While St. Valentine didn't bring me flowers, he did bring me LOTS of more hours scheduled at work. For probably the first time since I began working at my local grocery store, I got a full twenty hours in, and I already have it all spent in my head. For a few brief days, I was hopeful that the economy was turning around and that I would have a steady source of income from now on. Then came payday, which is also schedule day. I had gone from having 26 hours to 7. Seven hours at minimum wage, with taxes taken out, is not even $50. That will put some gas in my tank and pay for some Taco Bell, but it won't get me a hair cut, fix my tire, pay my car insurance, pay for a new tag, or allow me to save any money. This is okay, if you're 16 and you just need money for the movies. But when you're 19 and your parents are stretched thin too? This is pushing it.
So, I've decided to start hunting up a second job. First place I look is Craigslist, and it's not hopeful. I emailed around a dozen people, but some of the ads were older, so I'm not too optimistic. In the next few days I will probably apply to every place I visit, whether I want to work there or not.
To make matters worse, the company my father worked with for years has finally gone out of business, after laying him off around Christmas. A contracting company, they can no longer get work because no one is building because no one has money. And yet somehow, the unemployment rate has lowered! The national rate has lowered to 9%, and yet no one around me can seem to find jobs. How is this happening?
Well, the thing about statistics is this: they lie. If there's one thing I learned in that god awful stats class I took in high school, it's that you can make numbers do anything you want them to. This percentage doesn't include the people who have simply abandoned looking for a job. And also, things like this happen:
Since I started working at my place of business, they have steadily hired a new cashier every month without firing any. Everyone's hours have been reduced, and by hiring people they deprive existing employees of hours and wages. How can employers expect you to be available, when they only schedule you for 7 hours a week? If you pick up a second job, you are considered inconvenient. During the Christmas season, I juggled two jobs. Was it difficult, two jobs and school and trying to maintain relationships with my boyfriend and my family? YES. VERY. Was it necessary, because the economy is so bad that my family has been slowly paying for less of my expenses? Absolutely.
At the same time, prices of food and fuel are expected to shoot up. College is already too expensive for the common man; your choices are student loans, or getting smart enough to work towards a scholarship, or being poor enough to get financial aid. At this rate, people my age are going to be so focused on merely trying to survive that getting an education will be impossible, and we as a nation will suffer.
Questions? Comments? Testimonies?
Next blog: the evils of the Public School System