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What do You Want Me to Do Horror

Updated on August 11, 2010

That is what my friends say to me when we talk jobs- things they do not have. Many who have managed to remained employed for the past two years really have little clue as to what it is like. Seriously. They sympathize, empathize, dehumanize, the horror their friends or relatives live every day, and to themselves whisper, "thank god it is not me".

One friend has been out of work for almost two years. That is a thought that is hard to comprehend for me and most others. The usual response I have is, "you can't work at some Walgreens, Walmart, fast food as a last resort?". Their response is mixed with a combo of pride and realism of this job market. The pride stems from their college education, wiped-out dreams, high tech background, some have MA degrees, and maybe their personal "last resort" has been avoided thus far. The realism part is stark and a horror. They face at least six applicants per job, probably more like 15. For some, middle age now, their is a disgrace of sorts and age discrimination making it harder. The hiring manager perceives them more as a negative than a plus, and the few that are closing in on 60, it's simply a bloodletting. Qualifications? Some are well over qualified because of education or job history, yet, they will never get that " fast food" job because of that. Other jobs are a perfect fit, yet, competition and employers being picky, spell failure. Maybe it comes to their personality, age, perception instead, but the job goes to someone else.

For those who continue to work and were not impacted, they joke, "surely, you can find a job, doing something, like a clerk or cashier". That is naive. If the unemployed person is 40 yrs, a former engineer, or mid-level manager, going for these kind of jobs usually is a waste. You compete with nearly anyone 18 and older. Age is a factor, your past income levels are a factor, how you look is a factor (young or old?).

What is one to do? The statistics bring this all back home: over 435,000 beteen 35-44 have been out of work for over a year, the average length of unemployment is now 25 weeks (six months), 962,000 blacks are out of work over a year, 367,000 between 55-64 yrs, have been out of work over a year, 608,000 between 45-54 yrs have been out over a year.

More horror.

July produced only 71,000 jobs. That same month, 181,000 left the work force. In the past three months, over 1,155,000 unemployed people have stopped looking and are not counted as unemployed. Had these been counted, unemployment in the US would be 10%. Many of these call themselves, 99ers, meaning, out of work for 99 weeks or more! There are 14.6 million unemployed in the US and 50% of those have been like that for sic months or more. If you count those and those who have given up looking and those working part-time, the levels reach what they were in the Great Depression of the 1930s. There are 3.4 million fewer private sector jobs than in 2000.

With 14.6 million jobless, 5.9 million that have stopped looking, and 8.5 million working PT jobs but seek FT, the grand total is 30 million who cannot find work or seek more work.

Washington seems more interested in funding billions to Pakistan, Afghanistan, bridges to nowhere, warlords in tribal areas to win the "hearts and minds", than helping the American people.

I thought Obama was different. Nyet.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 7 years ago

      Beaks is 100% correct. If one has limited funds for learning a new trade or education to switch fields, then, you have one shot. So, the hardest is choosing which one, its costs, its return value in wages. Being 21 or 55, and facing this same issue is identical, except the age. You might spend 15K to re-educate and get a new skill and find out you still are unemployed with more bills, or, it may work out. It's a gamble. So, pick one that has the best odds, cross your fingers, pray.

    • profile image

      Beaks 7 years ago from USA

      My spouse has been out of work for almost a year and a half now. Whole industries are drying up right now and it;s hard to know what to do. What industry will be outsourced next? Manufacturing is gone, customer services is heading out the door and my former industry, journalism, is on its last legs. Many people just have no idea where to turn and how to enter an entirely new field.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 7 years ago

      The last paragraph is so correct. for some, answering it is a difficult thing!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      That's one stark reality so often missed by a lot of folks on the issue of jobs, and TYPES of jobs. We need more GOOD jobs in this country. Strong, industrial jobs with great pay and benefits.

      That all said, we are where we are. I come from the lot that says you do whatever you have to do so long as you have to do it. That means sometimes you have to hunker down and do something that may seem beneath you...but the alternative to NOT hunkering down, IMO is much worse. What happens if you reach the end of the line? The savings runs out. The unemployment checks aren't coming anymore. The credit cards are all maxxed out.

      All of your education and past salary and past status is moot if you're digging through the garbage on the streets because you are simply too ashamed to work for Hardees, or McDonalds or Walmart or something like that. And all the hard work of the past becomes for moot if you've used what you've earned and saved to live on because you couldn't swallow your pride and take on a lesser job.

      One would rather live on their future retirement than just keep going forward?

      What's a waste? Wasting away. Doing nothing. Feeling sorry for yourself. Someone you knew sees you in a Walmart and you were an engineer before, and they say, "Wow Pete. It's come to this?" Smile. Tell a white lie if you have to. "Oh this? This is just something to pass the time. I got so bored sitting around and living off my investments. Had to get out and do something..."

      Brains before braun was always the adage. Use them.

      NOT that I don't absolutely understand, appreciate, nor sympathize with your points here which are the reality for your friend, and so many others who are victims of today's economy. Only to say that I think we all make our own beds most of the time. And yes, we MUST lie in them. Whatever CHOICE we make, for whatever reason, is ours to own.

      Obama has it wrong. CLEARLY he has it wrong. But you can't wait for him or anyone else to get it right. In the meantime, you have to do what you have to do. If you don't, aren't you no better than the folks looking for a handout, waiting for someone to rain some money down on them?

      There are three kinds of people in this world. Those who makes things happen. Those who watch things happen. And those who wonder what happened. Which one is the better person to be?

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      We need help and help fast. I think if Obama and crew even rumored that they would extend the Bush tax cuts, the economy would have a boost, just from the talk.

      With all the think Obama, Reid and Pelosi are doing, things are going to get worse and worse.

      Keep on hubbing!