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Anyone else unemployed?(34 posts)

Anyone else unemployed?Erik W
Jan 16, 2002 9:14 AM
I was wondering if anyone out there has also been a victim of the slowing economy? As an X-mas present from my company I was laid off at the end of the year. My wife was laid off the same week. We haven't had much luck so far with the job search. The stress is tough. I went for a ride last week when the weather was good but couldn't enjoy it too much do to all that's going on. It's been cold this week so far but I am starting to crave a good ride again (this could be spured on by watching all the old Coors Classic races that the Boulder Library has on tape). As long as I'm at it, does anyone in the general Boulder area know of any companies hiring Lab/Electrical/Quality Technicians? Thanks for your help.
Erik W
Not me. But...mr_spin
Jan 16, 2002 9:46 AM
I'm not, although I can look ahead six months and see it happening. My company may not survive. In a strange way, I almost welcome it, because I can't stand my job and want to quit. I have done some looking around, but as you know, the market isn't great right now, so I'll keep what I have and bear it somehow. If nothing else, I can spend lots of time posting here!

I was unemployed for six weeks in 2000 by choice. If you can handle it financially, take a week or a few days off and don't look for a job. Relax. Ride if you can. Do fun things with your wife. In general, de-stress. Enjoy life. Don't let desperation set in. The key is not even to think about getting a job. That can wait until next week. This will do wonders for your soul.

The other thing is don't restrict your job search to the same job you had before. You may have been a lab technician, but maybe you were also a manager. So look for management jobs, maybe in other not too dissimilar fields. If you were doing hardware QA, consider software QA. And so on.

Good luck
Don't let 'em get you down.MB1
Jan 16, 2002 12:23 PM
Of course it is tough with you and the wife laid off. Don't be too proud to take a night job somewhere if it looks like you are going to need the money.

Keep your chin up, your ear to the ground, both hands on the wheel, your eyes on the prize, your pants on and your nose in the air. Now, try riding in that position!
re: Anyone else unemployed?morey
Jan 16, 2002 12:37 PM
I was forced to retire after 30 years because it is a Florida State policy. After 2 years you can go back, but no benefits and no tenure. I was a teacher at University.
All of a sudden I had no job. I was only 55. It was humiliating. I found a job as Public Works Director with a local municipality. It was something I had never though about, much less done. However, it is the most fun job I have ever had. It is demanding, but it is rewarding. I know it is hard now, but keep your chin up. Something better will come along.
Full time,TJeanloz
Jan 16, 2002 1:33 PM
I'm half unemployed- I work full time but I don't get paid. It's a double edged sword; I'm thankful that I have something to do all day, but working keeps me from looking for paying work.
isn't America funny?Dog
Jan 16, 2002 1:37 PM
In America, you can work for free, but you can't work for anything else less than minimum wage. Isn't that goofy?

Internships (in some form or another) can often pay off in the long run. In law school, I worked for a judge for free. Employers at that up later on.

Don't get me started,TJeanloz
Jan 16, 2002 1:46 PM
On the economic inefficiency of the minimum wage laws...

The funny thing is, I work for free, but would be insulted if somebody else (say Burger King) offered to pay me minimum wage. I suppose it's because I get non-salary benefits, like T-3 internet access...
Santa Cruz...Dog
Jan 16, 2002 2:10 PM
The minimum in Santa Cruz, CA, is $14.21 per hour. That's insane. If employers and employees were free to negotiate wages, far more people would be employeed. Let's see, I can hire 1 person at $14 an hour, or 2 at $7 per hour (more or less; I suppose you have to consider benefits, too).

That's not to say that $7 an hour, or even less, can feed a family. But, I'd rather have a job at $7 than no job at $14.

I never have understood this.

Santa Cruz...mr_spin
Jan 16, 2002 3:28 PM
I think the minimum wage in Santa Cruz is for city employees only, most of whom already make it or more. So as ridiculous as sounds, it really isn't an issue. But that's typical for the Santa Cruz city council. A lot of time and effort (and money) spent doing nothing.

