Some Comments on Feminism

This polemic is dedicated to Virginia Clark.

I consider myself a feminist.  I came of age in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  While working as a teaching assistant in graduate school, working on one of my degrees in statistics, I was exposed to a study on age cohorts.  Apparently, we have a lifelong identification with the issues and lifestyle current in our late teens and early twenties.  In the late 60’s and early 70’s, I was in my late teens and early twenties and feminism was seeing a rebirth.  I consider myself a feminist.

The 60’s were a time of great hope and idealism.  The 60’s, in the US, were also a time of phenomenal growth in income.  With the income growth in the 60’s came demands for more equitable inclusion in society by African Americans and women. I remember three main concerns on which women were working; financial, sexual, and social.

In the area of finances, women were shortchanged by a huge amount.   One concern I remember from the time was the high percentage of women who ended their lives in poverty.  According to the 1970 Statistical Abstract of the United States, Table 500, in 1959, 35% (2.2 million) of households headed by a male 65 years of age or older and 58% (2.1 million) of households headed by a female 65 years of age or older lived in poverty.  (For those household with heads younger than 65 and older than 13, the numbers were 15% (5.8 million) for males and 43% (3.2 million) for females).  By 1968, the percentages of those in poverty were 25% (1.5 million) and 48% (2.3 million) respectively for male and female headed households whose heads were 65 years old or older (and 9% (3.1 million) and 34% (2.9 million) respectively for male and female headed households whose heads were between 13 and 65 years in age).   While male headed households tended to be households of married couples and female headed households tended to be headed by single women, the disparity between the genders is huge.  (In the 2011 abstract, the classes are male headed, couples, and female headed, see Table 715.)  Even with the growth, as seen above, almost half of female headed households where the head was 65  or older were living in poverty in 1968 (as were about one third of households with heads who were female and between 13 and 65 of age).  The above statistics explain why feminists have emphasized full economic participation for women in society to protect women from poverty in old age.

Basic to theory in economics is the assumption that the price of a good or service is related to the supply and demand for the good or service.  As the supply goes up, the price goes down.  As the demand goes up, the price goes up.  The amount of the good or service sold and the price paid corresponds to the point at the intersection of the demand and supply curves.   Somehow, the work women do in raising children and taking care of a home have been left out of the equation.  We women were (and for many still are) used to working for nothing.  While there have been changes in social security law to protect spouses who have not worked for money, the work of child care, cooking, and home care, where the work is not paid, still does not contribute to one’s basis for social security benefits, lowering the income of many elderly women.

With regard to poverty statistics, here is what has happened since 1968.  Tables in the abstracts change.  In the 1986 abstract, Table 769, the household numbers were only for households whose head was 65 years of age or older.  For 1984, the numbers in poverty for male headed households and female headed households were 6% (0.5 million) and 13% (0.2 million), respectively, while the numbers for unrelated individuals were 21% (0.4 million) for males and 25% (1.7 million) for females.  The table also included a classification for others living in households, not broken down by gender.  The numbers were 6% (0.5 million) in poverty.  In the 1992 abstract, poverty statistics did not include a breakdown by gender.  The 2011 statistical abstract, in Table 713, gives numbers by persons as well as households.  In 2008, for persons of age 65 and older, the poverty numbers were 7% (1.1 million) for males and 12% (2.6 million) for females.  For persons younger than 65 and older than 15, 10% (10.2 million) of the males and 13% (13.3 million) of the females lived in poverty.  Note that the poverty rates were higher in the younger age group than the older age group in 2008.  The numbers do indicate that President Johnson’s War on Poverty was effective in reducing poverty in the elderly, but more so for men than women.

