I recently received an e-mail from a guy named Larry Dinsmore who said he had a resource for my readers. Always interested in that topic, I checked out his Web site, and here’s what I found: a photo of Dinsmore in a T-shirt that blared “Damn I need a job.” On the back of the shirt he listed his qualifications as an information technology guy.
I was intrigued.
Upon further investigation, I discovered Dinsmore, 39, was from Lexington, Ky., and had been a database programmer for 15 years before he lost his job.
I e-mailed Dinsmore back and said I wanted to know more. I asked him if he would agree to share our conversation with visitors to my blog, and he readily agreed.
1. So, what is up with that “Damn I need a job” T-shirt?
The tone of “Damn, I Need a Job” doesn't really do justice to how I was feeling back in 2005. It was more like "DAMN!!!! I NEED A FREAKING JOB AHHH!!!!!!!!" I had sent out well over a hundred resumes and had only a few interviews. I felt like I had done all I could think of to find work. I was thinking, “What's left? What have I missed? What else can I do?”
I was downtown just looking around, and I knew that everywhere I looked there was someone who probably knew of some opening at their place of work. How do I let them know I'm available? So the idea was born. I'll admit that I had visions of the idea/Web site www.damnineedajob.com becoming my job and that was fine with me. In getting the word out about my idea and Web site I would of course have to put my shirt into practice. I did. People noticed.
2. So, the million dollar question is: Did you get a job from wearing your T-shirt, or just a lot of weird looks?
The local news noticed. Actually I called them and told them what I was doing but they were interested enough to come and talk to me and ran the story. That lead to a chain of events where it eventually got back to the IT manager of the place I am now. So yes, my idea was directly responsible for my employment status today. And yeah, there were some weird looks along the way as well.
3. Your bulletin board has some interesting posts, including one from a 12-year-old girl who says she really wants a job “so I can pay my cell phone bill so my parents won’t ground me every time the bill comes.” But there are more desperate pleas for work, many from people who say they’re homeless, or nearly homeless, some trying to support children. What do you think this says about the state of the unemployed in America today?
I used to moderate that board a little more than I do these days. I would hope that a sampling from my humble bulletin board would not represent the employment state of America. If it does I'm glad to see that the homeless have Internet access and are tech savvy.
Seriously though, I do believe that the people that arrive at my site are desperate. I have received many e-mails from folks telling me how frustrated they are and thanking me for the inspiration. These people have been from a wide variety of educations levels. My Web statistics tracking software tells me that 98 percent of the people who come to my site have arrived there by typing “I Need A Job” into a search engine. That in itself smells of desperation. What I mean by that is if I was looking for a job and decided to use the Internet in my search process I believe I would search for “Job's in Lexington” or “Job Site's” or “Computer work in Kentucky”.
If I was frustrated, at my wits end, plopping down at the computer and just typing “I need a job” is a reflection of my state of mind I think.
4. What would be your best advice for someone trying to survive looking for work?
GO TO ANY LENGTHS TO GET NOTICED!! At least that's what I say on my site.
If you take away anything from my site, remember to be creative, think outside the box, have the courage to move beyond your comfort level. Wearing the shirt, being on the news, posting my experiences on the Web and drawing all this attention to myself was not in my comfort zone.
But by pushing through my insecurities I got noticed. I made things happen. Recently I have heard it said that you make your own luck. I certainly buy into that.