When I sat down at my desk today, it occurred to me that the blog had officially reached two months as of yesterday. In that timespan, my stories have been viewed nearly sixteen hundred times and by over five hundred people. I’ve had many words of praise thrown my way as well as a few donations through my Google Wallet. I can’t thank you enough for your support. It truly motivates me to keep going.
There are a few goals I’ve been steadily working toward since all of this began. The first is to accrue the necessary $100 per year that will remove ads from all pages and allow me to upload my hypnosis audio directly (instead of having to link to Google Drive over and over). The second goal is copying some of these stories to publishing sites; they’ll always be free here, while a direct purchase would serve as a form of donation. The third goal is securing additional commissions and other major writing projects, and the final goal is the creation of a Patreon account, which would only be viable if I attain a sufficient enough viewer base.
In the short term, this might be considered little more than a hobby. It is my hope that my writing will one day become a primary source of income, but as they say, time will tell. That of course brings me to the matter of what to do for money in the meantime, though as fate would have it, I recently had a part-time job opportunity fall quite literally into my lap. The circumstances behind this acquisition are what I want to talk about in this post.
Some of you may have known already that I was unemployed for more than one year. I submitted applications to more than one hundred positions in my area, and I was interviewed for maybe fifteen of them. Given that I am a transwoman, you can probably guess what happened. It was for that reason I eventually stopped looking altogether. Fast forward to the middle of August, and I received an email from a company scouting me for a merchandising job. They found my information on a resume that was more than two years old.
From here, it gets even stranger. I submitted a formal application at their request along with an updated resume. I was interviewed first by someone on the other side of the country and then by someone who operated in my home state. The latter interviewer (who will be my immediate supervisor) assumed me to be much older than I actually am and even told me I was overqualified for the position. I was offered the position the next day, and I will be starting this week.
The whole experience really cemented the reality that up to this point, people were looking only at my face and never at my name. The talents I cultivated, the aspirations I pursued – no one cared enough to delve into them until my face was removed from the equation. It truly demonstrates just how flawed Human Resource Management happens to be in America and possibly in other developed nations as well. That said, the irony of it all is that the people who acquire jobs simply because they look the part will no longer be able to do so five to ten years from now. The job market is changing, and not in a good way.
Let’s go back a few months to April of this year. Bloomberg ran an article citing the racial disparity between neighborhoods receiving Amazon Same-Day Delivery and neighborhoods which did not. Viral distribution of the article immediately prompted the expansion of SDD across three whole cities regardless of their population trends. It sounds like a victory when viewed on paper, but did it really help minority neighborhoods at all?
Amazon uses its own fleet these days, so that’s already a strike against all other logistics services in the area (USPS, UPS, FedEX, etc.) Note this change will be felt even harder when Prime Air takes off – no pun intended. Strike two is when those inner city stores are visited even less, forced to raise prices of goods even further, and forced to lay off workers. This leads to more poverty, more Amazon reliance, so on and so forth. When all of the stores inevitably close, an Amazon warehouse opens up and you have no choice but to work there (go read the horror stories if you think working for Amazon is all fun and games; it really isn’t).
Now, let’s say that you reject that kind of rigid workflow entirely. You might decide instead to become an Uber or Lyft driver or hell, get a Class A license and make nearly six-figure sums hauling freight across the country. Let’s look into the future of those two industries for a moment, shall we?
Uber already has its fair share of controversies surrounding compensation of its drivers, though what Uber also has is its fair share of investments into self-driving technology. Lyft, meanwhile, has partnered with General Motors in order to advance the technology even faster. So, even if there continue to be contracted drivers for these companies, the amount each driver is paid will likely drop significantly as all justification for human labor goes by the wayside.
It’s already happening in the commercial trucking industry. Technology is being beta tested which allows two self-driving trucks to follow directly behind one human-driven truck. Consider for a moment how a sixty-seven percent drop in personnel would look like, then consider who the remaining thirty-three percent would consist of. Chances are, unless you happen to be the best of the best, it probably isn’t you.
This pushes us to the point where we have no choice but to “maximize on our talents,” yet most people are entirely unaware of how to do so and ultimately have no alternate direction in life. I hear this so, so much from my friends and followers on Twitter. Some of them are currently in college or trade school, pursuing a degree they have no idea what to do with. Others have a bit of self-taught knowledge they feel confident in using, but they aren’t sure how to capitalize on it. No matter which scenario applies, the outcome is the same: time is lost and opportunity is wasted.
This is a problem which nobody seems to have an answer for. The people who reject technology often try to pretend that nothing is wrong, that even if the job market collapses in on itself, they are free to pick and choose based on impressions rather than qualifications. Eventually, this will lead to serious consequences for everyone involved, including them.
I choose to write because it allows me to be judged on the merits of my work, and that same work ethic is something I plan to mirror in my part-time job. I want to believe that I will be valued for what I can provide, rather than whatever “image” I display under the company’s flag. If it turns out otherwise, then I will always have writing to fall back to.
This is just my opinion, but I feel that there needs to be an expanded investment in the creation of niche products. Crowdfunding was certainly an excellent origin point, though its limitations rest in the requirement of having an existing relationship with the client base. If we want people to succeed, then we either have to help them build that rapport faster, or we have to remove it from the equation altogether (in a fashion similar to the modern HR problem).
There exists in all people this tenacity to pursue concepts of a grand design. What results from these concepts might not always be practical, but it will always have a kind of cultural weight to it. Even if a creation has no real monetary value, money should still be allocated to its creation for the sake of the knowledge it contains. That is what I believe, anyway.