As a career-development specialist in the Boston area, I watch my clients translate who they are into what they do and then experience the satisfaction of meaningful employment. The process can be deeply fulfilling for both the job seeker and the career counselor. But I have recently come to realize that this work can also be damaging: I see now that for years I unknowingly perpetuated self-blame among those who, despite their best efforts, remain unemployed or underemployed.

Ofer Sharone’s book Flawed System/Flawed Self: Job Searching and Unemployment Experiences gave me a new framework for understanding the damaging effects of a fundamental premise behind most job search assistance: the idea that unemployment is the result of remediable failings in an individual’s job search strategy, rather than a systemic failure created by the structure of our economic system.

Sharone’s book helped me realize that I...

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