At the end of 2019, I attended an independently organised event by and for people in the industry. There was a talk, and after some open discussion sparkled.
Someone was talking about fostering diversity when finding and hiring talent. And among the usual categories, one not-so-common. How can we find and hire people with diverse socio-economical backgrounds?
And there I was, speechless. With dozens of things to say popping up in my mind. Silent.
I had personal experiences that I could have shared about job hunting while having no money. Like withdrawing a job application for not having the tools necessary for taking an exercise.
I had no job at that time. And I had not had one for longer than I was comfortable with or comfortable sharing. Especially in an open discussion with more than a hundred of my peers. I was not homeless. But I got to the point where I had to think if using my travel card to go to a free event was worth it.
An event I was hesitant to attend, to begin with, because networking is not much fun when you do not have a job. When you are successful enough, it can be like a game. But when you need a job, it gets awkward. It is uncomfortable for everyone. But that is the point.
Why is it looked down on a person applying for a job to need money? It does not make much sense. We all buy into the fantasy that networking, hiring, and job hunting, are just a game. It is all in good fun, no one’s livelihood or ability to provide is on the line. We are just meeting people over a beer.
Even today it is hard to write about this. I can do it now because I am no longer in that position, and it still feels like I am sharing too much.
Sorry if I made you uncomfortable. But that was the point.