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Finding hope in the jobless

POSTED January 11, 2011 11:14 p.m.

Before my story interview with the Alliance Worknet about the services they offer for job seekers and local businesses, I had a picture in my mind of what the atmosphere at the Alliance office in Turlock would be like.

I thought the Alliance office, which is located inside the Economic Development Department on N. Broadway, would be filled with depressed unemployed people and overworked EDD and Alliance employees.

I envisioned the stereotypically government agency office often depicted in movies with grey walls and even greyer attitudes. All this punctuated with Ben Stein from “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off” saying “next, next, next” in that monotone voice that he is famous for.

What I encountered was far different from the picture in my head.

I saw a dozen job seekers actively searching employment data bases on computer terminals. Two people were being assisted by Alliance employees to create resumes. The Alliance employees were patient and helpful and the job seekers were not sobbing or pulling their hair out in frustration. Instead, they looked almost hopeful.

While I have been blessed with a stable job, I know quite a few people who have been laid off. It’s kind of hard not to know a few of the jobless, as the county’s unemployment rate has been hovering around 17 percent for over a year now — that’s 41,000 people in Stanislaus County without a job.

A few of the people I know have been out of work for years now. They started out hopeful, submitting at least a dozen applications a week and attending hiring events around the state. Then, slowly, as their e-mail in-boxes remained empty and their calls went unreturned, the depression set in.

For many, keeping their spirits up is a full-time job now — and an important one. Employers are always looking for employees with can-do attitudes. It’s kind of a catch-22: Losing your job causes depression, but depressed people are less likely to get hired.

Don’t worry; the self-help gurus of the World Wide Web are here to help. The Web is full of tips for job seekers on how to stay positive.

Allow yourself time to vent, scream, cry, get angry, laugh, complain, gripe, commiserate and wallow for a bit, recommends eHow.

Make a daily schedule for job hunting and have a goal of something to do each day, says unemploymentdepression.com.

“I went back to school and changed cities,” wrote Renata Selliti in a Huffington Post article. She did go on to warn readers that this method wasn’t for everyone. Whether it’s creating a routine, networking or going back to school, there are scores of job seekers out there who haven’t thrown in the towel. They are staring life in the face and saying, “Is that the best you can do?”I applaud these temporarily jobless workers of the world. Their perseverance is an inspiration to me whenever I feel that my day is too hard and I need a break.This country was founded by people who were looking for a new beginning in their lives. The pilgrims eventually succeeded in forming a New World, and they did it all without an Internet connection!To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail khacker@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.
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