Very few workers feel safe nowadays. If they haven’t been laid off, they know they could be let go at any moment. Or perhaps they’ll have to accept mandatory furloughs, or their benefits will be slashed. Health benefits, vacation time, even free beer allotments (no joke) are being taken away. Retirements are being postponed. Recent grads are competing for entry level gigs against people with two decades’ experience. And overall, everybody is being forced to make due with less. To celebrate the weekend on an uplifting note, I thought it would be interesting to ask the question: Who has it the worst? Feel free to weigh in and make the case that you’re the most screwed of all. Happy Friday!
Who is in the worst situation right now?
Thank Google and Craigslist for revealing that the newspaper business is woefully behind the times, as seen in rags like The Boston Globe, where workers are looking at 23 percent pay cuts, or perhaps the actual closing of the paper itself.
Wall Street and finance workers:
Poor, poor guys. Without the six-figure bonuses, they’re just be scraping by.
They had it good for a really long time. But now, whatever jobs still exist come with pay and benefits that aren’t remotely in the same league as they were years ago. Union workers are being forced to swallow some bitter pills.
If a healthcare overhaul takes place, doctors—and specialists in particular—may be on a completely different pay scale, which is one reason I suspect the American Medical Association has come out against reform.
It’s hard to retire—or stay retired—after losing one-third of your nest egg in the stock market crash. Even last year, as many as 25 percent of middle-age workers had already planned on delaying their retirements because of the economy. More and more workers will probably be working longer than they’d like.
And those folks who aren’t retiring will make it harder for young folks with newly printed degrees find jobs. One study says that less than 20 percent of new grads who’ve applied for jobs actually landed one—compared to 51 percent in 2007.
The recently laid-off masses:
The unemployed numbers keep growing and growing, without an end in sight.
Beer and liquor sales usually do pretty well in an economic downturn. You know, people drowning their sorrows and all. But the Molson brewery has slashed the beer pension—yes, such a thing exists—of its retired workers. Retirees now get six dozen brews a month, but beginning next year, they’ll only get a 12-pack monthly. (That’ll last what? One night!?!) In five years, retirees will have to pay for every beer they drink. Naturally, Molson retirees are busting out their beer muscles in protest.
They’ll be paying for social security, healthcare, loans to China, and whatever wars we’ve participated in for years to come.