I just watched the HBO documentary Hard Times Lost on Long Island. This was a 1-hour documentary profiling a few unemployed individuals living on Long Island and I highly recommend everyone watch it. It should be required watching for anyone working in HR. I watch movies to escape. I want to watch movies so I don’t have to think about the real world, but I felt this topic was too close to home to skip and I am glad I watched it. It was well done and yes, it was a tear jerker.
Too many people take unemployment for granted. “It won’t happen to me” or “Not in my neighborhood” are common misconceptions. This documentary will put perspective on the topic of unemployment and more importantly, this should get employees thinking about managing their own careers. Hopefully it will introduce the idea that no one should count on any one person, manager, education, or company for their long term financial well being.
I started this blog after learning about a few friends losing their homes and feeling like I could have done something about it. They didn’t lose their homes through any fault of their own. When I look at their situation, I believe they lost their homes because of the economy coupled with a system that doesn’t prepare candidates or employees for the reality of working in a professional environment. More importantly, most people don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to winning the game of Corporate America. I didn’t want to see any more of my friends lose.
As someone that works in HR, although I have not seen everything behind the curtain of unemployment, I do feel I have seen my share of the unemployed and the emotional consequences that come with it. Per the movie, I will not say “I know how it feels to be unemployed long term”.
Even if we try, unless we have gone through it, no one can understand what it is like to become unemployed, stay unemployed for a length of time and then end up losing your home let alone trying to provide basic needs for your family. This HBO documentary gets us as close as we can be from the safety of our own jobs. It should be called Scared Straight in Corporate America.
I watched this documentary through a different lens than most, but I hope this film will be a wake up call to folks who believe that they are invincible or that their company will take care of them. Neither is the case. This program profiles a number of unemployed people including the perfect “yuppie” couple where both Mr. and Mrs. are highly educated with professional jobs, a 65 year old mortgage broker that had to go back to work, a gentleman in finance making 100K a year. In every case, all of these unemployed workers were at one point “living their dream”. They also interviewed young people just getting out of college who had lost faith in education. Everyone featured “looked” like they would have no problem finding a job, in fact, they looked like they “should be employed”. Yes, they looked like you and I.
Messages I think everyone should hear from this documentary:
Some things I would recommend in this economy:
If you are HR, if you are an experienced person in your industry and have a strong network, you probably know people who are unemployed or under employed. You don’t have to help everyone, but helping one person at a time will go a long way. Offering your network, your advice, your support goes a lot further than you can imagine. If you are a look at resumes on a regular basis as a hiring manager or a recruiter, then you know what resumes should look like. You know they should quantify accomplishments, be easy to not only read but look at. You know what Linkedin profiles should look at and how Social Media can hurt and help the process. Share your information. The reputation of recruiting and HR isn't always steller, and here is a chance to polish it up. There is no greater reward then when someone that is unemployed says they landed a job and you were part of the process.
Watch this documentary, learn, and lend a hand,
nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone that is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball