Friday, May 13, 2011

Tough Out There

The other day a man came into the library. He's been in a few times, always to use the computer, always to apply for jobs. The first time he came in, he was trying to apply to a grocery chain. As he answered page after page of questions, he kept getting error messages. He entered something incorrectly by leaving a space in an email address, or he left something blank. Finally his time would run out and his session would end, automatically, and he'd lose all the information he had spent an hour entering. When he started over, I helped him create a name and password, in case the same thing happened.

A week or two later, back at the computer, he was applying for a different job. It was janitorial. He was stuck on an early part of the application process, where it asked him to upload a resume. He didn't have a resume, let alone one that he could upload. I suggested the free workshops that the library offers at our main branch to help write resumes; he didn't ask for any details, but I hope he follows up on it.

He was extremely kind, and even more patient. I feel bad that jobs that have nothing to do with computers have this extra technological barrier. But it's tough out there--people who are very computer literate and college-educated are competing for many of the same jobs as others with only a high school diploma. (That isn't to say that a college degree is required for computer literacy--I know many, both of my brothers included, who are more savvy on computers than their educated counterparts!)

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