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The economy sucks….but there’s hope

So here is a more serious post from me. I am a multi-faceted individual, you know.

This economy is really scary. This isn’t news to anyone, but I wanted to vent my two cents here. I’ve recently been frustrated beyond my limits with this very topic. Namely because there isn’t an end in sight. It is emotionally exhausting to see the personal struggles of family and friends who haven’t been able to find full-time jobs with benefits in months. Years, even. The bills don’t stop! In fact, they do tend to stack up pretty high. Hey, that’s a career option – debt collector. Kidding, of course. But, it’s enough to get a person down.

It seems like years ago people had the option of changing jobs if they were dissatisfied with the one they currently had. Call it “climbing the career ladder” if you like, but there was a certain freedom in knowing that you could move around in search of financial and/or personal satisfaction and/or happiness. This wasn’t to last, however.

When I first graduated from college I earned a liberal arts degree. What did this really mean? I had no idea! Sure I racked up plenty of student loan debt, but I had the keys to the city! And no family to support! Any job was something I could consider, since I hadn’t really learned any specific skills. I could dazzle you with any 101 information at all – be it philosophy, psychology, sociology. History of Ireland? Sure! Printmaking? Why not! I knew a little of everything. I was born to be on the game show “Jeopardy!” Tragically, the only 101 I didn’t take was Economics. This class might have sobered me up quite a bit before graduation. And saved me from landsliding into debt.

My post-college graduation time in the big city was a duplicate of my college years. I took “101” jobs in a variety of interesting industries. Publishing? Sure! Broadcasting? Why not! I tried whatever I liked and soon got my fill on these “career appetizers” after a few years.

Once I moved from a large metropolitan area to a smaller town I realized I needed specific working skills to earn a steady paycheck. In other words, I needed something called “job training.” I headed back to school and became trained in a health care field. This was one of the best decisions I made because, as far as I could tell, I would always be able to find work. But in recent times I’ve learned that there are no guarantees in life. Not even with a degree in the health sciences.

Some people I know made the decision to hyper-specialize in college majors that were more an area of a personal interest rather than a career launch pad. They did this with the best of intentions – hoping the job marketplace would be able to squeeze them in somewhere after graduation. I almost did this myself, but realized I didn’t want to be a college professor teaching crusty old philosophies that were disproven centuries ago.

The people I know who hyper-specialized in their majors made the sad mistake of not going all the way and earning a PhD. This ultimate hyper-specialization would have at least made it possible for them to teach these hyper-specialized crusty and disproven (or soon to be) philosophies. Lesson learned: a hyper-specialized major, without the highest degree possible, will have a very hard time finding a job. Also, it makes leaving unsatisfying work just about impossible because there is no next step option available. Next Lesson Learned: You’re damned if you do, and your damned if you don’t.

So, where am I going with all this? Today, even if you have official “job training” this economy will suck to you and everyone you know. There are no job guarantees, it is hard to climb a career ladder, people are fired, and jobs are not plentiful or available. Competition for scraps is very high. It is scary and frustrating. Some may say it’s a good climate for entrepreneurs. But, after several entrepreneurial attempts of my own I realized that no matter how inspiring he may be, Donny Deutsch is only preaching to the wealthy, self-funded business types.

One day, after living under the weight of possibly being an unfulfilled cog in the wheel for the rest of my life, I realized there is still hope at least for creative freedom. After all, writing is free! And free is always affordable. Anyone can be an entrepreneur with their blog. Build a name for yourself, create a market. Make a free website and dare to be yourself. Find your voice. Find an audience. Make a brand. Freedom of the WordPress. No longer is the media tied up with big publishing houses or broadcasting companies. No longer do I have to compete for literary agents. Thankfully, the internet can keep creative freedom free. Make the most of it. I know I can’t afford not to. Is that a double negative? Then let’s say “I know I can afford that, at least.”

Whew! Rant and vent over. Thanks for hanging onto the end, if you were able to do so.

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About Fortyteen Candles

oh, let's see...distinguished Gen-X'er, frustrated writer, suffocating in the confines of a small town that thinks it's a big deal. A few years ago we were home to the second largest Walmart in our state, don-cha-know. Oh, and I was voted "Most New Wave" in my senior high school year book. Actually, that last sentence alone is really everything you need to know about me.

13 responses »

  1. Teresa Cleveland Wendel

    Hey. Give us some credit. We like you. We hang on to the end.
    I like that thought: Writing is free. But don’t quit your day job. If you have one, that is.

    Reply
    • Well thank you very much for hanging on to the end! And you’re right…for goodness sakes don’t quit your day job! Any questions on this, please re-read paragraphs two and nine…

      Reply
  2. onlineghostwriterforhire

    Wow! This is awesome writing! Love your views and ideas!
    By the way, I abhor Walmart, but usually call it S**t-Mart and you can use that if you wish.

    Reply
  3. onlineghostwriterforhire

    Most People do not realize what an evil company S**t-mart is, and that they are partially responsible for ruining our US Economy! They pay the lowest wages they possibly can, they give the crappiest benefits they can get away with, they force manufacturers who want to supply them, to farm out work over-seas to places where 7-year-old-girls do the work, and they have put literally thousandsand thousands of Mom & Pop businesses…out of business, over the past fifty or so years!

    I don’t care how low their prices are, I cannot shop there! If anyone does not believe any of this, then LOOK it up for yourself! Be informed!

    Hypothetical Question: “If Satan had a retail shop, would YOU shop there to save a few pennies?”

    Reply
  4. Well, this is a topic that is close to my heart. I’m an advocate for change in the American economy b/c poverty is the highest it’s ever been.

