Beneath the employment figures, the occupation of idleness takes dangerous root | News, Sports, Jobs

You go out to eat and there is a server for a room full of tables. Please tip them well.

That old phrase saying there’s no rain or snow, etc., keeping the mail from showing up in your inbox? If it’s Monday, it may not apply, despite sunny days and 75 days in September.

Reopened restaurants find no workers. The Postal Service published an All Points bulletin for finding carriers.

A local industry representative speaking at a State House Majority Policy Committee hearing in Williamsport cited a statistic that 42% of those collecting government benefits can make more out of them than they can put to work .

This explains the latest National Jobs Report from September 3.

It showed 235,000 jobs added in August and an unemployment rate of 5.2%, with 8.4 million people out of work. Before the pandemic, the unemployment rate was 3.5%, with 5.7 million unemployed.

In addition, government labor forecasters had predicted that 750,000 jobs would be added.

That’s because there are millions of jobs, with some business leaders saying the number of jobs available could be as high as 10 million.

This explains all those “Ask for help” signs you see in the windows.

Severe labor shortages prompted 26 states to pull out of expanded benefit programs before the Sept. 6 expiration.

The seven states with unemployment rates at or below pre-pandemic rates were all states where expanded benefits were halted over the summer.

Of course, the leaders of these states will be branded heartless by those seeking political advantage from the pandemic. If those who had legitimate health reasons for not working were forced back to work, it would be heartless. These people deserve nothing but prayers and words of encouragement.

But the working versus non-working numbers tell a much deeper, long-term story.

They signal the creation of a nation that values ​​the check in the mail over the dignity of work. This, in turn, renders obsolete the sense of accomplishment and self-worth that comes with work.

The end result is that millions of people are completely dependent on the government for their economic well-being. It may make many politicians and bureaucrats happy and perpetually employed, but it will not bring individual fulfillment. And when people don’t derive satisfaction from their work and their contribution to the daily progress of the world, other things, including their families, suffer in countless intangible ways. A life without purpose and self-esteem carries with it a dangerous cocktail of depression.

Idleness and retirement at 27 should not be an objective. That’s just not how the timeline of life is supposed to work.

If you ask a child what he wants to be when he grows up, “nothing” is not the answer you are looking for.

The best answer to this question would be anything that allows them to work hard at something they love. It can be a plumber or a teacher, a restorer or a restorer, a well driller or a doctor.

The contrasts are stark, but the by-products are the same. You are doing something worthwhile, and that something makes you feel worthy.

And when you look at yourself in the mirror at 68, you breathe easy with the powerful self-satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’ve earned those golden years and more leisure by doing the best you can with the work capacity you’ve been given. for more than four decades. Job.

I appreciate that this pandemic has derailed the natural course of working life. My 63-year-old brother in Alabama makes a living as a freelance sports producer, doing everything from broadcasting high school football games to filming videos of Pee Wee football and baseball teams and players. In one week last March, it lost all of its event inventory – and therefore all of its revenue. He had no boss to throw him an economic lifeline and the government’s emergency financial aid couldn’t locate an independent sports producer, so unemployment and stimulus checks weren’t showing up. not in his mailbox for months.

Overdue rent notices and eviction warnings were appearing. The government delay exception had an expiry date.

So, between panic attacks and negotiations with his landlord, he would pass newspapers at 2 a.m., wait on tables during the day for a while, and sell T-shirts at concerts to survive economically.

Was this the optimal job/income plan he wanted? Certainly not.

But the mirror always looks back and asks questions, such as, “What have you done with your life? »

Our world will become a numbing sphere of depression if the answer to this question for millions becomes “nothing.”

David F. Troisi has retired as editor of the Sun-Gazette. None of the opinions expressed necessarily represent the views of the Sun-Gazette.

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Michael A. Bynum