Monday, February 15, 2010

It's a living. Sort of.

So I have a bad job. Everyone I know knows this. But there is one sentiment I keep running into, and while I definitely understand where it is coming from, I can't help but bristle when it comes up.

"At least you HAVE a job."

Yes, I know, I'm blessed to be working right now and I'm not going to argue that. Yes, I'm making a living, and no, it's not in a sweatshop or on East Colfax. I get it. But working right now is no picnic, either. When fewer people are actually employed, it becomes an employer's market. And in an employer's market, the "lucky" ones who remain employed still have a few significant causes for complaint.

As anyone currently working will tell you, everyone who *has* a job right now is actually doing their own job plus the job of four or five other people who have been laid off or, in a better economy, would be hired to help out. "Doing more with less" is the key philosophy in today's workplace, and it's hard for those of us left behind.

And it's not just taking care of, say, the jobs once done by your assistant or the middle manager above you. It's doing things like taking out the trash, cleaning bathrooms, and otherwise making up for the services your boss either can't or refuses to pay for. Not like I'm above cleaning a bathroom or taking out my trash, but the time it takes to do so is time I could be spending doing the job I was ostensibly hired to do. Those of us who are "lucky enough" to be employed are overworked, underpaid, and often times, our hours have been scaled back so we're not just trying to make up for missing bodies, we're making up for missing hours as well.

While all of us are working with less time and for lower pay than we're used to, we're also enduring worse conditions and a more hostile workplace. Employers are in a position right now where they're fully aware that they have a more or less captive staff. Workplace lawsuits are expensive and difficult to execute, and if you quit, it can be years before such a suit will result in a favorable ruling. If you leave due to what you claim is a hostile work environment, it must be proven before you can receive unemployment benefits. So what are you going to do? Endure abuse or endure poverty? Your choice.

So yes. I'm thankful I can put food on the table. I'm glad I'm working and I'm glad things seem to be getting better. It could be a lot worse, and I do realize this. I just think that it's important to note that when only a few of us are left to do the work, it's not always comforting to hear that we should be feeling lucky.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, sistah! I feel the same way about my job. I really like your blog! Hang in there!!