Depressing scene at Brookdale Job Fair

By Art Gallagher
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Hundreds of middle-aged people looking for work at Brookdale this morning. April 4, 2014

Hundreds of middle-aged people looking for work at Brookdale this morning. April 4, 2014

When I was readying to leave the house this morning,  my wife asked if I was working on a story.  “No, I’m looking for a job,” I replied.  Her head snapped up in surprise. In all the years she’s known me I’ve never said those words.  I’ve always been the owner, or early in our relationship, an unmanageable top producing salesman.

The truth is I wasn’t sure what I was doing when I headed into the job fair at Brookdale Community College this morning.  I met a NJ.com reporter who got the ax yesterday, effective in September, in the overflowing parking lot outside of Collins Arena.  “Working a story or looking for a job?” I asked him.  “A little of both,” he replied before getting called away to cover a fatal car accident in Howell.

I was doing a little of both too. I’m having more fun building this business, MMM, than I had in building any of the others I’ve built or help build, but the revenue is not coming fast enough.  If the big media companies are contracting, there’s no harm in taking a look at what is out there, especially if I can make a story out of it and meet potential advertisers.

“Ha, you’re here looking for advertisers,” a recruiter from Town Square Media said to me when I introduced myself and asked her what an Integrated Sales Person was. She got me, but if Town Square wants to buy MMM, give me a radio show, blog and a fat check, I’ll listen.  An Integrated Sales Person sells ad for websites, radio shows and other mediums, I found out.  I’m now looking for one of those.  The recruiter either wasn’t aggressive or quickly sized me up as not a good fit. Probably both.

The Asbury Park Press’s recruiter was telling visitors to their booth that they weren’t hiring until they finish their across the street move in Neptune. Why were they there? Gannett would have to write a really big check and give me more authority than any corporate nudnik would consider in order to get me to fix that mess.

Standing room only for the "Ask the recruiters  seminar

Standing room only for the “Ask the recruiters

I did see two opportunities where I think I could be a valuable contributor quickly, but there is no way I would leave a resume in the piles the recruiters were collecting. I haven’t had a resume in 25 years.  Even if I had one, I wouldn’t put it in those piles. I don’t believe anyone ever got a job worth having by first passing the optical scanner.

So the looking for a job part of my “little of both” venture was a success, if I choose to follow up on the opportunities I saw.

The depressing story of the day is in the hundreds of middle-aged men and women who appeared to be corporate refugees looking for work at a job fair dominated by employers looking to hire low wage laborers, heath care aides, bus drivers, retail sales stockers, cashiers, food service “technicians” and “buffet attendants.”   Fifteen years ago Lucent refugees were demanding $70K plus to consider working as an admin in my little leasing company.  Now the same types are competing to move asses on buses or wipe asses in nursing homes for less than a lot less.

There were small business owners looking for part time work at banks and credit unions.

Then there were the financial services and insurance companies, commission only, that burn you out selling to your family and friends before they promote you to recruit new family and friends to sell to their family and friends.  There was no line to talk to the recruiter at the financial services company that had a poster boasting that the average income of their class of 2012 was over $400K.

One recruiter from a paperless mortgage company impressed me as probably being a former car guy by the way he tried to get me to submit to the premise of his questioning. He was smart and passed me off to someone else when I wouldn’t play. This was a work from home commissioned sales job selling mortgages to your friends and family.

Ask the recruiters

Ask the recruiters

There are low paying government jobs available.  The recruiters from Monmouth County printed out this page and were handing it out.

There are lots of law enforcement jobs apparently.  DEA, TSA, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police.  The idea of being a Federal Air Marshal sounds glamorous.  But like many, if not most, of the people I observed at the job fair today, I am over the maximum age of 37.

“You seem really happy,” I said to a middle aged women taking notes while standing just away from the crowd of job seekers and recruiters, “you must have a job.” “Don’t say that,” she said and went into a rehearsed speech she had obviously given before.  It was a good speech. She then introduced herself as a Job Developer from Union County scouting out this job fair for tips on how run their own.  “I knew you had a job,” I said with a smile before moving on. “Hang in there, keep that great smile,” she said.

The state of the job market for middle aged Monmouth County residents is not the most depressing phenomena I witnessed at Brookdale today. That was pretty bad, but oddly, makes me feel better about what I’m doing.

The worst thing I saw at Brookdale today was in the men’s room.   Educational aids in the bathroom!  I’ve heard that a lot of education at community colleges is remedial, but if we really need to teach our high school graduates these lessons we should be up in arms about more than Common Core and Abbott Districts.

Educational aides in Collins Arena, Brookdale Community College

Educational aids in Collins Arena, Brookdale Community College

I bet I could start a profitable business selling remedial education posters.

