Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Welcome to my ongoing spew of bile. Today, I will retred my agravation at the middle class being severely mangled financially, my general distaste at being a pawn for a corporation run by a bunch of utter morons, and I will viciously rant about how our country is not not the place of opportunity it makes itself out to be. My special guests will be Tom Cruise, who will not be allowed to speak, move or negotiate his release from the duct tape, and the entire American Government and business community, whom you will see at my left in the dunk tank.

My parents, when they were 24 and 30, already had a house with mortgage, and me, as well as their own business. Fast forward to me and my generation. I'm 30 and have college debt, will not be able to afford a house for several years at least, and have no hope for kids until I can afford a house. I am working an $8 and hour job that would not support me were I on my own which gives me no benefits and I have saved nothing for retirement.

My parents are, meanwhile, forced to live in the squalor that is Mexico, drinking out of coconuts, partying at weddings, and generally having peace of mind which they could not afford had they chosen to remain in this country.

May I add the second note that one of my brother in-laws who may well be married in slovakia soon, will be able to afford a vacation home there before ever being able to afford one here.

What is wrong with this picture?
I ask again, why are so many immigrants anxious to come to a country that is becoming increasingly harder for its own citizens to afford to live in? Even if things are bad in your home land, what makes you want to come here and take on five low paying jobs to send money back home for your family (basically sacrificing yourself financially because you sure as hell aren't going to have any left over for yourself)? What kind of life is that? is this the definition of opportunity?

I am not advocating that we all leave the country. There are worse places to be, and depending on what flavor of dysfunction you want to swap for ours, there are better.
But to think that America is a country of "freedom" the way people would like to tout it, is not exactly true.

Sure, I'm free to pay loads for a college education that is more or less required these days to get a decent job. I'm also free to struggle for most of the time afterwards to find a decent job that is actually going to pay a living wage and not cause undue stress that will either make me sick, depressed, or generally angry at the world. I'm also free to try to prove myself to every potential employer and figure out what they want to hear and then say it, because I lack the previously required experience that is needed which you can only get by obtaining this job. There is no such thing as training anymore. it costs money, and apparently, no one seems to have any.

I understand that most of my friends are not going to fully understand my lunatic ravings about this unless they've gone to school with me (and had to pay for it themselves) or they currently work with me. Let us just say that there is an increasing portion of people who are crippled by college debt who are have either had trouble finding a decent job that was worth their time and beneficial for their skills, and that there are even more who have gone back to school (note hand in the air) because they couldn't find work with their previous degree or they weren't even sure what they wanted out of college to begin with.

Guess, for a moment, which social class these folks are in. Dingdingding. You got it, the middle class. the class that a generation ago didn't always finish college, but could still fucking provide for themselves.

Compound on top of that idea that there are a lot of creative people who don't fit into the scheme of this produce-comsume-throw away business world. In the right eyes, our skills are valuable and sometimes praised, but the right eyes never get a chance to see them. Unless you generate revenue, you are worthless.

Business is the only thing that is important. Not raising your kids to be good people, to be intelligent and well rounded and think for themselves. Not helping your neighbor or friend with whatever problems they have. Not taking time out to think about what the hell we're even doing on this planet. There's no time for introspection or reflection, or care. It's time to make sure our economy is the best in the world, and solve the world's problems by using our exemplery model of civilized societal behaviour.

People argue about religion being too much to the forefront, about there not being enough separation between church and state. Has no one noticed that the primary religion is not so much christianity but business? Much of the "religion" in our country tends to be lip service and used as a tool for furthering specific agendas. Business and work have taken its place. Jobs are demanding "loyalty" out of their workers, when loyalty is something to be earned, not given and these companies who demand such things have done nothing to elicit loyalty, trust, or respect. The three forementioned items are things that aren't supposed to be alloted to faceless entities like companies, they go to FRIENDS, PARTNERS, SPOUSES....

The state of our business world, the treatment of its workers and customers, and the demands of our industrialized society are causing what could be a far better country to become less free. The middle class as we know it is suffocating. The rich give even less of a shit about the other classes and care more about preserving their funds which they waste continuously. Waste. The current mode of our society encurs so much waste on so many levels it's sick. Wastes of money, of talent, of energy, of precious time.

And I don't care what kind of reports are out there about how great our economy is, and how people are finding more jobs. You wouldn't have people considering retirement elsewhere and people living here suffering if that was actually true. Our economy has sucked for several years now.

