Mr. Fixit was at the Large Chain Store today and noticed a familiar face behind the counter: a young man who used to work at the Large Office Store down the road. He got this job during a reorganization. He lost his old job in a similar reorganization, and it took him months to find a new one. This is someone with a degree in software engineering. Yeah, I know, you've heard it all before.
But this is the kicker: at the store where he worked previously, no one gets to stay more than two years. Even managers. They get shuffled out, made part time, made redundant.
Two years. Your job will probably expire before the toasters or printers you sell.
Then Mr. Fixit ran into someone else he hadn't seen in awhile. This friend is a machinist. For the last while, he's worked a series of jobs either cleaning parts or painting parts. It's not what he was trained to do, but he says he's working with other similarly overqualified tradespeople, and it's all they can get. He says the teenager behind the coffee counter is probably getting paid close to what he makes, plus the coffee cashier doesn't have to inhale paint fumes. Oh, and his wife lost all her work benefits in a series of company mergers.
Nothing comes with a lifetime guarantee. Not a degree, not a job. Companies disappear. Whole industries disappear. One day you think you're set, the next you're redundant.
We live in a society that, more and more, treats people as disposable. Instead of E-Waste, maybe we could call it P-Waste.
This is why Jesus came into the world.
No, not to get us jobs at Stuff-mart or to organize unions or to guarantee employment until 65. But to end the belief that any single person...born or preborn, over-or-under qualified, mentally healthy or not so much, born into an overcrowded country or not...you fill in the blanks...doesn't matter. Is expendable.
So the message of Advent speaks: no more P-Waste. That is the Good News.
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