As it happens, the day after my last (or rather, first) blog I got a call back. I am now employed as a bagel maker at a local supermarket. It's a part-time gig at minimum wage, so my job search is not over.
Today my dad (who is also unemployed) and I went to an "open house" at a personnel agency. I'll not mention the name; it doesn't matter, really, as they're all the same.
I was under the impression that an "open house" was like a mass job hunt. I figured that we would walk in there and leave with a new career. Not so! Instead, we were told to fill out countless forms and suffer through an interview. I went first. My mistake (or fortune, depending) was mentioning that I had a part-time job. Instantly, the lady I was speaking with told me that they could not help me. They only deal out full-time jobs, but I could call back if I see something on their website that I liked. Whew. Glad I asked.
My dad, meanwhile, was filling out some papers. When he was finished, the same lady started grilling him about his work experience. She wanted to know why he had no dates on his resume (it's because of possible ageism). She told him that any experience he had that was more than 10 years old was irrelevant, which isn't true. There's only one way to refine gold: fire it.
Finally, after all that, she asked him what his wage expectations were. He gave her a number (which I think is reasonable; can you really ask someone in their fifties if they'll work for minimum wage?) She promptly said that they have no jobs for him. Wasted an hour, we did.
My conclusion: these personnel agencies, funded by the government and put there to find me a job, are all a front. I think that all they have to do is get people to fill out the paperwork and the government pays them. They aren't actually required to find or give me a job! Pointless!