Earlier this week, the United States celebrated Labor Day, that one day a year where we honor the achievements of workers by being lazy. And if this holiday is defined by not working, then sadly every day is Labor Day for a growing number of Americans. Yeah, there isn't that much to celebrate when you consider that ...
#5. Seventy Percent of Workers Don't Like Their Jobs
Look around your workplace and try to guess how many people don't want to be there. Obviously, the guy continuously typing "I don't want to be here" thousands of times into an Excel spreadsheet, a la The Shining, makes one. You probably make two, since you're reading this instead of working. And you're not alone -- according to a recent Gallup poll, a whopping 70 percent of American workers have "checked out" at work, and 20 percent actively hate it.
He's one more pointless meeting away from recreating the Mad Men intro.
Surprisingly, those with higher education levels are more likely to be "actively disengaged." That Philosophy 101 class may have taught you how to ask questions like "What does it all mean, man?" but that existential navel gazing doesn't really help you be content making PowerPoint presentations about future PowerPoint presentations. Well, at least you got Labor Day off, right?
#4. Almost 40 Percent of Employers Don't Give Labor Day Off
You've probably noticed that a lot of businesses stay open on Labor Day (in case you run out of hot dogs and refuse to serve your guests relish sandwiches). Guess what? Those businesses are staffed with workers, and those workers are people who didn't get Labor Day off. In fact, 39 percent of employers are open on Labor Day and require some employees to come in.
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Because someone has to be on standby in case you need emergency bushels of onions.
Of course, for some jobs, the day really has no meaning. Like agriculture -- the crops aren't going to stop growing because you've worked hard all year and deserve a break. And even those of us who are supposedly "on vacation" will at least do some sort of work from home -- according to a recent poll, over 40 percent of us were busy catching up with work emails during last weekend. That percentage rises to over half for those under 35.
"Goddammit, Linda, you're killing my Candy Crush score."
Geez, we're starting to think some people would be better off unemployed ...
#3. Welfare Pays Better Than Minimum Wage in 35 States (But It Still Sucks)
Actually, yeah. You might be surprised to learn that welfare can pay more than a minimum wage job in 35 states if you add up the benefits. It even pays more than the median annual salary in eight states. Not the minimum. The most medium of salaries.
"If you look at it a certain way, we've technically promoted you!"
That's the bad news. The worse news is that you're pretty much screwed either way. Catherine Lawrence, an assistant professor at the University of Albany's School of Social Welfare, says that "neither welfare nor low-wage employment alone do a very good job supporting the health and well-being of families with children." It's hard to support one person on welfare or minimum wage -- it's near impossible if you have little versions of you running around, demanding food. Good thing most of us never have to deal with that, huh?
#2. Eighty Percent of U.S. Adults Struggle with Economic Insecurity
Oh, right. A large majority (as in 80 freaking percent) of Americans at some point have to deal with economic insecurity, meaning joblessness, near poverty, or reliance on welfare. Now, we all take comfort in the knowledge that rich people are now richer than they ever were (phew!), but that has the unfortunate side effect of making everyone else poorer.
But if he can't end the day by diving into a hot tub full of hundos, hookers, and Hennessy, THEN WHAT ARE WE EVEN FIGHTING FOR?
With globalization and all that jazz, there are simply fewer jobs for the working class now, resulting in increased inequality. For some of us, that means "barely getting by." For others, it means "sleeping on a comfy piece of cardboard." And for an increasing number of Americans, this mean "race car beds."
#1. The Number of Adults Living With Their Parents Has Gone Up by a Third
As a result of every sad number we've thrown at you so far, in 2012, 13.6 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds lived with their folks, compared to 10 percent in the early 2000s. That might seem like a small change, but it's an increase of over a third. And for 18- to 24-year-olds, the number skyrockets to 56 percent. Yep, things are so fucked up out there that more and more of us are just packing our shit up and moving back into attics covered in posters of the Offspring and Fight Club. Thanks for the abs and recycled Nietzsche, Brad Pitt.
20th Century Fox
"You are not your job ... because you don't have one."