I know the subject of the economy, college degrees, and unemployment have been beaten to death in the last half of decade or so. Yet, how often do we discuss the quality of work in relation to being the among the working poor? I am apart of the unfortunate group who was once middle class and comfortable, now thrust into the doldrums of working poor abyss. The struggle of being “working poor” reminds me of times I experienced growing up. During the ’90s I did not have control over my situation because I was a minor. During the ’10s I don’t have control over my situation because I am a victim of the economy. My life has come full circle with a negative circumference. Mathematically, I don’t know if that is possible, but metaphorically I like the analogy.
Being in the class of working poor American’s is not the issue for me. The poor work quality, is the tenant of this new lifestyle which disturbs me the most. Those of us with college degrees are usually penalized first. The unfortunate lot with advanced degrees, well, we are penalized the most. We once thought our education would serve as a security blanket during times of economic downturn. I have found my degrees to be a scarlet letter reading DO NOT HIRE!
It is unclear to me what employers fear the most about college educated individuals. Our liberal ideals, theoretic approach to solving problems, and research tactics could positively influence any work environment. I believe the only attributes they read on our resume are: higher pay, better shifts, and more benefits. That is understandable. In a failing economy, money is the most important factor for anyone. What most employers fail to realize is we are living in the same economy times as them. We see the struggle. The possibility of unemployment running out humbles even the most cynical, self-absorbed narcissist among us. $15 per hour is more than $0 any day!
The only people willing to extend their “take it or leave it” offers seems to be call centers and sales positions. Why is that? Call centers usually higher in large volumes. They offer a set pay, steady schedule, and consistent flow of work. All of which are non-negotiable, therefore no problem arises from that set up. There is more work than workers, and a never-ending supply of applicants willing to fill the positions. Sales jobs, well it is sales they don’t lose anything.
I am less than pleased with the job prospects, but they will not mentally exhaust my hope for success again in life. These less than satisfying options have aided in my decision to pursue even more education. I mean why not, I can’t be penalized more than I already am, right? Why not use these times of downtrodden financial woes as an opportunity to pursue and fulfill all our dreams. Think about it if everything was going perfect, what motivation would we have to push ourselves to the next level?
Overall, we need to remember we do have more options than may appear. Poor work. Working Poor. Poor Me! Whatever the case may be we still have some control. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.” I say to those who may feel my pain at any level, stand tall, and keep walking. Only when you remain still and wallow in the situation will you remain in it. We can turn this situation around, let’s get to it!