Monday, June 6, 2011

One of the Oldest Professions

When times are tough regarding economics, people start to get a little frugal.  Amen.  It goes to show what we really need.  I think that a little humility is good for everyone.

So what happens when people get humbled for too long?  Well for starters I don't think that there is such a thing as being humbled for too long.  However there is a form of abuse called neglect.  Most often referred to when children are involved with poor parenting/guardianship.  How does this correlate to the current economic and political atmosphere?

I can give you my story.  I worked a job like any other working stiff out there.  Just doing my part to provide for the family and save some cash to go to school with.  Even if I have VA educational benefits I like to prepare for their inevitable stupidity.  They pay late, they forget to pay, or they over pay and give me a loan I didn't ask for and the list goes on.  Anybody who has dealt with them knows just how slovenly they are about getting things done right the first time.  Hence the reason why I am saving. 

Worked at this place for a time, about six months.  Boss calls me in, says he wants to talk to me.  It's Monday, but still the little red button in my mind says "Danger Will Robinson!".  He says I am a good employee but I am inexperienced where they need me and that I am overqualified for what I am currently doing.  Nice way of saying "hey, you're fired".  Kind of surprised actually, usually they like to fire people on Fridays.  Less chance of an incident on the news when people get to simmer down over a weekend.

The sad thing is this, I couldn't agree with him more.  I don't know much about diesel mechanics.  I wanted to learn.  The commercial environment wasn't exactly accommodating for learning though.  Trucks stop by, and want to get out of dodge and back on the road.  This doesn't leave much time for teaching.  They said they would teach me, but they more or less they tried.  Just not enough time to learn in six months what takes about 2 years to learn.

I can honestly say I am overqualified to play the part of the glorious parts runner as well.  I get things from point A to point B.  When I am not doing that I helped out in the shop as much as I could with limited knowledge.  However, when things get slow you find things to do to make yourself useful.  There is a limit though, you can only sweep the shop and clean up so much before you are seen for what you are-  a drain on the corporate clock.

I don't blame them.  I'd have fired me too.  Low guy on the totem pole, the new guy.  No misgivings from my end.

So what do I do now?  Millions of Americans are asking themselves this very question.  And more often these days it seems.  I file for unemployment, look for work and go to interviews.  Now in the part of the country I live in it is fairly clannish.  It's a small town, and they look after their own.  Nothing is really wrong with that.  Hell, I do the same thing in my social circles.  But I still gotta make a living, and when they locals are busy hiring their relatives it becomes very apparent that my looking for work in the local area is largely symbolic.

The wife and I planned for this.  I saw the writing on wall at work and realized I would be the first to go.  I just did my best to make sure I could stretch it out as long as I could.  I got three fantastically destructive children that need feeding and a wife that need to be supported as well.  Kind of have to make it last while I can.  So now that it happened what have I been doing?

I have applied to jobs obviously.  And since I am still blogging I have obviously not met with some success.  While putting in an honest effort to look for work I am also preparing to answer the call of one of the most ancient professions.

Nope, not farming.  Don't have the equipment, time, or expertise for that.  Not becoming a prostitute for reasons identical to farming and the additional moral implications.  Not a politician for similar reasons.
I am going back to Soldiering, well sort of.  I spent some time in Utah training for an instructor's certificate in a martial system.  Teaching others to fight and win, but also to avoid said conflict.  Teaching is a perfectly honorable profession, but it also depends on what is being taught as well.  In the times we live in, crime is going to get worse.  When economics go down hill, crime goes up.  Not saying that is a law of nature.  However it is seen as a fairly historical trend when you look at the books.

I dug this up to prove my point.  It is an old statement, but the truth of it has no expiration date.  Check it out here.  Now one thing I want to clear up before I proceed.  Poverty does NOT cause crime.  Committing crime is a personal choice.  Millionaires commit crimes too.  It comes down to personal accountability.  I believe that those who make up the vast majority of our prison population are simply there because they lack sufficient impulse control.  For the same reasons they will never be wealthy people.  It takes discipline to build a company, and run it successfully.  Even with discipline the odds are against you.  Most business ventures fail, sad but true.

So going back to one of the oldest professions out there.  Merc’ work.  The humble art of paying Timmy to go smash Tommy because he took my chicken soup.  This is not a new concept, but like prostitution it has many negative connotations associated with it.  Merc work can be good.  Many people involved in the wars in the middle east are private sector mercenary groups.  Black Water types and such.  They aren't evil per se.  They just fill a void.  Certainly they can choose to accept tainted contracts, and some have for sure.  But it doesn't make the industry evil.  If Black Water and DynCorp were busy defending third world orphanages, or an Islamic Mosque, I doubt anybody would be criticizing them.

Methinks that when people go to the oldest trades out there they are either following their dreams or they have no other perceived options available.  I know there are other options.  But this does follow a skill set I have acquired over time.  The Marine Corps taught me how to shoot, fight, and other such things.  It wasn't Job Corps though.  I wasn't given a flowery list of options and told I could be whatever I wanted to be.  Frankly, my options were fairly limited.  But hey, the GI Bill helps guys like me out right?  Sure it does, sort of.  I simply have to make sure my forms are pristine and that every "i" is dotted, and every "t" is crossed.  I already mentioned the troubles of working with them.  Every time I get off the phone with them I feel like Sparky the dolphin going through flaming hoops.  Lame.

The real meat and potatoes of this post is this.  I have impulse control to a greater degree then most inmates.  I can prove this because I am not knocking over banks and robbing others.  But when someone like me is starting to embrace these ancient professions with more than just a cursory glance- what are others considering doing?  Such a thought is hardly comforting.

Amusing evidence is something you can Google.  Look up what happened with the collapse of Siberia.  A land with resources.  But poor economics let to ruinous results.  There was a point where the number profession in Siberia was prostitution.  Heck, now that I think about it you don't even have to look that hard.  When times are tough people tend drive off without paying for their gasoline.  I am sure everybody has heard a story like that in the news.

I understand why it can be said the crime is directly linked with poverty.  That is an assumption.  It goes back to personal accountability.  You still are responsible for your own actions.  And if poverty causes crime, why do wealthy Americans commit crimes? 

It proves that poverty is not the cause, only a factor. 

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