Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dude, Where's My Job?

I recognize this is hardly a newsflash, but lately there have been rather staggering job losses and even position eliminations across the employment spectrum—all related to the skyrocketing cost of gasoline and we are only just teetering on the edge of $4 per gallon with a projected increase over successive years.

Already I have heard stories, both in my personal life and on the news about the effect these high prices for fuel are having on a number of jobs. For instance, one man I struck up a conversation with owns a moving company in Columbus, Ohio and has already had to retire two of his trucks and four of his employees. For one thing, he suggested that it seemed to him that less people were moving (which is odd, considering the drastic foreclosure situation, particularly here in my neck of the woods) and that when people were moving, they were simply taking less crap with them. Part of me thought that he might have been denying the simple truth; people can no longer afford to hire movers. Plain and simple. I wanted to just come out and ask him that but that pained look on his face….no way.

I know we are a fuel-based economy. Hell, these days, I’m starting to think we are a gas-driven society to boot as so many of our diversion, shopping, recreational, and other societal habits are balancing on the availability of cheap (or at least affordable) fuel for our vehicles. But really, when you sit down to think about the jobs that are based on this fuel and what might happen to these positions—it is scary. One goal I have with this blog is to examine, using a close focus, the multiple people in various industries and sectors who will experience an enormous impact when the gas price bomb truly explodes. At present, I have compiled a very short and non-exhaustive list, including:

Cab drivers, truck drivers, and pretty much any job with the word “driver” in the position description, with the exception of slave drivers. Oh, and what about pizza delivery? Will that be a vestige from a era long passed in the next decade? To continue…. Car and RV salespeople, repair personnel, manufacturers (and this includes an astounding number of related positions like the staff required to run auto parts stores and the people who make the little gaskets that go on parts of your car, truck or RV that you never even see or think about)…

How much will it cost just have the garbage man drive out to your house and pick up your trash?

Will the police, ambulance or firefighters tack on fuel sub-charges for public services?

Will public schools have to charge out the wazoo to pick up your kids in the morning because you never anticipated that living five miles from the local schools would ever be an issue?

Will the price of a stamp need to be high enough to accommodate that gallon of gasoline it took your mailman to get to your house to bring you the letter of apology from your boss because she can no longer afford to keep you on board?

Oh, and what about all of those roadway construction jobs (and the beneficial construction itself) that are funded through taxes that come from a transportation and fuel-based source?

And the list goes on; importers, exporters, farmers, and all of the retailers that depend on these transported goods to stay afloat…

Christ, I’m about to have a panic attack.

And here I was worried about the possible availability of pizza delivery in a time of unheeded crisis.

And but yes, that list keeps going… Any additions? What is going to happen to your job?

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