On-Line Robbery ...

Hey, The Job Stalker readers ... hope your job search is going better than mine has been.  I knew that when I took on this assignment it would have its ups and downs, after all, it is predicated on the basis that its writer is both unemployed and looking for work, and that (short of disqualifying myself out of the gig by actually getting a job) it would be more about striving than success.  However, I've been hit with a whole series of set-backs and disappointments, from my computer issues (which I've still not been able to take care of) to several interviews that have gotten my hopes up, only to lead nowhere, to the not-unexpected financial crises that being in one's umpteenth month with no income brings.

I have been meaning to get around to this issue again, but have been "not wanting to go there", but it's important, and I guess I will.  I have, in my e-mail in-box, an ever-growing collection of e-mail notices from places that have my contact information, each purporting to have exciting job opportunities for me.  Sometimes there are actually jobs for which one can send in applications in these, but far more frequently, these are cruel, cynical come-ons from really horrible people that have decided that the desperation of the job seeker provides them with a handy money making opportunity.  When I started in my current job search, it seemed like there was only one of these (the one you've seen on TV, with their various permutations under assorted other names), which was promising "100k jobs" if only you'd pay them their monthly fee.  

Now, as I noted early on in this process, I'm in my third significant job search in the past 10 years, and I've "been around the block" several times, and I'm pretty clear that the only thing that paying these folks will get you is to get to see listings which are very likely elsewhere on the internet with no other advantage to you.  These listing groups get plenty of advantages, most notably selling their services to companies looking to hire promising "filtered" applicants.  Well, yes, they've been "filtered" by being convinced to give up $30 a month (with hard-to-stop automatic payments) to see the listings. 

Now, I don't want to get into TMI here, but one member of my family has a prescription that is essential to their day-to-day health, and this costs us (under my Wife's COBRA discount) $30 a month.  Do we ask the family member to "buck up" and go without the meds so that I can see these listings?  Maybe, if there was only ONE of these vile "services" out there.  However, over the past year this particular scam has exploded, and I probably have a good dozen that send me their cold-hearted pitches on nearly a daily basis, each wanting a monthly payment, on a recurring program (which, again, tend to be almost impossible to get out of), for about the same $30 give or take a few bucks.  Can you afford an extra $360/month in your budget?  We have had NO income coming in since last May, and we certainly can't.

What is WRONG with the world?  Why are so many people lining up to take advantage of others?  I end up watching a lot of late-night TV when I can't get to sleep because the horror of our financial situation won't let me rest, and I see commercial after commercial, infomercial after infomercial, about blatant SCAMS whose only purpose is to take advantage of people who have fallen afoul of the current economy.  From the "send us your unused gold" guys to the "buy your neighbors' houses for back taxes" guys, to the "we'll consolidate your debt" guys (I recently read a report that nearly all of those "debt help" places simply put you into a non-escapable debt arrangement with them that will allow them to take your house and any other assets if you fall behind on payments!).  Ad after ad is nothing but sharks circling, smelling blood, looking to go in for the kill.

And, if they're not outright looking to steal from you, they're trying to sell you delusional dreams.  A decade or so back, I used to be involved in Network Marketing (as a side project when building my old publishing company), and I saw how the people that succeeded in that field all had the same basic abilities, they were perfectly happy to lie to your face, they didn't care a whit about the actual products, and they always played to the emotions, not the intellect.  I've seen so many "opportunities" offered on TV (don't even get me going on the Internet scams!) where it is perfectly clear to anybody who's been down that road that the odds of making ANY money are slim to none in the actual "business", which means that the real business is selling the business, which is why so many of those MLM guys can blithely skip from program to program (having milked one pipedream dry and moving on to fresher fields) and have great success, while leaving a wake of destruction behind them.

Again, the job boards that demand money should be avoided ... they are evil people ... I'm not the type that says "there ought to be a law" but every week there seem to be more of them out there, each playing on the desperation and fears of people like me, who are aching to have a meaningful job, but can't break through the walls of the current recession. All they're offering is an illusion of hope, just waiting for you to sign up for on-going payments.

Anyway, needed to get this out there.  I have some "better news" coming up in a subsequent post.

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