On average, Deanna sends out a dozen resumes every day, mostly for secretarial-type employment, though really for anything remotely relevant to her professional experience. Writing this, it just now occurred to me that it's probably best if her hunt for work continues to fail so miserably, since a new job could make her instantly ineligible for mortgage modification, though a new paycheck wouldn't catch her up in time to prevent foreclosure. Hello rock, meet hard place.
Though it's entirely possible the unnecessary hassle results from Chase's bureaucratic ineptitude, I can understand their suspicion that untoward motivation underlies deliberate stalling, particularly given the frequency with which they've stumbled across
obvious scams or other questionable activities targeting those hardest
hit by the recession.
Any advertisement that mentions "recession-proof opportunity" or "make money from home": "Scam," they tell me, nearly in unison. Those are the obvious ones.
On the more insidious side, Deanna has submitted resumes in response to various job ads on Craigslist, which have resulted in emails telling her she looks very qualified for the available position. As part of the advance screening process, however, the email instructs her to file for a credit report through a service the company recommends, for which they helpfully provide a website link. Deanna has never pursued one of those "opportunities," recognizing they're either scamming her for the fee they charge for a credit report or, worse, attempting to acquire her Social Security number for an even bigger take.
Shawn gets worked up by a list of job websites the local unemployment office gave him. "Not one of those websites was worth a damn," he says. "And these are the services the government was recommending I use to look for a job." Each one would take him through pages of inputting personal information and uploading his resume, only at the end of this laborious process making it clear the "service" requires a fee to post the listing. "You gotta pay to find a job," he says with disgust. "I don't have a job; I can't pay."
"And some of them include a personality test," Deanna adds, explaining how some websites ask a host of questions about interests and pursuits completely unrelated to the job itself. They're essentially marketing surveys used to categorize respondents' personal information.
"And now we're inundated with phone calls," Shawn says. "They have all your information and then they sell your information for money."
"Somebody's making money off us being unemployed. And wasting our time too," Deanna adds. "Under the circumstances, trying to be positive is hard."
The one positive consequence of being persistently broke has been their collective revelation about bartering. For a time this summer, healthier eating habits became an unanticipated
benefit of unemployment. The green beans they planted in Shawn's yard
grew to almost overwhelming proliferation. With watermelon, squash, and
an endless supply of green beans, they traded neighbors for homegrown
tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn.