Food Fashion and Flow: No Gold Watch   

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

No Gold Watch

There used to be a time when the endless hours you spent in college taking classes with no relevance to the "real world" would guarantee you a safe cushy job and a guaranteed ticket to the middle and upper-class. Retirement parties, gold watches and wood plaques with golden scribes about your dedicated service have gone the way of dinosaurs and  cabbage patch dolls.
For your loyalty and hard work, a pink slip that guarantees that potential employers will discriminate for the time you were between jobs and when you do finally find one, the promise that you will now earn 50% less than you did in your last job is pretty close to reality.  

And if that doesn't scare you more than Freddy Krueger and Jason, how about the fact that more than half of college graduates under the age of 25 are unemployed or underemployed.

A PHD in life experience and a collection of degrees that guarantee that you can use plenty of ten dollar words like: Paroxyism, Draconian or Ossify, which of course are diametrically opposed to your new kindergarten salary. But don't worry, there might be enough left after the bills for such treats as apple juice and graham crackers.
The job market is about as anorexic as a lot of our new millennium bank accounts. The most fun, is the job interview with the kid who just drank an Enfamil shake and has plenty of interview questions about a job he knows nothing about. But don't get mad. You gotta say cheese and look really happy for the camera since your social media profile needs to be warm and fuzzy, despite the wind chill factor in your life.

So you don't want to make minimum wage? Neither does anyone else, but there are at least 1,000 resumes for folks who really don't want to flip a burger, mop a floor, or smile and get you a Vanilla Latte, but they will. Why? Because they have to.
Ok you went to a good school, were a thought leader in your field and a classic overachiever. Now you are forced to work a survival job because the new economy has nothing for you. A survival job says a lot about you. It says that you will do what is necessary so that your kid eats, but the HR person looks at your resume and says: "Director of Finance, VP of Operations, Fast Food Burger Flipper Engineer Extraordinaire, yeah that's impressive. In all honesty, it is. Too bad they don't think so.

Recession proof jobs don't exist anymore. Just two years ago, eight teaching vacancies attracted 3,620 applicants. There are few corporate ladders to climb because they are as obsolete as 8-track tape players. If you insist on climbing that imaginary ladder in your red bottom shoes or your shiny new wingtips, be prepared for a treacherous climb.
But the old adage says: there is no substitute for hard work. Just think, that big corner cubicle can be all yours! LOL
This tale would not be complete without a discussion on the thrilling task of  reading compelling ads that promise a "great opportunity" for a hard worker, which is a euphemism for low paying dead end job that will make you want to quit and and commit your life to working with small animals or joining the circus. 

So what do you do in this I want a gold watch in a pink slip layoff sorta world?

The key is to have an entrepreneurial mindset even if you don't own the company and you must wrap your head around the fact that  having an entrepreneurial mindset will not guarantee you any lasting success unless you use it for your own dreams as much as you use it to make your employer a success.

It is  not safe anymore and there is always the possibility that your job can be outsourced, eliminated,  a nice friendly robot can replace you, or you can work really hard and hope that your employer is as loyal to you as you are to them.  

Good luck and God bless us in trying to find one. Or maybe, your skills and talents will lead you to launch a company everyone wants to work for because you know how much it sucked working for companies that only saw you as a number. 

Who knows, then you can buy your own gold watch and the only pink slip you have to deal with is the one for your car.

So, how are these changes impacting your life or the life of those you care about? What say you?


Emmy said...

A compelling post, LV. It is truly a scary world out there now. A degree doesn't mean squat all, and even hard work is sometimes not enough. The only people guaranteed anything nowadays are trust fund babies who don't even need to do anything to get to places:( Luck is what we all need.
God help us all in these times of needs....

angiejenkins2011 said...

The job market out there is really bad. I have never seen anything like it. I am seeing a lot of people get laid off and downsized out of jobs. And the sad part is that employers are paying less and want people to do two or three times the work load. I have friends who are very educated and cannot find work. It is awful.

High Heels & Good Meals! said...

Sad yet so true.

LV said...

@Emmy, it is definitely a scary time for a lot of people. Some are unaffected and can't relate, but I have seen this impact a lot of my friends.

@Angiejenkins2011, Yes, I think lower paying jobs for the same amount of work is turning out to be the new normal. It is definitely awful

@High Heels & Good Meals, Sad for sure. I hope it turns around for those affected by the current job market

Beauty said...

Wow! Very great reflection; definitely a true and scary situation. I do wonder how this gleam situation affects the youths? I hope they don't give up on achieving that great education or give up on their dreams in general.

My take is that everyone should still continue to smile and be hardworking in their various pursuits. And like you said; "maybe one day, we can all buy that beautiful gold watch and only worry about our new car's pink slip."

Thanks so much for sharing. It's my first time on your blog and I'm impressed!

Kat asecondglance said...

This is a thought-provoking post. The rules of the game are changing faster than ever and the past no longer provides a good indication of the future.

I struggle with my own views on a lot of these questions - are employers exploiting a difficult job market? Are past entitlements too generous and if so how much burden of these legacy costs should the current working population bear? Are new entrants to the labour market acting too entitled or just vocalizing what they deserve? How can we impress upon our society the importance of living within our means?

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