no more depressed than when I came in; I was curious and didn’t have high expectations.  My husband hoped that at the very least, I would feel less alone, and I will say that the conversations with the other job seekers were the best part.  All I could think about afterwards was writing this blog…that they shouldn’t call them fairs, not only because they are nowhere near as fun, but because the pursuit of jobs in this economy is very far from being so (in the equitable sense of the word).

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