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A Grim Reality

The US and global economies continue in a frightening freefall, and the cycle of job loss deepens and is expected to continue well into next year, if not longer. Thousands Millions are out of work and employers are scaling back hours and benefits. The New York Times and CNN offer gloomy forecasts for the future.

During any recession – and especially those that threaten to slide into a full fledged depression – there are countless individuals who lose their jobs.  The lucky ones live on unemployment benefits until they no longer qualify or the extensions run out. Most never find new employment despite having marketable skills. Today there is stiff competition with illegal aliens for “survival jobs” and summer jobs for youth are snatched up by older adults who need them to just get by. It’s not unusual to find professors and financial planners flipping burgers or selling mattresses when there are no other jobs available but there is still food to buy, rent to pay, and college loans coming due.

If you look at the “official statistics” for joblessness, keep one thing in mind.  These numbers only count the people who qualify for and apply for unemployment benefits. They don’t include those who don’t qualify or who have been unemployed long after their benefits have run out. As an example, I have worked as a cantor/music director at my parish for the last eleven years.  Unlike many of my colleagues, I do not enjoy employee status; I receive no vacation or sick time, and no retirement benefits.  If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. I pay my own taxes for the meager amount I earn.  If I lose this job, I will not be entitled to unemployment benefits. Although it is a “church job” – there is no sense of social justice or fairness, but like thousands of others in different types of work, that aspect is overlooked for the sake of having a few dollars coming in to buy groceries.

If we were able to secure a true count of all the individuals who were out of work and wanted to find work, the number would be astronomical. And if we added in those who are under-employed because they accepted any job they could find, the outlook would be grim, indeed.

Securing a job when you've lost one, or when you need additional work to make ends meet, can present a major challenge.  Where do you look?  Make no mistake about it, browsing job postings can be time consuming. The necessity of creating different resumes for each type of position, not to mention cover letters, can eat up your day. And the lack of response, sometimes for months on end, can be disheartening. 

Your first step should be prayer. 

The big sites, like Monster, may offer plenty of opportunities, but you won't find a link here since we applied to list them here and were rejected because our Catholic content is considered "hateful".

Better yet, look at Jobs.com.  They have most of the same listings to look through.

If you need a little extra work to help pay the bills, sign up for hourly work at national firms such as Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohl's, Domino's, Toys R Us, and many more at Snag a Job. 

If you're a professional and your firm has downsized - or gone out of business, take a look at Go Freelance.  There are lots of companies seeking skilled freelancers in the USA and worldwide. Jobs include software programmers, website designers, writers, editors, medical and legal transcribers, graphic design and illustration, data entry and much more. Well worth a look. We don't need to discuss the cost of gas these days.  Go Freelance has lots of jobs that allow you to work from home - and that's a big bonus.

If you find that your options have dried up in the USA, you might want to look at jobs in Canada through Workopolis

Think outside the box: there are also opportunities for "everyday" people in acting and modeling, too. Explore Talent has a listing of casting calls and auditions with free sign up. All those people in mob scenes get paid and you can, too.

When all else fails -- or if you have an entrepreneurial spirit -- take a look at our page on starting your own business.

Copyright 2008 Christine Hirschfeld Catholic Home and Garden All Rights Reserved