Is there a more soul-sucking prospect than looking for work? The websites that require you to submit a CV and cover letter, then additionally, and pointlessly, require you to enter all the information you just provided them into a form on their site are the WORST. Ok, maybe worse even than those are the sites where you’re supposed to input all the information they just got in the form of a vita, but oh look! They have an import button! Great! What do you mean it just imported every third word of my CV? That’s not helpful at all!
That’s just the application process. And I didn’t even bring up the massive overhead of going through unending piles of spam generated by the online job boards (I’m looking at you, Indeed and LinkedIn). You shoot these applications off into the ether, and in most situations, there’s no response.
I spent a bit of time recently feeling very out of sorts that the job market and hiring/application processes are so different now from when I was first out of school. What an utter waste of time – obviously it’s not going to return to the old way of doing things, but I have to say, the prospect of looking for a job is truly awful.
I am doing it, though, and I am looking more and more at just bailing on the whole teaching thing. Even for all the good stuff, all the important stuff, the worth of all the work I do, I cannot make a living at this. I can’t pay my school loans. I can’t move out of this house that’s not my own, and I can’t ever retire. I might continue teaching in the evenings, if possible, and consider it my side hustle, but the idea of using the term “hustle” in conjunction with anything associated with my students is enough to make my hackles rise.
So imagine my (not) surprise when I saw this article pop up: The Way We Work Is Killing Us. One of the takeaways I found compelling was the way that our culture lays blame on everyone except at the feet of those who deserve it. We blame the workers for making bad choices, whether related to health, lifestyle, education, or family. When they develop issues (health related or otherwise) we expect them to just pull themselves up by their (nonexistent) bootstraps and figure it out.
In the meantime, SOMEONE is going to have to bear the burden of the repercussions of Big Business plowing through healthy workers like a Mercedes through attendees at a job fair. Basically, the U.K., in this author’s example, figured out that companies were creating this problem (workers being stressed by various factors at their work and thus creating a massive health care crisis), and then outsourcing (or “externalizing”) the repercussions.
As the author says, when a company dumps toxic waste into the environment, we make them pay to clean it up – we don’t make the taxpayer pay for that. Essentially, that’s what’s happening here: corporations are dumping toxic waste in the form of stress from insecure work structures, longer and longer weeks, low pay, and poor working conditions right onto their workers. Those workers in turn go to their health care providers to receive care (keep in mind, this IS the UK, so there’s civilized health care there, not this horrifying mess we have in the US) and the public then has to foot the bill.
Tracing out the problem to the ultimate outcome is something that we don’t do enough of – I am truly driven to distraction when people can think maybe one or two steps ahead – at most – but then are shocked at the final outcome of their poor decisions.
For instance: you build a house. You decide not to live in it. You then choose to rent it out. Thirty years go by, and you do only the most urgent of repairs to the house (and then only when forced to). How do you think it will look/perform after those thirty years? And the costs to repair will indeed be much higher than if you had dealt with the problems when they arose.
This is – or should be – a big part of critical thinking. It’s not enough to just take our reasoning a few steps – we need to go as far as we can with it.
Another “ferinstance” exists in the political climate. Do the congresspeople who are currently giving Trump and the Republicans a pass on the criminal acts he’s committed not understand that they will not stay in power forever? Eventually, a Democratic president will rise again, whether it’s this year or another year. Allowing criminal behavior in a president only guarantees more bad behavior, not less. Whether that bad behavior comes from a Democrat or a Republican is immaterial to me – our politicians need to be held to a higher standard than we hold an emotionally challenged toddler in the throes of toilet training.
So I continue to apply for jobs, revise, revise, revise my resume, and fume over the way the world works. Is it any wonder that the young people are nihilistic and disengaged?