Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Help Wanted

Did anyone else find it ironic that this holiday weekend - Labor Day - was kicked off yesterday with what has become universally known as The Disappointing Jobs Report? ZERO growth? Recovery? What recovery? Them boys who fancy themselves Economists seem to be a little out of touch with the rest of us...but then, I guess they still have jobs. 

I don't see how its possible that we could enter a double dip of this recession when to the regular Joe, things feel just as bad as they did when this whole mess started.  I don't know about you but this kind of "even Steven" zero growth is just disheartening, even for the most optomisic of us.

Things are tough out there for sure. Have you seen some of the lines for job fairs?  Heard some of the stories? And have you taken the time to look at this site? Just heartbreaking. Help is wanted alright - for these folks who are unemployed.

Friend, I'm here to tell you that if you have a good job, or if you know for certain that you can pay your bills so that you can read this, you need to immediately fall to your knees and thank God that the Hand of Provision is on you.

We live in a part of the country that was hit hard by unemployment. We know someone with a small cleaning business who was hard pressed to find anyone willing to work odd hours for just about minimum wage not too long ago. Recently he put an ad in the local paper to hire another worker and no less than 160 people applied. That's one hundred and sixty real people with real stories who have a real need for a job. Somewhere out there 160 families are wondering when they are going to get evicted or are wondering if they have enough spare change to go to The Dollar Store to try and find a meal for that day. More than likely 160 people cried themselves to sleep out of sheer frustration at their situation ...and that crappy job may just change their lives. 

I gotta tell you, I've about had it with my friends in "The Bubble" who aren't affected by this economic crisis. All them folks driving to work, talking to their friends on fancy phones, and listening to cruel people on the radio talking about all the lazy no-goodnicks who are sittin' around eating cheetos and scamming unemployment, courtesy of their tax money. 

The Bureau of Labor Stats will tell you that we only have about 9.1% unemployment and some folks on the news tries to spin it like its no big deal because there have been jobs added. Until of course they go back and revise those numbers. You know all that 'growth' they've been talking about this summer? Well guess what - most of its just a sham.  Turns out that in June and July there were not as many jobs added as they originally advertised. The real numbers are about 58,000 jobs LESS than reported.

And don't get me started on the long term unemployed. Those are the folks who have been off work for more than 6 months. And no one wants to hire them. These are the folks who need jobs the most and there are companies who actually put in their jobs listings "Unemployed need not apply."

Are you kidding? Who does that and how can they live with themselves? It defies all logic and frankly its just cruel. Honestly, who do you think would be more likely to run into work everyday, get there early and stay late - someone who's house/car/life you saved by giving them a break? Or someone who's leaving a good job because they didn't get the best parking spot, or someone they work with farted wrong, or whatever ridiculous excuse that special little snowflake is using that day? It just doens't make sense.

The lack of compassion that I see in these situations is just gutting. I hear that these "we don't want you" companies are afraid that the long term unemployed have "lost their edge" and their skills are gone. Oh no no no, Friend. That just ain't right thinking at all. I think it has more to do with the person hiring being uncomfortable with the person they are interviewing. They don't want to see someone that might look "desperate."  Well guess what? They ARE desparate and they need help.

And if you think for a second that those people "deserve" it or there must be something wrong with them? Think on this - if this double dip is coming, look around your cube farm - which one of your colleagues is gonna get that packet from HR? Who do you know that is the only source of income for their family.... and they are the one to get escorted out of the building by security?

What if its you? It won't be so funny when you reach out to your contacts - and no one will call you back. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and then YOU are that long term unemployed person. Bet you wish that someone would give you a break.

One of the things I'm most proud of from back in my corporate days was that I got a lot of people jobs. Life changing jobs. All someone had to do was send me an email or call me and I'd do whatever I could to help them out - I didn't even particularly have to like them but I did it anyway. I don't believe in karma, but I do believe in doing Good Works. Is there an unemployed person out there who is trying to contact you? Are you avoiding them so you don't have to be uncomfortable around them? Now is the time for you to take action.

