ATTITUDINAL ADJUSTMENTS

In the world’s workplace, blue-collar workers at some corporations are expected to work overtime, display company loyalty 24/7 and sacrifice their personal lifes consistently. Very few companies encourage and plan for each worker’s education, growth potential, physical fitness and satisfaction.

The end results at the traditional workplace for overworked and under-appreciated hourly men and women is shameful: stress, burnout, dead-end jobs, divorce and perpetuation of generations of low-wage mistreatment. 

“…I don’t need my name in the marquee lights. I’ve got my song, and I’ve got you with me tonight. Maybe it’s time we got back to the basics of love… This successful life we’re living has got us feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys.”

Trouble is most people are not living a “successful life.”  From my observations across the United States for four decades, it is clear that the vast majority will never be successful. Whether you define that as a 6-figure income or 12 months worth of income in a simple savings account, only 25 percent of the population ever claims a job that can meet basic retirement goals. Fewer than 10 percent retire comfortably, and even they sweat vehicle purchases, vacations and paying off the house.

For the blue-collar laborer, he or she is almost destined to struggle just to buy groceries weekly and fix the random flat tire. Saving dollars for 3-6 months is common just to celebrate with a handful of presents. A financially resourceful person can care for a family of 3-4 on fewer than $3,000, but it takes sacrifice, followed by reduction and more sacrifice.

  Have you been there? Really digging out dropped pennies from the couch and under the dresser just to put $2 in the gas tank? If not then you are oblivious to what the working class endures hourly.

They know each week that paying rent requires saving at least $300 from each of the four checks brought home that month. Any less and the rent may be paid, but the electricity and insurance won’t be. 

Birthdays and holidays are times of mourning for working-class laborers. Saving enough cash to celebrate a child’s birthday is like trying to walk on water. Every month is a slippery step where one unexpected event can sink your hopes of being able to even purchase a birthday cake. It’s a trying and tearful time for everyone involved, partially because children of all ages compare their parties and families to their friends.

And true laborers can rarely compete with an upper-middleclass neighbor. It is truly a hard-knock life, and you probably imagined this is the tale of illegal immigrants who don’t speak English and can afford only the worst accommodations.

You would be wrong. This is the daily life of an American citizen with a 4-year, college degree and years of successful experience in a dying industry. His teeth are decaded badly and falling out slowly.  Although he is legally required to buy insurance, he cannot afford to see a dentist. He pays for the insurance for his family members.

With the demands on these workers, it’s embarrasing to say they chose this low-paying line of work. Whether sweeing floors, guarding doors or gathering shopping carts, these hard-working individuals are ignored in society by nearly every  corporation. They are seen as small, disposable items and only important when it works to someone’s advantage.

The company managers use the statement, “You can be replaced in a second” as their threat against immigrants and citizens alike. It’s a disgusting, subliminal threat made daily, and every person desperate to provide for their family is subject to such garage. Tell your boss to “Take this job and shove it!” and you will be replaced within hours because so many are financially strapped by the federal government.

Even the high earners often face early-retirement and golden parachute offers to step down. Accept or be fired, they are told after 30 years of exceptional service. Even while they have the 6-figure income careers, many spend carelessly and have most of their mony in investments, which can crater at any time. It’s a long-shot gamble even for the top 25 percent of earners.

So disappointing.

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