Mary B. is almost eighty-years-old. She still works two jobs as a waitress and dining room hostess. She has cut back lately though, she used to work three jobs. Her husband was an alcoholic who rarely worked and she supported him and her two daughters by being the breadwinner of the family. She has never taken a vacation. She got her work ethic by growing up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky.
Karen is a nurse with the BJC hospital system here in St. Louis. She is well into her seventies and still working a lot of hours every week. Her husband and most of her immediate family are deceased. She is still working because it gives her something to do and she “still needs the money.”
Carol is also a nurse with BJC. She works with Karen. She is in her forties and worries that she will never be able to retire given the current financial conditions. She worries if social security and Medicare will still be around when she needs them.
According to the St. Louis Front Page News: “Most American workers are satisfied with their jobs, but nearly two in three have strong doubts about being able to eventually stop working and retire, according to a recent StrategyOne public opinion survey of 1,043 Americans, including 613 who work either full- or part-time.”
The vast majority of those surveyed say that they are really satisfied with the job that they are doing, but I don’t think that’s really the case. Like most Americans they are scared of losing their jobs and their security along with them if they say anything negative.
They also give high marks to their bosses and co-workers. Yeah, right. I’ve worked in a large number of different fields and you ought to hear what the workers say about their bosses when they are not around.
They probably have good reason to fear. The thing that I don’t understand is that if they like their jobs so much then why are they also afraid of having to work them for the rest of their lives and not be able to retire.
Over half of all workers have had their salaries or wages reduced over the past few years. And 37% say that they feel that they are underemployed. Almost 65% say they feel that they will continue to be working for the rest of their lives.