November 13, 2011
Here we are gently creeping into 2012. The year that will inevitably be the end of the world. According to the Mayan's, or even Harold Camping. I used to listen to Art Bell a number of years ago when my shift work made his overnight radio program easily accessible. He used to talk about what he called "the quickening". It was his impression that technology, world events, political change, etc. were changing faster than ever. Whether this was actual or perceived was difficult to quantify but none the less interesting. I find that my perception of the world is changing as well. I'm not going to give it a moniker like "the quickening" but it does seem that events are moving at a more rapid pace. That may be due to the increased access to information and information delivery. The twenty four hour news cycle and all news cable channels give the impression of constant "breaking news" and "alerts". Natural disasters can be viewed in real-time like the Japanese tsunami. 9/11 was essentially a live event. I recall getting ready to leave for work as the second plane plowed into the towers live on Fox News. News headlines are fed to our phones and displayed on monitors in coffee shops, restaurants and gas pumps. Twenty five years ago I had no thoughts of retiring from my current job. It was just the next best job that came along. I'm now three short years away from being eligible to retire. My frustration is mounting daily with the economic situation of this job. The feeling of being "trapped" here until I retire. I could actually leave now and have the same pension benefit that I would in four years. The reason for staying is the dang retirement medical coverage. That in itself is a HUGE reason for staying. My actual wage has diminished to where I am earning a mere fifteen cents an hour more than I did when I got hired twenty five years ago. I am tempted to forego the retirement medical coverage and get a job with a wage I can survive on. Working overtime is not the way I want to increase my income stream. I treasure my days off. Having a job with lousy hours and ridiculous days off used to be offset by a decent wage that made it worth the sacrifice. No longer do I see it being "worth" anything. The company has stripped us of our hard earned benefits under the guise of keeping the doors open. Yes, this is an industry in it's death throes. I hope it can cling to existence for just a few short years.