So when I told my leader at work (a nice 18 year old, about whom I have some good stories) that I was leaving, he told me that he was happy for me, but he could never understand just what I was doing there in the first place when I should have a real, good job. We then talked about the guy who dresses up as one of our zoo mascots (hate to blow it for the kiddies out there, but he's KC the Polar Bear), because he is a computer programmer (nice guy, too). Mr. Polar Bear is in the same boat as me; he too should have suitable employment. I then told my leader that my wonderful wife has an MA in Higher Ed Administration and is working as a bank teller.
Y'ever heard of the phrase "organic intellectual?" Well, my leader suprised me by showing some hints of being one himself. He told me that him and his friend (also 18, a nice guy, works at the zoo, and looks suspiciously like Carlito Carribean Cool) have talked about this, and that they have concluded that you can tell when the economy of our fair country is in trouble because the zoo gets drastically better employees. When the economy is actually doing good, they are stuck with high school brats only. When things start going down the crapper, they get smart people who should be working somewhere else.
When I was in the midst of my great tenure at Little Caesar Pizzas in management, we of course noticed this as well. When Bush Mark I was prez, things were bad because we had lotsa college students and ex-military working for us. It was really great as an assistant manager to know that you had workers who understood you actually had to work at work ("If it wasn't work, they wouldn't call it work...they'd call it super-happy funtime"...Red Foreman) instead of being ignorant high school punks who only were trying to goof off and get in the pants of our countergirls. When the economy improved, though, you could feel the IQ inside a Little Caesars drop like the air pressure. Good economy, moron workers.
I wish I could've taped my conversation with my leader so I could play it for my classes, because it demonstrated a great principle which we talk about in class...that of the "reserve labor force." It is (the Marxist thought goes) in the best interest of those in control of the means of production (the rich, the business owners) to keep employment rates and the level of satisfaction of the general public at a fairly low level. By doing so, people will be happy to get and keep whatever crap job they have, and the worker pool will be large...this works out to the advantage of the rich because they can hire only the good people, and those good workers can't give too much crap to their bosses about their awful working conditions because there are people lined up waiting for those awful jobs.
Again, the zoo bears this out. When I applied for the job, it was at the zoo's job fair. It was scheduled to run from 9 to 1. I got there at 10:30. I didn't get out until 12:30. There were 500 people who showed up that day, all for (mind you) $6/hour employment. In a real economy, this wouldn't be happening. But it makes you realize that the powers that have to hire must start licking their chops when the economy goes in the tank or whenever there's mass layoffs. That's why WalMart loves going into towns where every other industry is dying, because they can get the best workers and hold out the hope of staying at those low-paying, soul-destroying jobs over the heads of those workers...so the former assemblyline foreman better be thankful of his Greeter job and not raise any ruckus.
I swear, the more exposure I have to lower-class life and work, the worse it makes me feel about the world...and the more it makes me feel like a pseudo-Marxist/socialist myself. At the very least, I understand those viewpoints a whole lot better.
So, if I was running a news organization (online, radio, whatever), I would go around and talk to the people who do the hiring at corporations and anyone who works in HR. If they are happy with their employee base, there must be something wrong with the world somewhere.
Lesson? It is good for the populace when the rich suffer. When they are happy, watch out.
Or am I getting swept away into bitterness over my own low wage potential?