What jobs? There aren’t any jobs in the U.S.A. these days. I’m peeved.
There is the fact that I’ve been struggling to find permanent and pertinent employment for quite a few years now, so I may be a bit biased about this topic. Sadly, it seems that as time goes by the job situation in this country is just deteriorating. I don’t see any improvements at all. In my state, Florida, there’s talk by the leaders and politicians of all the wonderful jobs being created currently. Unfortunately, a bit of research will show you almost immediately that the vast majority of those jobs are in three industries that are historically low paying, low skilled, and often uncaring toward their employees: restaurant/hospitality, customer service (call centers), and retail.
Oh, sure. There are quite a few skilled jobs for medical professionals in Florida, the land of the newly wed and nearly dead; that’s fine for those who are interested in careers in that field. However, truth be known, the medical industry is something many of us prefer to avoid, as employees or customers. So, what does that leave? Manufacturing? Information Technology? There’s some of those around here, sure; not an abundance, though. There’s no abundance of any jobs around here, or anywhere else in this country, I don’t think. I saw a recent stat the other day in the paper that for every available position, there are 3 applicants.
There is something seriously wrong with this. In today’s paper, there was an editorial by Jeff Danziger called Where the Jobs Aren’t. The jobs aren’t in the U.S. of A. anymore these days. Is anything being done about this by our leaders? Nope. Are U.S. companies trying to remedy this situation? Nope. As a matter of fact, the move to offshore labor is continuing its decades long rat-jumping-sinking-ship routine. The greed of the companies outsourcing to pad their bottom line and pay those multi-bazillion dollar CEO salaries is the reason the damned ship is sinking in the first place.
Case in point, and my inspiration for today’s rant: I have for many years been a pencil connoisseur. I collect and use high quality pencils for my everyday writing needs. I just love pencils. It’s been a passion since I was a child. Hey! We all have our little quirks, right? Anyway, One of my favorite pencils, probably the best pencil made in the world, is the Mirado Black Warrior. This pencil has the finest quality wood, the richest graphite filler, the best quality eraser, etc. It’s also a sleek, good-looking pencil.
Over the years, manufacturers of this pencil have changed. Originally, they carried the Berol brand name. Currently, they are labeled as Papermate. You’ll notice the prominent gold-embossed “USA” on the pencil above. The one I have in front of me on this desk also has that brand. It’s from an older batch that I had bought a year or so ago. I usually buy four or five boxes at a time when I buy them.
The other day, I noticed I was running low. Also, I’ve gotten my brother’s interest up in using good old pencils. He’s developed a daily crossword habit over the last year or so. I went to my local office supply store where I usually buy the pencils and found, to my sadness, that they no longer carry them. Pencils aren’t top sellers, so the stores don’t want to waste shelf space. I can understand that. It’s efficient retailing, after all. OK, I’ll resort to online shopping. I can live with that.
I found them easily enough and at a reasonable price, too. I ordered four boxes (48 pencils total) for $12.78 w/ free shipping. Can’t complain about that deal. All was well. I received them in just a couple days. Ain’t online shopping wonderful?! Oh, by the way, that’s another reason there are fewer jobs in the U.S. of A. these days, but that’s a whole ‘nother can-of-worms. I opened my padded UPS-delivered envelope to find… *GASP* my favorite beautiful Mirado Black Warrior pencils are now hecho en Mexico. That’s right, folks. Papermate has decided to help out the poor Mexican economy. Ain’t that great?
That means that somewhere in the U.S. of A. there’s a pencil manufacturing plant that is now struggling for contracts from other stationery companies for new pencil orders. They’re having to lay off 45% of their workforce in the meantime, though. All those folks in Small Factory-town, U.S.A. are now filing for their unemployment compensation; a much reduced income on which to feed themselves and their families. That’s OK, though because some Mexican workers are now earning a near slave wage to add to their family’s budget.
I have nothing against the wonderful citizens of our southern neighbor country. I don’t even have any major complaints with the somewhat diminished quality of the pencils I received yesterday. I do have a problem with that fact that no one seems to be doing a thing to resolve the jobs situation in my country. That’s really what this rant is about, not pencils.
Speaking of the pencils, though, I called Papermate customer support to find out if these were real Black Warriors or some cheap counterfeit knockoffs. The nice young customer support girl informed me that they were indeed genuine Papermate Mirado Black Warrior pencils; now being hecho’d en Mexico. Well, muchas gracias, then. At least Dixon Ticonderogas are still made in the good ol’ U.S. of A… for now, anyway. :( Oh, Papermate is sending me two complimentary boxes of the Black Warriors just for calling and commenting. Cool, huh? I get 24 free pencils and 90 employees of some factory get 26 weeks of minimal unemployment checks.
Doesn’t anyone care?
Hasta luego, mis compadres…
Image credits: Mirado Black Warrior image found on this very interesting pencil site –> Ordinary Pencil
Un-modified factory clipart image courtesy of WPClipart.com
Further reading: An old, but still pertinent article –> U.S. manufacturing jobs fading away fast – USA Today
How a Pencil Is Made – Interesting video from YouTube