Demoted from the middle class

Keep it moving there, slacker.Keep it moving there, slacker.

Ever feel like the world is just piling on? Not only am I unemployed, I got demoted again today. Scrolling through the day’s job announcement emails, I discovered that I am no longer middle class…

N.Y.C. so costly you need to earn six figures to make middle class

The NY Daily News and the optimistically named Center for an Urban Future have officially pushed my wife and me out because we live in New York City and don’t earn a six-figure income. (Then the writer of the article reached out of my computer, slapped me and called me a no-account bum.) I’m at fault for the class demotion, due to my recent layoff. But my wife didn’t do anything wrong (aside from shacking up with a layoff magnet, perhaps). She still has a good job behind a desk, doing the same thing she did when we were middle class. That is, until her employer finds out that her middle-class status has been revoked.

Our demotion begs the obvious question, what class are we now? Wikipedia tells me that middle class falls between working class and capitalists. And Wikipedia is always right. So this may mean that we’re now working class, which would be kind of odd since I don’t presently work. Even if I did have a job, it wouldn’t be doing anything labor-related. I’m borderline inept when it comes to tools and manual tasks more complicated than changing a light bulb. (The truth is out, I’ve been masquerading as a real man all these years.) But here’s the clincher… neither my wife nor I like Denny’s.

Maybe our class change makes us capitalists now, since I’m drawing income from the work of others without doing anything myself. I do enjoy a rousing game of Monopoly once in awhile. And I would totally romp around the Hamptons masquerading as Gordon Gekko if Oliver Stone asked me to. But I haven’t lied to, cheated on or stolen from the U.S. government or the taxpayers in this life, so the capitalist designation is probably out too.

This is a real quandary. Do I cling to the bygone era of manufacturing to the detriment of the whole economy? Do I fly my corporate jet to bailout hearing after bailout hearing? Or do I spend away my home equity on things I can’t really afford? Maybe I just have to create my own class – people who work hard, make a fair wage and don’t screw up things for everyone else. I just need a catchy name. Who’s with me?

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    1. Yeah Norm you’re not alone in feeling that the world is piling on. A few months ago I found out that I too had been demoted. I was no longer considered to be unemployed. Instead I was now considered to be “underutilized”.

      I thought, “huh? What d’ya mean underutilized”?

      Well apparently underutilized workers fall into one (or more) of three categories:

      1. Unemployed workers who are looking for work yet are no longer collecting unemployment benefits because they have expired. (In my case, true)
      2. Someone who is working part-time hours when they want to and need to be working full-time. (I wish)
      3. Unemployed workers who are no longer collecting benefits and who had been working for work, but became so discouraged they eventually gave up. (True to an extent)

      They say that the number of underutilized workers doubles the number of unemployed workers out there. But the Government doesn’t keep track of them after their benefits expire and they are dropped from the unemploymet rolls.

      But as for a catchy name – we’re not capitalists, we’re not working class or blue-collar or even white collar at this point.

      How about grey-collar workers refering to the fact that we have to recycle clothes as many times as possible before washing them to save on the water bill?

      Well, not us but, you know, other people.

      Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink
    2. Norm wrote:

      Yeah, the way unemployment is measured is totally inaccurate. I wrote something about it awhile back. Here’s the link…

      Including the frustrated and under-employed is how they measured it during the Great Depression.

      Anyway, you probably know this. I hope your situation improves soon.

      Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
    3. Fran wrote:

      Underutilized. Wow, first time I’ve heard that term. I fall into Big Daddy’s category 2. People (husband, in particular)keep telling me I should be grateful to have any job. It is difficult to be grateful for a job that requires only a high school education when you have paid thousand of dollars for a master’s degree, a job where you must share a desk when you have become accustomed to having your own office or at least your own cubicle, a job where you feel like ripping every hair from your head from boredom most days, …I could go on but I’ll spare you any further whining.It is fortunate indeed that I live in Florida where I can attempt to be grateful for my my four-figure income

      Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 10:01 am | Permalink
    4. Norm wrote:

      I’m with you. I have a graduate degree too and may soon be faced with finding whatever job I can. I don’t look forward to it. At least it’s warm in Florida, so you can go outside. (Sorry, that’s the best I can do at the moment.)

      Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink
    5. Michael wrote:

      You can’t get by on Monopoly, it’s only $200 a week unless you win thrid place in the beauty contest or something.

      Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 10:56 pm | Permalink
    6. unemployed wrote:

      Any word on BigDaddycool? Not sure wat I will do what my measley benefits run out in May. I get 1200 a month – my mortgage is 1300, not including HOA, Electricity, phone, groceries, car, insurance, water, etc. Its better than nothing – but I guess Ill have to let my house go into foreclosure. Then my credit wil be wrecked and employers check credit so there goes that….

      Monday, March 9, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

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