Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A summer job? Of course! Well, for us...

Over the course of my interesting life I have held at least 15 part time jobs. These jobs have ranged from waitressing to bouncing to promoting cologne. And outside of the jobs I actually held, I can say with confidence that I am sure I applied to well over 50 part time jobs and probably was accepted and turned down 15. Every summer from the age that I could legally work (14 or 15, right?) to the end of college, I, without a doubt, had a part time job. A couple months before the summe break began my friends and I would patrol local restaurants and shopping malls and apply everywhere that we could. We all had jobs..and we all took those jobs for granted and didn't take them seriously. Most of our parents were still giving us money so half of us didn't actually NEED the job to survive, but we wanted the job for extra spending money and because that was just what you did. You worked during the day and partied hard at night.

Now the reason I bring this up is because I recently met with a Native American organization who was speaking about the unemployment rates on the reservations. The current unemployment rate is at 50%. 50% of their population does not have jobs. 50% of their population are trying to get money to SURVIVE by donating blood...or doing much riskier "jobs". And these 50% are adults...and providers for families. The Natives are unable to work at McDonalds at minimum wage (a job I applied for as a joke and was hired and never showed up to) because the closest McDonalds is an hour away. And I think about this devastating circumstance and then I think about how I completely took for granted the luxury of having a job when I wanted, where I wanted, and for however long as I wanted. I took for granted the luxury of my parents being able to financially support me while I worked as a waitress to earn money for shopping, vacations, and going out to eat. I took for granted those opportunities and had no concept of the "opportunity" that it really was.

I guess I just wrote this blog because I was amazed at the unemployment rate for Natives and upset with myself for taking my opportunities for granted...but when you grow up in a bubble like HoCo, its hard to really imagine life outside of it. If nothing else, take from this an appreciation for what you had...an appreciation for all that you have now...and if you have the opportunity to improve the workfoce on reservations, have at it :)


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