Barriers for The Motivated

Posted: October 12, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Among the homeless and contrary to popular belief, most of us have no interest in being where we are and put forth effort to find work and to better our situations. I, for example, am currently involved in the Vocational Rehab program offered by the local DHS. Popular belief among those who have homes and jobs is tthat we have no interest in getting a job, we are lazy bums who like living on the streets and having no responsibilities. When we tell people we are looking for work they typically respond with something along the lines of ‘Well, I found work, why can’t you’. Or, ‘People get jobs every day so if you really wanted one you would have one’. This is regardless of the fact that many people who are not among the homeless are also having difficulties finding work and osme have been looking for more than a year to no avail. Yes, I agree, some people find work very easily, but others, not so much so. Why this is so is anyones guess, but here are some of the things I see as being barriers for those of us who actually want to work, look forward to someday having bills to pay and the means to pay them.

  1. LACK OF CORPORATE PRESENCE: Yes, im sure I just heard some in the Occupy Eugene crowd scream and begin foaming at the mouth. Yes, you heard me right, there simply is not enough corporations in the Lane County area. Regardless what you think of the corporations, regardless of the fact that many of them act like inconsiderate jackass’, the fac remains that corporations are the ones who do the hiring on a large scale basis. They are the ones who create jobs, unless, like me, you often do call center work, then they send your jobs oversees to save a few bucks using foreign associates. They are the ones who, coming into an area hire 100’s of new workers, they create the economy often times in the areas they establish themselves in. Yes, I agree, not all of them are responsible, not all of them are good to their workers (looking at you Wal-Mart), but they do make jobs available. Like them or not, corporations are needed for job creation. Which leads me to point number two,

  2. MOM AND POP’S ESTABLISHMENTS: Ok, I know, the american dream and all, but lets face it, family owned and mom and pop’s business’ hire one or two people and often times only from within the family unit. This does nothing to alleviate the pain of the current job market. These business are great for the family, but terrible for the overall job market. Now, do not get me wrong, there are exceptions to this of course, but all in all this is the typical rule. Best of wishes for those who own tthese business, but they will not create jobs, and Eugene is swamped with these types of business’.

  3. DISCRIMINATORY HIRING PRACTICES: Business’ in Eugene have been and are sstill allowed to make hiring decisions on everything other than the persons actual ability to do the work. It may surrise you to know just how many of the local business will check everything down to your credit score to determine employment eligibility. Spome will evewn deny employment based on criminal history reaching as far back as 20+ years ago. Think I am full of it? It has happened to me. Three years ago I was turned down for employment at Enterprise’s local call center due to a 20 year old felony. 20 years in the past but it held significance to my eligibility for work. Carnival Cruise lines is just as bad, as is the majority of the employment agencies in this town. Bad credit score, you may not be stable, criminal record form 20 years ago, you may rape rob or pillage form them, not thee right religion, race political party,……. well, you get the point.

  4. EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES: Yes, these things save the local business maony by taking their human resource departments to people who they do not have to pay minimum wage to, or allow benefits, but all in all, they are crap for those of us trying to find work. These are a big part of the discriminatory hiring practices as the will use whatever means they can to find reasons why you do not qualify for the position you are applying for. Again, do not get me wrong, I do not think they set down and form the get go say, ‘ok, screw theese guys, lets see how many we can deny jobs’. I am not that paranoid. However, from experience, these agencies deny many more people than they should the opportunity to work with the agency. A huge portion of the many will not work with felons, of even more will not work with persons to person crimes, regardless how long ago these crimes may be. This is just one of thee reasons they may disapprove your efforts to get a certain job. Some agencies, Cardinal Services being the one I am thinking of, will work with you if you have a person to person crime that is 10 years or more old. Not perfect, but at least they make thee effort for those who have shown the effort to change. This is better than many of the places in town.

  5. HOMELESSNESS: Yes you heard me right, the very fact that you are homeless is enough to deter some employers form hiring you. Though I have never been given a reason why this applies, my best guess would be this. For those of us who are homeless finding a phone or address to receive calls and mail concerning the positions can be difficult if you do not know where to go for thesis services. This can be a major deterrent for employers looking to hire someone who needs to be reliable on the job site. Also, due to the common biases concerning the homeless they may also see the homeless as unreliable and unstable. These would be my best guess as to why this seems to matter to some employers.