Another concern of feminists of the time was the double sexual standard and the division of women into “good” and and “bad” women on the basis of sexual behavior.   With the development of birth control pills in the 60’s, women had a freedom unprecedented in the history of the world.  Women could pursue sex without the fear of getting pregnant.  We were angry at a standard that lauded men for sexual experience while women were ostracized for the same experience.  Some statistics from Sex in America; a Definitive Survey, a book describing sexual experience in America based on a 1992 survey, demonstrate some of the changes in attitudes toward sex in American society over time.  According to Sex in America,  for the cohort in college in the 50’s and early 60’s, college women were supposed to be virginal until marriage.  The restrictions dissolved in the late 60’s and the early 70’s.  For the cohort which came of age in the 50’s, 7.0% of the men’s first sexual experiences were with a prostitute.  For the cohort which came of age in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the percentage had dropped to 1.5%.  The age of first sex dropped from a mean age of about 18 for those born between 1933 and 1942 to a mean age of about 17.5 for those born from 1952 to 1967, with the mean age of first sex being at a younger age for men than for women. At the same time, the mean age at marriage increased.  Again according to Sex in America, between the two trends, more of both men and women had sex before marriage in the later cohorts.  Interestingly, at the time of the survey in 1992, the youngest cohort had a much higher percentage of young males still virgins at age 20 compared to the oldest cohort.  For those born between 1933 and 1942, the percentage was 1.0%.  For those born between 1963 and 1972, the percentage had risen to 8.3%.  For females, the rate stayed close to the same, 4.6% in the earlier cohort and 5.8% in the later cohort.

To emphasize how new acceptable sex outside of marriage was in the 60’s, I remember, from when I was in high school, reading an article in a magazine, maybe Life, about a couple of college students who were doing this new thing, living together without being married.  The behavior was just starting to become mainstream.  How much feminism had to do with changes in attitude and behavior with regard to sex, I do not know, but one does see a shift in behavior about the time of the new wave of feminism in the late 60’s.  Astrologically, the generation with Pluto in Leo, born from around 1940 to around 1957, began coming of age in the late 50’s.  Pluto rules sex and Leo rules romance and fun.  According to astrology, by the late 60’s, we were indeed doing what we were supposed to be doing.

I do not know what has been happening with regard to sex since 1992.  I suspect that young people today are more conservative about sex than young people were when I was young, but I have not seen any data to either support or refute such a conclusion.  I suspect that with more sexual freedom for women in the second half of the last century, men got hurt emotionally (as did many women) at a much higher level than when women were supposed to be protecting virtue until marriage.  Many men and women dove into religion for comfort and started preaching against sexual freedom for anyone.  I feel like men wanted to be in control and were saying, we learned our lesson, we will be good, just let us run things.  In reply, let me drop some names: Letterman, Woods, Edwards, Schwarzenegger; the list goes on.  Personally, I believe the only way men will respect women’s property rights over them is if men and women involved with each other have equal economic and social power.  I suspect young people today know this and are progressing in balancing power between the sexes.

The third major concern that I remember was social.  The push was for full inclusion of women in society outside of the home; political, professional, and personal.

On the political level, certainly, women in the late 60’s were not particularly represented in the political sphere, which makes our laws.  According to the 1970 statistical abstract, there was just one female senator (out of 100 senators) and 10 female representatives (out of 431 representatives) in Congress in 1969.  Feminists at the time recognized that women’s issues were (and are) just as important as men’s issues and needed to be addressed by women, in government.  Currently (2011) there are 17 women in the Senate and 72 women in the House.  We really have not come very far.

In the 60’s, as women became more aware of the financial and social risks involved in not working outside the home for money, more women began to strive for  work that gives status and better pay, often getting what had been traditionally men’s work.  Socially, many women were moving out of the limitedness of being just homemakers and becoming more involved in life outside the home.  Later, certainly as a result of the feminist movement, which resulted in a growing awareness of the unfairness with which women were treated in the workplace, laws which protect women in the employment sector were passed.  Not being gender neutral in wages for a given type of work became illegal, as did discriminating in hiring and promotion with regard to gender. Harassment on the basis of gender became illegal.  In recognition that children have to be taken care of, the importance of daycare became an issue.  Women, even if not well represented in Congress, did have strong lobby power.