If it does apply to all, it sure explains why my Santa Cruz mountain bike was so expensive. And why Calfee's cost so much. And why Bontrager sold out.
THIS IS RICH a lawyer complaining about minimum wage!!!!!!!!!!!!R. U. Putinmeon?
Jan 17, 2002 8:42 AM
So you are bitching about minimum wage laws and you are a lawyer that makes how much an hour? I'm guessing aroung $100/hr. Like you work harder than the poor slob that cleans piss off the toilets at burger king. I bet he doesn't have time or access to pot all day on the bike bulletin board. Get off your high horse and thank god that you can charge what you do and live as comfortably as you do. like to see you live on $7 an hour--with or without a family.
The reason there is a minimum wage is. . .Sintesi
Jan 17, 2002 9:18 AM
that there are a lot of people stuck at that level of employment. Essentially too incompetent to climb the rungs. They still lead their respective lives: buy cars, pay rent, get married, have kids, etc.. They have the same burdens and responsibilities in many ways yet the cost of living goes up and up. I think the liberal thesis would be that no hard working person who puts in 40hrs a week should live below the poverty level in this country.

The fact is that market forces necessarily keep wages as low as possible and at that level there is a constant growing influx of teenagers (leave the immigrants out for now) competing for that wage; teenagers who do not share the same burdens and responsibilities and will be moving on soon. So you end up with a situation where decent, honest people who have a tough time excelling (for whatever reason, God luv 'em.) become poorer and poorer or stay in a perpetual wage stasis because their raises only match their rent increases or inflation. This is regardless of the fact that their job functions are as essential as any other to make the business function and that they themselves may be concientious and dilligent. Their kids pay for this shortcoming as well.

Of course the other side is no job = no income which often results when wages are artificially elevated and do not respond to market forces. But how else do you support these people? Welfare? Let them live in squalor and establish an entrenched underclass?

Imperfect solutions for an imperfect economy. Capitalism may be the best route considering human nature in the aggregate but it is a system of winners and losers and often at odds with our moral and ethical precepts.

Sorry. I'll hop off the box now.
Jan 17, 2002 8:03 PM
Your assessment is a bit shallow. First, I put myself through college and law school. No help from anyone. Often, I had two or three jobs at once. Don't think I don't know what it's like. My list of jobs I have had would fill a couple of pages: phone pollster, carpenter apprentice, cabinet maker shop, plumber's assistant, fry cook, school bus driver, flower shop delivery driver, teacher assistant; I can't even remember them all.

Second, my gripe is that minimum wage laws actually hurt people at the low end of the economic spectrum. Far more people might be employeed if people could simply contract for wages at the level the market sets. When someone, especially from the government, says they are doing something for you or to protect you, watch out.

I am thankful that I get paid for what I do. I worked my butt off to get there.

Jan 17, 2002 9:39 PM
School bus driver? You're the man!!! You couldn't get me to drive one of those things for all the tires in Conti!!

I worked my ass off to get where I'm at too... and that is retired! we don't allow anyone to mention the "W" word in our household...
worked your butt off...??R. U. Putinmeon?
Jan 18, 2002 7:41 AM
Very few of us don't have to work to put themselves through college...big deal. You knew it was only temporary. What if you didn't have the economic or intellectual means to go to college? Not sure minimum wage laws are the best idea either, but I just love to hear how someone making tons of money "earned it" by working their butt off. You got some lucky breaks and were smart enough to use them to your advantage. Does that make you smarter than the sap cleaning toilets? I don't think so. I bet he works his butt off too.
Jan 18, 2002 7:55 AM
Why don't you just come right and say you don't like me. Isn't that what this discussion amounts to? I can live with that.

I never said anything about be smarter than anyone else, more deserving, luckier, or anything like that. Those are all ideas you inferred somehow, and I don't know upon what basis.

My only point was that minimum wage is not a good idea. I did not intend to personalize it. In personam arguments, attacking the speaker rather than the argument, are a bit distasteful to me.

I like you Dog!gtx
Jan 18, 2002 12:33 PM
even though I rarely agree with you polically. I don't know why you took the previous post personally. So why is a minimum wage a bad idea again? I think $14 or whatever it is in Santa Cruz (I'm sure this is not enforced--is McDonalds or even the local bike shops paying people that? If so, I'm moving there.) sounds a bit whacky, but what's the national figure? $5.15? Is there something wrong with that? I think it should probably be closer to $7 or $8. I'm currently reading "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich. Not a bad book.
I like you Dog!DINOSAUR
Jan 18, 2002 3:38 PM
He's a good dog, just pet him on the head once and awhile and throw him a bone and he's happy. Sometimes he even wags his tail and barks. I don't know about that doggy odor though. Sometimes dogs fart and you have to throw them out of the house for awhile.

