Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Monday, June 21, 2010

My ad for the Personals section: CEF seeking ARC for FTE.

You know how when you are little you daydream that as soon as you are ready, you are going to find “the one”? You hear about it in books and movies and from your friends, and it seems like it happens so easy for other people. They decide what they are looking for and then go out and find it. I have been searching for over a year now, trying to be outgoing, trying to let it “just happen on its own”, hell I’ve even tried looking on those internet sites that try and help you find a match. All this work and all I have found are dead ends but I am done searching the old fashioned way, I’ve decided that I am just going to take out an ad in the personals section. Its going to read: CEF seeking ARC for FTE. (College educated Female seeking A Real Career for Full Time Employment).

Yeah, har har har, I was talking about finding a job, not true love. (Side note, cause I know he reads this, I have found true love). But back to the whole job thing, I busted my ass through college to get my degree…OK “busted my ass” should probably read “attended most of my classes on at least a weekly basis” but I did graduate with honors with a Bachelors degree in Sociology with a minor in English and do you know what kind of stellar job I have found? One that pays exactly one dollar over minimum wage, has no benefits and where I only get 32 hours a week.

Don’t get me wrong, in some ways I love my job. I work at a residential facility for physically and cognitively disabled adults and I love the time I get to spend interacting with the people that live at the house. Unfortunately, I work from ten o’clock at night until six in the morning, so the time I spend with them is exactly none at all because they are asleep. So yeah, basically I paid thousands of dollars to get a degree to get a job where I do house work and occasionally bring a glass of water to someone who wakes up thirsty.

I look online every single day trying to find a job that is either more interesting, pays better, or has better hours. I wouldn’t need a position that meets all three of those conditions, just one of those things would make me happy. (And notice I didn’t even mention benefits in that list, that’s not even something that seems remotely possibly to me) But every time I look for jobs, and like I said its every eff-ing day, it’s the same thing. The jobs are either limited term employment, part time, or minimum wage.

My favorite thing is when I see a job that looks like exactly what I want to do, which incidentally is working with disenfranchised populations, I am not looking to be CEO of Fortune 500 company here. But anyway, my favorite thing is when I see a listing that sounds perfect so I click on it, see that I am perfectly qualified, the pay is good, and…that the position offers like six hours a week. And here’s the eff-ing kicker, usually these postings say that they are looking to hire, like, 10 people. Seriously? Instead of paying one or two people a LIVING wage and benefits you are going to hire ten people to work like six hours a week?

But that’s the system that we live in and that every flag waving American swears that they will die to defend. OK, I know that seems like a pretty big jump in thought but let me explain myself. So in the United States, there was a very long battle to get labor rights, things like a minimum wage, benefits for full time employees, safety standards etc. So companies in the US had to hire its workers and make sure that they could at least survive.

Seems simple and logical, but this system cost big companies a lot of money so somewhere along the line someone figured out that hey, if it costs too much money to hire workers here, why not hire workers in developing countries? Why pay $7.50 an hour when you can pay 13 cents a day? (FYI that isn’t an exaggeration, a worker in countries like Thailand and Cambodia really get paid those kind of wages).

So all the jobs got sent to other countries. Here is why this system will ultimately ruin itself. Say you own a shoe factory and your shoes cost $50 a pair. You make them in the United States and after you pay wages, make sure safety and environmental standards are met, and provide benefits for your workers you end up with a $10 profit on each pair of shoes. But, since you are paying your workers and since car companies, toy factories, clothing makers and other companies are also paying people in the United States money to make things, people here have the $50 to spend on a pair of shoes.

But ten bucks isn’t a big enough profit for you, so you decide that you are going to make your shoes in China, where it only costs five bucks to make the same exact shoe, and then sell it in America and get a $45 profit. Brilliant. You just more than quadrupled your profit margin! However, every other manufacturing company sees the idea and sends all their jobs overseas so they can quadruple their profits too. Sounds great right?

Wrong. Once all the jobs go to other countries, all those people that used to work in manufacturing will be unemployed so they won’t have $50 to buy your shoes…or the cars, or the toys, or the clothes or anything else because you took away all their jobs. So what you have done is eliminate a GIGANTIC portion of your consumer base…but hey, not all Americans work in manufacturing right? There are lots of other people who work in medical fields or administration or retail…they are all still getting wages so they’ll be able to buy your crap, right?

Wrong again. Since so many jobs went overseas, and so many people became unemployed, the job market is FLOODED with people willing to do whatever they can to get a little bit of money. So now, companies that can’t outsource can offer ten people jobs where they will only work a few hours a week. This way the company gets out of having to pay for benefits or retirement funds or anything like that. Companies also don’t have to try and lure employees in by offering high wages, they can do the bare minimum and still have people lined up outside fighting for a paycheck. So basically, this system takes 95% of the population and makes them too poor to have any purchasing power and soon there won’t be anyone left to buy that hypothetical pair of shoes we discussed earlier. By allowing companies to take all the jobs out of our country, we completely and totally ruined the United States economy.

So, yeah, the next time that you start to blame the economic state that our country is in on ridiculous fucking reasons like too much social welfare, immigrant populations, unions, or the insane fantasy that the government is being taken over by socialists, remember that the reasons no one has a job is because companies like Nike, The Gap, Dell Computers, and about a trillion other ones sent most of the jobs overseas and left millions of people to fight over the ones that are left.

And now that there are hundreds of people competing for each job, do you think that the companies are going to increase or decrease the wages, working conditions, and hours that they offer the workers? If you are unsure about what the answer to that is open your nearest “help wanted” section of the newspaper.

Since this blog is already WAY too long, I’m not going to describe what this system has done to economies in developing countries (spoiler alert: they’re fucked too) but I am going to leave you with this one thought. If you were a huge corporation, would you want desperate workers willing to do whatever you told them or would you want workers who knew that if you provided a shitty job they could reasonably expect to find a better one somewhere else? Remember that the next time you vote Republican or Democrat or any other candidate that is sponsored by a big business or the next time you want to run your mouth off about how the government should not be able to tell companies what to do.

But now that we have looked at the big picture and I have written this eloquent and intellectual post, is anyone out there interested in hiring me? Please? Pretty please? Pretty, pretty please??

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