So, I'll be pursuing the same course I did following my first layoff -- freelance writing. I was successful for almost seven years before I went back to 9-5 work for what was then my biggest client, a publisher for Chambers of Commerce, and the same employer who just laid me off after 16 years. I'm also working to promote my husband's business as an architetural illustraor. I have applied for a few jobs, a dozen or so that've found online, but the results have so far been about what I expected: no response, no acknowledgement of even receiving the resume or application. Well, I take that back -- I've had one interview (no response following it, however) and a "thanks but no thanks" for another job applied for -- though I was turned down, I was grateful that the company had the courtesy to reply. I think that's what is most humiliating and discouraging -- the paucity of response. A job-seeker is already demoralized by being laid off, even though many others are in the same situation as they are in this economy. When you don't receive a reply to an application or submitted resume, it only makes the job-seeker to feel more alone, more ignored -- like a societal cast-off -- which only adds to greater discouragement and probably leads to a feeling of hopelessness that you'll ever find your self-respect, much less a job. I know that because there are so many people out of work, it may be close to impossible for an HR manager or small business owner to answer every reply to his or her help wanted ad. I made the attempt, though, when I was emplouyed and received applications to a job posting, to respond to every one, even if it was jkust a quick two-line "thanks for your interest" message. And even though I knew more than half the applications I received were from people who obviously sent their resumes to most every job they found on monster.com or CareerBuilders, I still replied because it was the right thing to do, and what I would expect or want if I was the applicant. Unfortunately, and especially in the current job market, it seems job applicants are viewed as just that -- not as people seeking work -- as just another cover letter, just another digital resume. Whether a good economy or bad, joblessness and job search are debilitating and demeaning. HR administrators and hiring managers would do well to think about that and put forth more effort to at least acknowledge applications and resumes. Job seekers are people, too.