Professionally, according to the 1970 Statistical Abstract of the United States, Table 317, in 1969, out of the 84,230,000 persons 16 years and older in the labor force, 64% were male and 36% were female.  Female workers were in the majority for two categories, ‘finance, insurance and real estate’ and ‘services’.  According to Table 333, the number of women working in manufacturing; retail trade; finance, insurance, real estate; services; and government totaled 23,539,000, or 77% of the female labor force.  From Table 8, in 1969, the number of females 16 years of age or older was 72,416,000, so about 42% of females of age 16 or older were in the labor force.  For males, the labor force participation for those 16 years of age or older was about 55%.  The numbers in Table 8 do not include armed forces personnel outside the United States while those in Table 317 do, so the last two percentages may be a little high.

By 2009, according to the 2011 Statistical Abstract of the United States, Table 585, 72% (82,100,000) of males 16 years of age or older were in the labor force and 59% (78,200,000) of females 16 years of age or older were in the labor force, so a higher proportion of both males and females were in the labor force than in 1969, probably due to the baby boom bubble.  Using the above numbers, for those older than 15 in the labor force, 51% were male and 49% were female. Certainly, women have moved further out into the work force in the last forty years.  From another source, Table 515 in the 2011 abstract reports that, in 2009, 47% of those who were civilian, noninstitutionalized, older than 15 years of age, and in the labor force were female and 53% male.  Looking at some labor categories, using Table 585, for management, professional, and related occupations, women had a slight majority (51%); for service occupations, women had a larger majority (57%); for sales and office occupations, women had an even larger majority (63%); for natural resources, construction, and maintenance, women were in a small minority (4%), and, for production, transportation, and material moving, women were a larger minority (21%).  From the same table, the jobs where women were in a large majority (greater than 75% of the persons working the job) were social workers; paralegals and legal assistants; school teachers below high school and special education teachers; librarians; teaching assistants; dietitians and nutritionists; registered nurses; occupational therapists; speech language pathologists; dental hygienists; health diagnosing and treating practitioner support technicians; licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses; medical records and health information technicians; nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides; physical therapist assistants and aides; massage therapists; dental assistants, medical assistants and other health care support occupations; hostesses for restaurants, lounges, and coffee shops; maids and housekeeping cleaners; hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists; miscellaneous personal appearance workers; child care workers; personal and home care aides; travel agents; models, demonstrators, and product promoters; billing and posting clerks and machine operators; bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; payroll and timekeeping clerks; tellers; eligibility interviewers, government programs; file clerks; interviewers except eligibility and loan; clerical library assistants; loan interviewers and clerks;  receptionists and information clerks; secretaries and administrative assistants; computer operators; data entry keyers; word processors and typists; insurance claims and policy processing clerks; general office clerks; and tailors, dressmakers, and sewers.  Many of the jobs above are jobs that support a given profession or business rather than jobs involving running or managing a business or practicing a profession.  The above jobs accounted for 39% of female labor in 2009.

What has traditionally considered women’s work, the work of keeping a home and raising children, is not valued much in our society, at a great cost.  Childcare is a 24/7 job of great responsibility which goes on for many years, but is not paid, in that the person responsible for seeing that a child always has care is not paid.  I think that most women grow up quickly when the women have children because of the responsibility involved in taking care of the children and that many men never grow up.  Another example is cooking. Food sustains us and is an important component of both physical and mental health.  But the preparation of food is women’s work, so could not be important (I am being sarcastic.) Here, in the 21st century, child care, housekeeping, and cooking are bought by many persons, but many still do the labor for free for their families.  And, I am afraid, persons who do provide child care, housekeeping, and cooking professionally are usually not paid well.

