Underemployed & Nervous: but still have hope.

originally posted on 27 June 2014

A recent report from Money Rates (a financial website) recently ranked the best and worst states to live in. You can click on the link here.

  • Colorado, the  Centennial State, is where I am looking currently. It ranks FOURTH.
  • Oregon, the Beaver State, ranks THIRTY-EIGHTH.

I have recently started to look for work in the Denver area. (Friends live there, and have offered to host me.) I’m currently live in Portland, OR, metro area, better known as PDX to the locals.

It is beautiful here, awesome public transport, great people, etc. But great parks, good folks and cheap bus fare don’t put food on my table. Local politicians here don’t seem to get it.

PDX is experiencing a huge shortfall in cash to repair roads, and their answer? A tax on businesses for this instead of the means to bring in more family wage jobs. The previous PDX mayor promised 10,000 new living-wage jobs in 4 years, and guess where that went…every single major political candidate in 2010 and 2012 talked about job creation as well.

Now, I am not saying that every politician has a backpack full of family-wage jobs that they carry around and are able to hand out when the economy gets bad, cronyism aside. However, people are reminded constantly about these promises when you are reliant on assistance just to put food on the table. I know few people right now who would not trade a food box for a good job.

Unlike so many other proposals that ask for funding from the public, no one has made a truly convincing argument as to how another tax is going to create and bring in new employment. Everyone also seems to be dodging the minimum wage buzz going on right now in the Pacific Northwest, especially after the tiered proposal to bring the $15/hr minimum wage hike in Seattle.

The only reason I have not left sooner is that my old man’s cancer treatments were being partially subsidized by the state. Truly a sad affair.

Moreover, Oregon was, at one time, considered incredibly progressive amongst its peers in regards to social issues. Once again, the state lags behind in the social reforms that states all around it (and even some in the midwest, tellingly) have adopted sooner and more efficiently. We rank 38th here in more ways than just financially.

Being a 45 year old award-winning professional hopefully will give me some advantage in my job search. Still, I do get nervous. Little things give me hope. Take the Colorado state flag. Immediately, I was taken with it’s Mod stylings and awesome simplicity. Anyone who knows me knows the Who were the first band I was ever truly crazy about, and listening to them now still makes me feel invincible.

Taking it as a sign. So, putting on the The Who Sell Out right now and staying strong.

Love to you all.

Ben Bear

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