Photography by Andrew Roles.
According to Forbes, Portland OR is the 7th worst city in the United States to get a job. There are 4.9 unemployed individuals for every job listing. I believe that unemployed in this sense means people actively seeking work. So, let’s say you’re a recent college graduate and you’re looking for a job. You’re competing with 4 other people for that job. What are the consequences of the willing-labor-glut? Employers get to be as choosy as they want to be.
I’ve heard legends of the 1980’s, where employers would compete with each other to fill jobs. It’s like the United States used to be Shangri-La or El Dorado. Now, you hustle and beg as the job prospects themselves begin to pall.
I went into a staffing agency today to consider other options from my current “career” (as a merchandiser). Upon entering, I was inundated with forms to fill out verifying my: Eligibility to work in the US, Background check approval, drug testing approval, a request for my SSN like 99 times, and various other annoying forms.
Then I was ushered to the back for a preliminary interview. They asked, “What type of work are you looking for?” The first thing I thought was, “I want to be Marlo from The Wire or Bruce Wayne.” Did I tell her that? Obviously not. Those jobs don’t exist for normal people. I said, “I dunno.” Which I figured was about as good as saying, “I don’t want to stock shelves in supermarkets and have their managers glower at me anymore.” She then asked me if I wanted to do data entry. I wanted to tell her no, but I didn’t. Why didn’t I? Because I don’t want to do any job that someone would willingly give me.
Do I want to be a cashier, scanning food and dealing with the dregs of society all day? No, I want to be a jewel thief! Do I want to work in a warehouse driving a forklift and listening to all the stupid conversations about beer and Kenney Chesney the “lifers” there are sure to have? No, I want to be the guy that answers on the other end when the president picks up his red telephone and orders a nuclear strike. (I realize this isn’t the 60’s, but imagine that power!)
I know why there’s an employment problem in the US. All of these jobs suck. I realize if you want a cool job you have to seek it out, but then what was college for? It’s consistently propagated that you need a (very expensive) degree, and then you go out and find a job. They don’t let you major in Political Assassinations, becoming a Rap Mogul, or being your generation’s next sex-symbol. If I can’t study those at OSU or U of O for $30,000 a year, then why go? So I can become a CPA? No offense to CPAs, but your job sucks. So does truck driving, merchandising, data entry, garbage man, fast food cook, pharmacist, being the office slut, etc.
So, I’d like to let everyone know right now that I’m accepting offers for cool jobs. Those can include: Being a General of the Armies (which has only happened twice. For some dude in World War 1 and big, bad George Washington), dog whisperer, whatever it is that Lindsay lohan does, or something that I might not have thought of. Inform me of any awesome job listings care of We Out Here Magazine. I’m sure they’ll pass it along.