An open letter to the American Job Market

Dear American Job Market,

You are a tough one to pin down. The Republicans say it’s a terrible time for job-seekers while the Democrats say it’s a fantastic time. Once, not so many years ago, a fast learner with a can-do attitude and a college degree could find work. Now, the most basic, entry-level jobs require 2-5 years of experience, a specific degree, certifications and known contacts on the inside. How does one ever switch careers anymore? When did the workforce get so specialized that you could only have one career path from puberty to retirement?

Once an Environmental Services Specialist was a Trash Collector, a Chemical Agricultural Aviator was a Crop Duster, and a Student Services Representative III was an Academic Counselor. What happened to our job titles? Why are they so vague we aren’t even sure what it is we are applying for anymore? How are we to know the search terms we need when a Technical Writer could be listed as a Technical Communicator, Collaborative Editor, Copy Editor, Copywriter, Graphic Designer or Copy Analyst?

We also request to see your compensation sequence. Why does a ticket taker at a ball game make the same as a Sign Language interpreter? Why do the jobs with more physical labor, longer hours, higher medical risk and more time spent in the elements make considerably less than 8-5 office jobs? Why does it take as many years and certifications/licenses to train for a blue collar job as a white collar job? The idea behind “America: the land of opportunity” was that there was work for all skill levels and opportunities at advancement with experience and education. We have forgotten this. Our basements and couches are filled with college graduates that can’t find work for a living wage. Our shelters and ghettos are filled with skilled workers whose jobs were not as important as shareholder profits. What has happened that our oldest working generation can’t afford to retire?

Please open entry-level positions with on-the-job-training for the myriads of people that have served in our military, returned from the Peace Corps, raised a family, changed our minds about joining the family business, been laid off, are relocating, or for many other reasons find ourselves past our 20s and searching for work. Encourage more companies to offer internships based on competency criteria to people who are not college students. Grant us a chance to join your ranks. We are eager. We are capable. We will make you proud.

Sincerely,

The Americans

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