As I was driving to church this morning, I was lamenting the job market. "Ruthlessly efficient" was the term that came to mind.
In our economic culture, that's what business is supposed to do, find the best person for the job. Note that the job is the key, not the person. There is a function that needs to be done, and the HR department's job is to "get 'er done" in the most efficient way possible, just as the guy in purchasing looking at buying widgets and jointroints is looking to find the best value possible for the firm when getting those parts.
The same is true in the non-profit sector. Schools will hire the best teachers, hospitals will hire the best nurses, doctors, clerks and janitors, the county road commission will hire the best available folks for the needed skills in keeping the roads fixed, et cetera. Even churches will hire the best people for the various jobs. Non-profits have people they are serving, but their focus is on delivering that service (education, health care, road repair, delivering the Gospel) rather than serving their employees.
Mercy is (generally) not part of the job description of the HR department; you can't have mercy on a resume, anyway.
Only in a few cases will people get hired because they could use the job. However, those are typically in narrow cases where the service/ministry is getting people a job and are often at a low-skill end of the spectrum, giving a niche of the least of the these (the handicapped, parolees, recovering drug addicts) a job where the people are unlikely to be the best person for a job elsewhere.
However, if you're not in any of those niches, you're largely out of luck. Government might help some financial needs if you fit the right slot and charities might help with food and shelter if you're down on your luck, but finding a spot where you can contribute to society and use your talents is not a strong suit of either government or the charitable sector.
Yes, you can make your own job and start your own business or work as a consultant/free-lancer, I hear the libertarian wing of the Peanut Gallery hollering. However, the former requires both a good idea that has a market for it that you have an aptitude to deliver and the latter requires selling your services on an ad-hoc basis rather than a full-time basis, and runs into the what-gets-'er-done-best meme I laid out above.
"Dignity" is a word I often here in Catholic rhetoric on this front; that resonates with me right now. People are treated as parts in a machine in the job market, picked over like bananas in the produce section. The Church seems to do a poor job of delivering that compassion to the unemployed and underemployed beyond the standard food pantry-soup kitchen physical needs approach.
We normally don't use the word "ruth" as a non-proper noun (the touching Old Testament book or a great home run hitter are two that come quickly to mind in the proper-noun front), but it means "compassion for the misery of another". That's not the strong suit of HR departments, but it needs to be the strong suit of the Church.
Can folks express such misery? Not easily. It breaks up the Victorious Christian LifeTM meme, so it's not something folks are comfortable doing. It's also something folks aren't comfortable hearing or used to hearing, since an honest answer to "how'ya doin' " is off-putting.
Also, some problems don't go away. For instance, prayers for patience and God's will start to get old for the person who's been without a full-time job for four years. Yes, everything in God's time, but it feels like my order got misplaced somewhere back in the kitchen.
Delivering that compassion takes time, patience, and a sense of community that goes beyond the two minutes of neighbor-greeting after the first song of the service. It also need an acknowledgement that bad things do happen (and often keep happening) to good Christians.