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How About I Occupy Your Face With My Fist?

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Wildly Exaggerated: How About I Occupy Your Face With My Fist?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How About I Occupy Your Face With My Fist?

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a rotten joke that gets repeated ad infinitum by a bunch of people too lazy to figure out why it's not funny. I've talked before about my seething hatred for online comment forums, but I haven't yet learned not to read them, which is why I've spent most of my week reading coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests, all of which is tailed by an endless stream of "Why don't they go occupy a JOB?"

HA ha ha ha ha! It was funny when a random assortment of 85-year olds said it the first time, and it's still funny when a bunch of bitter 40-year old idiots pick it up off their favorite FOX News commentator and repeat it to the amusement of their peers.

I don't usually relish ruining a joke, but this time...I'm OK with it. Here's why that sentence is not only unfunny, but completely ignorant: In the current economic situation, you can't just waltz into a job with a living wage and health care benefits. My personal experience with this would be enough - I have an excellent academic record including a Master's degree I completed with a 4.0 GPA. I have an excellent work record, glowing references from a variety of sources, fluency in a foreign language, decent social skills, certifications in a number of commonly used computer programs, a professional demeanor (no really - I do), and a positive attitude. Even with all that, it took me 3 years to find gainful full-time employment with health insurance and a living wage (a job I am both VERY fortunate and VERY grateful to have), and the only reason I got that job was because I happened to be temping there when someone decided to leave work and never come back. And I know lots of other people with good academic credentials (everything from science degrees to MBAs to PhDs), spotless employment histories, no criminal record, etc. etc. who have sent hundreds of resumes to no avail.

It's an employer's market, you see, and can I put this? Employers have lost their damn minds. I'll give you an example of the kind of thing an average job seeker faces in 2011...

Ann Q. Public has a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in English Literature. She graduated top of her class at Duke, was President of her sorority, and spent her summers interning at a variety of companies, including a pharmaceutical manufacturer and DuPont. Her references have nothing but good things to say about her, and she's a very personable young lady with a solid work ethic. She starts looking for jobs and sees the heading "Chemical Engineer" in her search. Imagine her surprise when she reads the rest...

Minimum 12 years experience overseeing a team of magical talking ferrets. Must be fluent in Farsi and Japanese. Submit letters from at least 3 references, one of whom must be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the Kyrgyz Republic. Members of the US Olympic Badminton team will be given special consideration. Salary $20k. Include writing sample (award-winning short fiction ONLY) when applying online at www.youcan' WE ARE AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.

You think I'm kidding.

The thing is, there are so many desperate, unemployed people out there right now that they can demand any ridiculous thing they want, and they'll get so many applications that they probably will find their ideal candidate in there somewhere. And of course, they will then offer him or her FAR less money than he or she is worth, and they'll get a Nobel Prize winner at a bargain basement price because there are so few decent jobs out there. (NOTE: to be fair to the employers, part of the reason they'll offer a terrible salary and horrible benefits is because they don't have very much money to spend either. They would have a bigger budget, but they've committed over 30% of their total profit to their CEO's ridiculous, astronomical, and unnecessarily inflated salary and another 30% is earmarked for political donations to ensure that you never get any rights and the "corporations are people" model stays in place forever.) Oh - and just to be clear: $20k is not a living wage when gas prices are nearly $4/gallon, rates for water and electricity are rising, and food is getting more expensive (because of increased fuel costs). It's not. It's really, really not.

So if you're lucky enough to have a well-paid, secure job, then good for you. If you're a stay-at-home mom whose life is funded by her husband's well-paid, secure job, then congratulations (and I am very, very jealous). But if you haven't actually been one of the millions of people that has fought tooth and nail to survive in this economy, then stop making this ridiculous, preposterous "joke". I try to watch my language on this blog, but that kind of talk is bullshit, and it shows a complete and total lack of compassion.

I apologize for the total lack of humor in this post, but I'm getting really sick of being condescended to by people who don't understand what they're talking about. I'll try to be cheerier (or at least funnier) next time. Thanks for bearing with me.

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