Thursday, February 11, 2010

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America

This is a good, but very long, article from The Atlantic Weekly on what is probably the issue of these times: the scarcity of jobs and where future employment is coming from, or whether it's coming at all. The entire article is worth reading, but the 2nd page of the article is what caught my eye most of all, as it dealt with America's youth and the job market. I have been unemployed a few times in my working life, but it was usually of my choosing and I always had enough to get by. I also had the help of family.

I am working at the moment, in a job that I usually enjoy, and that is relatively stable compared to most other jobs out there, but it is one that I cannot look to as a career. Since I have a college degree and a certification in another field, I am hoping to get something a bit more fulfilling and with a much larger income. But those jobs are not within reach at the moment, nor do I think they will be. My feelings on this has largely to do with our economic future and our scarcity of resources that are required to ensure continued economic growth (as I have discussed previously on the blog). I am very skeptical when the issue of job growth is discussed by anyone, whether by our president or people on the television news shows. The one question they can't seem to give any sort of an answer to is, "where are these jobs coming from?" Imagine that you're a multinational corporation, with the ability to assign tasks to any group of workers in the world. Why would you choose to lay down a base of operations here, when you can get the work done for much cheaper anywhere in the world? And, when those people demand better wages and protections, why, you can just stop operations and set up shop at another place on the map where people are willing to do the work for next to nothing. I think the simple reality, and the one not being discussed by those who matter, is that the American worker has priced himself out of work.

Most Americans still look at a job as a comfortable position in a cubicle where the starting salary is $50,000 a year. Those kinds of jobs simply don't exist for most people anymore, no matter our credientials or how many pieces of paper we have framed on our walls. According to one portion in the article, "networking happy hours" that are being held to match employers with jobseekers for unpaid internships are being swamped, and people with professional degrees and lengthy job experience are taking them. I sent an application for one of these internships to the county district attorney last summer, and got a letter back, stating that "due to the unusually large number of resumes sent", mine couldn't be looked at.

Ensuring that my resume isn't dominated by white space, I am trying things. I am going to put my very modest current job on future resumes, as that is better than "unemployed". I also will volunteer for Red Cross courses in disaster relief, if this horrible weather stops forcing me to postpone going to them. Any unpaid internship position I would take, would be on the position that a profit isn't being made from my work, and that seems difficult, especially in the legal industry. I am planning to contact my local Legal Aid office; do any readers have any other ideas?

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