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The Specs Game Experience and System-Blame

The Specs Game Experience and System-Blame

(p.114) Chapter Five The Specs Game Experience and System-Blame
Flawed System/Flawed Self
Ofer Sharone
University of Chicago Press

Self-blame—one of the most painful dimensions of the unemployment experience of American white-collar workers—is virtually non-existent among Israeli white-collar job seekers who attribute their labor-market difficulties to defects in the “system” and not in themselves. This chapter links system-blame to the practices and experiences of job searching in the specs game. Job search practices, which may be assumed to be universal, such as writing résumés and interviewing, take on different meanings and require different forms of emotional labor in different institutional contests. This chapter describes how the structure of the specs game gives rise to a distinct job search experience, and how that experience generates the widely shared Israeli perception that it is not job search strategies that determine job search outcomes, but external factors that are outside job seekers’ immediate control. Unemployed Israelis end up feeling objectified and dehumanized by the hiring system and betrayed by the Israeli state.

Keywords:   Israel, job search strategies, resumes, interviewing, blaming the system, objectification, dehumanization, in-depth interviews

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