I'm about to hop back into the jobfaring world like a boy flying a kite hops into the pilot's seat of a 747. That is, I'm relatively sure someone's going to get hurt. :)
So I've been contemplating the state of the job market. As could be expected, what I've seen is troubling.
Here's some cliff notes:
In the last twenty years, more and more jobs have gone overseas. India, China, and a dozen other places that don't get nearly as much recognition, manufacture and ship because WE WON'T. The US doesn't make anything for itself, anymore, and imports both its necessities and luxury goods.
But that's not all.
In the last ten years, technology has taken what few jobs are left. Why have a man build a chair by hand, when a factory can build a dozen at the same cost in the same timeframe? You don't. For every job created by the need to repair or maintain these machines, a hundred entry-level jobs are lost.
On top of that, the population is growing so rapidly that it's begun to flood over its banks. In my lifetime, the US population will likely swell to almost a billion. For perspective, that's:
The consequences of all this worries me. We are officially Corporate America, now. Our mentality is one of cubicles and minimum wage. No employee is important, and no job is ever secure.
Does that terrify anyone else like it terrifies me? NO job is secure.
No, not even yours.
Somewhere, there is someone with the same education and experience that you have. Unemployed, two steps away from starvation, one away from homelessness, this person will do your job at half the cost, and will work twice as hard. Because this person is desperate.
This is the person you will become, after you're replaced.
There are no skill sets and no special, secret knowledge that can save you. The only way to keep your job is to shut up and take what they give you. Your employers can treat you however they want because you both know the truth.
In this economy, you're lucky to be working at all.
It is essential to the human spirit that a person finds purpose in what he or she does for a living. One needs to feel important, unique, or at least appreciated. Without these things, the human spirit withers.
People with doctorates are working in fast food.
People with masters are in the unemployment line.
Human Resources is our new god, our dark idol to whom we sacrifice our dignity. Our every manager, benign or not, becomes a slave master bloated with the power to crush lives. Intention doesn't matter. Power breeds a desire for power, turning the very best of us to tyranny.
This is the state of the market as I find it. "Panem et circenses," indeed. But the bread is running out.
Next time: More "Bread and Circuses" and our troubling ties to Rome.