People don't have money to spend here, that's probably why my own corporation has cut down on our hours, the money we can spend on things like toilet paper and water, why they have chopped out a major portion of the "Preferred Customer" program - like the jewel card where you pretend to save-. You previously got a 10% discount on non sale items (basically covers tax plus a pinch, and monthly discount coupons. They just did away with the coupons. The onyl way to get a decent discount is to work there. (I get 30%). So, as they use me, I use them. Fair, right?
Not quite. the 30% doesn't really make up for the fact that they don't pay us a living wage. We've got an "incentive program", where if we sell a certain dollar amount or exceed it for a certain length of time, we get and extra 50 cents to a dollar. (which is still not a living wage) We've been getting "sales training", and had to take mind numbingly stupid tests that don't make sense in colloquial OR text book english that are supposed to help us treat the Customer like a concept and therefore sell more products.

I'm sorry, but you don't sell to artists. I've found that people in general don't like to be sold to. it's annoying, condescending, and neglecting of their needs as a person -NOT A WALLET. So, Blick is behaving like any other corporation run by a bunch of monkeys who can't seem to lift a finger to assist the peons who bring in their paycheck. The incentive program is a fucking invisible carrot. Like many other jobs I've had, we're expected to be driven by the accumulation of money, never mind that we can't actually achieve that promised accumulation.

My store used to get the sales incentive consistently before I got there and for a while after I got there - until they opened up another store - which might I mention has a very high turnover rate and is poorly managed. My general manager seems to be in denial about the loop store eating our incentive, but the fact that Blick is cutting the budget everywhere they can except in upper management's paychecks tells me a far different story. They were unwise to open that new store. Period. So we pay for their stupid decisions, and their lack of consideration for us. All of us, who are all better than a crappy $8 an hour job, who are not unintelligent and uncreative.

But they don't really want talented and creative people to be earning their money, they want mindless automatons to push buttons on a register. The smart people will realize what kind of crap they are pulling and leave or cause trouble by pointing out that the company is not looking out for the people who keep it afloat. we could do their jobs better than they can, because we understand the business from aspects that they can't - that of a menial worker, a customer, and a human being.

In this land of opportunity, you should not have to work three jobs and have no time for yourself or your family just to provide for them. To work only to provide physical needs is still neglect. This is why we end up with people with anger issues, depression, drug dependency. No one is taking care of themselves because they don't have time anymore. If I see one more study that is trying to convince people to sleep or eat right, then I'm going to explode into chunks.

WE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BE TOLD TO TAKE CARE OF BASIC BIOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS BY THOSE OUTSIDE OURSELVES. All these "diseases" and "disorders"- things like insomnia, restless legs syndrome, erectile dysfunction, attention deficit disorder, cancer, road rage, breathing, are all getting over medicated as a covering up of the symptoms of a far bigger problem.

We don't fucking take care of ourselves. We're overstressed, underpaid, watch too much inane TV, don't exercise, we can't sleep, can't eat (or eat garbage), we can't even think straight or clear our minds of thoughts when we do have a second to ourselves. We're not free. Freedom is a joke when we're living like this. We like to think we're making decisions for ourselves, but nothing could be further from the truth. We're all under control, we let other people, the media, the government, the FDA do it to us because we don't know any better. We've resigned ourselves to this.
We want change at some level, but we feel powerless to act upon this need for change because it seems that no one with any power to listen or help even cares about anything outside themselves.

This is not freedom. We are allowed to choose what has already been chosen for us. To act outside of those choices makes us mutinous, or unpatriotic, or crazy, or heretical.

Look at our world. Take a good look at our fucking world, and tell me that it's better than it was years ago, centuries ago, millenia back into our history.
We've solved some problems, while others have had hundreds of years to fester. We think now, that because we have little hand held devices that can store every aspect of our lives that we are better and more advanced than the ancient people like the egyptians - who built monuments that still stand and can be seen from space - and have not been reproduceable by us in our current time.

Because our technology is so wonderful we think it will save us time and money, and bring us more freedom, when all it has become is a crutch and a distraction. We aren't free.

Man forgot how to make concrete at one point in history.

The Man of today has forgotten how to live and why he is here.
We are in the dark ages again, and it's our own fault.

If these ideas make you uneasy, if they make you feel insecure and you want to shrink back into your life and its gadgets, premade meals and TV dependency, then you need to address these issues. Your very denial is evidence that something is amiss. We aren't free.


This is why I'm not in politics.