Companies hate workers: How the job search destroys dignity

Photo by the New York Public Library via Unspash

Companies hate employees. This is the conclusion I’ve reached after two months of applying for jobs. Companies would prefer all jobs be completed by drones and Roomba vacuums.

People cost money. We know how much businesses, especially corporations, hate to lose a penny of profit to payroll and benefits.

I say employees. I, of course, don’t mean executives. Executive compensation must be protected at all costs.

We need the best and the brightest at the tops of our corporations.

That was what a former boss once told me when I asked if the executive bonus program had been suspended during a pay freeze.

That boss is now an executive. They were one of the best and brightest and I didn’t even recognize it.

Companies sometimes post ads for jobs. I think this is practical joke on those of us in the virtual unemployment line.

I envision a room of people in nice business attire laughing so hard they cry as some mope like me cuts and pastes his resume into a job board form for the umpteenth time.

I bet they’ve hacked the microphone and camera on my laptop to watch me throw a Funko Pop across the room in frustration.

(This is an exaggeration. I would never throw a Funko Pop across the room.)

I assure you the audio from my daily job search machinations would make the average gangsta rap album sound like church music.

The daily job search involves at least one breakdown in which I scream into my hands trying to format my resume into some empty fields because it failed to automatically upload into the system.

Because the resume never uploads properly. Never. EVER.

There are companies you can go to get advice on how to write your resume and cover letters.

The advice focuses on keywords. These words trip the software potential employers use to weed through the applicants.

The result is hours of work for the applicant that is wiped out by a single pass of a computer algorithm. This work rarely results in even a polite email rejection letter.

I’ve applied for dozens of jobs and gotten only three or four responses indicating that the business was moving forward with other candidates.

I got one phone call Tuesday. I lost bids on two jobs in one call.

This was expected. I applied at a place where I knew I was unlikely to be hired. The head of the shop called in person. She was gracious, but there was no home for me to be had there.

She “didn’t want to close the door completely, but …” the message was clear. The door is closed. Move along.

So it goes.

And so it has gone for two months.

Few endeavors in my 45 years have left me feeling so dehumanized than the search for a job.

I started working with a firm that helps people who lost their job find jobs. They took a look at my resume. They offered suggestions.

I apparently need a “personal branding statement.” There’s a video to watch. I’m waiting until the drug store opens so I can make sure I have enough Pepto Bismol on hand.

“Personal brand.”

Toilet paper has brands. Cows on the range have brands. I’m a person. I don’t have a brand.

I thought my value as an employee was implicit in my years of experience and the quality of my work.

But that’s an old-fashioned idea, gone with buggy whip, village blacksmiths and handshake deals.

I entered the workforce with the foolish notion that I would be judged based almost entirely on my work.

That was never true.

I always missed the thing that seemed to have nothing to do with my actual job. It was, in reality, the most important thing for the future of my bosses, all of whom were scheming to get into the best and the brightest club.

I was too cranky and bullheaded to think that was my responsibility. I was wrong. That, apparently, is the only job that matters.

Now I know.

I worry this revelation comes to late.

I spent nearly three decades honing the skill of writing, the act of using words to communicate ideas and stories to the general public.

I worry this, too, is old fashioned thinking.

Selling whatchamacallits and thingamabobs through tweets and Instagram posts is probably the last frontier for creative people inclined toward verbal expression.

My mission in life now becomes convincing a company through these byzantine electronic systems that the way I sling sentences and stack paragraphs is valuable enough for them to take a chance on me.

The results so far have been discouraging.

Daniel P. Finney, independent journalist

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit


  1. droll53 says:

    My heart and prayers go out. This is so unfair; and to make things worse it is happening to many.
    God speed.


  2. Rhonda Gammell says:

    I would love to make a donation but don’t do PayPal. Do you have a PO Box or Mailing Address that I could send check, cash or gift card to? Really enjoy your writing, Daniel!


    1. 1217 24th St., APT 36, Des Moines, IA 50311


  3. Nancy says:

    You share what many are feeling. Glad you are willing to always speak your heart….you continue to help others through your trials.


  4. cdbteach says:

    Wouldn’t it be cool if there was an independent journalist’s collective? I’d pay into that at least what I put in NPR. Have you heard of anyone doing that?


    1. I like the idea. I think the problem is people have already chosen between being informed and being entertained. Informed failed to carry a single precinct. What the mass audience wants — the kind needed to sustain that kind of production — is to have their biases affirmed. Maybe a niche thing on razor thin margins could work, but it’s hard to imagine having as few resources and as wide a focus as most newspapers today.

      Liked by 1 person

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