Hard lessons learned

...cutting the number of hours in the work week and training people to be individually able to do more than one job...

That's one of the reasons the economy collapsed! Why hire 3 people when we can overwork one until he has a nervous breakdown? Now we have 2 people out of work and one going to be on disability by the end of the year.

The reason people want 40 hour work weeks is because living expenses keep rising faster than wages. People want 40 hour work weeks because they are buried in debt from going to college (remember our earlier discussion?), putting groceries on the credit card, and most of their paycheck goes to rent, mortgage, child daycare, etc. The school loans go on the back burner and only get minimum payments while the interest keeps accumulating, gas prices certainly aren't coming down anytime soon, and the boss just implemented a wage freeze because the company took a loss for the third year in a row.

The Rent's Too Damn High

Everybody laughs at this guy, but there is so much truth to what he is saying.

It's well known that free time is precious to most people. However, some people are not fortunate enough to know that such a concept even exists, because they are working two jobs just to keep a roof over their families' heads and food on their tables.

A lot of good that college degree did them. They bought into the hype that the college degree would be their ticket to a nice career and the degree would pay for itself many times over. As if... What the hype didn't tell them is that college degrees are now a dime a dozen and employers now enjoy a buyer's market when hiring employees because they get 10 resumes a day from college grads looking for jobs.

I often thank the Good Lord that I am not part of this group. I am fortunate not to have college loans still looming over me 10 years later. I am fortunate that I don't have a family to feed other than my cat (she doesn't eat much). I am fortunate that a single job is enough to make my ends meet, although I have moved to a cheaper apartment. My rent was ridiculous for a one bedroom apartment, especially when I could have a three bedroom right down the street for the same price!

I've gotten married, bought a house, realized over the course of three years that we should never have gotten married, divorced, quickly realized I should never have bought the house, foreclosed on the house and have lived alone in an apartment ever since. I foreclosed on the house because of two reasons: loan payment was beyond my pay grade and the water heater blew up and flooded the house. I was faced with a decision: fix the water heater or make the next house payment. I decided neither, since the house payment was 80-90% of my monthly income. Yes, I am part of the foreclosure statistics.

I used to think that poor people simply didn't know how to manage money, or they dropped out of high school, were addicted to drugs and therefore could not get or keep a job, etc. In short, I used to think that poor people became poor because of poor choices they made in life. Often this is true, but just as often, there are things that happen in peoples' lives that they have no control over. Sometimes, no matter how hard he tries, there are some things a man can't succeed at, because the forces around him are stronger than he is. - Steven Brust

Having been through what I have, I am now much more sympathetic toward these people. Witnessing and experiencing for myself the effects of the crumbling economy have taught me things I might never have fully understood otherwise. The idiom "Don't judge somebody until you have walked a mile in their shoes" comes to mind...