Another Track for the Narrative
Sometimes, it’s difficult to feel about the personal profiles as the news-crafters clearly want you to feel:
Meyers initially welcomed his termination in October 2008 as a vacation from the daily grind of catering to tip-hungry cocktail waitresses and standing behind a crowded bar. He raided his $30,000 rainy-day fund and cut back on luxuries such as new clothes and hair cuts.
But as more people lost their jobs and the stock market teetered, Meyers became panicked. The casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, where he had worked his way up from a lowly bar-back to a comfortable $1,100 weekly wage, seemed reluctant to hire a pudgy, gray-haired bartender over the flocks of young women competing for the same jobs.
The one time he was called to an interview, his inexperience with mixing mojitos, a trendy mint-fused drink unheard of in the unassuming Vegas era that drew him to Sin City, cost him the opportunity, he said.
“Single and childless,” Bud Meyers was making almost $60,000 per year and had over half-a-year’s salary saved up as a cushion. He was in a perfect position to redirect his career; instead, it appears that he failed even to keep up with trends in his field. Instead of preparing for a second career or moving where he might find work, he appears to have waited for opportunity to come to him — at least as the article presents the story.
Look, we should all have a natural sympathy for people in such positions, but with productivity and employment increasingly disengaged and an economy that continues to struggle, we have to begin asking serious questions. To what extent are we obligated to allow people to hover in a publicly subsidized stasis? Shouldn’t perpetual unemployment benefits be tied to increasingly demanding requirements? Perhaps the unemployed should get a few months of self-directed job searching; then they must prove that they are turning over every stone in their respective fields; then they must prove that they are taking steps to find different lines of work that align with the opportunities that actually exist in their area; then they must prove that they are broadening their searches to include the possibility of moving.