If my own recent experience is any indication, then our American economy is going to be in bad shape for a long time to come as far as jobs are concerned. I do believe I am a typical wage-earner, with “some college” and general skills. What has happened since April, 2009, when the division of the corporation I was working for was sold and downsized, is that I have held a series of short-term jobs. I don’t see this trend ending any time soon, either. What we are seeing is “serial unemployment,” whereby people are working, becoming unemployed, then repeating the cycle.
Obviously, this scenario works to no one’s advantage. Employers might as well install turnstiles at the door to the HR department. Workers usually do not enjoy health care coverage and other benefits, including holiday pay, when they are working on short-term assignments. Lack of continuity in employees leaves long-term employees constantly adjusting to the work styles of new personnel. Lack of long-term continuity in one’s employment history makes prospective employers for permanent jobs question the applicant’s commitment to a given employer.
I have, in the past, worked as a temporary employee, and that is, of course, the ultimate in serial employment and unemployment. It gets old very quickly, and anyone who is the least bit observant of their temp assignments learns just how screwed up work ethics have become. The less work I did, the more I earned. The harder, longer, tougher assignments rarely compensated well. What was even more frightening was the kind of assignments we received. Would you want a “temp” working on your bank accounts? I did that. Banks seem to use temps more than other businesses, in fact. I also worked at evaluating home loan applications, ensuring government compliance.
Back to the main point I’m making: We can’t support lots of out-of-work people over the long haul. We need to be creating permanent jobs, and a diversity of jobs in a variety of industries, not just service industries. We need to invest in creative industries, too, such as the arts, writing, publishing….and yes, I know I’m being self-serving in focusing on industries where I actually have something to offer.
Why not go back to school and….a) get a degree b) get another degree or c) enhance and improve your “skill set?” That is all well and good as a suggestion, but you are asking a person to do something else when you ask them to enroll: go into debt. The absolute last thing anybody needs to be doing right now is to accrue more debt. That is largely what got us into economic trouble to begin with.
The Federal Reserve Chairman needs to start increasing interest rates. We need to reward savers instead of just paying lip service to the ethic of saving. We need to discourage lending through higher rates so that there is less default (poorer borrowers thinking twice before accepting terms on a loan they might not be able to repay).
Oh, did I mention that at my current position, working part-time, I actually still qualify for unemployment benefits while I’m working? How ridiculous is that? Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go back to the phone, where I’ve been waiting on hold for about twenty minutes for an unemployment claims agent to explain to me why the internet site is not accepting my attempts to file for this week….