Guess I am not doing that again.....

Signed up for one of those online job fairs, with the logic being that it would save gas and tolls if it didn't result in anything. Well, yesterday was this wonderful event, and as suspected, it didn't generate anything new. The usual cast of suspects believe that I would be wonderful at selling.....whatever it is that they are selling. Of course, it doesn't cost them diddly squat to prove or disprove their notions. After all commission only is exactly what is sounds like.....paying for the privilege of working. What is most irksome is that they had a "systems check" before I could log into this affair, I guess to make sure that my computer was capable of communicating with whomever was out there in the cyber world. I started having problems right after exiting the event. Pages just didn't want to download. It didn't matter what site, what link, what topic, I couldn't get anything to download. By this morning, I couldn't even open emails. Spent a huge amount of time cleaning out the old computer, the recycle bin, the record of websites visited, basically anything that I could think of. You know you are in trouble when you can't even log into the free games on MSN, or view the local weather forecast. The only thing that was different from yesterday to today, was attendance of this virtual job fair. I am not highly techie, but it is pretty obvious that something in their link up with me was responsible for my computer going into completely uncooperative mode. I appear to be able to navigate around a bit more freely since checking out all my fire walls, security settings, and the general cleanup, but it still seems hinky. I am guessing that the world of cyberspace might not be all it is cracked up to be, and perhaps I would be better spending the gas and tolls, as it is certainly cheaper than a new computer, or having to lug mine in to the Geek Squad for an overhaul.
I am somewhat bothered by how utterly dependent I am on this silly machine. In 99% of cases, I cannot submit a resume, a cover letter, or an application without it. And of course, in true fashion of anonymity, I can only find out the status of my assorted applications by going online, as most companies cannot be bothered to even respond with an FOAD e-mail. All research information is basically online. All social media information is online. I don't receive phone calls, but I get instant messages and e-mails. Everything revolves around this machine and the desk upon which it sits. I have a binder filled with hard copy resumes and reference sheets, but that stack seems to be lasting forever. My world is quite possibly smaller than when I was working full time. I am certainly putting in more hours and efforts for little return.
I have been going through all the archived wisdom of those who claim to understand the psyche of hiring managers and HR personnel. Some of it is ludicrous, in that I am completely staggered that you would even have to instruct adult human beings about these matters. Some of it is based upon faulty and flawed information. Most recently, I submitted a query regarding the assorted demographic questions at the tag end of most applications. It seems that the list has expanded well beyond the usual sex, ethnic origin, race, and veteran status, and now encompasses all manner of financial assistance programs. Never having received any of these programs, I have no clue what half of the initials mean. However, as these additional questions have surfaced with a vengeance in the past 4-5 weeks, where I had not seen them at all before, I was curious. The response indicated that these questions purportedly relate to a government sponsored tax credit program for potential employers, but that the program was expired. How can that be? Suddenly, every form I fill in has this additional 7-10 questions regarding assistance, and in some areas, even regarding work release vouchers for those who have been convicted. If this program is expired, then why is everyone suddenly jumping on the bandwagon to gather this information? And the juxtaposition of these questions, particularly those regarding to work/release, seem totally incongruous with the sections requiring me to list out every detail of a traffic violation ten years ago. As in any situation, the difficulty lies in trying to verify your sources. Unlike the commercial on TV, I do not believe, if you hear it on the internet, it must be true.
I have also tried to participate in the online chats, threads, and responses to articles which are supposed to unlock success. The respondents fall into one of three categories. Group one, folks like myself, have put their best foot forward and repeatedly had it slammed with the door. Understandably, this group is baffled about what went wrong, in the hopes of rectifying the problem for greater success the next time out. Group two are those who have given up totally, and basically have nothing to contribute to the discussion other than venom and frustration, gloom and doom. The third group have been fortunate in their job seeking, but unfortunately, many seem to have become supercilious. They now feel that they have the magic formula, and we are all just silly for not adopting their strategies and tactics. Sifting through these threads for something useful is time consuming and often quite depressing. And then, lest we forget, we have the moderators, who remind me a great deal of college professors. The educators, who never actually left the ivory towers of learning, never actually worked in the real world, never took their noses out of a book, analyzing our queries for what is conveyed about our attitudes rather than the questions which are actually posed.
It is wearying, in the extreme, to spend more than eight hours a day, working on applications, resumes, cover letters, assessments, and research, only to be told that my lack of employment is somehow all my own fault. I can't help it if I am chronologically challenged. (My polite and politically correct term for being older than dirt). I also cannot help the fact that I do not resemble Heidi Klum, Elle McPherson, or Cindy Crawford. My term for that is gestationally challenged, meaning that I had no choice in my genetic make-up and therefore my appearance was somewhat of a crap shoot. As I have no employment, and as I am stripping away what savings remains, after the multiple dips and dives of the stock market over the past several years, I cannot afford to go back to school and totally re-invent my skill set. And, if I am doing the school thing, I am still not devoting enough time to actually getting income. I am offended by the new TV commercials for online university programs, proclaiming that there are all these jobs out there and not enough people educated and skilled to fulfill those jobs. There are probably more PhD's slinging burgers at fast food joints than ever before in history. If unemployment figures were truly reflective, we have the most educated bunch of "deadbeats" on the planet. So, once again, it would appear that placing the blame on the victim is preferable to actually trying to resolve the problems. Shift the blame and shift the responsibility. Even if you are attempting to take advantage of all resources, explore all avenues, expand your job search into non-traditional territory, basically, it is still your own fault that you haven't found work. That being said, I am highly skeptical that the online, virtual job fair is going to yield much, and seems to have some potential risks that are not warranted based upon positive return. If anyone else has had a differing experience, I would love to hear about it, but the virtual job fair was not something that seemed to have a great deal of discussion or links for reference.

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