As I approach the age of 37 I realize more and more that I’m never going to feel financially secure. I have worked steadily, day after day, since I was 16 years old. I’ve never been one …
As I approach the age of 37 I realize more and more that I’m never going to feel financially secure. I have worked steadily, day after day, since I was 16 years old. I’ve never been one to gamble. I don’t waste large amounts of money on cars or vacations… I couldn’t if I wanted to.
Aside from 8 months off after breaking both my legs in a car accident, I’ve only taken a couple of weeks off of work since I was a teenager. Even while in college I worked full time. Yet here I am, 37, poor and struggling to figure out how I’ll pay rent month to month. What happened to our country?
There was a time when you could start an entry-level position, work hard and eventually move up the ladder. That time is long gone. Now you’re more likely to see employers skipping over the option of promoting from within to hire new blood from outside.
Before finding this position I spent months in the job market seeing what options I had. I was amazed how often I’d find ads for senior writers, editors or management positions. I just kept thinking, why aren’t they hiring one of their junior employees to move up and hiring for the low level position?
I mean, what benefit does a company gain from that? My first thought is money. Why give someone a raise to work in a higher position when you can just hire someone to work the position for less than you were paying the previous holder of the position? I mean, the person that has already been working for you and getting raises for years would have to be paid more than someone just starting out in your company. Why reward those years of good work with a better title and more pay when you can hire from outside?
People have been complaining in recent years that no one wants to work. The truth is that no one wants to be overworked for less pay than they deserve. No one wants to struggle to make ends meet while they watch their boss drive around in a brand new car, go on their third vacation of the year in May or complain that the government wants to raise taxes on the twelve properties and businesses they own.
Younger generations feel more and more that nothing we do is ever going to get us out of the hole we’re in. Even entry-level positions are asking for years of experience for jobs that require in-house training no matter how long you’ve been doing it for someone else. I want to be able to afford a house, a car, a vacation or two a year and I don’t want to have to sacrifice eating two days a week to do it.
Frustration grows as more and more children are born, raised and then thrust into a job market that has no room for them. We can’t all be lucky enough to get popular on youtube, twitch or gain some other form of internet stardom. For those of us that can’t get famous, don’t we at least deserve a job that pays us enough to live on?
My father worked as a manager at a fast food restaurant when I was young, my mother a grocery store. Between the two of them, working for little more than minimum wage, they bought a house, raised three kids and put aside money for college funds, medical expenses, enough food that we were never hungry and an occasional vacation.
Now, between myself, an editor of a newspaper, and my boyfriend, a metalworker, we can’t even afford the cheapest of apartments without drastically sacrificing on food, gas, fun, safety or friends. What happened here?
Why don’t I deserve the same chance at the American dream those before me had? It’s still getting worse, and it feels like it’s a hole too deep to dig out of. Yet there are those of us who keep trying to climb the hill. Like Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a hill for all eternity, there just doesn’t seem to be another option for many of us.