If I were you I'd be knocking on every door. You need to make some money!
This is a discussion (more of an argument) I actually had with a relative. Mind you, I'm not some Instagram obsessed teenager laying around the house binging on Netflix. For god's sake! I'm in my late 40's.
I can't afford to binge on anything. That's what's so irritating.
It's one thing to be 20-something and have trouble finding work. Nobody judges you. Your frustration has more to do with unbridled ambition than a perceived character flaw.
If you've followed this blog for any amount of time you know my story. I've worked....hard. I've ticked off all the boxes; College, career, sacrifice, frugality. I followed the rules, kept my options open and always kept an ear to the ground.
All seemingly for nothing.
I had a fairly stable living for many years that allowed me to not only better myself but my family. Now that same family is harder to deal with than a bill collector.
I understand their disillusionment. For a long time I was looked at as the guy who always seemed to be able to keep it together. I took adversity with aplomb (well mostly, I do tend the bitch a lot)
These days I can barely afford to feed myself. To them it must seem like I've given up.
Thing is, I haven't but I'm far more disillusioned and frustrated than they are.
There was a time when there was always a fallback position. If you couldn't find work in your own field you could at least find something to keep you going til you did.
It doesn't take much investigation to find confirmation of what I always suspected was true. That being that regardless of the unemployment numbers and Wall Street rallies there are still way too many barriers to making a living.
Minimum wage hasn't kept up with the cost of living for a generation but worse than that the competition for jobs that offer it is staggering. Look at the candidates for these jobs and you find everything from the high school kid to PhD's.
Those who've never suffered the indignity of rejection for a low wage job don't understand. They believe there are still jobs whose only requirement is a warm body.
These days even flipping burgers requires training on your own dime just to obtain a food handler's card. With that in hand you're well on your way to 25 hours a week crafting Angry Whoppers for the princely sum of $8.05/hr. Oh yeah, with benefits too, if you can afford the payroll deduction....
It gets worse....
Now we're hearing an uproar over raising the minimum wage to something in line with what it actually costs to live somewhere other than your car.
"It'll cause higher unemployment!"
"We can't afford to pay more!"
" It'll break the back of small business!"
Which ticks me off even more. While all these "job creators" game the system to overwork and underpay their current employees, they place hurdles in the way of new hires to ensure nothing changes.
There's no way around it and if you don't understand what I'm about to say I'm sorry but you're either bloody stupid or worse a selfish bastard.
Hiring someone full time for a wage they can't live on in a first-world country is institutionalized slavery.
Offering only part time hours and scheduling employees so that it's impossible for them to get another part time job is even worse. As an employer you're effectively forcing your workforce into poverty for no other reason than greed.
Don't give me that crap about high labor costs either. If you can't afford the means to sell your product you don't have a damned clue about how to properly run a business.
Employees are your partners not your slaves. Paying them shouldn't be looked at as "an inconvenience."
That's historical fact.
Meaning any business, especially BIG business that argues against a livable wage is taking the same position as the Civil War South. For them it was about cheap labor to improve their bottom line.
In America, it's not about some misguided fantasy of climbing the ladder of success. it's about production at the lowest possible cost. That means near poverty wages to keep an unskilled workforce forever unskilled and powerless. Now add in the yoke of the "Credit Economy" that exists only to perpetuate itself. A faceless beast fed by the poor. By the way, that includes you if you're only one paycheck from financial disaster.
It's hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps if the boots have a 29% interest rate.
We, all of us of unfortunate birth are increasingly subject to the indecencies of an inadequate paycheck that won't even cover the basic necessities.
It's nothing less than indentured servitude.
Which comes to people like me. I'm not unskilled but I'm not especially talented either. So I'm right there with you.
I hear a lot of, "You're a top candidate" when applying for jobs in my field only to not get the job. A bit too much of hearing that lately meaning I've taken to applying for "seasonal" positions with local retail stores.
Even then the whole premise is twisted..
Questions like, " Why do you want to work here?" Duh! I need money and you're supposedly hiring. Of course you can't say that. You have to come up with some bullshit about a life change and trying new things and ground floors for new starts, blah, blah, blah.
You're actually better off if you never did anything with your life. Otherwise that 6 figure resume becomes another hurdle to overcome fighting for a job you don't really want for a wage you can't really afford.
BTW, it's damned hard to dumb down a professional resume for $8.05/hr. Nobody's going to believe you've been sitting on your ass for 40 years of your life. The background check ( that they all run ) will show your lie anyway. So no, acting stupid isn't an answer...
Who the hell actually prepares a resume for a minimum wage retail job anyway? What are you going to say? Stocked shelves, greeted customers, kissed ass? All that crap fits on the application. Resume's are for the jobs you work after you get the hell out of retail.
Anyway, more to the point: that there's any expectation that working retail is a great career move is lunacy. I know, it's what I did when I was in high school 1000 years ago and I knew I didn't want to do it when I was my age now.
Give me a break. Once everyone's returned their Christmas gifts and yanked down the baubles and twinkly lights you're out the door buddy.
If'someone like me is on your doorstep looking for work, I'm fucking serious about being there. I've taken a deep breath, swallowed my pride and committed to the relationship.
By the way, never, ever tell me I need to swallow my pride.
I've been so beaten up that I don't have any left. I've seriously entertained a job delivering and cleaning port-a- potties. The only thing that stopped me was the lack of a commercial driver's license and being in my late 40's. Meaning I'm not sure I can lift 100 pounds 30 times a day every day on a job with no health benefits. ( That's what the ad actually said BTW )
I'm mad as hell that I'm being denied a living ( as corrupt as the word is in this country) and even angrier when someone assumes I'm not doing enough to improve my situation.
I'm also sick of being judged by people who don't deserve the jobs they have. Worse, when they cast aspersions on someone like me who's been in the field longer than they've been out of high school.
That sounds arrogant but remember, I know from whence I speak. Most of the people I've interviewed with (with rare exception) got their positions through the buddy system. I only say that because part of my interview preparation involves looking them up on LinkedIn. I've found IT directors whose last job was a sales director and others with no IT or management training at all.
I really don't care how they got their jobs just so long as it doesn't have an effect on me getting hired. Unfortunately, it does...
It's an old boys network and I DO MEAN old BOYS. I've yet to meet a female IT director. I doubt I'd have as much bullshit if I did. The nice thing about having a female manager is that chances are she's gone through a lot of crap to get where she is. That tends to minimize the games because she just doesn't have the time for it.
It's natural for the male of the species to feel threatened when someone better than him has come along even if he gets to boss you around. In my experience women don't engage in that kind of pissing contest.
If you think this is just a bunch of whining and excuses then put yourself in my shoes for a minute.
You're in you late 40's, lost all your income and can't replace it. Nobody takes you seriously when you apply for low-wage jobs and your relatives don't want to talk to you unless you're sending them a check.
Pull myself up by my bootstraps? My boots have holes in the soles buddy.
It doesn't stop me but what slows me down is your misinformed judgement. I'm putting it out there, no agenda but to survive.
Until you know what I'm going through (and I'm pretty sure most don't) keep your admonitions to yourselves and thank your creator that you don't have to be here.
I won't quit but I know a lot of people that dismiss me would have long ago.
That makes me better than them and if nothing else, that's worth living for. There needs to be a change and perhaps I need to feel the effects to understand how badly it needs to happen.
Livable wage now!