So, where are we now?  When I look around me, I see women taking on professional roles all over.  But, I see women struggling with managing families at the same time.  I do not think women want to go back to how things were before, but we have quite a distance to go to realize full equality in the workplace and we still need to answer the child care problem.  When it comes to men, I feel like, for the last few years, there has been a deliberate, concerted attack on professional women,  particularly feminists.  I suspect that there is a certain group of men and some women who are deliberately attacking women because the attackers do not want equality with or for women.  Rather, I suspect the attackers are striving to maintain the privileged position men have had for so many millennia.  I will suggest to these people a paraphrase from T.S. Eliot’s, The Journey of the Magi.  On returning home from the journey, the travelers were no longer at ease in their old dispensation.

Income can come from other sources than labor.  From the 1970 Statistical Abstract of the United States, Table 495, in 1968, 92% of males of 14 years of age or older had income and the median income for the males was $31,500 per year in 2009 dollars, adjusting using the CPI-U-RS.  For females, the numbers were 65% with income and a median income of $10,600 per year in 2009 dollars.  Using the information in Table 495, one can see that a substantial number of both males and females have income which does not come from labor.

From Table 700, in the 2011 abstract, the 2008 median income for males 15 years of age and older was $33,161 and for females 15 years of age or older was $20,867.  So, by 2008 there had been quite an improvement for women in that the median income for women was about a third lower than for males, rather than the two thirds lower in 1968.  But women are still far poorer than men.  Of interest is that the median income for men did not change much between the two years, 1968 and 2009, using constant 2008 dollars.  Below, I have graphed median income by gender.  From the plot, median income for males varied between about $30,000 and  about $35,000 between 1968 and 2009, going up and down, while the median income for women sloped quite consistently up.  The plot graphs median income for individuals by gender over the years 1947 to 2008 in constant 2008 dollars.  A second plot graphs the number of individuals with income, by gender over the years 1947 to 2008.  The data sources can be found at http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/income_expenditures_poverty_wealth/income_for_persons.html.


Below, I have also plotted income percentiles by year for households (before 1967, families) from 1960 to 2009, in constant 2009 dollars (Sources: the United States Census Bureau website, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/inequality/index.html, which is Table H-1. Income Limits for Each Fifth and Top 5 Percent of All Households:  1967 to 2009 (Households as of March of the following year.  Income in current and 2009 CPI-U-RS adjusted dollars (29)), and the 1970 Statistical Abstract of the United States, Table 490. Share of Money Income Received by Family Units – by Income Rank and Income Group: 1955 to 1968.)  I used the CPI-U-RS to adjust the data from the 1970 Abstract.

plot of income percentiles

I suspect female headed households predominate in the lower percentiles, which have seen little growth in the last 50 years.  From 1965 to 2000, the 95th percentile grew by leaps and bounds.  Since 2000, household income has been pretty flat or decreasing across all percentiles.

On the personal level, I will just write a little.  Women have asked for years for equality, the same equality that the Declaration of Independence recognizes for men.  Coming out of the 60’s, we expected equality in our personal lives, as well as out in society.  We expected the freedom to explore sex and the freedom to not be defined as sexual objects or by our looks.  We expected to share the (unpaid) burdens of childcare and housekeeping with our partners.

When I was in high school, boys and girls competed with each other academically as equals and had the same expectations put on them, at least that is how I felt.  College was not different.  It was when we got out into the working world that we found very different expectations and opportunities for advancement by gender.  Perhaps the reality of the money side of life, after having equality in the educational side of life, is what propelled so many young women into feminism.

We have come a ways.  What used to be taken for granted in the structuring of a woman’s life (marriage, kids, housekeeping) is now one of a variety of choices.  But, women are still struggling with full inclusion in the sphere outside the home.  Men still control much of the media, business world, and political sphere.  We have yet to see an Equal Rights Amendment ensconced in the constitution.

Since the media is still mainly controlled by males, most of what we take in from television, radio, film, and music is filtered through the male point of view.  Males and females have different qualities of life experiences, so the view is different between the genders.  The female view is just as important, valid, and real as the male view, but the male view pervades.  The men who control our media continue to spew out male angst.  I am thoroughly sick of male angst.  I am ready for a fair share of female angst.

