If you can and do read, listen to the radio, or watch the news, you've heard how much our economy is trembling over the abyss of a depression (at best). To my surprise, not everyone is informed about this, however.
I was at a local JC Penney store this weekend and found some great deals. I mentioned that it was wonderful to find such prices in this economy. The single mom who was ringing me up blithely said she had no time for the news, and didn't know what I was talking about.
She lives shielded behind work, kids, and the latest reality TV shows. She'll only know of the impact when she gets laid off, or the school supplies are ringing up at a higher rate than before, or if Hollywood suddenly goes bankrupt.
She apparently hasn't been fazed by the increased grocery bill yet, but perhaps she's on government assistance. She did say she was voting for Barack Obama, but only because he was cute and he was "a brother". His stance on issues is unimportant, apparently. I believe she is representative of the general mentality of the majority of the electorate. The dumbing down of America has been successfully achieved.
Yet she has a job while those of us who are looking for meaningful work are having a hard time even getting a rejection letter, let alone an interview.
One of the places I use for my job search is The Ladders. Along with that membership comes a regular newsy little email. In today's advisory email, we are told:
"In a typical year, U.S. employers hire about 4 million people at the $100K+ level. In boom times, that can get as high as 4.5 million. In a recession, it drops to 3.2 million or a little more. That certainly is a big swing, but when you realize there are still 3.2 million chances in a bad year, I hope you’ll agree with me that the situation is not completely hopeless."
That sounds enheartening until you realize that if there are 4 to 4.5 million jobs available in that bracket per year during a healthy economy, it's a pretty sure bet that they get filled. I'm certain that Bill Gates doesn't sit around during such times, idly asking his advisors why certain top job spots haven't been filled that year.
So realistically, the competition will be fiercer, and overqualified people will be settling for jobs in which every conversation ends with "Would you like a hot apple pie with that?"
However, there is always a benefit to finding such a job if they'll take you. That is, if you can beat out all the illegal aliens who are willing to take the job for less pay under the table.
Benefits to Getting a Lower Income Job
1. Usually there are less demands on our intellect. This gives us time to work on the books we never wrote, or take up a hobby or foreign language at night. Basket weaving might be a good trade to learn, as baskets and straw hats can be sold on street corners.
2. There is less stress, as there's less responsibility. We can leave the stress to those manic fast food managers who worry about the consistency of every milkshake and the color of every french fry. All we have to do is find out if that rotund fast food junkie wants to Biggie Size it.
3. We can enrich our lives by doing something we've never done before. How many people can say that they've scrubbed out a nightclub bathroom after a long night of debauchery with puddles of puke and streams of urine? Soon we'll have tales to tell that can be passed down to our children's children of Grandma's Interesting Job during the Great Depression Redux.
4. We can learn to value what we have. I remember my grandmother's tales of how she only had one pair of panties and one bra during the Great Depression. She would wash them out every night and wear them again the next morning, even if they weren't fully dried. For the rest of us, some slightly tattered underwear will be a valued object as long as we have more than one pair to rotate through.
5. We will eat healthier. Or we won't eat at all. But since most Americans are overweight, this will fix our growing health crisis. Of course the next health crisis may be scurvy, but we'll deal with that when we come to it.
6. We will get closer to nature by finding it, killing it, and learning to cook it. And roadkill will always be an option as well (there will be the added benefit of our roads being cleaner).
7. There will be less landfill and garbage produced, as we learn to recycle everything that we can use. Juice cartons can be used for tinder in case we can't pay the electric bill. Plastic containers can catch the rainwater if we can't pay our water bill, either.
I'm sure there are many additional benefits, and I would welcome any and all contributions to this list.