I know it sounds like I’m making this up, but a hip hop artist calling himself Bun B at an Occupy Wall Street event in Houston used his mad mike skills to rant about Enron:
“The effects of the Enron collapse in Houston are still felt today. Not everyone who had strong jobs in that sector were able to find replacements for those jobs.”
“A lot of people had to take positions in companies to do things that they didn’t necessarily train for in order to support their families and that’s kinda what we’re standing for at Occupy Houston.”
Well, I don’t want to start a rap feud here, but that’s just nonsense. Everyone who was let go after Enron collapsed found a replacement job. And if not, I have to wonder if perhaps Enron valued them too highly. After all, if they can’t walk across the street to Dynegy or Shell and take a lateral position, perhaps Enron was being too generous.
The indignity of taking a job you’re overqualified for is hardly worth standing on the street and complaining about (just ask every PhD who works at Barnes & Noble). Economic cycles have a way of displacing people, promoting people, demoting people. It isn’t something you can always predict. And sometimes we get in positions we really don’t belong in. In America though, being waylaid isn’t permanent. You can still move up.
I hate poverty. I’ve never been impoverished, but I’ve been totally broke in my life (I think poverty is sort of an acceptance of a lifestyle. Being broke means you’re temporarily without means.) I’ve been hungry and desperate and totally freaked out. It is horrible. But at those horrible, low times of my life, I never thought that Wall Street people were taking food off my plate. I was just thankful there were people I could still look up to. I had to do the work, but they showed me way up and out.