Friday, April 30, 2010

Get a Job

Why are so many college graduates working in retail? I know what you're thinking: the economy is bad and these poor kids can't find a job, right? Not true. The people I'm talking about graduated from college years ago and snubbed their noses at entry level jobs. They wasted all that time in college to take a job they are grossly overqualified for but hey, their pride is intact.

First example, Corey, a 40 year old college graduate with 2 master's degrees in music theory and performance. He has been working for Walmart for 5 years. He started working at Walmart because he couldn't find the perfect job in his field. He will readily tell you that he doesn't want to be a teacher or be some one's assistant and do grunt work. These types of jobs were the only ones available when he graduated from college so he started working for Walmart for $7/hr. Now 5 years later he finds himself trying to explain to potential employers why he hasn't had a job in his field as he competes with fresh college graduates half his age who are willing to take any job that comes their way in this tough job market.

Next up is my former college roommate Debbie. She got her bachelor's degree in history and has spent the past 4 years working towards her master's degree. Her dream job is to be a museum curator. She doesn't want to be a teacher either. There are positions at the historical society that amount to data entry and filing but they are in her field. She doesn't want any of these positions. She has been working for Papa Johns for the past 4 years. With her free time she participates in historical reenactments (think renaissance fairs) where she gets to buy her own costumes and pay to attend. With no great jobs out there she is thinking about taking an unpaid internship at a museum and continuing to work at Papa Johns after she graduates this May.

My favorite is my future sister-in-law, Kristen. She is graduating with her bachelor's degree in hospital management and administration next month. She earned her associate degree in a similar field a couple years ago. There are hundreds of jobs out there in the medical field that she is qualified for but she has not applied for any of them. She says she wants to make 6 figures right off the bat. She is depending on her parent's contacts in the industry to get her a cushy job. She works as a part time bartender at a country club. To become a bartender she had to take a $1000 certification course. She also works part time at a furniture store. Luckily her parents and my brother take care of all the bills so she doesn't have to worry about saving any money. With no good prospects on the horizon (in her mind) Kristen has decided to spend the summer applying to graduate schools. My mom jokes that she has no intention of every getting a real job. She thinks Kristen is hoping to get knocked up soon and start her life as a stay at home mom.
She's just going to school to stall for time.

It is amazing to me how full of themselves all these people are. I have a dozen more stories just like these with people who have put themselves on a pedestal but constantly complain about how hard it is to find a job. I didn't like my first engineering job out of college and I sure as hell didn't make a lot of money. But there are no gaps on my resume that I have to explain to employers. I worked my way up from the bottom and was able to achieve a high level position at my previous job after a few years. I used that experience to get the job that I have now; a job that I love with great benefits and a great salary.

When these people picked their majors did they really think they were going to start out at the top of their field? Do they really think that no work experience but tons of degrees are going to make them more marketable to potential employers? There are people who genuinely can't find a job despite having a college degree because the market is so bad right now. I'm not talking about those people. I'm talking about these people who are bitching about not finding a job because they have set their standards too high. I'm talking to you Kristen, future mother of my nieces and nephews.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


There are over 500,000 children in foster care every year but only about a quarter of these children are available for adoption. About 120,000 children are adopted in the United States every year but many of those children are infants or newborns. Older children tend to end up in foster care and wait for years to get adopted because they are less desirable than babies.

In 2009 12,753 foreign children were adopted by American families. Over the past 15 years 200,000 foreign children have been adopted by American families. I don't think there is anything wrong with foreign adoption but it seems silly to travel half way around the world and spend your life savings on a toddler from China when they there are literally thousands of American children waiting for homes.

All of these celebrities adopting "ethnic babies" frustrates me. At least Sandra Bullock adopted a baby from New Orleans. I'm talking to you Madonna, Angelina Jolie, you ladies who have made your little foreign babies the newest fashion accessory. Its great that you want to help out 3rd world countries by bringing their unwanted children to the US for a completely spoiled life but why not look a little closer to home. We have plenty of problems right here that you could help with.

