The latest evidence that America's unemployed are near the end of their rope?
West Hollywood resident Cyrus Emadi grew so disenchanted with his nine-month job search he recently posted an ad on Craig's List offering $3,000 to anyone who could find him a position in his field, accounting. After one week of running the ad in L.A., San Francisco and SanDiego, Emadi still has no bites.
"I got quite a bit of feedback but no actual leads yet," he said. "There was someone who told me about an energy industry position he knew of in Antarctica. I'm open to making a move, but not to the bottom of the world!"
Millions of job seekers have felt a desolation worthy of the South Pole as the U.S. employment market continues to shrink. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance jumped 2,000 for the week ending August 7. Weekly jobless claims have climbed to 484,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 482,000.
With the unemployment rate hovering at 9.5 percent, frustration has, for many, given way to desperation.
Consider the anonymous letter that recently landed on a website run by career consultant Randall Hansen:
"I followed all the networking and other advice you and every other career guru offers, " the letter said. I've been out of work for more than two years now. I have no job, and I'm so demoralized that I don't even have it in me anymore to bother to look for one."
But can-do attitudes can still be found around the country. Since the start of the recession numerous job seekers have garnered media attention for creative efforts.
There was the Bridgeport, Connecticut woman who rented a full-sized roadside billboard, and the Santa Clarita woman who turned her resume into a t-shirt. One struggling LaSalle University graduate handed out resumes on the side of a busy intersection. In downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, an unemployed auto parts executive began carrying a signboard that read: "I need a job … will take anything."
People who have been unemployed for a while are justified in feeling a little desperate, but letting that show during a job search can be "the kiss of death," according to corporate consultant Margot Carmichel Lester, writing about at-wit's-end job seekers for Monster.com.
As for Emadi's aggressive Craig's List offer, which was first reported in the Los Angeles Times earlier this month, he figured it's not so different from an executive recruiter doing a job hunter's bidding for fee.
"When I first started looking some companies approached me about helping me with my search for a $5,000 finder's fee so I figured I'd try this route," said Emadi.
He was last employed full-time as the financial controller of a small San Diego telecom company. After he was laid off, Emadi began doing some freelance consulting for a real estate company. But he said he needs something full-time with benefits.
"I've done the networking thing," he said. "I just felt like I needed to try something new. We'll see. I'm not giving up."