Monday, October 5, 2009

G-d Bless the USA

The good ole US, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. The place where opportunities surmount and people need not want for much. Yet here we are in year 1.66 of our economic recession and people are still fighting for jobs. In my local paper this morning it stated that job losses have included "a net 7.6 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007 (Dayton Daily News, 2009). Highly educated people who have previously been laid off are unable to find jobs due to the market not offering jobs in their fields. So where does it leave the rest of us? The rest of us are applying for minimum wage jobs when we previously made the big bucks in Corporate America. A friend of mine who works as a manager for Speedway said that she sees people come in daily filling out applications and leaving their resumes and that many of these people have lost hope in finding jobs. Foreclosures are imminent in more communities and taxes are higher than ever. Schools are forced to pass more tax levies to keep their sports and extra-curricular activities and libraries are being forced to close because there isn't enough money to pay the employees.

I work a full-time job making barely over minimum wage just to keep my business afloat and my bills paid so that I have a roof over my head and food on the table. Even in my job things are tough. We are "punished" for having overtime by having our time docked on our next check and I am being forced into purchasing a vehicle that I can barely afford just to keep my job. Companies are changing dress code policies for minimum wage employees without the compensation to the employee. My friend said that on the management level they look at it like this, there are enough people filling in applications on a daily basis that if employee A leaves or gets fired due to the fact they can't afford the new policies, they will just hire the next schmuck in line. This just goes to show that we are in a slumping economy where pay raises are becoming few and far between and cost of living raises are non-existent. Groceries have gone up in price, gasoline is staying steady on a 6-month low. Public transportation fares have gone up even when drivers are making close to $100K a year. Gas and electric bills have skyrocketed and no one is getting what they need to keep up with the economy.

In the article this morning they were talking about how many companies are desperate for people in certain positions but that they are unable to afford the time and training it takes to get someone up to par for the positions they do have available. When I was working in Corporate America, just in our department alone it cost us $25,000 to bring in a new employee, give them the equipment and tools they needed to do their job and train the employee for that position. Even for a multi-billion dollar company, that is a lot of money when you multiply that times the number of employees that are needed each year to stay ahead in the business world.

Even for myself, it took me a year and a half before I was able to find a job that I could work to support my family. The reason... when I applied for job openings where they paid minimum wage they would look at my resume and see that I made $80K a year in the past and wonder why should they hire me for pennies on the dollar? I can't even count how many times I just wanted to shout out to them that I didn't care how much it paid as long as I could get to work and pay my rent. I have been at my job for over a year now and when I asked my manager why she decided to hire me when her manager thought the same thing about my previous income and she said that I seemed like a good person and I knew the job and she seemed confident enough that I would be good at the job and show up. Well a year later I am finally being trained as the Assistant Manager but still making barely enough to make ends meet.

They said in USA Today that people were spending more time watching the new television series than they were spending on doing outside excursions such as ball games and movies and such. Who can afford to pay $10 - $15 per person to go to the movie theaters when we can sit at home and watch something? Also in our news this week it featured a politician in our state who was running for office but has a past felony on his record. Now the controversy exists because due to state law, he can run for office even with the felony and take office, but someone else who has a felony on their record even for something as minor as cashing a check that bounced is forced to wait 3 years after the court has dismissed the case before applying for job that require background checks. Regardless of what they say that it won't automatically disqualify you from a job, in this economy all gloves are off and you are just out of luck. Even when time has been served and restitution has been paid, people are still punished for their crime and people wonder why first time offenders turn to crime to make it.

So for all of you foreigners who are fighting to get across our borders wrestling arm and limb and risking your life to live in the land of the free, turn around and go back to where you came from because in all actuality you were probably better off in your own country than you would be in mine. In fact, can I come over there and stay with you instead?

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