On a more serious note, I seldom agree with Do(u)g politically either, but if I remember correctly, the minimum wage @$14.00 an hour was directed toward The City of Santa Cruz government workers as a leverage for a pay raise a couple of years ago. I don't think some kid flipping hamburgers at Burger King gets paid that much.

As a sidenote: I worked in Santa Cruz also (sigh), back in the late 70's and early 80's. The CHP Office was the northern most office in the Coastal Division and was noted as being "a Hippie Office", sort of like the last Out Post, as in the Movie "Apocalypse Now". I guess I have the distinction of being a hippie CHP Officer at one time. Now I'm just an old geezer with a white beard that rides a road bike and mutters at the trees..
Why the minimum wage doesn't make sense...TJeanloz
Jan 18, 2002 5:22 PM
It turns out that current minimum wage policy in the United States doesn't really matter much, because almost nobody is willing to work for the minimum anyways. But here's the reasoning for why minimum wages are, in general, inefficient.

If you have an employer who needs another employee but can only afford to pay them $1/hr, and the minimum wage is $10/hr, then the person doesn't get hired. The worker, who is willing to work for $1/hr, is worse off, because he can't get a job for $1 (which he'd be o.k. with) or for $10/hr, because he's not worth that much to the employer. The employer is also worse off, because he is losing out on the productivity of that extra employee- but he isn't losing enough to make paying the full minimum salary worthwhile. So both parties have been made worse off by the government instituted policy.

Advocates for the minimum wage say that it ensures a minimum standard for people. Which it does, but at the same time, it hampers employment and keeps people out of work who might otherwise be working.

It is not currently applicable, because even entry level jobs these days tend to pay more than the minimum wage- making the whole concept moot.
Another reason...ACE-
Jan 18, 2002 11:20 PM
I employ a high school kid. He has worked for me for about 4 years. When he started, he took out the trash and swept the floors. Now he has come a long way towards learning a skill that can make him a very nice living in the future. It took him at least a couple of years before he was even worth minimum wage. If I had to pay him any more, I would have taken the trash out myself, and he would have ended up learning another valuable skill..."would you like fries with that order?"....By the way, some of his classmates make more than he does in their jobs at Taco Bell. Somehow I don't think he's envious.
Didn't they outlaw slavery? (nm)Really?
Jan 21, 2002 9:11 AM
Is there a point to this?(NM)ACE-
Jan 23, 2002 12:42 AM
Who would work for $1 an hour?Really?
Jan 21, 2002 9:10 AM
You'd be better off begging and checking pay phones for loose change.
I would,TJeanloz
Jan 23, 2002 11:12 AM
I have been asking quite a few people that I would like to work for to hire me for free. I'd be thrilled with $1/hr if it was something I really liked doing.
How do you get $ to pay rent and eat?Ted the Horseman
Jan 23, 2002 3:08 PM
Are you independently wealthy and don't have to work? If so I can see it but most of us don't have that luxury.
flip sideDuane Gran
Jan 22, 2002 10:56 AM
I just love to hear people who live hand to mouth claim that everyone else more fortunate didn't "earn it." I'm not inferring that you are in either category, but there are some thinking patterns that differentiate people with and without wealth. It is really puzzling to see the defeatist statements that some people make about their own wealth, and the downright envious sentiment on other's wealth. I'm sure there is a contingent of wealthy and non-wealthy who don't deserve either position in life, but to that I say:

* Life isn't fair
* A fool and his money are soon parted
* Being broke is temporary, but being poor is permanent

By and large, I've seen that people who earn more know more about finances and worked smarter (which occassionally means working harder). Doug's example about his internship is a case in point. I had a college friend who turned down an internship in order to work at Burger King, where he would make more money. I pleaded with him to reconsider and see the worth of the experience, but he didn't "get it." Like him, I worked my way through school, but I always made sure that every job I took made me more marketable, not necessarily more wealthy.

