The American Dream is a Broken-down Nag
Last week, after a particularly tiring day and just as I was getting ready to leave work, I got a phone call from a woman who found my CV on monster.com. For those of you who don't know, "monster" is one of many websites where people post their CVs and resumes so potential employers can browse for a new employee while chewing on bologna sandwiches. Or so they say. Until I received this call, I was convinced that posting my CV to monster was a mistake, that monster was only viewed by spammers seeking to stuff thousands of email boxes full of their numerous unsolicited ads for penis enlargements, pheromones and cheap viagra. Although I do occasionally wonder if I might be more employable if I had a penis of my very own, I find myself frequently wishing these spammers would email me something I could really use, something like ... ads for REAL JOBS that pay a living wage.
It turns out that job recruitment agencies scan each other's ads and one of those agencies is where the woman on the phone, Mary U., works. She was calling because she thought she had a job for me as a laboratory technician at a male infertility clinic.
"A male what?" I was momentarily confused. "oOooohhhh .... " The answer to my own query dawned on me slowly (well, it had been a long and draining day and besides, I research avian evolution, not human male infertility). Hrm. Well, that's ... different. Interesting. As in, it might be an interesting survival job that could generate a few entertaining stories that I could publish in The New Yorker, stories that might get me a few free drinks every now and again at my local watering hole. Oh, and speaking of amusing writerly opportunities for embellishing upon reality somewhat, it seems almost too good to be true that I earn extra money by cat sitting (cat ... pussy ... get it? Hee hee hee!). Not to beat a dead horse, but since I have the Ph.D., I am a doctor (Hey big boy, wanna play doctor? Ho ho ho!). Suddenly, it boggled my frazzled mind to contemplate all the witty tales I might possibly write and sell. Playboy pays very well, or so I am told.
But after closer questioning, I learned that the successful candidate would ostensibly be handling samples and filing papers. Mary U. also told me that the job is located in Westchester, so if I accepted the position, I would have to relocate and probably have to buy a car since the public transit there isn't very good but, oh, the good news is this job only requires a High School diploma.
"Oh ... what? Waitaminnit ... I have a Ph.D., so why would that be 'good news'?" I asked suspiciously, wondering if she had read my CV at all.
When Mary U. refused to tell me how much it paid, I realized this "job" -- if it was even real -- would require me to incur huge debt so I could relocate to a podunk town where I probably would be miserable and where I would definitely be enslaved by car insurance payments, rent AND taxes while earning something closely resembling minimum wage to work as a professional fluffer. Basically, it had every possibility of creating a debt that would last longer than the job itself.
So .. this is what it's come to, eh? Is this all that I have to look forward to? This is why I earned my Ph.D.? I feel insulted by that stupid non-job offer and its non-wages. I feel outraged at this entire outrageous situation, as a matter of fact. For gawd's sake, what is wrong with this country? What happened to the American Dream? Why aren't people rewarded for getting a good education, working hard and behaving themselves? Since when has a job that pays a living wage become a priviledge for the few? I do not deserve this. Not. At. All. I feel like I am a not-yet broken-down racehorse on my way to the glue factory.
© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist