Undervalued

Work can be dignifying, but only when workers are treated with dignity. Unfortunately, more and more workers find themselves in jobs that neither pay well nor offer them hope for advancement or a career. In addition to poor benefits, including the almost complete disappearance of pension accounts, workers must now contend with a for-profit sector that prefers to hire temporary workers in lieu of permanent employees, who might demand higher wages and better benefits packages.

Underemployment is one of the saddest stories of this Great Recession. In addition to the unemployed workers in the United States (almost 8 percent), there are many more people who are underpaid and dissatisfied with the jobs they hold. Stores like Jamba Juice would prefer to hire a worker at 25 hours a week, even when she is available and willing to do more, because a full-time worker is more expensive. In this poor job market, employers can choose to be picky. In the United States, where the social safety net is fraying, the loss of permanent jobs threatens devastating effects.

Advertisement

The disappearance of full-time jobs is especially damaging to families and young people. When a job is temporary, termination always seems just around the corner, a state of affairs that only serves to weaken the family. And the enthusiasm of college graduates wanes quickly when they cannot find a permanent job, let alone a path to a satisfying career. Even the most menial of jobs can be satisfying if a worker knows she is working for the good of her family. For too many Americans, a paying job no longer offers hope for a better tomorrow.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
James McParland
5 years 6 months ago
It is always odd to hear those who demand more expensive benefits, higher corporate taxes, and anti-business regulations, complain and blame employers when unemployment goes up. It would be interesting to see how many good-paying, full-time positions America Magazine advertised in the past year.

Advertisement

The latest from america

So what does it matter what a celibate woman thinks about contraception?
Helena BurnsJuly 20, 2018
Former US President Barack Obama gestures to the crowd, during an event in Kogelo, Kisumu, Kenya, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo Brian Inganga)
In Johannesburg, Obama gave what some commentators consider his most important speech since he vacated the Oval Office.
Anthony EganJuly 20, 2018
With his "Mass," Leonard Bernstein uses liturgy to give voice to political unease.
Kevin McCabeJuly 20, 2018
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, arrives for the Jan. 6 installation Mass of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society,” says Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection in Rome.