Trials of the Unemployed


I, and many other Americans in this mixed job market have are going through the trials and tribulations of being unemployed. I am like many would call a 99’er. What is a 99’er? Well, it’s anyone before the recent cut, had gotten unemployment insurance and exhausted all 99 weeks of it. Mines went from January 2010 to January 2012 with cuts from the federal government and a slowdown during my work-study stint. I can tell you honestly it was easy at first but I know it won’t last and worse it was even bad for me for someone who previously made a start of the decade promise to spend one real long vacation before I throw myself into the workforce because my job prospects before were a series of terrible events that broke me mentally, emotionally and physically just for the privilege of working for 8.50 an hour.

Today, I’m running on fumes thanks in part to pays from my election day jobs and temp work from an agency that actually works for me to get the work I need to get by. But I can’t help to read in every article, news report and even people who someone got mixed into the occupy wall street movement what the bigger picture is or who’s the photographer of the picture America has with its unemployment problem. For this article and my observations, I can list several issues that makes the myriad in the universe of the changing market. Globalization perhaps?

1. What are the unemployed made of?

Unemployed men queued outside a depression sou...
Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone, 02-1931 – NARA – 541927 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you look at it, The unemployed are made up of a whole cache of people who have no work for different reasons but these are the ones that make up the stories the well-off often bitch about: Older men and women who’ve been displaced by changing market or the need of newer skilled workers that come in. Minorities that in hopes of wanting a piece of the so-called American Dream facing the cold-reality of competing with others that don’t share their mentality and myself and many others, the young who flood the market out of college thanks in part to getting college degrees in fields that have little to no actual value.

I am not saying that my college experience was worthless but I sure feel that my lead-up to it was since I can’t help to feel I was goaded on to go back to college due to that event when I was looking for work during my time in the Parks department job program. But think about the people who fell for ads from the for-profit colleges that promise them work months after graduation only to be deeper into debt and without a job to cover for it. That makes them worse off than they were before, all because the generations before hoped we do better.

2. Explaining the Stats

Unemployment isn't what it seems. Click link for video.
Being unemployed isn’t what it seems. Click link for video.

Did you ever wonder where the employment and unemployment rate come from every time they mention it on the news on how good or bad it is? Well from and Jess Bachman, there was a video that illustrates the idea of what the government defines as being unemployed and then displays the facts to the masses of how good or bad things are going on. The Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks these people down into 6 categories and by this page lets find out what they mean.

  1. U-1: People who lost their jobs and are looking for work. But also seeking full-time employment and those who are marginally attached to the labor market. Those are people discouraged but still want work. The high schoolers would fit into this category.
  2. U-2: No not the pop group. but the next level of the jobless. These are the people are the either the victims of the changing market by being laid-off, had “it’s your time” moment with temporary work and at worst, the occasional fuck-up who got involuntarily fired from their job.
  3. U-3: Now this the golden number. This is the statistic the news shove down your throats night after night and used by everyone from political pundits that say everything’s fine to politicians who take that as an excuse to show that their term is worthy enough to serve another four years. This is the BLS’s official stat the world knows: The job-seeking unemployed makes up for this number.
  4. U-4: This is what the U-3 would be if you add the discourage workers but treated no different from those of the level before.
  5. U-5: Time is an enemy for these folks. These are like the people from the U-3 and adjusted like the U-4 but eventually become discouraged and stop looking for work. With so many people looking for work and the demands of the offers exceed their abilities, the job search becomes futile.
  6. U-6: This is the other number that gets thrown around because it makes up, well… the rest of us. All-time part-timers without full-time prospects because they can’t find it and the totally discouraged and people who lost jobs and just gave up before they even tried. This is often a really spooky number that no one wants to talk about.

The next time you watch the news and see how well things are by having a lower unemployment rate go to the BLS and check out the U-6 numbers, That will bring you right down right away.

3. Clashing Ideologies and their Consequences

Employment Exhibition
Employment Exhibition (Photo credit: Modern_Language_Center)

People and companies suffer as a result of the baby-boomer generation and the mega-whammys of the me-decade of the 80’s. A long time ago, getting a job was easy thanks to the need for able-bodied workers looking for easy work or the ease-of-ability to make work for those who can’t find it. When those people grew hold and start having kids, they hoped that they can do better than they were and the kid themselves growing up in a world that will see you as nothing unless you get this, do that or get into that. College is one of them. You can see where the story goes from there but the end product is the unemployed losers that are people often yell at to get a job or make something better than themselves. That’s reality for you, and for those people we had our head in the clouds so much they can’t see the coming plane cut their head off. Ever since the occupy wall street movement the shift from support to scorn comes from the idea that the people who can’t find work and blame everyone but themselves impede on their jobs and not bother to look for work. Well I think there’s a reason for that so stick with me here because here’s the unpleasant truth: Both are to blame.

For the unemployed side, they are raised in a culture that everything is expected of them or of themselves without any backup plans or how the lesser-than people are depicted in society as the losers who failed at life, always made fun of and will be seen as the worthless scum of the earth that will never go anywhere thanks to the propaganda force of career builders, colleges and university and yes, our own parents. When you do make it through college, it comes as a shock to them when their degree doesn’t do jack shit in the field they’re aiming for. But what is out there? The very jobs that they tried so hard not to get into: Retail, Fast Food, Janitorial work, etc. There’s a debate that tells on both sides the ups and downs of what happens when all that money, education, suffering in those long classes results in giving you a PhD, but end up mopping floors at a local McDonalds.

