Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our country isn't really number one anymore

Ok as someone who has recently become unemployed I have given some thoughts to the state of employment and unemployment in our country today.

One of my former colleagues, let's call him 'Ray' who normally was not very outspoken with the management team told our managers last year that 'they could treat us as badly as they wanted as they knew we couldn't easily find another job'. (this didn't go over well, in fact another colleague who spouted off in that meeting was fired a week later).

Ray was really was so succinctly true in that statement. Think about it. Most of the folks I know who are employed are pretty miserable in their job. I mean from all different sectors.

First of all the corporate sector:

I recently worked for corporation in a failing industry. The newspaper industry once enjoyed HUGE revenues and profits for producing a product most consumers in the market bought and invited into their home. A trusted source for news and information. And yes the newspaper is still trusted and purchased. But by fewer and fewer people each year. There is just so much competition out there for information, they are struggling to maintain any sort of healthy market share and although there is still revenue coming in it is nowhere near what they were used to before the housing bubble burst.

This is also happening in manufacturing, telecommunications and even the health care industry. Profit has become number one and since the profits are down the employees seem to bear the brunt of it. Ok so that is the corporate sector.

Then there is the education sector (which is really part of government/state services). Working for either is no longer a stable job you can count on being in for the rest of your life. I have a friend who was 'downsized' from her job with the state, (and is now on government paid disability) and a husband who teaches high school in a failing school. He is contantly struggling to keep up with the myriad of demands from his school administration, the county, school board and the state. He is at school Mon-Friday from 6:30 am to 6pm every day and works on grading papers and tests, lesson plans, rubrics and countless other tasks that seem never-ending. There is rarely a time when he can take more than 20 minutes to be with his family. He has been to church with us 2 times since school started back. He is constantly told he needs to work smarter, better and faster and provide more with less. He has aged five years in 10 weeks.

We have all heard of pensions being repealed and retired folks losing benefits they thougth were theirs for a lifetime. Nothing is a sure thing these days.

I am not sure about the military sector but do know of several folks in the service who are getting out this year.

The retail/service industry seems to be thriving. I have asked those who work for Rent A Car, Cable, Pool Stores etc how they like their jobs. The answers have varied but usually are along "It's a job and it's ok until the economy shifts."

Will it shift? Or the optimistic way to say it is when will it shift?

As someone who is now unemployed after almost 19 years with the same company I have a different outlook now. Our country needs help and it needs it soon. Why must health insurance be either unattainable or $500/month?

And why is it so hard for any family to live on one income? My parents did it, lots of folks did it, but it just isn't done anymore.

I just think it's crazy.

We live in the so called best country in the world.

I think we are slipping.


The Lovely One said...

I think people are going to complain about their jobs no matter where you go. I'm not an expect about other professions, but the insurance industry seems to be doing ok. I still say that the USA is NUMBER ONE!

PS- your word verification thing is telling me to write "outchimp." I find that funny for some reason!

Frederik Urshgur said...

We HAVE to be number one, because that's all we have left. We spend more money on military crap than all of the countries of the world combined. Hell, we spend more on just military marching bands than China (#2) spends on its entire military (true fact - we have 992 military bases throughout the world).

Meanwhile, we are earning less money today than we were in the late 1970's, adjusted for inflation. The latest figures show that our median income today (the income levels at which 1/2 of American incomes are above and below) is exactly the same as in 1999. Think about it: in 12 years the average American income has not gained a cent.

Of course, the costs of living have gone way up in the meantime (start with health care costs). So if income hasn't increased AT ALL, how are we paying for these rising expenses? Skyrocketing debt, that's how, corporate, public, and private. And THAT'S what we're number one in! Wave your flag and shout it loud and proud: WE'RE NUMBER ONE!