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Corporate America and the Job Market

September 15, 2011

Growing up in the US has been fascinating. My generation has grown up in a time of uncertainty, economic volatility, technological and social breakthrough, rampant consumerism, endless wars, and politicians who refuse to do what we want them to. We can’t forget about a few large corporations that influence how we live each and every day.

Large corporations are massive institutions that wield an unconscionable amount of political and economic power. They get our politicians elected, both Democrats and Republicans. A large corporation has enough money that it can hire lobbyists to go to Washington and persuade politicians to act on its behalf. The average citizen can’t do that. The issues that we want our politicians to address will never be addressed as long as large corporations are running the show.

As far as economic power goes, a corporation has the ability to hold a community hostage. If a corporation sets up an office or factory in a town, it can employ hundreds of people and give the community a substantial boost. But the second that corporation decides to leave the area, the people it once employed are fucked over.

My parents have always emphasized doing well in school so I can get a good, secure job, get married, move to the suburbs and have a family. They called that the American Dream. Well, the American Dream is quickly turning into complete BULLSHIT. The American Dream is based on 20th century, post-Great Depression ideals. This idea that a college education equals job security is obsolete. A college education does not guarantee a job like it used to. Even a college education with several years of solid experience doesn’t ensure you’ll be safe. It doesn’t matter if you work for Goldman Sachs, GM, or the US Government. If your ass isn’t factored into next year’s budget, you’re history.

My parents both work for the State of Minnesota. Government jobs have always been thought of as the most secure, but I can assure you that this assumption is also BULLSHIT. If the government fails to pass a budget on time, your ass could be out of a job. My dad has worked for the state for over thirty years and was laid off for a while this summer because MN state politicians couldn’t get a budget together.

For a very brief period last year I was in US Air Force ROTC. I wasn’t totally committed to joining the military but ROTC allowed me to experience the culture for a while without signing my life away. In the few short weeks that I was there, one of the cadre was basically let go. He was a decorated officer who had served his country honorably, but his ass was expendable since the Air Force was going through budget bulimia.

After seeing all this I don’t trust the government to keep me employed, and I definitely don’t trust large corporations that will outsource our jobs the first chance they get. At this point, I will only work for another company for a while so I can gain enough financial experience to start my own business. When you take a step back to realize that the organizations that employ you don’t give a fuck about you, entrepreneurship makes perfect sense.

A college education has become a mere hunting license, nothing more. There is no sure-fire way to get a job in a volatile economy like this. Many small businesses are really struggling and don’t have the money to hire more people. Large corporations do have openings but the competition for them is mindblowing. During my internship last summer there was an individual in my department who left the company. Over 200 people applied for the vacant position. This wasn’t an entry-level job that anyone with an accounting degree could apply to; it was a very specific job requiring several years of SEC reporting experience. That is a clear example of how tight the job market is, even in a supposedly recession-proof career like accounting.

It’s a tough world out there, and I’m not looking forward to becoming part of the “professional workforce” after graduation. Speaking of graduation, I better stop drinking Ron Diaz 5 days a week and focus on landing a gig so I can start paying off the $50K worth of loans that I have.

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