#2. You Can't Move to Where the Work Is Without Help
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Welcome to Financial Clusterfuck 101. I'm your professor, Satan. Everyone turn to page 666 in your textbooks and bend over.
So you need a job in order to get money. The nearest opportunity is in that hub town, so you'll need to move. But you need money to move, and a job to get that money. Unless you're already employed and just looking for better work, you're caught in a vicious catch-22 that leaves you thoroughly dicked.
More often than not in my experience, the person isn't employed, which leaves them with a sad few options: live off of government assistance, stay perpetually unemployed, borrow starter money from anyone you can, or start a life of petty crime with home chemistry. The only other option is to take whatever shit job you can in your hometown and do your best to save up a ball of money large enough to make the move on your own, which may take a few years. It's like killing 20,000 pigs in the starter area of a video game, just to get the normal equipment that allows you to move onto the actual game.
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Dude, they are going to give ramen noodles the finger so hard.
The saddest part is that the goal of this game is just "live like a normal person." In the meantime, you're still burning through all that commute money while putting out applications and resumes just in the hope that you get a job in the bigger town. So no, when people say, "If you can't get a job in your town, you just need to move to a better one," it's horseshit advice given by people who have either been lucky enough to have the help themselves, or they've just simply never lived through it. It's like a man telling a woman, "Giving birth is easy. Just squeeze your poop muscles and shoot that human right out of your chick stuff."
Of course, none of this would matter if you just had the right experience for the right job. Experience is always the deciding factor that gives you the edge over other applicants. Well, most of the time, because in a small town ...
#1. Experience Puts You at a Disadvantage
My wife was a manager at her last job. She was good at it, but the company as a whole was going under pretty rapidly, so they started closing a bunch of their stores. Hers was one of them. For the past six months, she's put out applications at just about every place you could imagine, just short of starting her own mafia and strong-arming local businesses into paying for "fire insurance." Because you never know when your business might burn to the fucking ground.
So far, she's been rejected from every place she's applied, and we had no idea why until one of them explained point blank that: 1) They're afraid to hire former managers because many of them can't adjust to working under one themselves ... and 2) That level of experience usually demands a higher starting pay than a regular hire, so they shy away from it.
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"You'll do just fine, Chad. Just fine, indeed."
And we're not talking about applying for manager positions, here. These are just normal, everyday shit jobs like handing people their lunch or punching corn in the local creamed corn factory. It would be nice if she could land a new managerial position, but those jobs are always filled. Even though they still pay jack shit in a small town, they're usually the best non-specialist jobs in the area, so people latch on and don't let go until they're arrested on their eventual domestic abuse charges. Because, as far as I can tell, spousal violence is a sort of city fee for living here.
Whether she's applying for management or regular employee, though, so many people are willing to work for shit pay, she's just screwed. If we keep going in this spiral, the workers are going to end up paying the employer for the right to work there, and the only job in which that makes sense to me is strip bar D.J.
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"And coming to the stage, please give a warm Tittyjuggs welcome to Boobs McNipplecrotch!"
Nobody is looking for a collective, "Awwww, those poor small-town people." And hell, for all I know these points could very well apply to large cities, too -- I'm just not qualified to speak for them. I'm just saying that fixing the problem is not as easy and simple as "just get a job." That advice is about as helpful as, "You're poor? Well that's an easy fix: Just become rich!"