Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Downward Job Mobility and No Bad Words

Where do people get their money from? Other people. Corporations also get their money from people.

Poor people have little money so they are sub-prime targets for greedy predation, but they are not immune. Crack and crystal, used cars, cigarettes, and alcohol ensure a steady flow of money into and out of the lower economic classes.

Sometimes rich people take money from one another, which results in a net wash for them as a class. People do sometimes act in a way that benfits them as a member of a class. Karl Marx and F. Scott Fitzgerald were right about that.

What's left is the great American Middle and the crowning achievements this made in the latter half of the 20th century: broadcast media, transportation, space exploration, food production, and the computer Internet.

Now the middle and professional classes scramble while the rich ride their personal elevators up the L-curve.

On our last trip out of Dodge I had a few hours to read Bait and Switch, the (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, in which author Barbara Ehrenreich posed as someone "in transition" in the white-collar world of corporate middle-management. Six-figure income types.

Spoiler here: the only job offers she gets are unsalaried sales positions for cosmetics and insurance companies, making "cold calls" for commissions.

Let's call her "Joanie." She was the director of nursing at a hospital I worked in which lay in another part of the Valley. New management came in and turnover increased. Turnover was heavy at the bedside level. The first year I worked there the entire staff on the unit in which I worked "turned over." Nurses, secretaries, aides... everyone but me.

Joanie told us a year later that staff turnover was 89% then. A secretary who I really liked had stuck it out with me that year.

My nurse manager was wonderful but he saw the iceburg and took another job. His replacement didn't last long, and then the director of nursing, Joanie herself, was let go. Soon after that I moved to a house in another part of the metropolis and I don't like commutes so I called my old manager for a reference and he basically got me the job I have now by making a phone call, then *they* called *me* and here I am.

That worked out really well, actually, and I'm ever grateful to that guy for making my job move so easy, and as nursing goes, I have it comparatively well. It still sucks sometimes though.

Not so for Joanie. During my brief "job search" which lasted about a day, I'd heard she was director of a nearby emergency department at a place with a not-so-great reputation. I called her for a reference and she offered me a job there but I was never much of an E.D. nurse. Lazy, I guess. I like patients that already have a documented diagnosis or two or seven.

Then I heard from another nurse in my present facility, a "float nurse," that they worked alongside Joanie one night in an ICU setting. The float nurse was thrilled by this because she and Joanie never really saw things eye-to-eye, and there they were. Suctioning trachs and watching drips.

Peers, not director-to-staff-nurse, dominant-submissive, whatever the dichotomy. Joanie had been forced downwards from being a Director of Nursing to working for one of the local nursing staffing agencies, waiting by the phone each morning for that night's assignment.

The Great American Middle Class is rapidly shrinking as wealth, created by us ("us,"as I consider myself a bitter holdout in that economic category,) is funnelled into the coffers of the very rich.

Doctors who are sons and daughter of doctors work twice as hard as their parents did to maintain a lifestyle a step or two below the one they grew up in.

White-collar jobs are being outsourced just as basic manufacturing jobs were.

The rich get enormous tax-breaks while the other classes see their futures mired by the debt Bush has run up. Someday you may be paying your mortgage in Chinese yuan or whatever denomination of money the Saudi royal family uses.

And yet oddly there's no fight left in us, as a class. We in the middle are insufficiently outraged by what is being taken from us, which is odd because people tend to fight hard to maintain what they have while expending less effort and risk to obtain things they don't already have and don't really need (like very rich people who obtain evermore vast amounts of money without "working" at all.)

This will pass.

Money and wealth are fluid, or gaseous, or like something that won't stay in just one place for very long.

I fear that there are many people in the "losing" classes and very few in the "rich-and-getting-richer" class, and the black market for weapons is quite healthy and freely accessible. And psychopathology seems about evenly distributed throughout all classes.

The United States awaits its Pol Pot, its Stalin, its Caligula.

1 comment:

GingerJar said...

And here I was throughly satisfied to be paying off the double-wide so I can be Queen. (as in the country-music song "She's Queen of the Double-Wide"). Thinking of investing in some land to move to, as opposed to being trailer trash in a trailer park riddled with gangs and theifs. We have nothing left to steal but the camara's, sensors and signs....LOL.

Somewhere in America...somebody is robbing the poor. And the poorer are robbing from each other...every day. At the risk of sounding racist...I live closer to Mexico than I ever have...and I have never had so many things disappear from the yard and car...and never had so many people asking for handouts in the grocery store parking lots.

People are starving to death in this country every day...honest people who are too proud to ask for help. And the help is stretched very thin...from helping those who never really belonged here in the first place.

Here....the signs are bilingual...the ones that actually have English on Them.