I suspect (I am quite isolated, so I do not know) that feminism is out of vogue and that feminists are blamed for the ills of society.  Why?  Here is what I think happened.  The economy tightened in the early 70’s, with the oil embargo, after many years of phenomenal growth.  During the period of growth, more opportunities were available for economically marginal members of society.  Many women began moving out into the world of working for money.  Many women, not happy in their marriages, left (many times) abusive husbands and went off on their own with their children.  Men also left wives, for a variety of reasons.  Many men had the attitude that “That woman is not going to get any of my damned money!!!”.  Since there had been real economic growth for a long time, the women expected to be able to support themselves in a reasonable manner.  With the tightening of the economy, many women were left with children to bring up on virtually no money.  (My husband’s first wife was one of them.)  Many of those children are now grown and still angry.

When the economy contracted, the jobs that paid well went mainly to the men, even though anti-discrimination laws were in effect.  Women who did get good paying work often had to deal with extremes of harassment.  Also, the attitude that the woman had been given an unfair advantage over a more qualified male – the reverse being the usual real situation in employment – was prevalent.  I suspect that feminists were blamed that many women were left high and dry.  In actuality, feminists got many laws through to help and protect women financially and physically.  Feminists are not at fault that the laws have not been obeyed. Also, as I wrote above, I am afraid that, 40 years later, men still control the political system, the financial world, the media, the entertainment industry, etc. Many women have made inroads and the laws help, particularly in government, but many women still work for little money while trying to bring up kids.  Some blame feminists for the situation the women are in.

It is not surprising that women get discouraged struggling with seeing that children are taken care of, struggling to get by on low wages, struggling to deal with a lack of advancement on the job, struggling to deal with harassment, struggling to deal with discrimination in hiring.  These struggles are not the fault of feminists. The actual culprits are the men who do not give equal pay for equal levels of work, who make work life miserable for more successful women, often with the collusion of less successful women, and who often do not pay child support.  One thing that I have noticed is that many men will hire women who are younger but are not comfortable hiring, as an equal, women of their own age.

Also at fault is the male controlled society that still refuses to acknowledge that children have to be brought up, and that an economic system must be developed to accommodate the raising of children.  (When I was taking a course on urban economics at the Harvard University Extension in the early 80’s, I remember the professor talking about welfare reform and the need to get women off welfare and into the work force and my being unable to get him to acknowledge that the women’s children needed to have care, too.)  If women had been given a level playing field in hiring and the workplace, I do not think there would be any where near the bitterness there is now.  If women had been able to find good paying jobs with opportunities for advancement and an accepting workplace free of harassment then I do not think women would be so bitter.  Men, refusing to accept women as equals in the workplace, making trouble for successful women, not helping with childcare and housekeeping, not providing for the support of their children, are to blame for women’s frustration with the way things are.

Men do not usually have to face harassment in the workplace.  Many men seemed to say to women, “Prove that you are equal!!!”, then subjected women to harassment and exclusion in the workplace, which most men never experience.  When women did not succeed, the women were blamed for the failure and the men claimed, “See, you are not equal!!!”, when, in fact, the women were subjected to high levels of  hostility and harassment in the work environment (that men usually are not) plus having to take care of the kids.  Most men would have failed, too, under the same conditions.

Of interest from astrology, in 1948, using limits for the constellations from an article in the American Federation of Astrologers’ Today’s Astrology, zero degrees of Cancer in the tropical zodiac moved into the part of the ecliptic between the beginning of Gemini and the end of Taurus.   The limits for the two constellations given in the bulletin do not overlap.  I believe it is 2016 when zero degrees of Cancer moves into the constellation Taurus.  Cancer rules motherhood and the home.  I wonder if we have been in limbo with regard to Cancer matters since 1948.

