Unemployment Stories: A Depressingly Useful Resource

I have mixed reactions to Gakwer.  I know they seek linkbait traffic, but they also do some good stories and I do enjoy snark.  But I think they’re spot on in their continuing, depressing series “Unemployment Stories.”


Basically, people send in their tales of unemployment and some get published.  It can be depressing or heartening, though it tends to be sad for obvious reasons.  There are times it verges on “disaster porn” but most times it’s really heartfelt.  The commenters often provide additional insights that I’ve learned from.

Let me warn you first and foremost.  This is depressing as hell.  Some of the stories are terrible.  Some of the people writing in are obviously troubled.  But there’s also a lot of insights.

So, in my role as Elder Geek Career Coach I read these.  I recommend you do because you can learn a lot.

  • You can understand people’s situations better.  Not all of us “get” how other people’s lives are going or what got them there.  The relatively diverse sample (for an online effort) can give you a wide variety of perspectives on unemployment.
  • You can understand what has and hasn’t worked for people.  This has been very informative for me as I can understand people’s successes – and failures.
  • When you find stories about people like you .  . . you realize you’re not alone and can understand what you should and shouldn’t do.
  • You can also read stories from people not like you and truly understand how people different than yourself are impacted by the economy.
  • You get a sense of the economic impact of our continuing economic rambling disaster.  Sure you may not have felt you needed it, but for me it’s been useful in getting a gut level feel.
  • You get reminded about other jobs, professions, and regions.  Take it from a guy living in Silicon Valley, you can forget the world outside your geographic/professional sphere.
  • The commentaries, as noted, often provide advice and insight.  Sure some can be insensitive or ignorant, but that’s life.

There’s really only two problems I have.

One, I think more people should be doing this to try and get attention.  I’ve even wondered if an “unemployed geek” profile might work here, though I’m not sure it’d fit what we’re doing (though I am considering some similar ideas).

Secondly, I think there should be a counterpart to it on people who got jobs and how they managed it.  Of course, someone could do that at other sites.  We do that here in interviews.  Maybe you could do something as well at your site – that’s a blatant hint, by the way.

It’s a good resource.  Steel yourself and check it out.  I think you’ll learn a lot.

– Steven