It seems appropriate to begin by looking at Mrs Walsh. Most of what she's said has seemed to indicate that she was sort of ticked off at someone who clearly gave the impression of understanding that she was a volunteer only to turn around and make a lot of noise about wanting to be paid when there was not much money in the coffers. When she says "Be grateful you're being published!", it seems to me that she clearly implies that Elly could just as easily not see her name in print at all owing to her giving the opportunity to someone less whiny and pleading.
We next come to the job at the library that she used to have; while she's sitting in the Tiny Train House grumbling about how the awful little Martian who never writes, phones or even uses that scary, evil e-mail that MEN designed to frustrate
We follow that with her failed attempt to get a job at Philpotts's. This was something of a bust because what they saw was something appallingly common-place: a woman who looked very much like a tarnished trophy wife with not much education, no marketable skills, no knowledge of how to use modern business equipment and no real inclination to learn. Bleat as she will about how awful it was to be rejected by cold-hearted monsters who value scary, evil computers over people who are sincere, the fact is that the HR director isn't there to let pampered idiots play magnate.
For that, we have to turn to Lily Petrucci, former owner of the business Elly treated as if it were a hobby or something. When she first laid eyes on her, she saw Elly in much the same light as Mrs Walsh and the librarians did: grunt labor that could be bought off with shiny trinkets. Since Elly was the sort of reliable idiot who could be counted on to act more or less like a flesh-and-blood robot, Petrucci had no trouble selling the place to her because she knew that Moira would actually be calling the shots behind the scenes while the crazy idiot that the dentist married pretended to be the boss.
To sum things up, it's sort of obvious how employers see Elly: dumb muscle that will do mindless drudgery if they dress it up nicely enough. Oddly enough, that seemed to be why John married her. I guess this is where Detective Briscoe would have said that he doesn't believe in coincidences.