    “It’s no secret that the economy is in rough shape—but the latest poverty figures released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday are nonetheless shocking. The overall poverty rate has reached a record high and the number of people living in deep poverty—that is, below 50 percent of the poverty level, or $11,000 for a family of four—is the highest its been since 1975. Experts are predicting that things are only going to get worse in the years to come.”

    I have worked my entire life with no breaks for marriage or babies. I started working at age 10 as a dish washer where my father worked. I’m a solid employee.

    However, I was laid off in 2011 after 3 years of loyal employment. (I missed one day of work in 3 years!) I have been out of work now for 1 1/2 years. I DO look for work every week day. I have had a few interviews but I have not landed a job in all that time. I do have two bachelor degrees that did not give me the “specialized work skills” that our host discusses. I went back to school to obtain a vocational degree in the medical field like our host. It did help me get more interviews. I felt like I had finally had some “marketable” job skills.

    But so much about my plight. Here is my RANT. The problems with the economy as seen by me.
    1. There are NO real jobs in the US. By “real” jobs, I mean full time positions with benefits. In our parents generation and prior, they could get jobs in a factory and earn as much as 20.00 an hour without and ed. They made enough to buy houses. These were the years when products were US made. i.e. auto industry

    The news and the Pres., keep saying there are all these NEW jobs. These new jobs are at Walmart, Target, Macy’s. These are part time jobs w/no benefit jobs. They are also min. wage jobs. THESE ARE NOT THE TYPE OF JOB THAT PEOPLE CAN LIVE ON AND/OR SUPPORT A FAMILY.

    We need “real” jobs in the US. So don’t be fooled when the news tells you that there are all these new “jobs” opening.

    This class of people who work at the Walmart and Targets are called “the working poor.” They work hard, often at two jobs, and still live below the poverty line. AND often, still qualify for food stamps. (see the documentary on Walmart). These are the people who are going to be crushed when Obamacare makes them pay a tax or for health insurance. They can barely afford to live now.

    2. The other major problem is that MINIMUM WAGE IS TOO LOW. It is 8.00 in CA but I hear 7. in other states. What can you buy these days for 7.00? 8.00? EVEN if you go to McD’s or Subway on your lunch break you are going to spend THAT much just to eat one cheap meal. YOU had to work ONE hour for that sandwich. OR 1 1/2 hours just so you could go to the movies!!!
    Min. wage is too LOW. YES, min. wage CAN be increased if corporations weren’t so freakin’ greedy!
    Every product has a 63% profit margin. That is a huge profit. If corporations would just be comfortable with a 50% profit margin, then they could increase the wages of their employees.
    WE KNOW, the CEO’s aren’t suffering in their paycheck. Why can’t the CEO’s take a pay cut and pass it down to the masses? How much money does one need to live a year?

    People say if wages go up then prices will go up. IT doesn’t have to be so. It’s just corp. greed that makes it go up.

    For example, a dozen eggs will sell for 2.00 but once a month they go on sale for .88 or .99 a dozen. That is a 50% decrease in the price. The corp.s do it b/c they ARE still making a profit. It goes back to lower the profit margin for the worker bees.

    3. Debt. a.Student load debt as surpassed our national credit debt. It is about to cause another market crash just like the housing crash a few years ago. Student loans are pumped out with no regards that students can’t pay them back. (see the documentary College Inc.)

    The price of education should be lowered. Ed. shouldn’t be a profit market. It should be a right to all citizens that benefit the country as a whole.

    b. credit card debt: IF wages go up then people will not have to LIVE off their credit cards to survive. I worked a full time, slightly hire than min. wage job that did not give me enough money for rent, transportation and food. I had to substitute my income by MAXING out my credit cards. I wasn’t buying TVs, cameras etc. I was buying food, toilet paper, bus passes etc.

    IF wages were enough to survive, people would not have to default on their credit cards.

    4. The unemployment rate is MUCH higher than reported every month by the news. REMEMBER, the news only reports those who are NOW receiving unemployment benefits. It does NOT include those benefits have run out and can no longer collect. Their are far more unemployed.

    Last year, I lived far below the poverty line (and I still owe taxes). IT sucked. My entire life halted. It wasn’t fun to be out of work when you worry about the food on your table or the roof over your head every day. I cried in the store the first time I had to use food stamps. I had to “borrow” and not return toilet paper and napkins from various establishments. I was miserable. Depression is inevitable. I don’t wish it on my worse enemy.

    WE all know the gaps between the rich and poor. We really have to do more to demand change. I do believe Occupy has it right. They are for lowing the gap between the rich and poor. Don’t let the news convince you that it’s just college kids, bohemian’s and hippies protesting. That is the propaganda they want you to believe so that you will look at Occupy and think “that’s radical.”

    Thanks for entertaining my long rant.
    (Someday I’ll make my own rant web site)

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tricia. There are many problems out there that need addressing. You’ve made some excellent points. You certainly should start your own blog on this topic. I see a career in politics in your future! We need someone like you in office!

      Reply
  5. I didn’t intent to use your blog for my platform. But once someone brings up the topic of the economy, I just have to vent.

    Reply
  6. A good post, which gets people to think. And just to add more rain on the American Dream parade: Not only is unemployment up, but the jobs that are available today (created by our 1% job creators) are mostly menial, low-paying jobs. Yes, Occupy is right, but we still need a viable political avenue. Big money has taken over both parties. Well, good luck in your job search. Your blog is a pleasant find.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comments. Yes it is really hard finding work out there. Two master’s degree educated people I know have been struggling to find any job at all for months/years. They don’t tell you abuot that little tidbit when you apply for a program at your local college admissions office! Student loans are another story all together. Sigh….glad I have a good outlet – and wonderful support group of sorts – here!
      Thanks for the like and follow 🙂

      Reply

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