Over the weekend, two New York Times (credit to SI’s Richard Deitsch for highlighting these links on his Media Matters column this week) articles about unemployment in Europe and here in the United States, reaffirms my belief that the middle class is extinct, or on the verge of it…and it is time to create a new identity and image that best represent what is left of the middle class and the unemployed.
In Spain, young aspiring workers in Spain are leaving their country for better opportunities for jobs elsewhere in Europe. Sadly, those opportunities never come to fruition. The unemployed here in America continue to fall through a downward spiral into parts unknown. Most are considered not hire-able due to being overqualified, unemployed/underemployed for a long period of time, and other various reasons.
It reminded me of the analogy in 2010 that Generation X is the “middle class”: they are in a precarious spot.
Writing from experience, I don’t foresee us returning to pre-recession days, because the culture has changed. Government isn’t creating a WPA and putting people to work, businesses are tightening their belt, or using more discriminatory practices to justify who to hire.
There are a few things I’ve gleaned from both articles and it relates to my personal experience with unemployment.
“Creating” jobs: during this recession, jobs and positions people had were either eliminated or was merged with another job or title. The promises of creating new jobs from elected officials is a silly notion. How can anyone create a job when there are more people out of work than there are jobs that in existence? After all, what is a “new” job?
Unintentional discouragement: phrases like “I hope you find something” or at worst, pat you on the head, feeling sorry for you are the biggest insults to the unemployed today. The unemployed want advice and opportunities, not hollow “feel-good” statements a la Stuart Smalley. They want a chance to feel like they are contributing and learning in the workforce.
This is the new world order we’re living in: it’s better to be in a dead-end job than to be unemployed and be told you’re not hire-able because you’re unemployed. That what it sounds like to me.