Not old enough, not young enough to work


Her youthful face looked freshly scrubbed, shiny and innocent. Just 19, she was already a mother and intelligent enough to know that her road may be more difficult, but not impossible. She was a go-getter, never still for long and loaded with youthful energy, all the while responsible and balanced. Her youth seemed to be what kept her mind clear and quick. She was a mountain of potential.

For three weeks, she worked as the receptionist at a mobile home sales lot, doing everything asked, and learning everything she could. She kept the website updated and completed purchase agreements. Everything was fine when she left work Friday, the owner’s last words of “See you on Monday” sent her away just like the two Fridays before. But Monday, when she came into work, there sat an older woman at her desk. The owner had decided she wanted someone older and with accounting experience.

The story was the opposite for the second woman who’s face was lined with her 60 years of life. Yet, she was a go-getter that rarely sat still for long and energetic. Her working life was in banks, and knew every job there. She planned to retire from the bank in a few short years, until it was bought out. At first, it was business as usual. Then, someone’s niece was hired and quickly shot up the ranks within a year to hold the position of power. This young girl, fresh out of college, decided to fill the place with youth and the long-term workers were let go. Almost visibly, the lines deepened in her face and her chin quivered. “What can I do now?” She wasn’t old enough to retire, but felt she was too old to be hirable.

These two women are examples of ready, willing and able people who are now among the ranks of the unemployed. It may be that the young have to be much older and the older much younger to be employed. The lifespan of a person’s working years has shrunk. Kids will be forced to remain home well into their 20’s and forced out of the workforce years before retirement and Social Security kick in.

If this is the case, it’s easy enough to imagine the changes ahead. It’s possible that those that are working will be the ones supporting three generations of family – their kids and their parents. Since the majority of jobs are in the service sector, these extended families will be surviving on very little.

I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, sounding like a broken record here, but every day, I see more evidence that things are spiraling downward. With the price of gas going up again, I have no doubt that we are headed for yet another crash. Will this crash be the final one?
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