Thursday, September 11, 2008

Be happy you have a job

While it may be true that it could be worse, having a job in these troubling times does not really mean you are doing all right. We are now at the highest level of unemployment in a decade, but just because you are earning a paycheck doesn't mean you are rolling in your easy chair with your cronies, passing around cigars. In my own line of work, i have seen the "be happy you have a job" line be used in defense of the erosion of our creature comforts, our sanity, and our lunchtime. We are now working more for less, with fewer people.

But be happy you have a job.

As for my health care plan, i am expected to pay more than 100 dollars a month in premiums, after my workplace pays a little less than half of it. When we do go to the doctor we pay another 50 dollars for a co-pay. Many more elaborate procedures are not covered under this co-pay plan at all, and must be paid for out-of-pocket. This is "health insurance" in the United Sad-State of America. I do not qualify for any programs that would help a single mother pay for such burdens, because my income bracket defines me as fat-and-happy-middle-class. Try squeezed middle class.

But be happy you have a job.

My daughter is in the year now defined by the overbearing, overzealous mothers of America as "pre-k". (Did you have this when you were a kid? Wasn't it just called "preschool?") But again, because of the income bracket that i am in (read= no matter what the pay, you are cashing a paycheck, so be happy you have a job...) i do not qualify for state-sponsored preschool. I am expected to pay preschools a tuition that is more than most people's college tuition. All while i struggle to find a way to keep the lights on, keep organic food in the fridge, and pay for my own college tuition bills from ten years ago. So i am forced to settle for a sweet babysitter where the kid learns about gardening, eating well, and riding trike. For this i get disapproving looks from friends and family. I am, of course, a career woman -- how could i do this do my child when of course i am getting paid and aren't i paid well and

Happy to have a job?!

Now right about now you might be saying, well where is her father in all of this? Why are you not demanding more from him? Why is he not paying for her schooling? This too goes back to the title of this post. When i bring up the fact that i need money to pay for school and healthcare and dance class, he says "be happy you have a job." Or rather, something like, 'well you make so much more than me and you drive a nice car and go on trips to Hawaii, so it looks like i need the money more than you do." Ha. He gets food stamps to eat and is is happy not to have a job. And he forgets the fact that i earn my money for myself as well as her, but his daughter is half his responsibility too, so no matter what i make, he is bound to offer her some financial assistance. So then you might be asking, 'why don't you have the state garnish his wages?' To that i say, what wages?

He is happy not to have a job.

This is another product of living in the United Sad-States. If i sue him for child support, it may take years. If he continues not to pay, he will wind up in jail, where he will have no recourse for paying at all. Afterward, he will be a felon who would be ineligible for many nicer places to live; he would be discriminated against for jobs, and would be in the company of other felons.

Are you getting this people? Am i becoming a lazy-ass American pig by saying that it seems to me it's easier not to have a job? I would get child care, preschool, food, and health care for free for my daughter. I could get on free programs to help me with my electric and gas bills, and I could even get unemployment for a while. No looming health care bills, no shithole changes to my schedule at the drop of a hat...

But then these rants would not fly from my fingers at the speed they do. Then i would not be able to call myself part of this nasty, overstimulated, infinitely interesting business of journalism. So i sigh and say to myself...

Be happy you have a job.


Kaydee said...

this should be published. it is a very important clear point you are making at a critical political juncture. please disseminate, I will help.

Nicole Vulcan said...

Yes, i am the poster mama for so much that is wrong with our nation. Feel free to disseminate this at will, Kaydee love. My blog and my radio show (, friday nights) are my forums, where perhaps a person or two takes pause to consider the issues at hand.

But at the same time, i do have access to modern health care and food, i live in a clean home with working water and heat, and i no longer live in an emotionally and physically abusive household. So things could be worse.