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Mr. Roboto

Why participate in a system which is fixed against you?

A friend of mine who doesn't have a college degree and who has been negotiating the minefield of "real jobs" (administrative office work) all her working life has told me a lot about how the world of employment and job-searching works. Probably because the pool of available jobs in always shrinking, the system really is designed to screen out as many people as possible for any conceivable reason. And if you've been unemployed for "too long", you can kiss your employability goodbye after a certain point.

This friend is currently job-searching so far fruitlessly, and I'm pretty worried about her. Some vindictive bitch of a recruiter even called her on the telephone only to tell her that the fact that she's been unemployed for six months must mean she's hiding something and that she should count on never being able to find a job! (Wow, mommy-and-daddy-issues much?) It probably doesn't help that my friend is fast approaching her fifties, at which point it becomes exponentially more difficult to get hired anywhere outside the world of survival-jobs.

Also, a lot of working-class people at the grocery store where I work are counting on improving their employment prospects at those bucket-shop vocational colleges one sees advertised on daytime television programming. I don't have the heart to tell them that those schools are a rip-off and they'll probably be working at the grocery store for as long they're fortunate enough to be able to have a job.


Your sarcasm is the only thing that makes news like this tolerable, Dave.

But not really tolerable. You know what I mean.

Ken Barrows

I always wonder how the people withdrawing from the labor force are surviving. A few have obtained disability benefits, but what exactly is going on?

Another issue are the error margins. The BLS statistics are estimates that are revised a few times. So, if many people are just giving up on the labor force, how are they planning to conduct the rest of their lives?


From "Hunger and homelessness rise in U.S. cities: report" on 12/20/2012:

Michael Blue, a 62-year-old part-time bus driver in Washington, gets help from Bread for the City. He says work is so sporadic that he has to scrounge for cash to pay rent and utilities. But his $13,300 annual income tops the government's poverty threshold, disqualifying him from some welfare programs. He receives about $200 a month in food stamps.

"They tell me that I don't qualify for help, but anybody who makes $13,000 or even $20,000 a year these days cannot survive," Blue said.

Between jobs he jots down telephone numbers from tour buses headed to Washington's monuments, then calls to see if they need drivers. He cannot recall the last time he had a full-time job.

"I am just being priced out of existence," he said.

G Meyers

Many people are working in the shadow economy.Where I live many young men and women stay with parents.They work jobs painting and landscaping and babysitting.Many dont marry or even date after a while.None of them declare income its all cash.If they get sick they go to the clinic they dont have insurance.Fortunately for them there are still people who can afford to hire them...and their parents dont expect much and some elderly parents want them to stay for their own security.


"So, if many people are just giving up on the labor force, how are they planning to conduct the rest of their lives?"

They aren't planning anything, Ken. That's just it. You can't plan if you don't know what the future holds.
That said, we all know what the future holds and you certainly can't plan anything based on that.
It's all about day-to-day survival for a lot of people now.


I've been paying for most of my best friends living expenses recently. If I don't help him out he'd drop out of school and up on the fucking street. That's the kind of shit country we live in.

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