Posted: April 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Art Gallagher, Asbury Park Press, Brookdale Community College, Economy, Education, Monmouth County | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

14 Comments on “Depressing scene at Brookdale Job Fair”

  1. Jow Wedick said at 8:24 am on April 5th, 2014:

    Used to be the U.S. middle class was the world’s economic driver – what we bought dictated the corporations day-to-day plans and visions, including the understanding that they would provide good paying middle class jobs so we could afford the products. Now we stand in lines looking for jobs that are longer there, forced to compromise our dreams and needs to satisfy shareholders expectations on return as our jobs are sent abroad to meet them. The middle class has risen in places like China & India and other far off lands and the corps are there to employ them and sell to them and we have been slowly becoming an afterthought in the boardrooms of the world

  2. Helene said at 9:31 am on April 5th, 2014:

    There are many jobs in medical coding. Oct. of this year there will be a transition from ICD9 codes to ICD10 codes. Hospitals are hiring now. Brookdale offers a course in coding, not an exciting job but there are many benefits. Once trained you can work from home, hospitals offer insurance & pension plans, etc. Jobs are available, sometimes you have to start at the bottom again. Good luck with the hunt.

  3. dentss said at 10:47 am on April 5th, 2014:

    Need anymore proof that H Ross Perot was 100% right ,and the Democrats that laughed were 100% wrong

  4. Joe Wedick said at 11:17 am on April 5th, 2014:

    Helene – you may be right – but it’s not sometimes have to start at the bottom anymore – that is now pretty much the norm. No doubt there are jobs out there at the 8 to 14 an hour, some even w/benefits – but where are the ones that those who spent tens of thousands on degrees were lead to believe would be there. I’m going to guess that a majority of those who showed at BCC had at least an Associates, if not a Bach. or Masters degree in areas that defined this country’s economy. How hard do they have swallow their pride, their dignity, their sense of self worth and toss aside that education because those jobs were shipped somewhere else? So they take one or even two of these jobs and listen to the reports that this company or that company’s recent earnings report failed to measure up to the expectations of some nameless Wall Street analysts while they sit at the drive thru getting dinner for the kids to eat because there’s not enough time for the now quaint notion of the family dinner table – the place where standards and expectations of the child were once reinforced on a daily basis by one if not two parents. No, we now reach the kids via texts or FB and learn that those peers of theirs that they run with have more influence on our kids sense of right and wrong than we do. But we have to work to pay the bills, to make ends meet – many times for elderly parents as well – so we stand in these lines and wait for the jobs that match our well educated job seekers to return – resigned to the reality that corp. America is more focused on the Wall St analysts feelings than ours and these jobs aren’t coming back.

  5. What you have failed said at 11:28 am on April 5th, 2014:

    to include in this discussion, is the absolute disrespect and hatred this pres. and administration have for the middle class he claims to be the champion for- he has done everything he can to beat us into submission,with the constant tax increases and regulations that steal more and more from the makers to give to the takers- we cannot sustain $1 trillion a year being confiscated from us,to multiply the growing underclass into lifetime recipients,with no ambition but to be available every election, to keep voting the socialists back into power, and keeping all the social programs bleeding money..Until and unless we begin to change this suicidal dynamic, we will continue on the downward spiral of part- time work, (if any,) dreams crushed, and third-world status- exactly what he came here to do, in the first place!

  6. Joe Wedick said at 12:02 pm on April 5th, 2014:

    “What you have failed”… this isn’t about 1 president or Congress – it’s been taking place for over 20 years – with both major parties having a hand in it. When a Senator or Rep. has to spend at least 3 days a week fundraising to get enough campaign funds in place to run a reelection bid, then all their votes become suspect – regardless of party labels or policies. Corps and their reps are there with the money – always there and given the recent Supreme Court decision, will be there even more. I (and probably you) can recite time and again each party’s failure to look out for the middle class, at wasted opportunities to create situations that would rectify the current status quo and we’d be no better than the talking heads on any of the cable channels who offer up their agenda driven version of the news on a daily basis. And yet, we continue to stand in these job seeking lines, trying to figure out how we are at least as important as we would like to think we are. Then more often than not close to 60% of us stay home on the one day we really do matter – Election day

  7. Helene said at 12:24 pm on April 5th, 2014:

    @Joe, I realize that they way it should be is not the way it is. There are opportunies to work, it may not be your dream job but it may lead you there. Instead of waiting for things to get better in this economy do something to improve your own situation. Sometime you have to pull yourself up repeatedly. If you have a degree in an area where there are no jobs, you picked the wrong degree.

