OK. So here it is. Early forties, lost a great job ten years ago and have not been able to find as good a one since then. Been getting jobs at one third the salary, or freelancing, or “making do”. Alot of under the radar stuff, nothing “career”, just getting by. Live alone, not married, no children. Have a nice apartment, but am in constant danger of losing it if I don’t land a good paying job soon. No health insurance, and that is a concern. No benefits, no IRA, no savings at all for the future. I’ve lived simply, not doing much for the last ten years. But is this really the way to live?? It can't be!!
I’ve looked into the MLM stuff, it does not work for me (a PhD friend of mine tried it and it didn’t work for him, either, so I don’t feel so bad). I’ve done the minimum wage thing, and it does not pay the bills (it actually costs me money to do those jobs). Market is bad for looking for work right now, the competition is fierce. And a lot of politics involved. Not on merit, on who you know. Nothing new there, I guess. Not whining about it, (although I am), just putting it down on paper so I can see it.
I’ve kept sending out resumes. I’ve looked into entrepreneurial opportunities (they cost too much money that I don’t have, and franchising is not what it used to be, witness McDonalds!). Been reading history, and business books (I have a degree in Management, and I like to keep up). And here is what I have found. Most turn-of-the-century fortunes were built on the backs of others (which is why we had all that labor unrest at the turn of the century, why there was a strong socialist movement in the teens and twenties, why there is the huge difference in salaries between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Right off the bat I can tell you I don’t want to make money by hurting someone else, cheating someone else, or killing someone else. So I am not Robber Baron material.
I have a couple of friends who are in the finance biz and they have made millions of dollars. Mostly in Mergers and Acquisitions (bought companies, sold them for their parts and made money, you remember), and lots of workers lost their jobs. Call it economic Darwinism, but the effects still suck. The kicker is that even with their millions, my friends still have to work. To keep it up, you know. So it’s not a cure-all. You have to keep doing it, and now it is getting harder and harder to do. So I’m not a Kravitz (or a Boesky or Milken. If it involves other people losing money or jobs, I don’t want to do it.). I realized capitalism was about making money, not about ethics, particularly. Scary thought.
Then back in the eighties the PC revolution started, and to their credit, people like Jobs, and Gates and Ellison made themselves as well as alot of their workers rich. The middle class expanded. Others got into the game, and we all know what happened to that bubble. All sorts of people desperate to be part of the passive moneymaking stock market jumped in, prices soared, millions were made on paper, and when it burst, private investors, institutions and companies were bankrupt or near bankrupt. I still think it is harder to fall than to work slowly up the ladder. Just my opinion.
Then the economic boom went bust. And 9/11 happened. And then this weird jingoistic whirlwind of hate. Sure Saddam is grotesque. Sure Bin Laden is a sociopath with billions and bent on our destruction. But is the only solution forgetting everything we stand for and go fight a war? Particularly now, when we can’t pay for it? Now, when a large chunk of the rest of the world is against it? The picture keeps getting bleaker and blacker. I love my country, but sometimes the actions of these men in power do not reflect who I am or what I stand for. And they don’t do my economic situation any good either. That's OK. Part of living in a democracy.
Who said we had to be the world’s police force? And why is it so hard for the military-industrial complex to give up the reins and form a global police force along the lines of NATO? Silly me!! They don’t want to share!
Fear. Fear of change. We humans do that (change) slowly. We have not had time to assimilate all the changes that have happened in the last 100 years. We need to think about this. About who we are and what we want to do. How we want to relate to to others on a personal, social, political and global level. And we must start telling our leaders what we want, instead of being led by the nose into another war.
I’ll find my way. One way or another, I’ll find it. And I’ll keep thinking about what we are all going through and writing about it. And with the grace of God I will live through this.