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Millennial Man Unable to Find Remote Job After Layoff, Health Diagnosis

In April 2023, Felipe Martins was recovering from a knee replacement when his surgeon called him and told him he needed to see him immediately.

Tests identified a non-cancerous tumor in his knee, the 36-year-old told Business Insider via email. If the disease began to spread, his leg might have to be amputated, and the several months he spent in physical therapy for his knee replacement would have been for nothing.

At the time, Martins was working in Utah for the sales department of a technology company, a position he had held for about nine years. He had continued to work while undergoing physical therapy, and he planned to do the same while receiving any necessary treatment related to his diagnosis.

But on May 1, Martins received a call from someone he didn’t know who worked for his employer. They said they had to schedule a meeting with him this afternoon to discuss something.

This was not good news. Martins, along with a few other members of his department, were fired. He would receive one month’s severance pay.

“You see memes on the Internet saying companies aren’t fair,” he said. “And I thought, ‘Sure, but my company loves and respects me. I’m valued.’ No, I wasn’t.

In the 12 months since he was fired, Martins said he actively searched and applied for jobs but didn’t have much luck. He believes several factors could work against him, including layoffs in the tech sector, its focus on remote positions, transparency with employers about one’s health and the prevalence of “ghost jobs” – job postings. job platforms that companies no longer are. actively recruiting for.

Although the “constant rejection” was discouraging, Martins said he plans to keep trying.

Most American men who want a job have one – the male unemployment rate is low compared to previous decades. But Martins is among the men who have struggled to find work recently — or who have stopped looking altogether. In 1950, about 97 percent of American men ages 25 to 54 were employed or actively seeking work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By April, that figure had fallen to around 89%.

One possible explanation for this decline is that in recent decades, health problems have kept many men out of the workforce. In an analysis of 2022 census data by the San Francisco Fed, nearly 40% of U.S. men ages 25 to 54 cited disability or illness as the reason they weren’t working. As a result, more men have turned to Social Security disability benefits to help them get by.

In recent years, the rise of remote work and historically high job postings have helped more people with health conditions find jobs. In 2023, nearly 23% of Americans with disabilities were employed — the largest share on record since data collection began in 2008, according to the BLS.

But remote jobs aren’t as common as they used to be — and there’s competition to land one.

The share of U.S. remote job postings on LinkedIn fell from more than 20% in April 2022 to around 10% in December 2023. Despite this decline, LinkedIn said remote positions accounted for 46% of all applications in December.

Martins discussed how he reacted to his layoff and the challenges he faced while searching for a job.

Ghost Jobs and Scammers Have Made Job Searching Even More Frustrating

When Martins was laid off, he said it wasn’t the loss of income that primarily concerned him.

“I needed to go through this meeting so I could learn how to continue to be insured once the month was over,” he said, referring to the meeting in which he learned he had lost his job. “I didn’t have time to cry and pull myself together.”

When he learned he could get health insurance through COBRA for $800 a month, he almost immediately set to work on the paperwork to ensure it would be processed quickly – and he would not be “left hanging” without insurance if a necessary procedure arises. , he said.

Although the cost is difficult to bear, he thinks it’s worth it given his health problems: He said he could keep coverage for up to three years. Fortunately, his tumor did not spread and he did not need surgery. Martins said he had an exam every few weeks to check monitor his status.

But without a job, he faced financial difficulties.

Martins said he saved quite a bit of money and collected unemployment benefits for a while, which helped him pay his bills. He also plans to move to Washington to live with his parents, who want to be closer to him as he deals with his health issues. This will also allow him to save money on housing.

Partly because of his upcoming move, Martins said he is focusing his job search on remote positions. He said he hoped to find a job that would allow him to continue his physical therapy and take time off for treatment if necessary.

But his search has been difficult so far, in part because layoffs in the tech industry have intensified competition for a limited number of jobs, he said.

When Martins comes across job offers, he doesn’t always know if they’re real. He believes he has encountered many ghost jobs.

“Some companies on LinkedIn are still advertising the same position and have been for almost a year now,” he said. “I’ve applied for these positions at least half a dozen times now.”

Martins also believes some job postings he sees are created by “scammers.”

For example, he said he recently received an email from a company whose website domain name was the name of a real company, followed by the word “jobs.” However, the real company’s website had a different domain name and the quality of the site made Martins suspicious.

Using the Whois lookup tool, he discovered that the suspicious website was created on April 18.

“I received an email from the scammer on April 19, so they definitely didn’t waste any time preying on people,” he said.

Martins said the “business plus jobs” domain name format is common in his experience. with scammers. He added that recruiters who can’t answer basic questions about a role and compensation that seem too good to be true are all potential red flags.

“They hook you up, offer you huge salaries and hope that people are too blown away by imagining themselves going into banking to ask questions,” he said.

Business Insider spoke with several people who said they were almost tricked into sending money to scammers. The Federal Trade Commission has more information about employment scams and how to avoid them.

Finally, Martins said he sometimes wonders how much his health problems, which he reveals to potential employers, are hurting his job search.

“Maybe I’m a little too honest about my condition and no one wants someone like me,” he said.

Despite these challenges, Martins said he plans to continue his job search and explore some roles in person once you arrive in Washington.

“There’s no harm in continuing to try,” he said. “What’s the worst that can happen? Your CV ends up in the trash.”

Are you a man who is not looking for work or having difficulty finding work? Are you ready to share your story? If so, contact this reporter at jzinkula@businessinsider.com.

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