Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Signs we're living in 2005

--Between terrorism, hurricane madness and avian flu, there's always some imminent complete devastation to keep us sufficiently afraid.

--Everyone seems to be at a very low point in their lives, yet we are constantly hearing from our leaders how great everything is in the good old USA. And half of those people continue to buy into that bullshit.

--As much as we pride ourselves for being a compassionate Christian nation, we nevertheless flinched when we realized that the victims of Katrina were largely poor and black.

--American high school students must spend 10 minutes each day (even in P.E. classes) preparing for standardized tests, a practice that takes away from actual learning. And people support this because it supposedly Leaves No Child Behind.

--The biggest threat to the American way of life is someone derisively known as "The Peace Mom," her crime being that she wants to ask the president why her soldier son died.

--Deaths in Iraq are seen not as a sign of the futility of war, but instead are seen as an excuse to continue said war.

--Calling the Iraq War what it is--a failure--is the same as wanting Iraq to be a failure.

--Despite all of the world events that have saturated our national consciousness for the past few years, young people still believe military recruiters who claim that they'll never see battle.

--A national figure who has spent decades supposedly spreading the teachings of Jesus gets off scot-free for advocating the death of a foreign leader, yet an obscure college columnist can get visited by the Secret Service for criticizing a Republican's policies.

--You come to the realization that there can never again be a groundbreaking show like Saturday Night Live or I Love Lucy because no network wants to take risks or otherwise trust an individual's vision.

--You get the impression that the lagging job market is a deliberate attempt by the government to funnel people into the military, which itself isn't exactly the best-paying gig in the world.

--Job engines are now gearing toward employers instead of employees, simply because jobs are so scarce and employers are so stingy.

--The old saying, "It isn't what you know, it's who you know," has never been more depressingly appropriate.

--Your number of degrees is inversely proportional to how employable you are.

--Admission of mistakes, changing one's mind, intellectualism and tolerance are all considered weaknesses of character.

--You get the feeling that, in the coming years, there will be an incredible karma shift in which all of the jerks now making life difficult (or are otherwise enjoying undeserved power and glory) are going to get their due. But it doesn't seem like it'll happen anytime soon.

--You wish you were living in another era, one that wasn't so bleak and fractious--an era like the sixties or seventies.


Michael said...

I hope like hell you're wrong about employability being an inverse function of the number of degrees one holds, Ian--or I'm going to be in serious trouble if I ever decide to go back on the job market!

Michael (B.A., M.A., M.S., M.A. pending)

Phillip said...

i propose we form a commune -- you, me, flamingo, and anyone we deem worthy (and hot) -- wherein we watch no television, have only intellectual conversations, bring down the establishment in a clandestine manner, eat only vegetables, and stage coutner-protests at abortion clinics.

a place where 2+2=4, up is up, and noone has more than anyone else.

Nick said...


Last I knew, Icon enjoyed a good hamburger. Therefore, I don't think he would be on board with the whole eat only vegies thing.

Mike and Icon:

The reason employability is not guarrenteed just because you have a master's degree is b/c in college everything you learn is mostly theory and in a vaccum. For example, you can get a Mechanical Engineering degree and master's with a 3.8 GPA, however, if you're put in charge of an oil rig, shit happens. Employers want people who they feel can also improvise and make educated decisions when crap hits the fan.

That said, my opinion of the Lafayette job market is that many employers are too damn picky and are hesitant to hire someone w/ no experience and too cheap. That's why I had to do my college intership for a company out of Houston. Every Lafayette broker gave me the old "we're looking for someone with experience" line. How the hell can someone get experience if you don't give them a chance? Then again, that's probably why I'm going to make about 20-25k more this year than last year. I got myself out of the Lafayette job scene this past January and don't intend on going back in anytime soon. I got the last laugh on them, though, as I was able to move back to Acadiana in August, work mostly in south LA (until the hurricanes, now I'm in Mississippi for a stint), yet still work for a higher paying Houston broker.

I know you don't want to do it Icon, but, try elsewhere's, like out of state. I love Cajun Country, however, Louisiana is a dead-end state for the job market, and we have all our great Baton Rouge politicans to thank for that.

Ian McGibboney said...

Michael, I hope I'm wrong too. But I can tell you I have been turned down for jobs here because no one wants to hire somebody with two degrees when they can hire some kid with one degree for cheaper. Not that I ask for more; it's the stigma of such a thing.

Nick, I don't think the vacuum factor is as significant as you think. Actually, that comment (though true in one sense) is insulting. I would argue that someone with two degrees and some relevant work experience is going to be a fine decision maker. Maybe not for an oil rig, but maybe for an equivalent work situation.

My biggest problem is this: people looking for a BA or less see me as overeducated, while my non-thesis MA in English is seen as basically a joke by academia. It's essentially wasted unless I get a doctorate in the same subject, which I don't plan to do. Catch-22.

Not that any of that matters in Louisiana anyway. Trust me, Nick, I want to get out of here for so many reasons. I simply don't see the same paradise here as you do. But that's hard to do when you can't afford to move anywhere and you lack the transportation to do so. Yet another catch-22. Thanks for reminding me.

Phillip, it's true that I'm not a vegetarian. I don't eat nearly as much meat as I used to, but I eat some because after researching the vegetarian diet I knew it was something I couldn't maintain on a regular basis. But I agree in spirit with the whole commune thing. As long as we aren't pretentious or elitist.

Flamingo Jones said...

Phillip, I'd be down with the commune thing. If it wasn't in Louisiana. And if Arrested Development, The Office and SNL didn't really count as "television."

And if I can still eat Crispy Honey Chicken from PF Changs.

Those are my only demands.

Michael said...

I'm not on the job market, Nick--and I hope not to be anytime soon. If for no other reason than that that third master's degree isn't done yet, and if I lose the job I've got, I have to start paying for the hours to complete it--and the Ph.D. I hope to start once it's done. Besides, I like what I do, mostly: and it's going to be a very interesting year at my university. Several senior administrators have announced their retirements and are in the process of being replaced, the department I work for is looking for three new faculty members--and a new department chair, and the front-runner is one of the faculty members I have a very good working relationship with. I suspect things would be very good for me if he gets the nod. The history department in which I'm a graduate student is also looking to hire some new faculty.

What sort of job are you looking for, Ian? You might consider looking into a bit of academic work--community colleges always need instructors, and they're not likely to care that you didn't do a thesis for your M.A. At least that would give you some cash to live on while you looked for writing work--probably could squeeze in some of that around your course work, for that matter. And if they're not looking for instructors, see if they need someone for public affairs or a copy-editor. My impression is that it's still easier to get a job if you already have one than it is if you're out of work while you're looking.

Ian McGibboney said...

Michael, the community colleges around here require two years of teaching experience, which I don't have.

And you're apparently right about having a job to get a job. That would explain a lot.