Black "Non-employment"

DGS49

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From today's NYT daily briefing:

But the official statistics [published unemployment rates] are misleading. They exclude people who are not working — and there has been a sharp rise since the 1980s in the number of black men who don’t work.​
Some have dropped out of the labor force, no longer looking for work after having failed to find decent-paying blue-collar jobs (a trend that has also hurt men of other races, though not as badly). Others are incarcerated. Over all, even before the recent economic downturn, about 30 percent of black men between the ages of 25 and 54 were not working, much more than in previous decades.​

How's that again? "...were not working..."? WTF does that mean? They are not employed, or "unemployed," but are not working. [One can only wonder how they manage to survive? Petty crime? Sponge off the Baby-Mamas?]. The reason, it is said, is because they have "failed to find decent-paying blue-collar jobs."

Of course I don't know the Black Man experience so I can't say for certain, but here's how employment works for white people (like me) who have no education or skills:

You take a crappy job and maintain it. Maybe it's being a Security Guard. Maybe washing cars. Maybe doing janitorial work. Maybe working in a fast-food joint. Doesn't matter. Just as with an elected person, for whom Job #1 is always getting re-elected, the person who holds a crappy job has two primary functions: (a) do a good "crappy" job and (b) look for a better one. (a) is necessary to keep the paycheck coming in, develop good work habits, and impress the next possible employer. (b) is necessary because you need to make more money in order to survive.

When I got out of the Service (1971) I had no salable skills, and I was going to college at night, so my hours were somewhat limited. (My GI Bill money was barely enough to pay for school tuition). I took a job as a night watchman, at minimum wage. There was lots of overtime available - mainly on weekends - because the others working for minimum wage were unreliable, and frequently called off, or just didn't show up. After six months or so, I found a better Security Guard job. A year later, I found an even better one, where I got paid extra for carrying a gun. In most of these jobs I had virtually unlimited spare time to do my schoolwork.

By that time I had my associates degree, and took off on a different career tangent in Retailing...starting with a crappy job as an Assistant Manager for a clothing store (a little less crappy than the last Security job). Again, I did a good job for the retailer but always had my eye out for something better. After two years, I got a job for a large discount retailer - more money, more responsibility, with a track to a decent management job if I stuck around.

You get the point. You can't GIVE UP on employment because you can't find a job right away that pays a living wage. You get and keep a crappy job, and work to always find something better. In none of this was I advantaged because of "White Privilege." If you want to call my GI Bill money a "privilege" I can only say I disagree. I earned every penny of that. They were all crappy jobs, and in each one of them I was working alongside Black guys who were doing the same thing I was.

Do Black Yoots understand that this is how a productive working life unfolds for those without degrees or valuable skills? Unless you are very lucky or very privileged, you don't start off - having no salable skills - with a good job. You have to take what is available, then continuously look for something better. Within five years you will have that good job. Life is filled with setbacks, but this is how it's supposed to work. Again, do YBM's understand this? Are they willing to do it? If not, why not?
 

MarcATL

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Interesting thread...

So in your first step, OP, is it possible to be self-sustaining today with one of those crappy jobs?

By that I mean be able to provide for one's own living, food and transportation.
 
OP
DGS49

DGS49

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Probably not. For the first year, I was going through my military savings (from Vietnam). After that I was able to self-support.

But really, we are talking about 30% of Black men not working. Obviously, they. have figured out how to survive on very little. Live with friends? With relatives. The possibilities are various.
 

Maxdeath

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I worked a number of jobs first out. All being minimum wage or slightly above. Realized that I needed better employment. I could get by but was not going to put much aside.
Went to work for a company in the oilfield and gas industry. Was minimum wage but I realized there was a way forward. Worked my way up taking every bit of overtime I could get. Eventually learned more then enough to qualify for a supervisory position that required a degree in geology but the company realized that I knew more about the job then most having only the degree and a few years experience. I retired at sixty. Took social security at sixty two. Traveled the U.S. For five years before settling down.

Sure minimum wage will only give you a roof over your head and food but it can usually be a starting point. Most employers want people starting low on the totem pole so they have an idea of what and how they do. Unfortunately some think they should start with six figures.
 

22lcidw

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Probably not. For the first year, I was going through my military savings (from Vietnam). After that I was able to self-support.

But really, we are talking about 30% of Black men not working. Obviously, they. have figured out how to survive on very little. Live with friends? With relatives. The possibilities are various.
The game!
 

MarcATL

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Probably not. For the first year, I was going through my military savings (from Vietnam). After that I was able to self-support.

But really, we are talking about 30% of Black men not working. Obviously, they. have figured out how to survive on very little. Live with friends? With relatives. The possibilities are various.
K, thanks for your response.
 

sealybobo

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Interesting thread...

So in your first step, OP, is it possible to be self-sustaining today with one of those crappy jobs?

By that I mean be able to provide for one's own living, food and transportation.
No but it’s better than making no money at all. When I was a kid taking $5 hr jobs I didn’t ask that question. I was already living somewhere free and any money was better than no money.

And it’s a start. I’ve seen a guy go from just working at a mailbox etc now he owns a UPS store.
 

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