For the employed and successful side, they too are to blame for aiming too high and asking too much. There’s the idea successful people or fact givers tell that some successful people in history go to where they are without college. Stop and think for a moment about the people who got o where they are without it and read up on their biographies. You’ll be shot down on any hopes when you learn that some of them became that through connections, were born from rich families that gave them all they need to continue in their stead when they step down or in the case of Bill Gates, the college dropout. That line is no more full of shit than the rest. The short of the real story is that he came from a rich family that put him in Harvard who is already great with computers but needed more that can only comes from the college’s computer sciences department. After he learned all that he knows he decides to go fuck it with college and left.

The issue, the famous sans college people who start their own businesses then turn around when looking for potential new workers that in order to work for them they must have some college or a degree outright if you even want to be looked at by a recruiter. Leaving potential degree-less and experienced workers out of it which contributes to the figures to the point above.

The sad news of it all is for some companies that means having many jobs available but the workers are stuck in a “get something better” mentality don’t want them because they pay $12/hour or it gets your hands dirty or something the matter and companies that need experienced people but their time has been wasted in worthless degrees and studies. For the Unemployed, they are put in the place of being feeling worthless and left behind because companies that want them can’t have them for their own upbringing and for it become indebted and worthless. Now you’re probably wondering why I drifted off to a college subject when this article is about being jobless, well this is the largest contributor, more and more colleges are spilling out students, inexperienced and overwhelmed of what’s to come in the real world.

4. The Market Shift: You vs. The World

Unemployment rate by country, from figures at ...
Unemployment rate by country, from figures at CIA world factbook, accessed 30 March 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Globalization. Defined as…

1. the process enabling financial and investment markets to operate internationally, largely as a result of deregulation and improved communications
2. the emergence since the 1980s of a single world market dominated by multinational companies, leading to a diminishing capacity for national governments to control their economies
3. the process by which a company, etc, expands to operate internationally

From out of the Cold War, a new paradigm has come to the world markets that gives countries new businesses that they never experienced. Companies to expand even further to make more profits and opportunities, and for you who already has that crummy job ends up losing it to someone who can do it for less. This is one of the consequences of globalization in the world of the unemployed. Job makers who take risks have to make choices and the workers be damned! Either they keep the jobs here and face the whims of heavy regulation, taxes and unions or loose the company completely. What would one to do? Outsource, that’s what! Take the jobs overseas to countries that pay them for just pennies a day because their crummy economies allow it.

Also as a special bonus, anyone complains about it can just write them off as being against capitalism and want to take the food out of their mouths of the foreign workers and force them back into prostitution because of your selfish need to want your job back. Captain America is full of shit, when the world tells you to move, you fucking move!  Being unemployed is the byproduct of the shift from us being more informational than industrial which how we got strong in the first place. The problem is that (for the sake of argument) only 1/4th of the world that lives in thrives in the information-age America, what the hell are we supposed to do to the remaining 3/4th of people who are way too old to adapt to the times, have low expects to aim for the new generation of work or who are just way out of the skill set. Example: You need a mathematics and engineering degree just to fix a car after 2000.

Oh and about those unions…

5. The Union Whim

The Teamsters labor union gathering at YearlyK...
The Teamsters labor union gathering at YearlyKos 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I will say for the record that, I not saying that all unions are bad, I used to be one and sacrificed $10.25 per paycheck just to gain that extra .26 cents, Yay… wait? Anyway for the unemployed person this would put you up against several things that you wish you haven’t known. People make the argument of how good unions are good back then to prevent powerful companies from screwing them over. After years of union meddling, laws were made to make sure they don’t get away with their shit should they step out of line. Resulting in joyous times such as the workers who make sure our planes don’t crash in mid-air get screwed over by Regan to more recently the Baker’s union forcing Hostess to go bankrupt costing 18,000 worker’s their jobs even after all offers were refused by them to prevent that from happening.

The workers get the shaft, the union won’t help them anymore and America has lost their Twinkies, ho-hos and pies. Then there’s the union shop. Those are places that won’t hire anyone period unless you join the union. So it’s not bad enough that you, a person who need a job can’t get one without joining a union and have a portion of your paycheck sucked out just to keep them afloat. But that would also make you liable when they strike to every idiot who would shun you because in their mind you should be happy that you have a job and not strike, totally ignoring why you’re striking in the first place. And the real sad news about the Unions is the damned if you do, damned if you don’t case. With them, you’re liable to any law that will punish you for not shutting up and going back to work, so screw you but without them you will also be liable to lose your job to save a buck or work in terrible conditions, work more for less and other things that were the reason unions were made in the first place.

For being unemployed person, you’re screwed worse than not having a job.

These are small bit of reasons the Unemployed has to face along with myself in the long run. Clearly there is still a lot to be done and serious needs to be met for the jobless American to get a job without feeling that both the rich and employed give them more reason to be pissed off at both of them. The rich for not giving them the jobs they need because of their too high standards and the employed to are talking out their asses to see what’s really going on. For now I’ll leave you with this mix of related articles and feel free to do your own research of the matter of what challenges and things jobless people face. Just remember, if you think having a shitty job is bad, having no job couldn’t be any worse.


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