Saturday, February 28, 2009

Joblessness


There are a lot of things happening all the time, but in the past two days since I've been back in Bozeman on Transmittal
Break from the Legislature, it's all I've heard: no jobs, no work; more and more people, hard-working people, desperate for jobs.

Walking through Barnes & Noble yesterday, in just the few steps it took to pass by the service desk, I heard a young woman ask if B&N was hiring. "We're always accepting applications," said the B&N sales person, "and I have yours. It's in with everyone else's. We keep all of them we get. But we're not hiring right now."

At the movie theatre this afternoon, (went to see Slumdog Millionaire with my loved one--the first movie I've seen in months, and the Oscar winner, at that), the older lady ahead of us in line to buy tickets asked if the theatre was hiring. "No, they're not," said the ticket seller.

And last night, in conversation with my best friend, a practice manager at a medical office in town, said that two years ago, when she was hiring for a front desk position, she'd had five resumes from people and none were good candidates for the position. A month ago, she was hiring for the same position after a staffer had left. She got 180 resumes, most overqualified for the job. She hired an excellent candidate easily, and was telling me that she felt sorry for so many people looking for work, and guilty that she personally couldn't hire more or find placement for them, and fortunate for herself in having a job.

Obama's Jobs Recovery package is proposing much more for our friends, family, and fellows who are unemployed, but I've heard that that means extending unemployment benefits. That's something, but for everyone already past the end of their unemployment benefits, or who've been unemployed for a while, we need jobs. The plan to build infrastructure and to hire people to do so is the promise (read: the potential) to turn our recession around. A one-time 'stimulus' check is the shortest-term solution, and I'm glad that isn't what is being proposed. A one-time check is spent, and there's perhaps a spike in retail sales. But we need continued and steady rebuilding, of jobs and of our infrastructure. That's what I'm looking to as the federal plan for recovery.

I'll do all I can to make sure we, as a society, provide for all of us until we're back on our feet again. Keep working. Keep looking for work. And take the words of my dearly departed grandmother to heart; I did. She said, "No one is above anything." I've worked in any number of jobs. I've worked three jobs at a time. Nothing is beneath me, or any of us, to do. After such a long and prosperous time, I fear that some of us have forgotten that we're not above anything. I worry that the newest generations have a sense of entitlement that's not deserved.

Work hard, and you will be rewarded. And until there's work, work hard at getting work. I'll do my best to create an atmosphere that's conducive to job growth, infrastructure creation, and hiring. And I'll work to make sure that those who want work can have it. I've been blessed with work.

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