I will write a little about myself and my experiences as female.  In the early 70’s, as my ideas about feminism took shape, I was concerned about the issue of how to bring up children in an egalitarian way.  My mother worked part time during much of my childhood and adolescence.  Based on my personal experience, I think that having a parent in the home or having structured activities for a child are important well into the teenage years.  Coming home to an empty house is not a good thing.  Also, and I have not looked at any studies addressing the issue, I think parents are the best people to bring up the parents’ kids.  In most instances, I believe, no one has the interest in the development of a child that the parents’ have.  I have never had any children, as I never got pregnant after I married (or before, but before I used birth control), but one of the reasons I waited was that society does not have a structure for bringing up children in an egalitarian way within the structure of how we earn money.  I, naively, thought society would have figured out how to share the work equitably before I became too old to have children.

I am not sure what an egalitarian method would be.  Personally, I was thinking of a work week short enough that there would be time for both parents to work outside the home and, also, share the work of taking care of the kids.  I have not tried to think about a method by which the labor of childcare would be reimbursed or who might do such reimbursement. But we need to  deal with child rearing, all of us.

I am nearly 60 years old, and, in my life I have earned about $184,000.  Seventy-seven percent of the money was earnings covered by employment and income taxes, 21 percent was covered by income taxes but not employment taxes (earned at school), and 2 percent was tax free (per diem).  My combined SAT scores from the tests that I took in my senior year of high school in 1968 added to 1498.  (I had taken the PSAT in 10th grade and the SAT’s for the first time in the 11th grade.)  The scores on the GRE’s  that I took in 1982, eight years after I graduated from college, summed to 1450.  I had been taking continuing education courses for about three years at that time I took the GRE’s, and it was five years after my original psychotic breakdown.   (To be honest, my mind collapsed on me in 1978 when I was taking an employment intelligence test at John Hancock and, in 1997, I just missed the cut on the first mathematics actuarial exam.)  I did well in high school, graduating 5th out of a class of 166 in 1969.  I did poorly in college, away from the structure of my parents’ home and suffering from an, as yet, undiagnosed mental illness.  I majored in physics.  After breaking down with psychosis in 1977, I continued on with my life and did well at continuing education courses taken at Northeastern University’s Lincoln College, Harvard University’s Extension, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  I went on to graduate school at Iowa State University and did well.  My ISU degrees are in statistics but I took many economics courses, too.  I did better in statistics than economics at ISU, as I had at the Harvard Extension.  I received my MS in 85 and PhD in 92.  So why have I earned so little money in my life?

When I graduated from college in 1974, the country was in a recession and I was unable to find steady work. I wanted to stay in Oregon, where I had gone to college, and I did not want to work at the professional level in science.  I  decided on a goal of becoming a land surveyor, since surveying combines technical work with outdoor work.  After talking to many survey companies in Portland, I remember having been given the advice that, 1) surveying is learned on the job, and 2) the government is a good place to get on and learn.  The summer of 1974, I applied for a job as an engineering aide with the Federal Highway Administration.  I seem to remember that the job was listed in the paper, but I may be wrong.  I was told I needed to take a civil service exam and get on a list. From the summer of 1974 to the spring of 1975, I worked for what was probably three months all told, mostly at temporary labor and for very low pay.  At some point, I took the civil service exam and placed at the top of the list and, the spring of 1975, I was hired.  The FHWA job lasted 9 months.  (Including per diem, I was making the equivalent  of about $20 per hour in 2009 dollars.  I did not approached this number again until the end of 1980, at which time I left the job I was working.  It was not until after I my last years as a graduate student and after I graduated with a PhD, when I worked part time for the Statistical Laboratory, that I was back up to good pay, about $27 per hour in 2009 dollars by the end.)

After the FHWA  job ended in 1976, I returned to Massachusetts for a few months, then went back to Oregon and got a job, from the same civil service list, at the Environmental Protection Agency in Corvallis as a scientific aide.  Without per diem, the job did not pay much.  I worked for six months or so, then left for personal reasons and ended up returning to Massachusetts and developing psychosis, for which I was hospitalized in May of  1977.   So, by 1977, at 25 years of age, I had worked for a total of around 28 months,  the 20 months listed above plus 8 or so months at  minimal pay at summer and school jobs.

