Dukkha and My Friend Leaving

I am very sad now. One of my best friends will be leaving Michigan. She has been looking for employment elsewhere, but she was just informed that her hours will be cut at the non-profit she works for. I will help her pack. I am helping her look for jobs in Maine, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

This is how bad it is. People who are serious about paying back their student loans are forced to seek employment out-of-state. She does not want to leave. Most of her children live here. Others where she works are also leaving the state.

One is moving to Wisconsin, for a job that pays 70K. For some reason, that’s where he wants to live. It wouldn’t be my choice.  It’s no warmer there than here. If I am going to go to the trouble of packing up all my crap and relocating, it will be to somewhere with better weather, not some other northern-tier state. I got an MBA so I can find work any darn place I want.

I never thought she would leave the state before me. But she has to go. Eventually, I will as well.

Buddhism’s word for suffering is “dukkha.” I love the translation of “unsatisfactoriness.” The original meaning is all about a wheel that does not turn properly; in other words, it is stuck or makes noise. The recipe for suffering is this: life changes and you do not change with it. Instead, you pretend things haven’t really changed.

That’s the strategy of Michigan businesses: demand graduate-level qualifications and offer $10/hour in return and then whine that qualified applicants for positions cannot be found. When Michigan was full of good-paying factory jobs, educated spouses could be underpaid with no negative consequences. There is no “skills gap.” Don’t buy the business community’s propaganda. In reality, it is a “compensation gap.” The “skills gap” theory explains nothing and mystifies the obvious: employers demand MIT qualifications and offer Burger King wages.

My heart breaks. I miss her already. As for Michigan businesses, I have no pity. They brought much of this upon themselves. Let’s see what they have to say when they can’t pay enough to keep educated people in the state, no matter how they offer.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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