My life is going in a good direction slowly.
I am now working a house-flipper. He’s very interesting. He just started his company about two months ago. He has no system, so I am helping him the way I helped the Chinese lady, entering his receipts onto an Excel spreadsheet and keeping track of them. I can do a lot for him.
My normal job search has not gone well. But I know it is not just me. I apply for a job I see posted online. I interview for it. I don’t get it. And I keep seeing the same job posted over and over. I am not what they want, but clearly neither is anyone else because the position is going unfilled. Whatever the local employers are looking for is simply not in the labor pool. Everyone keeps telling me that the problem is not me. I believe them now.
The issue is one of skill range versus wage range. The skill requirements for these jobs range wildly, from burger-flipping to high-end administrative skills (three years experience of data entry, two years of customer service, and must be familiar with databases). However, the pay range is minuscule, from $10/hr to about $14/hr. Reality check #1: absolutely nobody with the skills being demanded for some of these jobs is going to apply for them at $10/hr, unless they just got out of rehab or prison. Reality check #2: nobody in their right mind is going to go up to their eyeballs in student loan debt for a raise of $1 or $2/hr. Employers get what they pay for. A $10/hr employee might need time off to see their parole officer or some leeway if the buses are running late because $10/hour is insufficient pay to support yourself and own a car.
Long story short: employers in Michigan are driving away everybody with an education and real skills with their low wages and zero opportunity for advancement.
About six years ago, my friend who now lives in Maryland graduated law school and was looking for a job. I kept telling her, “You have an amazing and unique skill set. I do believe there is a fabulous job out there for you–but you will likely have to move to another state.”
A week or two ago, she repeated it back to me practically verbatim. Suddenly I understood. It sank in.
So I have expanded my job search area to include Grand Rapids to the west, Jackson to the South, Brighton to the east, and Dewitt/St Johns to the north. For the time being while I live in Michigan.
But my long-term plans are elsewhere. I am looking at other job markets: Columbia, Missouri, Charleston, West Virginia, and even Columbus, Ohio. Places with reasonable rental costs and abundant jobs all at the same time. But it would be hilarious to go to Columbus, home of the nemesis of both U of M and MSU: the Buckeyes.
In the mean time, I am helping the house-flipper by getting him organized, doing data entry, and doing research for him.
My future is bright. Michigan’s, not so much.