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Day 189 — Manifesto of the Idle Workers of the World

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Today's Washington Post magazine reveals Ann Powers, aka Girl On the Brink.

ANN’S NOTE: I am reposting the manifesto given the outpouring of support I have received from today’s feature about me and my blog in The Washington Post Sunday magazine. Here’s a pdf of the article. Tomorrow, I’m on NPR’s Tell Me More at 2 PM EST.

We are more than 15 million individuals in the prime of our lives who have lost our place in the world of work. We call upon our representatives on Capitol Hill to help us directly, rather than assisting our institutions first in the hope that their recovery might also bring us along.

We declare ourselves too big to fail. But we are being pushed by circumstance from the comfortable middle-class to the terrified middle-class, and from the working poor to the hopeless poor. We have lost our savings, retirement, and, in many cases, our monthly income to sustain our lives. We fear homelessness and a loss of stability as we struggle with rebuilding our assets.

We can and will help ourselves. We take jobs for which we are over qualified. We work longer hours. We work odd jobs. We downgrade our lifestyles. We deny our children their birthday gifts and vacations. We try to educate ourselves to the options for cure and take positive steps every day.

But still our financial standing degrades, and we feel the journey of recovery will be long, and we will cry and stumble.

Despite the names chosen by officialdom to describe us, we are not displaced, dislocated, discouraged, disadvantaged, disaffected or disgruntled.

Instead, we are disappointed and disillusioned that the financial condition of our households is of secondary consideration to the economic stabilization of huge Wall Street financial firms, curiously declaring their own recovery just months after calling themselves near death.

In August, six of the seven biggest financial institutions reported quarterly profits that surpassed expectations, despite deteriorating loans on many of their balance sheets. Many of us, however, teeter closer to foreclosure, find ourselves in distressed sales or evicted from our homes.

We are distressed that the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has money to keep us unemployed for longer but not to get us back to work. In July, one in three unemployed individuals were jobless for 27 weeks or more. And, the number of workers who have stopped looking for a job rose to 796,000, up 335,000 over the past 12 months.

We feel disrespected that our government has committed trillions of dollars to get the nation moving again. Yet, we can see no change in our own daily lives.

Labor DayHas any of this $1.5 trillion bought a single Happy Meal for an unhappy family? Has it sent the creditors that hound us by telephone into silence by making a mortgage or credit card payment for us? Has it bought us groceries or paid the utility or insurance or tax bills? Has it paid for our health insurance?

We declare that we are lost, lonely and forgotten, but that we vow to become loud, united and forceful so we will claim our rightful place at the center of the political debate. The body politic is seriously diseased if those of us who have been the very backbone of U.S. prosperity can be left without direct assistance when we are facing the loss of our homes, careers and all the possessions we need to maintain a safe home for our children.

Patience is no longer the order of the day. There is a rabble to be roused, virtual signs to be made and held up, marches, petitions, visits, phone calls and every manner of communications used to say to the public authorities now it is our turn. Now you must save us.

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5 Responses to “Day 189 — Manifesto of the Idle Workers of the World”

  1. Jobless says:

    Dear Girl on the Brink – Just finished the WP article. they say there is reassurance in numbers? I am now 66(although most folks think I am 50 something) and unemployed, I have been so for over a year. Now, they say well you can take social security and draw on your retirement(not until 2011!) Social security doesn’t pay the rent or the mortgage or 20% medicare doesn’t pay! If I survive to 2011 social security and monthly retirment will put me above the poverty line, but not enough so that I can aford a broader, larger life than TV and the local library!. So one must work not just to survive, but to stay well, productive,creative and engaged.
    Also, I am 66,single and lonely. I know what it feels like to desire companionship,support and sexual fulfillment(ain’t dead yet!) I don’t think this is anything more than human, and certianly don’t subscribe to the “Cinderella” theory.

    So keep the faith girl, and see ya’ round the gym!!

  2. Mile says:

    I read the WP article and I cried for your kids when I think about them living in an environment where they know their mother wishes she was anywhere but there, with them.

    I hope you get your wish. I hope you marry a guy who will pay for all the worthless crap you want and take you on trips. And I hope your kids see and learn and grow up to be true people and nothing like you are turning out to be.

  3. gotb says:

    In defense, I wish I were anywhere but living with my ex. You have it turned around. If I’m happy, my kids will be happier. Ann

  4. Frazil says:

    I read the story on WaPo, and decided to come over and check you out. After reading the story and surfing around your blog (which is quite good), I wonder if you and your ex husband don’t have future together. As a divorcee, I couldn’t imagine living with my ex regardless of the circumstance. I’d live in a refrigerator box before I’d live with my ex. Since the both of you seem to manage it, I can only conclude that both of you are special people that perhaps threw in the towel too soon.

  5. Michelle says:

    I too was laid off from a sales & marketing position in June of this year. After going a bit stir crazy for a month or so (there are only so many hours you can job hunt), I began blogging.

    It was one of the only things I could find that would fill my endless downtime, stimulate my mind and allow me to vent, laugh or cry (whatever was necessary for the day). I’ve found such a great blogging community of unemployed people. It’s unbelievable how many people are living the same unmotivated, sleepless, stressed life that I am. I guess it’s always better to know that you are not the only one. My blog has really become therapeutic for me and I’ve tried to keep it lighthearted and funny.

    I’ve even recently branched out with a new relationship humor blog (since I now have so much time home with my hubby).. who knows, maybe all this writing will bring me to a new career? A girl certainly can dream, right?!

    Here are links to my blogs (stop by if you have some “free time”!) 🙂

    Unemployment Blog: http://activeleisure.wordpress.com
    Relationship Humor Blog: http://thehubbydiaries.wordpress.com

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