While you are grilling up big steaks and patting yourself on the back for all your hard work on this Labor Day, take a second to put yourself in the unemployed shoes. Think about these people who just need a chance. Then first thing on Tuesday call that person up - and then invite them to lunch.  And for heavens sakes tell you the meal is on you so they don't have to decline because they don't have the money. Work up a little compassion for your fellow man and don't fall for the lie that the long term unemployed or under-employed need not apply.  And then pray that you are never on the other side of the table.

Friend, things are tough. That's why we all have to be in this together.

Happy Labor Day? I dunno about that one but I'm hoping for brighter days ahead.


Robin said...

I really don't know how many people realize just how bad it is out there. I was laid off from my job a little over two years ago and decided that I didn't think I wanted to go back to work. Well, life and circumstances change and I am planning to go back to work.

The only way that I will find a job though is through my old contacts. I feel lucky that all of them have returned my calls. I'm sure that I will make half of what I used to and it will take a few months to find a position. If you aren't in the inner circle in your profession....it's almost impossible to find a job! It took my neighbor 2 1/2 years to finally get a job.

There is also a lot of age discrimination out there. Once you are in your 50's...they don't want you! Crazy! My best friend had to change her resume and remove all of her management experience in order to get a job paying $8. an hour just so she could eat!

IanH said...

Well put!

David P. Offutt - The Gastronomic Gardener said...


Susan said...

Preach, sista!

Even though I have a BA, and a solid work record, I was laid off a little over two years ago because my company downsized due to the recession. After a year and a half of barely scraping by on unemployment, sending in literally HUNDREDS of resumes each month, applying to every job I could find, I FINALLY got a minimum wage retail job six months ago by pounding the pavement with resumes and humble pie in hand.

I am THANKFUL for the job that I have, and I know how it feels to be on the other side of the line. One of the things that doesn't get mentioned much is the crippling depression that goes along with being unemployed, at least for those like myself who felt useless, unwanted, over-qualified and yet under-valued. Receiving rejection after rejection, or worse, getting no response at all, is akin to being told you have nothing to contribute.

My heart goes out to all of those still struggling, and if there's any way for me to help, I will go out of my way to do anything I can for you!

lori said...

My husband heard his coworkers complaining that because of the hurricane they would have to work 12 hour days 7 days a week....are you kidding me? It's overtime...it's WORK. My husband just looked at them and said, "you know I wish they would let me work over time but that's not gonna happen...you ought to be thankful you have a job AND have the opportunity make extra cause there are a lot of people that would stand in line to do your job for you for half of what you're making."

Yeah...some people need to be thankful that they have good jobs cause they are very lucky/blessed and I don't see how people who have jobs can complain when so many are doing without.

Well said OFG!

murphysranch said...

Going on 2.25 years of no job. Just got yet another extension! About those numbers: they don't reflect those ppl who have DROPPED off of UE due to an expiration of benefits. It only reflects ppl who are on UE! Totally a numbers scam.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Robin, It doesnt seem right that the folks who have the most experience are cast aside, does it? One of the pitfall of "success" is that many folks are now "too expensive" to find a job right now. Can you believe it? The new normal kinda sucks. Thank heaven you have all your produce from your garden!

Thanks, Ian - its a tough go out there for sure.

Ginny, amen and amen.

Thanks Dave, I'm sure you see some of this too. Its a hard thing to watch, for sure.

Susan, so glad you finally landed somewhere! And yes, the despair can be overwhelming for the unemployed folks. We thank heaven everyday that we can provide so much for ourselves and pray for the people who cant.

You said it, Lori. Folks would rip off their good arm to get steady work - not to mention overtime - these days. A lot of people around us are taking hours whereever they can get them and its still not enough.

