Due to all the massive spins which continue to be bantered around among Mr. Obama, the challengers, and the mainstream media, as one of those currently unemployed, I thought I would address this situation from a better, more clearer, perspective.
As one formerly in the middle class for a good part of my life, but who is at over 50 no longer, a personal perspective or story of one American’s experience and just what has transpired to place me in this position post 9-11 and our current economy.
My former home was for most of my life in Arizona.
It is no longer, and has not been since the National Guard was called out to help secure the border in 2006 during the Iraqi War and subsequent surge when, according to media sources, then President Bush was offering border agents extra pay and bonuses if they would go overseas to secure Iraq’s borders, rather than our own.
An initial move to the Midwest proved to be futile, since as an asthmatic during the summer months it was rather difficult to breathe during planting season, and was a much harder adjustment at over 50 than it had been when I had lived there a short time during a spouse’s graduate studies many years ago.
So I headed South, where I have extended family only to be then caught there during one of the major hurricanes in 2008 (Gustav), and living in weekly rental rooms at that point.
Whatever the amount of equity I got out of my home upon an enforced sale, was pretty much gone after the medical bills and living expenses while I was then recovering and added expenses of my moves.
This was my second major move in less than a year.
It took over a year to even start to feel a bit better, and another move back West (not to Arizona, however) where I could recuperate until my lungs healed.
I happen to be allergic to mold (one of my triggers) and when all those roofs were pulled up to replace, the mold which had grown out of control after the hurricane was then released in the air, and I got the mother of all lung infections.
While West and recuperating, on my good days I attempted to seek help from the Social Security office.
But since I wasn’t old enough to claim my benefits, and wasn’t injured to the point where they could determine it would be "permanent," nor missing a limb, I was shown the door and advised I could hire a lawyer and challenge their decision in front of a government Administrative Law Judge.
That would take about a year, I was told, to go through the "process."
I continued to deplete whatever savings I had left while I continued to heal, and then found a job after nine months of looking sporadically when I could in a call center during a ramp up.
A third party provider for a major cell phone carrier.
I was there all of four months before there was a massive layoff of almost all the people who were hired during that ramp up due to a slowed economy.
Especially the older workers (over 35), and any and all where drug testing, or misdemeanor offenses could then be used to whittle down the workforce (even though drug testing and background checks were undertaken upon filling out those lengthy application forms).
In the state where I was working, medical marijuana use with THC in the bloodstream during the testing period was a cause for immediate dismissal.
So were juvenile possession and misdemeanor criminal offenses, although in some people’s cases occurred decades before, or even misdemeanor traffic offenses.
The older, of course, you got the more likely it was that at one point in your life due to the shear number of laws on the books there was something there that could be used.
Especially since in most states at this point, there are no statutory expungements for criminal offenses, even misdemeanors. With progressively also more and more victimless civil offenses now classified as criminal.
This was not a right to work state, but as of yet this center was not unionized.
But as one who formerly worked in that field, I can certainly see that day coming fairly quickly, which may be why most call centers are now "outsourced."
There may be a reason at some of those locations they are jobs Americans don’t want, or can’t have for just such hiring practices.
Of course, the working conditions there left much to be desired from a labor/management perspective, and from what I understand there have been lawsuits which have subsequently been filed over failure to pay employees for time worked, and also mandatory overtime not paid.
My time came for the boot primarily because I believe I asked far too many questions for their comfort as having worked in the labor relations field for many years.
Or maybe because I was one of those "older" workers targeted anyway since my style of customer service was foreign to their management.
During my training I was warned not to become a "target" by the instructors, in failing to follow the dress code or grievance procedures, which procedures were similar to those in the military – using the "chain of command" verbiage to explain them to the new hires.
Meeting with anyone in Human Resources was the last step in the chain.
Although this wasn’t my real choice of job to begin with, but one taken out of shear desperation and necessity. For a little over minimum wage, after over twenty five years banking, legal and travel industry experience.
I moved again, due to the inability to get work to a state that had a little better unemployment rate.
I signed up with two or three local job centers and completed all their testing.
It is not that I am not computer savvy, having owned and managed my own website based small business for several years, and having also taken continuing education classes through the years.
I had worked with some senior students at a local college who developed my website in 2004, and also worked with me during the process so that I could subsequently maintain it for a product line of children’s footwear I had developed before the economic and political roof caved in Arizona and throughout most of the nation in 2005-06, and as a single mom with teenagers working from home.
In over seven months, only one or two referrals for minimum wage positions in this "lower" unemployment rate state.
I also started combing the ads and internet myself.
I went to one company that was looking for sales personnel for a cruise line packager.
I had worked for a major vacation packager in Arizona prior to a layoff in ’99 when they deemed the rent too high there, and moved to Coral Gables, Florida – another high humidity, hurricane prone state in which at that time I could not live with also an asthmatic daughter who would not have done well there (nor as a divorced mom, could move there without "court" permission, I was told, due to a shared custody arrangement with my ex for our minor children).
There I was informed that it would cost me $500 for their training materials, and then $200 to rent desk space at their offices annually.
I was then to receive a 20% commission on my sales, from the 10% commission the company made from the cruise line company, and would be paid after the cruise line company was paid by the customer prior to their departure.
I figured on a $2,500 cruise (standard) at 10% commission for the agency, my 20% of 10% would be $50.00.
I would get $50.00 for each cruise I sold.
They would get the rest.
Hours of calls, and hand holding until that ship finally departed (especially after this latest cruise line sinking) and I would receive $50.00.
I got one call the other day from an agency I had basically written off.
It was a one day assignment, but the agency needed to know one important question first.
Did I have an IPhone, or smart phone capable of taking photographs, and then emailing them from my phone?
I, of course, at this point unable to really afford even your basic flip phone (although trouble shooted those IPhones for two months), had to tell her no, I did not.
But I did have access to a digital camera that I could download and then email.
That wasn’t what the client wanted.
Wake up, Washington…and the state legislatures…there is much, much more to this than meets the eye.
Or those candidates can even begin to comprehend.
Or just maybe, they do know and not to be politically incorrect or anything…
But Obama, Mitt and Newt just may be like those little Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil monkeys (deaf, dumb, blind) I remember from childhood.
Or maybe, in this stage managed political arena we now live in where politicians resemble more and more "B" movie actors…
The director(s) in global corporate America, simply don’t give a ****…
People are now nothing more than commerce, after all…