No Recession Here
February 15, 2008

This seems to sum up the job market in South Bend, Indiana, right now:

General - Seeking a position as a Personal Assistant. If you need more hours in a day, I can help. I am 31 and Ivy- League educated.

Yeah, it's that depressed here.

Jobs which ARE here: medical professionals ... holy crap, but all of the want ad boards are full of requests for nurses and doctors and specialists. Apparently we're a bunch of sick fooks around here. Also needed: CNC operators and truck drivers and sales people.

Don't get me wrong, those are all needed fields. I'm just not qualified in any of those. Nor do I have any real interest in them. Except maybe CNC operator... that one actually sounds really interesting. But I don't have the slightest clue how to use that machinery, so ....

Here's a snapshot of just South Bend. On February 15, 2008, that includes "274 South Bend jobs in 211 job titles." Of those 211 job titles, 127 are specifically for medical professionals. Not the shining outlook of jobs it looked like at first glance. Another 11 are for commercial drivers. So, now we're down to 75 job titles. Several of the remaining positions result in a "We're sorry. The position you're looking for is no longer being advertised" error. Most of the remaining positions are in sales or engineering or "WE NEED A GOOGLE CLICKER" type jobs.

Graphic design jobs = 0
jobs for English majors who suck at selling things = 0
jobs for ex-teachers = 0

I'm afraid I'm going to have to go to factory or warehouse work ... and honestly, they're not going to hire me because I'm "over-qualified." They're going to take one look at my education and where I used to work ... and assume I'm not a good fit, and pass me over. And they're right, really. I don't plan on staying in factory or warehouse work because my joints will fail and cause body parts to drop right off.

I should hustle up more freelance jobs, but that won't take care of a steady paycheck nor health insurance. I let my COBRA lapse this month after re-filling all of my prescriptions. I just can't afford $330 a month for the insurance when my meds are about $200 every other month. Now that I've let it lapse, I'm sure I'll get the flu or something. The economic "stimulus" rebate that will be sent out in May isn't gonna do crap for me and for a lot of people like me. It'll go toward paying off the debt load we carry rather than wontonly and recklessly spending spending spending to help the economy.

You want to help the economy? Spend within your means. Rich people oughta be spending more money so us poor schlobs can get paid and reduce our debts. Hire the people you need to hire for your company and quit outsourcing shit. Quit loaning people so much for houses that they can't really afford. Quit sending out pre-approved credit card apps like they are Halloween candy.

It's not hard stuff, people.

I still remember the first time I used my shiny new credit card.

I had just moved out of the house. My parents had divorced immediately thereafter. Mom and Dad had a "gentleman's agreement" (i.e., nothing in writing) that Dad would pay for my car when it broke down. When. Not if. Since he was making just about $100k in 1987, this seemed reasonable to me.

I drove to work Monday morning and discovered a bad thing about my car. The brake pedal went all the way to the floor. I slid the car into neutral and managed to get to work and then home safely, but I was constantly trying to figure out what curbs I should aim for if I needed to stop suddenly. I was terrified to even get into a minor fender bender in this car because ... well, let me put it this way. My mechanic was terrified of the car. The frame had been broken ... right at the driver's door ... and welded back together. Wonderful things can be done with welding, but when your mechanic comes out of the pit looking white as a ghost and telling you the car is dangerous, you tend to get scared about that particular weld. In addition to the glued together frame, the previous owner had installed a "moon roof." Himself.

This moon roof was probably 1/4" to 1/2" thick glass which spanned 80% of the roof of the vehicle. And I have NEVER seen so much caulk used on anything in my life. It was an ugly caulk job, but I tell you, the roof never did leak.

The thought of not having brakes in that car was enough to make most people wet themselves.

So, I called Dad the minute I got home from work. This would be the first time after the divorce that I called for help with the car. His reply? "Oh. Well, we'll deal with it on Saturday." Umm, work? school? These things were not important. There was no public transportation in our town at that time and it was far too far to walk to either place.

"Umm, Dad? I am putting the car into neutral to stop at all. There is nothing left of the brakes; they're gone."


After I got off the phone and screamed for a while, I remembered the plain white envelope which had come earlier that day. My first credit card. I drove the car carefully to the mechanic's and got the brake job done ... paid for by Visa. Took me two or three months to pay that off, I think. Maybe four. That was back in the days of $3.85 minimum wage ... my rent with my first roommate was $201 (and then we split that in two) ... but having to pay off on the credit card hurt for months.

It's been years since I've been in that kind of financial position. And yet, when I look at the job market right now, that's what's coming for me, I think. A return to 1989 ... living check to check ....

But then I was in school and had high hopes for a career in teaching at the university level. I've since come to realize that's probably not in the cards for me as the entire "publish or perish" thing drives me mad. I'd rather focus on teaching my students than researching and writing about minutiae. (Okay, not all of it is minutiae, particularly not in my field ... but still ... I tend to be more practical than academic.)

There's a little less hope and a lot more cynicism now.

And, it would seem, a lot fewer jobs.

Posted by Red Monkey at February 15, 2008 6:22 AM | Struggles | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Manictastic said:

Maybe you should move to Mexico. :P They could use some English teachers there.

It's strange how the entire Western world is in desperate need for medical staff.

February 15, 2008 12:16 PM


Moonshadow said:

If you wanted to relocate, it looks like there's a variety of jobs in Wichita KS...
...looks like Friends University is in need of a Associate Dean. The requirements don't look THAT demanding.

February 16, 2008 4:08 AM


Beth said:

Move to West Virginia. You could be a janitor or a professional asswiper (CNA). I just got lucky and got a long term contract job with Columbia Gas as a GIS Coordinator. I have no idea how, considering I'm not the least bit qualified in that area. I think it's the fact that I know how to turn a computer on and off.

February 16, 2008 11:53 PM


Mark Stoneman said:

Do you know NASE (National Association of the Self Employed)? Their members can buy health insurance.

February 23, 2008 10:47 PM
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