Oof. Can you make one phone call?

I heard a report on NPR this afternoon about the difficulties of getting a job. The story focused on young people who apply for jobs and never hear back from potential employers. The commentator’s point was this: Rejection is part of life but rudeness doesn’t have to be. Take the time to write three sentences that say, “We’re sorry. We hired someone else. Good luck in your job hunt.”

I don’t have children who are entering the job market for the first time. But I have plenty of friends and a husband who are struggling to land a job after leaving the newspaper business. It’s tough for some of them; one friend announced on Facebook that he was going to a job interview for the first time in 20-odd years. Same goes for my husband.

The biggest frustration for us middle-aged folks is that we remember a time when you mailed in a job application and a person — an actual human being! — called you in a few days to say, “Thank you. We received your application and we’ll be getting in touch with you soon.”

These days, there is no one on the other end. Just a big fat computer crunching your data and spitting you out if you don’t fit the ideal candidate mold. What’s a poor middle-aged white guy to do?

This, of course, is part of our impersonal culture these days. Everyone is tuned in to their personal electronic device and tuned out to human interaction.

To this, I say: “OOOOF!” It’s a Bengali expression of frustration. My friend Saeed has been its biggest booster. So this line was for him.

But I sure do hope the phone rings at our house. One day. Very soon.

2 Replies to “Oof. Can you make one phone call?”

  1. I always call people to let know when a decision has been made, and hope the better prospects may still be open to it at the next opportunity. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that some of our best employees weren't hired the first time interviewed, but when another opportunity became available later! So I think that kind of consideration pays off for the employer, too.


  2. My 18 year old son applied for a number of entry level positions , at least 8, in the past 6 months. Not one of them called or wrote to say he didn't get the job. He did call one place that had him come in for an interview. After the interview they asked him to call in a few days. He called and was told to call back a few days later. He kept calling 2 – 3 more times then stopped. He has never heard from them again. Awful!Best wishes to everyone out there pounding the pavement.


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