The article discussed the plight of the underemployed, and the unemployed who could not find work. The writer made a very clear point that in many cases of the long term unemployed, it takes so long and costs so much too conduct a job search, that eventually people stop looking for employment because they cannot afford to search any longer.
Although the article did not delineate the types of jobs that these job seekers had been after, or go into details of the costs incurred, it doesn't take much to be develop a reasonable approximation of the situation it speaks to.
The job hunt in an economically-constrained environment, where companies are slimming down and cutting costs, becomes naturally more difficult if companies stop flying candidates in for interviews, or even reimbursing the candidate for a cost like gas. Companies are more likely to leave vacant positions gapped, as opposed to back-filling it with a full-time hire, or may settle for a part-time hire. Where there may have been job opportunities galore five to six years ago, the pickings are getting slim to none, forcing the prospective job seeker to cast the net farther, in turn incurring considerably more expenses in the process as they travel to multiple distant locations (often at the extreme corners of the country).
It is now more important than ever to save towards your job search, on a recurring basis, and set the funds aside so that they are secure, readily accessible, and in sufficient quantity.
For that interview at a Fortune 500 company within 50 miles of your current location, you can probably get away with the cost of gas money and a meal or two for the day. If you are luky, lunch mght be charged to some hiring manager's expense account, but even those perks are getting slimmed down or axed as companies seek to cut costs and improve profits.
For the interview with a potential employer who wants you to interview at the manufacturing plant in question, you should expect to cover the cost of airfare, cab/rental car, hotel room and meals, as well as incidental expenses such as miscellaneous tips. You'll need to account for a trip of at least two days, with the first day set aside for travel, and the second day reserved for the interview(s), possible tour of the facility, and hopefully salary negotiations once you beat the competition and land the job.
Because you should assume that every job interview could result in an offer of employment by the end of the process (or why else would you take the trip?), it may be prudent to lengthen your stay, adding time to the front end so that you can scope the area out, figure out where you might want to live, and begin to build a cache of resources to facilitate your move and transition to the area. More importantt thatn anything else, factor time in to the front end to ensure you can get to your interview on time!
Nothing can be more stressful than trying to coordinate the start of a new job, and synchronize it with finding a new place to live, while dealing with the headaches of moving companies, pets, forwarding your mail, etc. I have moved my family seven times in the last 19 years, and each iteration throws a new wrench or two at my family, who are pros by now at the process. Reduce that stress by conducting a little reconnaissance while you are already in town to dazzle the company with your background. Additionally, be prepared for the company to make an offer before you leave. That is not the time to be indecisive, especially if you aren't getting nibbles on the remainder of the resumes you have out there.
Okay, so you folks don't catch a case of the downers with this post, try on some Muse - Map of the Problematique.
Then again, Bellamy is singing about a lot of loneliness, so I don't know...
PS. Remember to share your personal stories folks, and provide feedback on how this blog is doing!