ECONOMY 2014: Throwing Away Our Assets

Written by Candace Hardin on September 23, 2014

Today’s job market is tough and the pickings are slim for a full-time job that provides both a living wage and a benefit package.

In the last six years, nearly half of all “created jobs,” were minimum or low wage positions.
Depending on whose spin you buy into, today’s workers, “of a certain age” fall into the category of the tail end of the Baby Boomers, or Generation X.

These are the workers whose age ranges from around 45 to 55. These are mature workers who are generally educated, skilled and experienced. When these workers experience a job loss, the length of time it takes for them to re-enter the workplace is often exhaustedly long.

Even for those who have managed to retain their employment or find new jobs, life often becomes almost unbearable in the workplace.

Today’s employer is in a bullish market, and is able to extract more from the worker for less outlay than in years past.

I have polled my colleagues, all of us in the above mentioned category of 45 to 60. Most have had job and wealth disruptions within the last six years, some have returned to the workplace.

Here are the top complaints I have collected:

Lack of salary or wage increases – the employer realizes that all the game pieces are on their side of the board. The employer finds that it is unnecessary to make any effort to retain employees, as choices are very limited. More experienced employees find new opportunities are even harder to find than for the younger worker.

Borderline harassment – these workers are pushed to the limit of their nerves by management that calls for more hours and production, less incentive and little to no increase in wages. Often it is younger supervisors who are looking down on the more experienced worker, calling them slow or inept, even when the facts many times refute their accusations. The adage of respecting those older than yourself is forgotten.

Diminishing benefits – benefit packages we had come to expect are being systematically eliminated from the workplace. Many find themselves with less coverage or without healthcare at all, at an age when it is more needed than ever. Some of this can be contributed to the effects of Obamacare, as the new law / tax squeezes the employer’s ability to provide these benefits.

Paid time off and / or vacation benefits are being lessened as well.

Complete discouragement – many have given up all hope of renewing their previously successful careers. They remain unemployed or under–employed. One of my colleagues, who holds a master’s degree in his field has refused to work for anyone but himself ever again. He is scrimping by on next to nothing, trying to freelance and create a client base at 60 years old.

Given that many retirement and 401K plans were depleted or severely lessened with the 2008 recession, coupled with job loss, and loss of real estate, this age group is facing a grim future when time in the workplace ends.

If American corporations continue to throw away and abuse their greatest assets due to greed and lust for power, what kind of future can this country expect?



Candace Hardin
Candace Hardin resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She is fluent in Spanish and a student of Latin and history. She is a columnist on and has a blog, Originally from North Carolina, her writing and beliefs have been heavily influenced by the Appalachian culture and tradition.