Murph - so glad to see you! I miss you! And yes the numbers are a total crock...they don't report the "underemployed" and the folks who just gave up. Its hard not to take all of this personally...but so many people are in the same boat. We all just have to keep on rowing. If you get a chance, and are so inclined, send me a note - I'd love to get caught up.

Heiko said...

Well said Sis. The sad thing for me too that in our society, our system you are defined by your job. You are what you do. Economic growth can't go on forever on a planet with limited resources and we have to come up with new ways of living together and surviving as a species. I haven't had a regular job for 7 years now. By choice. True, I'm lucky to own the roof over my head and a plot of land without owing the bank anything. This has enabled me to downsize to a sustainable level and living a basic but happy life. And I can define myself by my own values rather than by those imposed on me by a non-caring society.

Jo Griffith, Len Smith said...

Your post was so well done. We have a small video production company and saw the beginning of the recess/depression in the summer of 2007. We downsized in 2008, moving out of our rented office space and into a home that could accommodate the video business and our alpaca farm. Thank heavens we did what we did, when we did. Who could have known that this would have lasted so long?

My husband was shooting a corporate video at a soup kitchen in a neighboring town. He came home so disturbed at the variety of folks there. Young, old, unemployed. He came home and said that our gov't isn't letting on to how bad it really is. They are candy coating what is really happening.

Thank you for a most eloquent post.

small farm girl said...

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Blue Feather Micro-Farm said...

www.shadowstats.com shows the TRUE unemployment numbers and it is close to 22% percent. In classic government form, when the numbers look bad, change the formula. When you calculate unemployment the same way they used to in the 80's and include discouraged workers, you get the 22% number.

Anonymous said...

This is not a time in our history to wallow in misery about our blights or about the callousness of peoples hearts. This is a time to have a strong backbone, guts, courage to face difficult and unimaginable times. Wipe your tears and get on with the business of surviving. Remember God and his son Jesus and his promise to do you good and not evil to give you a hope and a future. We are AMERICANS our ancestors went through worse!! We Americans built this great nation, not the politicians, not the great corporations but we the people with less then an eight grade education fought the wars and won and built this great country. We are tough and we are not waiting around for others to "give" us a job. We can create our own jobs, we will clean the toilets, and shovel manure, dig the ditches, haul the dirt, serve the food, iron the clothes, chop the wood, keep the books, and so on.

Rise up, shake off the dust of sorrow. You are not too good or too educated to do any paying work. If all you make is $5 today for raking leaves, then you are $5 dollars richer then you were yesterday. Do all you can to help yourself and your family then help others. God tells us to not depend on others but to depend on him and he will put your feet on solid ground. Courage my fellow Americans, courage.


Anonymous said...

I am thankful EVERY DAY for my job and that my husband is finally employed after years of trying to get by as a real estate agent. He was laid off of corporate jobs twice in 2002, and spent the next 8years sending out resumes to zero response. It is brutal out there.

Please, anybody who's in this situation, don't EVER believe the lie that you're not a valuable person. It's not you or your work ethics or abilities, it's the economy. We are all in this together, and need to help our neighbors as much as we can.

Mary Ann said...

Our eggs from our "farm" go to our local food kitchen. In July, they served 20 NEW FAMILIES... 20 new families in what was supposed to be the start of the recovery! Every time I have to climb in our henhouse and roust the broody hens out from over their eggs and wrinkle my nose, I think of the people who have to use the food kitchen because they just.can't.make.it not even til the end of the month, not even until the middle of the month. The kids I see walking to school may be the kids eating our eggs... and I want them to have them!

I'm blessed to have a full time job, and my husband too.... and don't think we aren't grateful.

Little Rooster Croft said...

*ditto* I have several friends who have been unemployed for quite a long time...most over a year or two. One is now homeless and living on another friend's couch (might be mine soon).
I am thankful for my job even with the pay cut and no cost of living wage for 5 years before that. It is hard and I don't make ends meet but it is better than jobless and homeless.
Well written post. Thank you!

Veggie PAK said...

Very good post.

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