Friday, May 14, 2010

I Need A Freakin' Job

This is amusing.

"I need a freakin' job." That's the message President Obama saw as he arrived in Buffalo, N.Y., this afternoon for an event talking up the administration's success in creating new jobs. He also pitched Congress on approving a $30 billion credit for small-business growth.

Yet critics say Obama has been focusing his recovery efforts too narrowly and hasn't done enough to help people find work. After all, the latest job figures show 9.9 percent of the country still out of work. That inspired a group of unemployed Buffalo residents — who also have a website called — to appeal to the president in the form of a billboard along the route his motorcade took into town.

Unfortunately for those who need a freakin' job immediately, neither of the major political parties think job creation is the number one issue for midterm elections. Why do we vote for these people again?
Yet jobs aren't a huge priority for either party heading into the midterm campaigns, as Politics Daily's Jill Lawrence notes. That might be because other issues have taken precedence. A new Gallup poll finds that for the first time in two months, the issue of "jobs" has fallen to No. 2 on the list of issues Americans are most concerned about. The new No. 1 issue: The economy in general. White House officials defend their efforts on jobs, saying the president has been focused as much on creating new jobs as on "saving" current positions.

Meanwhile, in the real world outside of lalaland DC where everyone gets paid by the health insurance industry and Sallie Mae, millions of people are suffering and the higher education scam continues. The New York Times interviewed a woman who took out a $17,000 student loan for an eight-month course to become a medical assistant after losing her adminsitrative assistant job two years ago. The program sounds like another for-profit college scam to me.

Ms. Norton, for her part, may be reluctant to acknowledge that many of her traditional administrative assistant skills are obsolete, but she has tried to retrain — or as she puts it, adapt her existing skills — to a new career in the expanding health care industry.

Even that has proved difficult.

She attended an eight-month course last year, on a $17,000 student loan, to obtain certification as a medical assistant. She was trained to do front-office work, like billing, as well as back-office work, like giving injections and drawing blood.

The school that trained her, though, neglected to inform her that local employers require at least a year’s worth of experience — generally done through volunteering at a clinic — before hiring someone for a paid job in the field.

She says she cannot afford to spend a year volunteering, especially with her student loan coming due soon. She has one prospect for part-time administrative work in Los Angeles — where she once had her own administrative support and secretarial services business, SilverKeys — but she does not have the money to relocate.

“If I had $3,000 in my pocket right now, I would pack up my S.U.V., grab my dog and go straight back,” she says. “That’s my only answer.”

With so few local job prospects and most of her possessions of value already liquidated she has considered selling her blood to help pay for the move. But she says she cannot find a market for that, either; blood collection agencies, she said, told her they do not buy her blood type.

“Sometimes I think I’d be better off in jail,” she says, only half joking. “I’d have three meals a day and structure in my life. I’d be able to go to school. I’d have more opportunities if I were an inmate than I do here trying to be a contributing member of society.”
My suggestion to flee the country might sound drastic to some of you, but when educated professionals who have done everything right are selling their blood to pay the bills or would rather commit suicide or be thrown in jail, that is when you have to consider other options. Oh, and as I mentioned last week, this won't be ending any time soon.

Millions of workers who have already been unemployed for months, if not years, will most likely remain that way even as the overall job market continues to improve, economists say. The occupations they worked in, and the skills they currently possess, are never coming back in style. And the demand for new types of skills moves a lot more quickly than workers — especially older and less mobile workers — are able to retrain and gain those skills.

There is no easy policy solution for helping the people left behind. The usual unemployment measures — like jobless benefits and food stamps — can serve as temporary palliatives, but they cannot make workers’ skills relevant again.

Ms. Norton has sent out hundreds of résumés without luck. Twice, the openings she interviewed for were eliminated by employers who decided, upon further reflection, that redistributing administrative tasks among existing employees made more sense than replacing the outgoing secretary.

One employer decided this shortly after Ms. Norton had already started showing up for work.


  1. I am now curious about INAFJ. It seems like a movement lacking intellectual ideas (a mob shouting, "We want jobs!") and/or some sort of an attempt to earn money off of twentysomething angst. (Someone somewhere has money to burn (or to invest in the hopes of earning a profit) because that cute website and the billboard ads were not free.) Here are two articles that might be worth reading:

  2. The NY Times article made mention of how many people's skills are now outdated and of how they need to retrain and reeducate. However, as always, no mention was made of what exactly people should retrain and reeducate for.

    Some might say that people should retrain for health care-related jobs, but a slew of people are already retraining and reeducating for that already and a nation's economy cannot run on health care alone.

    So we are left with the question, retrain, reeducate--for what? In an age where just about any type of job that is not almost literally nailed down to the land can be sent to India or China, it's difficult to know what to retrain and reeducate for. Computer jobs? Those can be done in India for less or filled by foreigners on H-1B and L-1 visas.

  3. A billboard like that would have been relevant in Buffalo, NY for the past 50 years. Why anyone wouldn't just pack up and leave that godforsaken area is beyond me.

  4. What should we retrain and reeducate for? I anticipate these will be the hot jobs of tomorrow:

    -Blood and organ donor
    -Pharmaceutical test subject
    -Lackey (toadies as well)
    -Hired goon
    -Youtube celebrity
    -Perpetual student
    -Barista's assistant
    -Con artist

  5. We need another World War...immediately.

  6. I don't know whether anonymous is serious or not...but that's actually my greatest fear and something I'm going to write about in my next blog post. I'm terrified we're heading towards another major conflagration.

  7. actually, as evil as this sounds, we need another world war which america doesn't take part in for at least the first few years.

    in my opinion, that is what revved up our economy. the caveat is that we need to stay out of it for at least a little while. but nowadays, with all our various alliances, it's hard to envision that happening. there are no flashpoints in which america doesn't have an ally. in that case, we'll be spending money in the war, as opposed to making it while sitting on the sidelines and supplying the british (and french?) with food, clothing, ships, arms, etc.

    i guess you could theoretically say that we could have a war against some alien entity. that would in part unite the human race (hopefully) and give people a sense of purpose (to defeat the invaders). though, as stephen hawking said, any contact with aliens would be much as if the aliens were christopher columbus and we were the american indians. it didn't turn out too good for the indians. (though, many are now super-rich with casinos and whatnot. i guess there's a long term play there).

  8. HK,

    You're starting to sound like a more literate and less foul-mouthed version of me. Sell the SUV for cash, clean out the till at Wal Mart, and make a break for Mexico - you can do it Cynthia!


  9. INAFJ is Breitbart's new hollow ploy. Seriously, do some research before touting something.



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