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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Depressingly Real...

So many people in America right now are in dire straights.  They can't pay the bills, they struggle to eat, lose their homes, can't find work, whatever an individual's reason is, so many are truly struggling.  The toll that this life style takes upon an individual can be immense.  Most everyone seems to have some aspirations, goals, desires, things that motivate them and things that they would like to get out of life.  When a person can not attain these goals, or at least feel like they are working towards them in the right direction, it is very easy to get down and to even sink into elements of depression.  The true problem with this is that our society seems only to accentuate these issues.  The system that we live in singularly promotes the individual and the individual's primacy in affecting all aspects of their life.  All of the onus for success is put in the individual's hands.  If a person is hard working, diligent, and talented they can easily find a way to success.

But what happens when society itself takes opportunities away from this person?  What happens when through no fault of individuals themselves, the world crashes into crisis, recession, depression?  A person with no job, no way forward - yet still with dreams, goals, and desires - is forced to face that life of need and want every day.  They apply to job after job - each one bringing a huge glimmer of hope - only to hear nothing back.  Every job application a person puts in has a piece of their heart and sole inside it. They spend hours writing a cover letter, redoing a resume to specifically fit each job, references, samples, getting other people to proof read it all.  An entire day can be spent on one job application. 

What then happens when over and over again, they receive nothing.  No response, no "sorry we decided not to interview you", no nothing.  They are left with a littel hole in their heart where all that effort and all that imagining went into an application.  And it slowly festers until they come to an evolutionary place of realization that that job is not going to call.  Every day, every week, job after job.  Its like cold-calling; you don't know the people at these companies and they don't know you.  You keep trying anyway, dial after dial, but they aren't interested in buying what your selling - you.  They have 300 plus applicants from all over the country.  What makes your piece of paper any better than anyone else's?  If you don't have the job title on your resume already, best of luck.

But what then?  What happens when each day you wake up and have less and less motivation to keep that job search going?  You start new pathways, networking, volunteering, friends, family, starting your own business, whatever.  But then if things still seem not to move in your direction, what's next.  Hopelessness sets in, your on food stamps by now, you struggle to pay rent and bills, an underemployed existence, degrees sitting on the walls collecting dust, right next to your intellect and your heart.

There you sit, is it really worth it to keep looking for another job?  What is the use?  What is it they say? Doing the same thing and getting the same bad result is the definition of madness?  At what point do you just start trying to maintain an existence?  Maintain sanity.  When do you just stop wasting your time?

But the true problem with it all is that it may not even actually be up to you.  The road paved above is one of despair, it is one of depression.  That is where this story seems to end up.  But then how does that play out?  How does one pull themselves out of a depressed state?  No health care to see someone about it.  No motivation to keep pushing.  Even knowing what needs to be done isn't enough, because you still have to get up and do it.  A general feeling of hopelessness as no help is to be found.  This is what our society does.  It puts all the onus on us as individuals to make our lives successful but then truly and fundamentally affects us on a systemic level.  How do you harness the power of your intellect, courage, and drive, if the system takes it away from you?  How do you work hard as an individual when medically speaking you have lost the capabilities?

People in states of depression don't take initiative, they don't jump up and keep fighting, they dont' care about the American dream as they have been defeated by it so many times that they are tired of fighting the same fight and continuing to lose.  It becomes biological, not just mental.  Yet our system still puts everything on our own shoulder.  How do you rise up and keep trying to fight the idiotic fight when you don't have the strength to stand?  How is this possible?  How is this fair?  How can we do this to good people?   


  1. I recall papers on structuralism. "we all are structured", aren't we? We are the product of society. In other words, we are what the society wants. As I see it, American society created an etalon stuffed with leadership, competitive, enthusiastic, communicative and so on kind of qualities. And everyone has to follow it cause that r the rules of the game. And since everyone is striving for being "competitive", the standards r rising. If just some 50 years ago a specialist with higher education was priceless, now people with several degrees are jobless... I just wonder for how long the "demands of the labor market" will be growing? Human possibilities are limited after all.
    P.S. if things are like that in the US, what to say bout the rest world?

  2. America is the starting point for a lot in the world. But a great deal of the rest of the industrialized world has left the Americans behind in terms of a social safety net to help people through tough times. Americans have been left to 'make do', to stand on their own. But what then do they do if the system itself leaves them behind? The system teaches us what to do, but it doesn't care if we actually get it done or not. Human possibilities are indeed limited... even in America.


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