don't want to hire laid off workers. Apparently, some are even putting this is their job ads. Language such as "unemployed candidates will not be considered" or "must be currently employed" are being used in listings and the consensus seems to be that if you were laid off, you must have been let go for performance issues. I won't mix words here, this is just downright wrong and it makes me angry.
As someone who has worked in internal communications for some well-known companies, I have been privy to many privileged conversations pertaining to RIFs (i.e. layoffs). I know how and why decisions are made (frankly, more than I'd like to know). Although there may be a rare instance here and there where it's an opportunity to get rid of an under-performer, the primary reason for someone being let go is financial.
The person's salary is either disproportionately high by today's standards, the company is hemorrhaging money and has to start cutting people to remain solvent, management has found a cheaper way to do a job via outsourcing, the employee isn't in a revenue-generating position (e.g. sales, development, etc.), or some wise guy on the leadership team thinks he can save money by letting go an experience professional and having a junior employee take on the duties (with no change in quality, of course).
The career path I've chosen usually puts me in the last two categories and, unfortunately, I have been part of two massive layoffs in my life. Not because I was some deadbeat slacker who drooled and shopped on eBay all day, but because I cost money--money the company no longer had. And, unfortunately and erroneously, people think that anyone can write so why not lay off the gal who writes on behalf of the company?
I am shocked and dismayed that while our country is in the biggest recession and financial crisis since the Great Depression, that employers would discriminate against displaced workers. As for myself, I can say that both times I was laid off, I used the time to enhance my professional skills. I attended seminars and webinars, I read countless books to learn new skills and stay current, I actively networked to grow my list of professional contacts, I maintained my writing, and I seized every opportunity to improve myself. You know, that stuff you're too busy to do when you're working 60 hours a week. And, you know what? I knew more than my happily-employed peers did and found myself frequently teaching them new things.
Unemployed candidates will not be considered? That kind of thinking is misinformed, short-sighted, flawed, and downright un-American. Shame on any company that embraces this kind of unwarranted discrimination, especially in this economy.
Who's with me? Let's hear it!