Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hard Times

I'm a Government employee and proud of the fact. I feel like a do a service for my country and in return they compensate me. It's a fairly well documented fact that Government employees (at least in my line of work) receive far less in pay then their counterparts in industry. I knew this going in and have no problem with it. In return for the lower pay, I also received far greater job security than my counterparts. It's part of the reason I joined the Government. That and their very decent retirement benefit. It's a trade-off and given my personality, it has worked out well for me and for Ann as well.

Our kids did not chose to follow in our footsteps, which is fine. Everyone should feel free to chase their own dreams. But with today's economy they have begun to see the downside of working in the private sector. The Son is currently unemployed and has been for the better part of three months now. He's been living off his 401(k) from one of his previous jobs. He was shown the door with little or no warning and no severance. He has a pretty marketable degree and experience in the IT industry, but gives the impression he's content to ride out his savings before he gets serious about looking for another job. I think once he loses his condo and car he might have wished he started looking a bit harder and a lot earlier. Daughter#1 just recently became unemployed also. She probably faces the hardest task in finding a new job. she has a Communications degree and has worked as an event/travel planner. The job market in Connecticut appears to be a lot bleaker then here in the DC area. Throw in her upcoming wedding and the need to find a new apartment and her stress level is over the top. She's the most anal of the kids and will work the hardest in finding a job even if it's not exactly what she wants to do. In today's world, a job is a job. Finally there is Daughter#2. Daughter#2 still has a job. Daughter#2 works for the state of Virginia. A Government agency to be sure. A state that is facing a large budget shortfall and the Governor has called for employee cuts across the board. Her agency, VDOT, will do it by seniority. Guess who sits on the bottom of the list? She won't know for sure if she'll get the axe until later in the fall. It seems a bit unfair given she is covering an area normally handled by two people in her specialty. We're hoping for the best but fearing the worse.

When I graduated from college I wanted to work for one of the airlines. That's what I studied for in college. Unfortunately when I graduated we were in the middle of an oil embargo with the long lines at gas stations and being only able to buy gas on odd or even days depending on your licence plate ending in either an odd or even number. Needless to say, airlines weren't hiring, rather they were laying off workers. It took me about seven months to find the job/career I'm in now. I've never had to live under the threat of losing my job. Government service is looking pretty good again in these days.

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