Anyhow, regarding the minimum wage, it is pretty strange. The stated purpose is to ensure that no one who works hard is below the poverty line. That last I read, that was $16,000 per year. The current minimum wage is $5.50 and this yields $11,440 for a full time employee (5.50x40x52). The minimum wage fails at its very purpose, but even if is succeeded it would only ensure a lower boundary to an already deficient wage.
flip sideJimmy Jazz
Jan 23, 2002 10:58 AM
You could also say:

You can marry more money in 5 minutes than you can earn in 10 lifetimes.

Poppa got me this job

I'll just dip into my trust fund

I was fortunate enough to have parents who had the resources and parenting skills that allowed me to get the proper education and knowledge to succeed in life.

Face it...most rich folks don't earn it any more than the guy who won the lottery earned his money. Mostly it's good luck and being in the right place at the right time..
The 'purpose' of the minimum wage...TJeanloz
Jan 23, 2002 11:08 AM
Most people are surprised to learn that the purpose of the minimum wage is not to keep people above the poverty line. The minimum wage was really designed to keep companies from taking advantage of apprentices and teenage workers. The initial thought behind the law made it clear that the minimum was not believed to be enough to support a person, only to provide supplemental income for those learning a trade or otherwise occupied (like students).

Truely impoverished people, agricultural workers for example, are exempt from the minimum wage law.
re: Anyone else unemployed?The Walrus
Jan 16, 2002 1:46 PM
I've been unemployed for nearly two years now; originally it was voluntary, as I had gone through losing both parents and then dealing with the estate in addition to my regular job. After 5 years without more than 3 days in a row off, and being thoroughly fed up with the company I worked for, I bailed. I anticipated taking maybe a year off, finishing up the work on the family house, selling it, and going back to school to finish getting my degree. Things dragged on longer than I expected, I was running through my savings, and just as I was planning to return to my former employer, they had a bloodbath and laid off 100 people. So, now I'm looking elsewhere...

I agree that you don't want to get locked into trying to replace your earlier position with exactly the same thing; if you find it, that's great, but leave yourself open to other chances. Personally, I don't really want to go back to what I was doing (Sr. Programmer/Analyst), but I still haven't figured out what I do want to be when I grow up.

Don't let it get to you--it'll work out.
Have contacts at. . .js5280
Jan 16, 2002 4:35 PM
Micromotion, Cielo, Instrument Repair Labs, Dataplay, maybe a few others w/ a little research. Not sure if any of them are hiriing though. I work for a very small software company in Boulder so no luck here. Send me an email at if your interested. Good luck w/ your search. It's rough when both people are out of work.
Thanks for the supportErik W
Jan 17, 2002 10:43 AM
It's nice to hear the kind words from strangers. I'll let you know how things turm out.
Erik W
Jan 18, 2002 9:56 AM
Umemployed but still happySamDC
Jan 20, 2002 12:30 PM
I finished graduate school this past May and have been unemployed since. I have a menial job working in Starbucks for $7.50/hour. Discouraged, depressed? Slightly. I occasionally question my self-worth, but then everytime a pass by a homeless person, I think, damn, I lucky! Hell, I (or anyone of us) could be in Argentina, Afghanistan, or any third world country. So, I figure I have ABSOLUTELY nothing to complain about.
hang in there ...tarwheel
Jan 21, 2002 12:03 PM
Five years ago I was laid off from a job I detested. I had been actively searching for another job for more than 3 years with no luck. Two weeks after I got laid off, I found another job -- better in every respect than the one I previously had. Things have a way of working out for the best in the long run, at least that's what my Mom always said. The hardest part about the situation you are in is keeping your spirits up. Take some time to do some fun stuff -- like cycling, backpacking, reading -- to take you mind off the stress of job hunting. One of the ironic things with life is that when you have the time to do fun stuff, you usually don't have the money. When you've got the money, you don't have the time.
have beenDog
Jan 22, 2002 6:45 AM
I have been in the past. It's a bit of a downer at the time, but in hindsight, every time it happened, from whatever reason, the new door that opened led to much better circumstances that I had imagined and would never have found but for the unemployment.

I had a friend who lost his job as a sales person. He hated the job, anyway. Because of his background, he started doing car repairs in his garage at home. He barely got by on this, but was not happy. In a few months, the city shut him down. At his wit's end, he rented some space to do the repairs. Ten years later now, he has one of the most successful independent car repair shops in a metro area and employs five full time mechanics. He is extremely happy.

Hang in there and be creative. Many more options are probably available than what you may think. Have faith in yourself.