These 5 things combines makes for a very difficult time when it comes to finding work for those of us who are homeless but want to actually work. The sad fact is that many of those who are in this situation often put massive effort into the seeking of employment for a good amount of time, but at some pint we beign to give up. We feel as though nothing we do is going to see us working so why put the stress and effort into finding the job we can never have. Many of those who once looked for work have given up and are now resigned to living on the streets and being in our situations. Me, nope, i’m trying still, but I have went through periods where I have given up on the entire spectacle. The longer you look without result the easier it becomes to find reasons to quit, to surrender, to give in. It sucks, but it is the cold truth of our economic situation in this country and especially in Eugene, which has really never been that great for jobs to begin with.

So, how do we fix these issues? Here are a couple of ideas

1.EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYERS, MAKE IT REAL: In order for a company to call itself an equal opportunity employer all they really have to do is hire women, the disabled and minorities in a fairly fair manner. Let’s see a new rule that demands that in order to call yourself this you must also be willing to hire those who have criminal conviction ( so long as the job is not in conflict with rehabilitation goals) and those who are disadvantaged due to being homeless. Allow these people the chance to probe themselves in the work place and to show rthey deserve the jobs that are available to others. Lay down your bigotries and open yourself to the opportunity tthat maybe, just maybe, some f these people may be the perfect fit for your business.

2.DO AWAY WITH GEORGE BUSH ONCE AND FOR ALL: Repeal every last thing he did while in office to make it profitable for companies to send our jobs oversees. I do non sales call center work for the most part. Customer service, market research and such, take it from me, that industry has been hit so hard it is not funny. All because it is ok for these AMERICAN (!!!) companies to move their customer service and marketing call centers oversees They can get a call center worker in India for far less than thee minimum wage required here in thee states. These companies are saving an incredible amount of money each year by selling out their own countries workers for the cheaper alternatives. It is absolutely ridiculous! Matter of fact, lets do more than that. Let’s enact the cut to payroll taxes that President Obama wants to enact and then add a tax for US companies who have operations oversee’s that service the US. Call centers, tax’em. Manufacturing, tax’em. Give them incentive to keep their jobs in the states. Make these damn business show respect for the people of their own country before selling out to the lowest bidder oversees!! Cut thee bullshit and get serious about our homes people and our damn economy. This means out current President as well. Quit acting like children and serve the people you were elected to SERVE!! End the hypocrisy and empty promises and do something for once in your pathetic political lives!

3.FUND START-UPS AND INNOVATION AT THE LOWEST LEVELS: Ok, granrts for school are fine, but what use is schooling if there are no jobs to apply it to? It is a waste of time and money, in which you will pay a good amount of it back anyway, to send people to school when you can not offer them a chane to use the education. Let’s take these grants and give them to people who will create jobs. Allow those who may have a difficul time finding the money otherwise the chance to bring their ideas to the forefront. If we can allow enough people to get into the market via their own ventures there will be those that work out (most first time start ups fail), tthose success will crate jobs, perhaps smaller numbers at first, but given time these could bloom into companies and business that actually make a difference in the jobs market. Instead, all we get is a country full of educated uneployed and homeless citizens. Where is the sense in that? We give people the chance to go back to school on the governments buck, at first. However, only a small part of that money is free. Most of it you will be expected to pay back to the government. Then because there are no jobs available to you to actually make the payments on thisa debt, the interest begins to build and eventually the once manageable debt has become another factor keeping you in poverty. Yes, I owe money on student loans, not much at thee moment, but no job, no payments, the build up has begun. Incidentally, I was a business major when schooling so the idea of the grants being used to spur business start ups is fairly close to my heart. It dos no good to give people school money without giving them a means of paying that off, nor does it do any good to give money to the large corps who have already hired those they are going to hire. This is wasted money on both counts when considering job creation and economic stability.

So there you have it, my opinions on the matter. Some of you will most likely disagree with some (a lot) of it, some may agree but as I said these are my opinions. Feel free to disagree with me aqnd leave comments on your own opinions concerning the issue at hand.

Once again, respectfully,



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