Certainly, it is harder to find work in a depressed economy. But even when inflation is raging, interest rates are high, and a recession is present, there are jobs available. Employees retire, go to school, become ill, die, move away, and change jobs. Within a single company, one division may be hiring while another is laying people off.
A Job Club is a new approach for people looking for work. And a way where everybody is welcome. It says that there is a job for everyone. What is needed is knowledge of the techniques of job finding that will be effective.
And the Job Club believes if an employer knows an applicant, the employer is more comfortable: strangers don't get hired, but friends hire friends.
Institutionalized, professionally staffed Job Clubs are growing more common—though there may not be one in your own community yet. The Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) has established some; so has CETA ( Comprehensive Employment and Training Agency), as well as private and government agencies for the aged, community health agencies, colleges, local-government welfare and rehabilitation programs, and drug and alcoholism treatment centers. A few enterprising individuals have even started Job Clubs on their own.
If there is a Job Club in your community, you can experience its benefits by enrolling in it.
Who forms a Job Club
Job clubs are made usually of a single or more job counselors, and the other members are average people, people with different job histories, skills, and ambitions. They all share one thought: "My turn could be next."
These are people of every kind, each one unique. Men and women, old and young and in-between, of every race, religion, and level of education. Dependent on welfare or savings or parents, or spouses, or girl-or boyfriends. With no previous work or many jobs in the last year. Dropouts or college professors. Strict law-abiders or ten-year inmates of federal penitentiaries. Talkative and outgoing or withdrawn. Bright and fiercely independent or dependent on parents or institutions because of mental retardation.
All members of a job club have two qualities in common: a strong desire to work, and a commitment to the Job Club as a way of finding work.
What happens in a Job Club
In Job Clubs, small groups of job seekers meet to find jobs, assisted by a counselor. They make phone calls, write letters, exchange job leads, study want ads and the phone book, write resumes for themselves, obtain letters of recommendation, rehearse interviews, give each other rides and moral support, and do the myriad things for each other that will help in obtaining work. When club members get jobs, they notify the others — often by phone, but sometimes in person. Then they turn over their lists of job leads and the process continues.
The Job Club approach to finding jobs
There are two things to remember in looking for work:
Everyone is employable!
Strangers don't get hired!
These are the two premises of the Job Club approach: You have to be an almost total invalid before you are completely unhirable; and you have to stop being a stranger to the people who can give you the work you really want at the rate of pay you really deserve.
To overcome the special problems of a depressed economy, you may have to change the type of work you are seeking, or relocate to a place where there are better opportunities. In any economy, a large proportion of jobs are newly created or the employer is waiting for the right person. A pizzeria may not need a full-time driver to make deliveries, or a full-time cashier, or a full-time assistant cook—but the manager might hire someone who could do all three of these activities.
Job Clubs have been successful in finding these "hidden" jobs, which exist during a depression as well as during a normal economy.
Friends help friends
A scholarly study of an industrial city in Pennsylvania* showed that 56% of successful blue-collar job seekers heard about the jobs they got through friends, relatives, or acquaintances. A study of unemployed white-collar workers in Massachusetts also showed that 56% got their new jobs through the help of friends. A third study reported similar results, 66% relied on friends, for people all across the employment spectrum—including applicants for Civil Service jobs, which are supposed to be filled on the pure Merit Principle.
It is important to remember this fact—friends help friends — because most people are embarrassed to admit they had help. People want others to believe that they got jobs solely through their own efforts and abilities.
So friends in a Job Club can help you by getting your foot in the door. It is more common for them to help less directly, by passing information about job openings to you, for your own follow-up. And casual encounters can also help.
If you take time to understand the Job Club approach, then for you, finding a job would never be a difficult proposition.
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