Working all one's life when there are no jobs to work at

"Many Americans say they will have to work until they're 80"

That was my thought too, through my career in electronics as a technician. The jobs back then according to an article, usually lasted on average two years, then the technician was out on the street looking for a new job. The pay was medium to low, and saving money was near impossible. I assumed I would have to work all my life.

That was not so bad a thing to me, as I usually liked my work. A few places, however, was too much stress or co-workers just too nasty. But generally it was OK work, and paid my bills so long as I lived simply. I would usually rise to the highest levels possible as a engineering technician, due to my unusual problem-solving skills in development work. One company even promoted me to a full electronics development engineer title. But too often it took a long time to find a new job when the old one ran out of work.

In 2000 I was working in my highest paid job, although oddly it did not use my skills as much as most jobs had done. Also the working conditions and fellow workers was a bit nutty; there were lots of people who made a show of working behind heavily locked doors, no mention of doing what; and management would not communicate with me at all. A few times it was clear they put me into situations where the slightest slip could be lethal, working with high voltage, in full view of lots of people. And worst of all, they did not use or appreciate my special problem solving skills best used in the past. But, it paid money, and I was way above the usual age for electronic technicians, very hard to get a job. I turned 65. Management people who turned 65 there celebrated and retired immediately. But not me, I would have to work all my life.

Then there was the 2001 fracas, and the company was bought by another company. I heard that much of the new parent company was losing business due to the aircraft industry changes after 2001 fracas. And then a big layoff, dozens of people had to go; and I was over 65, easy pick.

The job market in electronics proved as difficult as expected. No demand for my kind of skills. I was freshly getting Social Security retirement, but it did not cover minimum expenses living in the Los Angeles area even in the worst rat-holes.

I finally got a chance to live in my own home, a tiny place in a far distant desolate area, down payment paid for by my kids; my social security would cover the interest payments but not the principle of the house. Nonetheless, it was a way to survive on social security.

I would have preferred to continue working, although at a job better fitting to my skills. I was a good worker. But the jobs were not there. All I could get were volunteer jobs; a couple times they turned into brief part time paid jobs, but not in my career field. The money helped pay rent in the tiny miserable apartments.

I would still like to work. Paid work, that is; I still do long distance volunteer work, via computer. I surely could be productive at lots of kinds of jobs. But, nobody is providing opportunity for any of those kinds of jobs. Or any jobs; I keep looking in the local free paper; if I was a semi-truck driver I could get a job, or at least apply for one. Otherwise, the paper says there are houses for sale for a couple hundred thousand dollars, but no jobs available with which to pay for it.

Big corporate business contrives to rule America, yet it has not worked to make sure all Americans are employed, adding to the GDP. And employment needs to be compatible to the skills, location, stress level compatible to all employees. Pay level so they can live reasonably comfortably.

Business supposedly is who supplies all jobs. But they are not doing that job well at all.

Another aspect is the subject of job-shops, otherwise called contracting. There were businesses who ran small ads in the paper saying they were looking for certain kinds of skilled employees. One then went and filled out an employment form at their little office. Then one got a call for an interview at some real company; one then was hired, but by the job-shop, not the company one worked at. Typically, if I got paid ten dollars an hour, they paid the job shop twenty dollars an hour for my work; I would put in a hard 40 hours work per week to get my $400, while the job-shop also got $400 but only worked a half hour to get the money, long enough to do the clerical work of taking the money and giving me half of it; although they did cover federal social security and state unemployment insurance payments. So the job shop got effectively $800 per hour doing clerical work, while for the same time period I worked 40 hours doing very complex hard technical work and getting paid $10 an hour. No benefits were paid to me: no sick leave, health insurance. I had to do that several times in my career, which sometimes turned into a real job with the actual company I was working at.



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