Wednesday, January 5, 2011

So Grim, I Should Become A Reaper

So, as most people know, it's been kind of a rough year for jobs in the Berry household. There was the 6 month contract job, then the utter lack of job over the summer, then the nearly 90 days of hell at the last job, then coming back to Borders just to have the company realize they're flat broke and face the future reality that I will most likely be out of a job again very soon. And that's just me, that doesn't even go into what Jason's been doing. But, suffice it to say, it's been a rough year. There are some pin pricks of hope out there on the horizon for me, but that's all they are at the moment. No guarantee that anything will become reality. And, at the end of the day, this just leaves me craving a bit of stability. I think about all of the mess Jason and I have had to deal with the past year and the truth is that we've been really lucky. We haven't had to sacrifice as much as a lot of other people have, and we haven't had to worry constantly about being able to pay our bills. It's been stressful, yes, and more than a little frustrating, but it hasn't left us desperate and hopeless. We're very lucky in that. There are people who have lost their homes, there are people who have been out of work for two years and now their children are dropping out of college to work a minimum wage job (or sometimes multiple minimum wage jobs) just to help their parents make ends meet. When I think about how all I want is stability and some medical insurance, I also have to remind myself that there are a lot of people out there right now who are doing a lot worse.

This brings me to the outraged part of this entry, because despite everything that may happen in life, I am still me and therefore still prone to outrage. What has me outraged is that it seems like no matter what happens, the little guy can't seem to catch a break in this world. I keep hearing that a lot of large corporations are now posting higher profits than they have in the past couple of years which, in theory, should be translating into more jobs, but it's not. It's not translating into anything other than more profits and more money in the pockets of large shareholders and corporate executives. Any new jobs being created are being created in China, or India where those corporate fat cats can pay workers less and therefore increase their profits even more. In a country that is still struggling, despite what some analysts will tell us about how we're starting on an "upswing" it is blowing my mind that we're still creating jobs in other places rather than here where people need them. We have the workforce. We have people who are intelligent and skilled and down on their luck, but they don't seem to catch a break. And, for thsoe companies who ARE hiring people, we are seeing lower wages being offered because they know people are desperate and will take whatever they can get right now, so why pay more if you don't have to? And instead of hiring more workforce, they are putting added pressure on employees to work more hours, give up more of their personal lives, spend more time pledging their lives to "the company" because in the end that corporation ends up getting more work for less money. It is unfair, and it's wrong. It's enough to make you sick. And then we have politicians making comments about valuing education and how we ened to get our education system on track, but we are giving no future to the educated person. Why should a student go to college and end up with $30K or more in loan debt just to get out of college and realize there are no jobs for you, and you have to figure out how to make a $400 per month loan payment while making $7.75 an hour working retail somewhere. We want better teachers, but we don't have a system in place to employ all of the teachers who are graduating with this new and improved training.

The republican solution of allowing states to go bankrupt so they can break their union contracts is wrong and unfair. I know a lot of anti-union people out there, but being the little guy who got let go for no real reason except that someone didn't like me, I would have killed to have a union there to represent me and say "You don't get to do that". Cutting contracts simply because they belong to union run companies who have someone to protect the employees from getting screwed over and pain less than they are worth so someone can turn a higher profit kind of sucks. Or not moving the debt cap, so that we will not just screw over our own economy but also the global economy? Brilliant idea republicans. Let's take that one to the bank and cash it.

In short, I am worried about the future, for myself and for the rest of the country. I'm worried about people who need jobs and can't find them. I'm worried about people who have jobs but are constantly afraid of losing them. I'm worried about where we are going as a country. And the most frustrating and infuriating part is that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I can vote, which I do, but beyond that there isn't a lot that I have the power to do to change the way things are going, and I really hate the feeling of helplessness I'm left with on a regular basis. The most I can do is keep on keepin' on, and doing the best I can for whatever amount of time I am able to do it, but it's time for a break. It's time for someone to say enough is enough and give the little people some help. We're tired, and we're scared, and we're angry. The banks got a break and a bailout, the auto companies got a break, the corporate fat cats are always getting breaks. Where is ours?

1 comment:

Jason said...

You know, I posted a comment, but it got too long. I made it a blog.

The short story, anyone who isn't a rich business owner is a moron if they don't support unions. A company will screw you over if they could (and do when they can), and will pay you the lowest possible wage they can get away with.