I'm Sick of This Economy!

Excuse me, folks, but I saw a couple of headlines in this morning’s paper and I’ve got to rant.

A local manufacturing plant will be laying off 1,000 out of nearly 3,000 workers for at least one month, but it could be as long as six months. Another local company, one which was known as a good employers is also laying off people. When I turned to the business section, I read that people in the town Adelphia Cable is based in are worried about losing their jobs and their homes, in part because the owner of the company was indicted for securities fraud. Also, KMart has said they will close a local store, despite the protests of people who live near it and use it. The Ames my parents and I swore by is, of course long gone now.

I was laid off five and a half months ago, and I’m facing the end of my unemployment insurance benefits. I’ve accepted the reality of the market for unemployed programmers, so I’m back to looking for work as a temporary, or even permanent Administrative Assistant. So far, I’ve gotten 6 1/2 hours work as a receptionist when one company’s receptionist sprained her ankle. Damn it!!! I’m intelligent, competent, and hard-working. I’ve got two degrees, one in Japanese, and one in Computer Science. I don’t live expensively, and I’ve even got hardly any credit card debt. Still, I’m facing the very real prospect of my money running out. I’m hoping I can manage for another three months if I don’t get any work at all. A year ago, I figured that if I changed jobs I’d easily be able to earn about $5,000 USD more per year; now, I’m facing the prospect of earning about $5,000 per year less. I hear economists on the news talk about consumer spending. Right now, I’m wondering if I can afford a couple of bucks for waste canvas. I had thought about going to Hawaii this year. Now, I’m wondering how I can afford a trip to Maine, or even a weekend in Ohio. The manufacturing plant I mentioned is one of my former clients, and two of my better references work there. I’m pretty sure one of them won’t be affected – he works for my former employer, not the plant, but I’m not sure about the other one. Also, my former boss has just been reorganized out of her job.

It stinks. People like Kenneth Lay and the Rigas family (the owners of Adelphia) rip people off, live like kings, and complain because they have to sell of some of their five homes. I love my apartment. I’ve got a beautiful view to the east across a nice little valley, a building supervisor who works wonders, and a good landlord. It’s incredibly convenient, and it’s even pretty cheap. I don’t want to have to give it up and move back in with my parents. I’ve got a couple of 401k’s I can draw on, but they were for retirement. I’m capable of holding down a job; I’m capable of doing a damn good job! Just give me a chance to, please!!

Aaaarrgghhh!!! I know we’ve got a lot of unemployed Dopers out there, and some of them have been unemployed a lot longer than I have. I’m just frustrated and a bit frightened. I did everything right, I thought. I worked hard, went back to school, honed my qualifications until they gleamed, but it doesn’t feel like it made a difference. Oh well. Maybe there’ll be better news in the Sunday paper or in Monday’s e-mail?



Are you single? You do say that you speak Japanese?

Ever thought about teaching English overseas. There are a lot of schools in Japan (as well as in Asia) that would love to have a bilingual person on their staff.

The pay is about 2000 USD a month plus a place to live. Some companies will pay airfare, plus the opportunity to see Japan. Most jobs only require a college degree.

I am not a recruiter, I am just a guy in China teaching and looking around. Pay in China sucks, and the main reason that I am here is that my wife is Chinese. It would be difficult to get myself a decent job in the United States so that’s another reason I’m here.

There is a website called eslcafe.com. Look under International Job Vacancies. Check it out. E-mail me if you wish.


senor, based on your comments in a recent Pit Thread, I have no intention of e-mailing you. I taught English while studying in Japan; I also spent several years working in Japanese tourism. I was also contacted about the possibility of a job in Japan which required proficiency in Microsoft Office and fluent Japanese. I sent in my resume, but never received a reply.

The Japanese economy is in bad shape and has been so for 13 years. $2,000 USD, even with housing, is not enough to make up for the hassles of putting my life into storage, moving several thousand miles away, and dealing with work visas in a bad economy for a chance of a job which might not exist. I admit when I was fresh out of college and desparate, packed up and moved to Hawaii for $1,000 USD, no housing, but it was the only job going in my field, and I didn’t have much in the way of fall back skills in those days.


Besides, even if haring off to Japan is a remotely viable option for me, what the HELL good is it going to do the people at Adelphia Cable who may lose their jobs and homes so John Rigas could buy another boat or do whatever he did with the money? What good is it going to do the people who used to work for KMart or anyone of the other companies who seem to be announcing more layoffs every single day? “The company’s tanking, so we’re going to loot the retirement fund and lay off a few thousand people, but we’re going to give the execs who ran it into the ground big bonuses so they can keep doing what they’ve been doing.” I admit that wasn’t the case for me (the CEO and the VP got laid off about two weeks after I did), but still, you’d think if companies are going to do that, they could at least give out free condoms!

Sorry, folks, I know this isn’t like me, but I’m angry, frustrated, depressed as hell, and damned short on hope right now.


Email me your resume. We’re not hiring at the moment, but I’ll definitely keep it on file. I work for the subsidiary of a Japanese company based in Wisconsin, with locations in California (outside San Francisco) and Texas (on the edge of Dallas). We have a good I.S. department (that I manage) building a homegrown system, and we were profitable last year. I’m not promising anything, but spread as many seeds as you can.

I didn’t realize that there’s such a demand for Japanese speakers. I always figured it’d be easy to find good-paying jobs if you’re bilingual, but I haven’t had much luck as far as that’s concerned. I don’t speak Japanese, though; the demand might be different.

I am fluent in French, though, with a smattering of German and Spanish. I don’t want to hijack this thread into a mercenary job-search thread, but the fact is I hate my current job and if anyone in the New York City area is looking for someone with my qualifications, drop me a line.

As to the employees of Adelphia: I empathise. Back in the 1980s, when I was still in high school, my home town of Hermitage, Pennsylvania fell on hard times. Deregulation of industry opened the doors for an evil man named Victor Posner to buy Sharon Steel, the local steel plant, with promises of getting it back on its feet. Instead, Posner sold off all its assets and left Sharon Steel for dead. Then he fled to Florida with the cash and refused to see any journalists. Last year we heard that he died, and in my home town, this fact was generally expressed with levity. However, the town is still largely ruined, and getting slightly back on its feet recently because of a new highway that makes it faster to commute the seventy miles into Pittsburgh. But locally, there isn’t a whole lot anymore. It’s sad.

I’ve been unemployed before, myself. I got fired a few weeks before Christmas, 1998. I wound up temping, and eventually went permanent (with the job I currently hate.) Keeping busy is the best advice I can offer. That, and find people to talk to. You’ll go nuts if to shut up inside yourself, like I did. The economy’s a lot rougher these days than it was back then, but you’ve got to keep at it. If you keep looking, you’ll find something. Lots of people are in a similar boat. We can be glad that there are large tax cuts on the horizon, because we’ll have to pay less in taxes on… on… um… well, maybe they don’t matter.

Seriously, though, with bilingual talent you could probably do well. I don’t know where you live, but if you’re willing to relocate, you could probably do pretty well with fluency in Japanese. You write English well, too, which is a surprisingly uncommon talent. In the New York Times want ads, I always see plenty of ads for bilingual Japanese speakers, and the jobs pay pretty well. I also understand that Hawaii and the West Coast have large Japanese populations, so that might be a good place to look. That’s about the best I can advise, I’m afraid. And I don’t know what to say about helping local economies. When a local economy gets wiped out, it can take a long time for it to get back on its feet. Hermitage, Pennsylvania is still languishing, along with many other communities. Good luck.