Some people are upset that Sandra Bullock's baby is black but lets be realistic: there are more black children available for adoption than there are black families to adopt them. 26% of all black children adopted in the US are adopted by non-black families. I think its much more important for a child to live in a home with people that love him/her than for that child, regardless of whether or not they look like their adopted family, to never have a permanent home. It's definitely better than staying in the foster care system until an appropriate black couple comes along (which may not ever happen).

About 30,000 children age out of the foster care system every year. 25% of these children will become homeless. 56% will be unemployed. 27% of the males will end up in jail. Another 30,000 children are dropped by the foster care system every year because they run away and the government can no longer track them. That means half of the children who are available for adoption will have a very sad ending.

Should the government do more to support those children who age out of the system to make them more successful? Should there be more incentives for American families to adopt American children? Well of course but that's not enough. No matter how many specials that PBS and HBO put together showing how fantastic it is to adopt an older child there will always be those people who must have a baby. They say they won't be able to bond with an older child or that they aren't prepared to deal with the issues that an older child might bring.

When people have children naturally there is always the risk of a number of diseases and disabilities. Some parents put these children up for adoption because it is too much to handle but most of them accept that this is their responsibility. That it must have been part of some divine plan for them and they make the most of it. Why can't it be part of some divine plan for you to take home a 7 year old with ADD? If you don't give him a chance, no one else might either.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Enough Tiger Woods Already

Is anyone else sick of all this Tiger Woods talk? I don't understand why its such a big deal that he cheated on his wife. It seems like every week another celebrity marriage is breaking up because of someone being unfaithful. Shaq's wife broke up with him last year because he cheated on her but he didn't have to go to sex rehab or take a break from basketball.

So he's a pig. He's not a good husband. That probably describes half of the professional atheletes and actors out there. If Tiger was a sex addict he would be having sex on the golf course, in public bathrooms, wherever because he couldn't control the urge. But if that's what it takes to make all the soccer moms out there happy then fine.

I rooted for Tiger before. I'll keep rooting for him in the future. He isn't my role model for life or how to be a good spouse. He's a golf superstar and that's all I expect from him. These people who say that Tiger has let their children down and that he shouldn't be playing golf right now because he should focus on his family are crazy. Half the people in this country that are married will get a divorce. Should all of them stop working whenever they are having marital problems? Give me a break.

Everyone wants unlimited access to celebrities and then they get upset when something negative is uncovered. Get over it people. You don't have a right to his private life. He didn't break any laws and he doesn't owe you anything. If you don't want to watch him because you don't agree with his morals that's your personal preference but make sure you're applying that same standard to all the other celebrities that aren't living the purest lives.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

German Shepherd Rescue

Our local German Shepherd rescue has had a beautiful dog named Ollana for several years. She has never had a home. She lived in a cage at the breeder's for the first half of her life and she has lived the second half of her living in a kennel at the GS rescue. She is nine years old.

I check the GS site regularly to see if dogs are getting adopted. It makes me feel better seeing the happy endings. Reading all the stories about how these wonderful dogs were rescued from horrible situations and then find new homes and live happy lives makes me feel good. Year after year, Ollana's status never changes.

I used to volunteer at a no kill shelter. I was in college and not in a position where I could adopt a dog. As much as I loved all the animals and wanted to take every one of them home I knew that I couldn't. I don't volunteer now because I know they will come home with me. I give money at their fundraisers and try to educate people about how great rescue animals are so I don't feel guilty not putting in any volunteer time.

I have looked at dozens of dogs over the years but I can't get Ollana out of my head this time. I wonder if she's still there because she's waiting for me. I think about my beautiful 9 year old German Shepherd and how maybe he'd be okay with a sister that he could play with. I laugh when I think at how happy my cat Tiger will be when he has another dog to chase and torment. I think how wonderful it would be for her to spend whatever time she has left in a house where she will be spoiled rotten.

But then I worry that a 9 year old dog that has never had a home will be a challenge. Getting my dog used to the idea of sharing me with another dog after being the only dog in the house for 8 years may not go so well. My 12 year old cat might not be in the mood for any changes. We are all pretty set in our ways at this point and this transition would be a difficult one.

Maybe that's why she's been sitting there for so many years. Because everyone justified not taking her because they didn't want to take on all the issues that would come with it. At this point she has 1-3 years left. How she spends those last years of her life could be in my hands.

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