There are many events that have taken place in our lives that have shaped and molded us into the persons we are. Perhaps life situations have not been the best for you, while it seems to have worked out well for others. What is it about two people that can come from the same neighborhood, same background, same opportunities, or even disadvantages, and one excels and triumphs over adversity, while the other has been held prisoner by their circumstances and situations? What is the difference? Is there a difference, or just the way each individual perceived their circumstances?
Many stories can be told in the Black community—stories of missed opportunities, or severe hindrances. Yet, there are also stories of success. Maybe it is the mindset of a person that determines whether or not he/she will succeed in life. And if it is,(a mindset) when was the seed planted—the seed of hope that they could change their future? The ability to look past circumstances and situations and generational nuances, to come to the understanding that all things are possible. Or, when was the seed of doubt planted—that said nothing could be done.
Life is not fair, nor is it easy. If it were, everyone would have what they wanted. There would never be lack for anything. However, we do not live in that kind of world. The truth is, there is an abundance of lack, and an abundance of want. Each day we are faced with tough choices. Each day we are faced with new decisions. And each day brings with it a reminder of yesterday.
When we look at our lives, is it all that we would hope it would be? Or, has something come along to change us; to affect the way we live and the way we think, and the way in which we perceive things? One’s reality is based upon their perception—how they perceive the truth to be. In continuing this series on The Dichotomy of Black Life, let us further examine the employment situation and healthcare. And how it affects our daily life, and our perceptions about how we live, and who we are as a Black community. Do we have solutions to these growing issues? Or, is it every person for themselves? Let us remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link….
Whether you’re at the top of the chain or the bottom, one thing is certain: prices are escalating. The cost of living is on a steady rise. Of course, being at the top of the chain you may be better prepared for the long haul. It is a much different story for those at the bottom who fear the dreaded “pink-slip”. Chances are that you know someone, or you yourself have recently either lost a job to downsizing, outsourcing, or a business has folded. Where is the proverbial silver lining that many analysts and government have eluded to?
Some reports indicate a rise in employment when compared to that of the numbers at this time last year and ten years ago. However, the job market may be seeing a rise only in certain areas of employment, depending on what sector you are working in.
Recent data shows that the following occupations have seen growth, and will continue to in the near future: computer engineers, computer support specialists, system analysts, database administrators, paralegals, desktop publishing, and those in the are of personal care, personal health aids and medical assistants.
This is promising for those who are currently in any of these chosen professions. Many are not. These occupations happen to be highest ranked in salary. What does this all mean for the average worker? What does this say about those who do not have a college education? Or, those who do have a degree, but find that their chosen career is not affording them the ease of mind or financially stability?
It is a difficult task to take on the job market, when you are not qualified for the positions available, and there's at least 100 other persons applying for the one job that you are qualified for. Some suggest that people go back to school or get new job training. Great idea if you have the financial ability to do so. A loan? Out of the question for many. With the average rate of interest, a person may be working to pay off that loan, and are no better than where they began. Or, they may find it more difficult to even attain a loan, or a grant.
What is the solution to the growing employment situation? There needs to be a way in which all people, from all walks of life, can afford to pay for basic living expenses, support their family, and not have to worry about if there will be a job tomorrow.
Employment and economics go hand in hand. Are you aware of the growing retirees that are either staying on the job, or going back to work? There is not enough money in Social Security or pensions to allow them to live with just basic expenses. The generation of Baby Boomers have now become the largest generation of people and a prime target for marketing. Yet, many are choosing to continue working instead of retiring. Not necessarily because they want to; but they must. The cost of living is not affording them the opportunity to retire like they assumed they would after years of working hard. And, many have found themselves in the situation of caring for elderly parents and grandchildren. Sometimes, at the same time.
There must be a better way for people to not only survive, but actually live and make it from one day to the next. However, the skills and the training are just not there. Thereby, creating a great divide amongst the working population. It used to be that the poor were the only ones getting poorer. Now, unless you are in a chosen field where the prospectus for the job market in your occupation are favorable; you may be joining the ranks of those looking for a new career, or dreading the inevitable pink slip.
HEALTH AND HEALTHCARE
Have you had your annual physical? Have you had your bi-yearly dental appointment? You may answer with a question: who can afford healthcare? More and more employers have been cutting back on employee healthcare, dental care, and vision. Some employers have never offered a dental or vision plan, causing employees to pay out of pocket for themselves and family members.
With growing problem of healthcare needs and the continuous rise of healthcare costs, many are hard-pressed for a solution and are seeking alternative routes…
NEXT WEEK: Health and Healthcare concluded and Politics