  8. Joe Wedick said at 12:55 pm on April 5th, 2014:

    Thanks Helene – but I wasn’t writing about myself, I was writing about anyone and everyone – the average Joe or Jo – who has repeatedly picked themselves up already and find that because Wall Street’s expectations weren’t met, that their job is being cut or shipped to help make sure that the next quarterly report will meet those expectations. The field you describe, if I’m not mistaken Medical Coding – requires an aptitude for Latin and Greek terminology from which many coding references are made and while there are those that wouldn’t have a problem with that, we are in large part at the point in our educational system of teaching remedial English in college, where there are many who would be hard pressed to describe the difference between “except” and “accept”. How are they to invent themselves in this economy in the first place, never mind reinvent. The jobs that where one could use their hands, that paid a livable wage with benefits that didn’t require more than an HS diploma or today’s Associates degree were sent elsewhere and nobody that I know is doing much about getting them back – Dem or Rep

  9. cheryl reade said at 1:18 pm on April 5th, 2014:

    I was one of the masses 10 years ago. Worked for Computer Associates in Long Island and we were bought out and the “fat” was trimmed. Translation, any one making over 50,000 and had over 25 years, that they could replace by a kid out of college who will stay there 2 years and leave them high and dry, and looking for a new kid from college that they can train …. and so on. I couldn’t get hired anywhere. I had the experience the knowledge, but I had the beginnings of gray hair… that left me out. Finally found a job at a doctors office making less than 1/3 my old salary. Positive side, met a lot of people, learned how to work with macs and servers. But the money sure sucked. Had to leave do to husbands illness…. now I am alone and have no job again.

  10. Helene said at 2:23 pm on April 5th, 2014:

    @Cheryl, I as so sorry for your loss. I am not willing to give my email address on this blog but if you are interested in a coding position I would consent to Art giving you my email. You have work experience that may make you a good candidate for one of the many positions available
    @Joe, I am fully aware of various levels of work capabilities and of the obstacles many people of all backgrounds face. I would like to see people working, not only at a job but making life better for themselves & family. It is not easy, I know this. It’s not time to give up, it’s time to try harder.
    @Art, if Cheryl wants my email please give it to her, I will be happy to help her find a job.

  11. Jason said at 6:09 pm on April 5th, 2014:

    Companies have discovered they can do more with fewer people. When large numbers of employees are laid off in big companies, the stock rises and profits do as well. These companies are not the “job creators.” Job creation is accomplished by creating customers. You want jobs…put dollars into the hands of those who will spend it immediately rather than socking it away in a swollen investment portfolio.

  12. Spiritual Guru said at 10:24 am on April 6th, 2014:

    Things are changing so fast that job stability and job security is no longer available to many, especially in NJ. The reasons are partially political and partially based on progress. There is nothing that an individual can do in the short term to change that tide.

    My belief is that the only way for an individual to navigate through the muddy economic waters is to follow opportunities wherever they may be in the world. That is important whether you want to go into business or become salaried.

    For example, there are tons of oil related jobs in North Dakota. Texas is now booming and has completely recovered from the 2007 real estate crash. There are a few other pockets of stability around America. It might require retraining.

    It is depressing because it breaks up family and friends. But your first duty is to stay productive. God did not put you here to seek paradise but, instead, he wants to see how you react to the challenges that come your way. And then he wants to see if you will keep your eyes on him during those challenges. Only then can the real reward come.

    UNLESS –

    You join the Obama brigade, where it is good to be poor and trickle up poverty is glamorized. In that case, free homes, free food, free cell phones, free drugs, and a weekly government check will keep you breathing for a few more days.

    If you choose that method, you will receive your reward in this life. Then you will be judged accordingly when worldly life on earth no longer exists.

  13. Depressing scene at Brookdale Job Fair – MoreMonmouthMusings | How To Pass CPC Test | How To Pass CPC Test said at 1:27 pm on April 6th, 2014:

    […] College, Brookdale job fair, Economy, Gannett, Job Market, Neptune Nudniks, Town Square Media | 12 Comments » […]

  14. Kenneth Lang said at 2:24 pm on April 6th, 2014:

    Job fairs like the one mentioned in this article are nothing more than a ‘cvattle call’ or an excuse for companies to stockpile resumes, maybe even send out email blasts to those who attend. It’s not and never has been time well-spent but it’s what most people think they need to do. In interest of ‘full disclosure’ I facilitate a free weekly local job support in northern NJ where we discuss best ways to seek jobs, and to network in general. There are jobs available but it’s a case of knowing how to ‘find’ them. There’s also a lot of discrimination out there and it’s not provable but it exists. I’m of that ‘certain age’ and was out of work for several months before recently finding my next assignment.

    Having said that, until those who are out of work actually come together and put combined pressure on politicians and separately on companies to hire people, this will be a sceanrio that doesn’t go away soon.

    We have CEOs, etc. getting paid astronomical salaries and this country continues to send aid and help out foreign interests while forsaking its own.