From 1977 to 2000, I worked for about fifty-two months full time and about one hundred six months part time.   After my breakdown, I worked for a month at a company that made electrical switches, as an engineering aide, but was too sick to handle the work.  Then, I worked for a land survey company in Boston for about a year.  Then, I was out of work for about seven months.  Then I got a job with a defense think tank in the Boston area doing research, which I stayed at for most of two years.  By the time I left, the pay was about what I made at FHWA.  I was out of work for about three months, then I got a job in research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  I took a cut in pay.  I stayed at MIT for about thirty months, then left to go to graduate school at Iowa State.  I worked as a graduate assistant for eight of the eight and one half years I was a student at Iowa State, or about seventy months of part time work.  I worked part time at ISU after graduating, all told about thirty six months.  Since starting school at ISU, in the fall of 1983, I have worked full time only the summer of 1984 as a statistical consultant at a slaughter house, for a for about two months doing seed research labor in 1996, and a few weeks working for a land survey company on a survey crew in 1999.

Since 2000, I only worked in 2008, at a local community college for two semesters, teaching one course per semester, with the exception of one hour of consulting work in 2001 and one hour of consulting work in 2010.  Which is not to say I have not been working.  I spent from August of 2001 to November of 2002 taking care of my parents.   I, also, have done quite a bit of work for free since graduating.  I am currently trying to restart my consulting business and have been keeping office hours since last September (2010).  I have had no business yet (except the student a year ago who found me online and wanted advice about research he was doing for his dissertation).

In the seven or eight years I was looking for work between 1992 and 2009, I can remember somewhere between 30 and 40 job interviews.  When I went into an interview with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, I got the job (this happened  two times, both jobs being poorly paid; the survey crew job and the teaching job).  I, also, got a job where I went in and asked for work (the seed research job, also poorly paid).  For most of the interviews, I went in without enthusiasm and terrified.

The reason I did not have enthusiasm at job interview after job interview was that I had been through painful experience after painful experience in work situations and at school.  I suspect being female was part of the problem, since,  at many of the jobs, I was competing with men.  Having difficulties socially because of my illness was a big part of the problem.  Also, by the end, the illness itself was a problem, since my mind was not working very well toward the end of the period.  (In 2007, I began a new, nutritional treatment and have been able to reduce the amount of anti-psychotic I am on. My experience with anti-psychotics is that the medicine blocks the functioning of the mind.  Since the fall of 2010, I have been doing much better, working with the Pfeiffer Treatment Center on my treatment.) Also, both when I originally graduated from college and when I finished at Iowa State, I tried to find work without moving away from the area to get a job.  Not being flexible with regard to location is probably part of the reason I have not been able to find work.

I had expected to work full time after I graduated from ISU.  I did not have employment taxes taken out of my pay at ISU as a graduate assistant, since I needed the money then and figured I would make up the money later, after graduation, when I was working.  As a result, I am not on social security disability, since by the time I realized no one would hire me in the condition I was in, I no longer was eligible for the disability benefit under social security.  I did not have enough years of recent work to qualify for a disability benefit from Social Security.  I married in 1985 and, now, I am pretty much dependent on my husband for financial support, except that I inherited some money last year.  If I had not married, I probably would have found some work.

If, as is the mantra as the Pluto in Virgo generation starts to take over in positions of authority, hard work is the key to success, I should be successful. I worked very hard to put my life back together and get through school after my developing psychosis.  I certainly worked hard at Iowa State, even while quite ill.  I feel the system failed me.  If I am too ill to work, I should be on disability.  If I am well enough to work, I should be able to find work. I feel I have been denied the fruits of my labor. (Despite the current mantra, astrologically, work is a negative for for about one twelfth of the population, including me.)

A comment on tides:  Bill Moyer said on his show one night, talking about the economy, that the incoming tide lifts all boats.  Well, for the poor, the tide is the tide of a lake while for the very rich the tide is the tide of the Bay of Fundy.

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