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MacDonald 1 Final Draft: Essay #2 The Struggles of the Middle-Class Working Man At three in the morning, the alarm

on John MacDonalds side table begins ringing. For the next hour, he silently moves about the dark house before heading out into the dark to drive an hour to work. Almost at the same time, his next door neighbor, Rich Lukasik, runs on the same schedule. They used to have solid nine-to-five careers with ample benefits and security, but the changing economy, increase in lay-offs, and unemployment changed their way of life. Although this changing economy versus a given profession and major was predicted by Carnivale, he fails to look deep into the social aspect of working and unemployment. While these two men were slighted by the failing economy, the way they self-identify and make a living follow more in the footsteps of Sennates ideology. The unfortunate occurrence of losing one long-term job for no long term (315) in the modern workplace not only affected their identity, but the relationships they carry. Their new hybrid of Rico-Enrico lifestyle is something they did not think they would have experienced when they first started working twenty-five years ago. Their journeys are a warning to this generation of high school and college students to alter their work ethic so they can succeed in the modern workplace. Growing up, John MacDonald, one of ten children, knew he always had to work hard to be his version of a success in the future. He hoped to one day provide for his family and secure their future. This parallels Enrico in Sennates passage of No Long Term: New Work and the Corrosion of Character. In it, Sennate, on Enricos work, said, His work had one single and durable purpose, the service of his family (307). After high school, which proved to be a bit of a struggle, MacDonald continued onto Boston College where he studied Business Marketing. This was in the hopes he would get a job in some sort of large retail company. Ultimately, it

MacDonald 2 would set him up for his first job as manager of the construction and set up of the Boston University Bookstore. It was something, he remembers when reminiscing on his experience, I was building a bookstore for my alma maters biggest competition! However, he does not look back on this as his best job experience. This title would go to a more recent job that he had for about ten years, between 1999 and 2009. This was being, what he called the puma of Variety Accessories in Jersey City. This job provided him with one of the best salaries he had ever made, upward toward $100,000 a year. This long term (312) stability could be related to Enricos lifestyle, as illustrated by Sennate when he says, Enrico had spent twenty years by the time we first met cleaning toilets Both MacDonald and Enrico had strong work ethics so as to provide for their family, but also to keep their family happy and stable. Unfortunately, MacDonalds long term Enrico-like work style would soon change. In late 2009, he was laid off because he was making more money than the company could afford at the moment. For the next four years, he would struggle to find a steady job, jumping from one part-time to the next. About this, he states, Its difficult to find a job at my age, MacDonald is 56, because Im not as young as I used to be and wont be around as long as a twenty-five year old. Also during this time, the stress affected him and he was always tired and did not speak much. This is more like Ricos situation in the fact that Sennate says, The flexible behavior which has brought him success is weakening his own character in ways for which there exists no practical remedy (315). There is one fault with this description when it comes to the comparison between MacDonald and Enrico though. That is when MacDonald received a stable job that he has had for the past two years.

MacDonald 3 Although it does not pay nearly half of what he was making, the sense of security that comes with knowing he will have a job for the next few months is, in his words, reassuring. He now works on the receiving end of the Fairway Supermarkets, which are now expanding all over the New Jersey and New York area. He feels more empowered these days than the past four years. They were a struggle, but they made me the person I am now. I worked hard and never gave up when times were difficult, and now I know that it has somehow paid off. A similar occurrence happened to Rich Lukasik, MacDonalds next door neighbor of 65 years. This husband, father, and grandfather owned his own business selling tires, but when the economy turned, the business began to suffer. No one wanted to buy tires. They were saving money for more important products and services like food and heat, Lukasik said during his interview. It began to get difficult to keep up with bills, and his dreams of keeping his tire business open began to fade. I became very depressed. All I wanted was to support my family, but I could not do this if I continued to struggle with my business. This statement is very reflective of Enrico if he were living Ricos lifestyle. A man who knew the long-term work lifestyle of Enrico was now forced to suffer the no long-term like Rico. Soon, Lukasik had to give up his business and start working for a car company as a salesman. It is difficult, but now I have an opportunity to support my wife, children, and grandchildren, and thats all I ever wanted to do, he reflects on the topic, just like Enrico would if he were in that situation. Both of these men hold true to the same ideology as Sennate, and only to the economic standpoint of Carnivales argument. While Carnivale only speaks of how a changing economy affects how a major or profession will do, Sennate covers more of what a real world situation is like. He brings in family, effort, personality, and character. MacDonald, who upon hearing about both authors argument, read each passage and had this to say:

MacDonald 4 Sennate understands more about socioeconomic aspects of unemployment and the workplace. Carnivale only cares about statistics. Not that this is a bad thing, its just that if you want to understand how unemployment affects a real person in the workplace, you have to understand the inner workings of how they feel. It may vary person to person, but ultimately, each has the same sort of baseline feeling. MacDonald makes a strong argument about the differences of the two authors themes. He is able to answer the question of how well a person can be analyzed through statistics, which according to him, is not very well. Their stories, if viewed from a college students perspective, provide a cautionary tale. This is due to the fact that they accomplished what we all strive to do: graduate and get a job in our field. However, you cannot always rely on this. Because of the constant changes, we have to be careful and prepared with a back-up plan. Past generations probably never thought the job market would become this unstable and had to quickly work to recover from any setbacks. What we must do is learn from their experiences and plan ahead for any roadblocks we come across. This will prove to be difficult in some aspects, but the people in the workforce today are showing that if there is enough determination, it can be accomplished. Both MacDonald and Lukasik suffered through a very difficult time in the workplace. In Sennates work No Long Term, he almost correctly describes the hardship of working a stable job and a no long-term work lifestyle. In their life, their families were the most important to them, and all they wanted was to be a service to them. When they were going through a difficult time as the economy was sinking, they found it difficult to keep their heads up, but they

MacDonald 5 persevered through the hardships. They are now recovering from the downturn and are working to survive in a new way. Just like Rico and Enrico, MacDonald and Lukasik worked with what they were given and gave a deeper meaning to the statistics Carnivale threw out. What needs to be understood by viewing their trials and tribulations is that nothing is set in stone. The economy and job market are a process, therefore it is constantly changing. To be a success, certain mind sets have to be acquired. Creativity, openness, engagement, and flexibility are just some of the qualities needed to adapt to the lifestyle that is bearing down on the present generations. MacDonald and Lukasik ability to bounce back and now share their experiences help to inform high school and college students that no-long term (315) is how the modern workplace now functions.

Work Cited Writing and Reading across the Curriculum. 12th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2013. 413+. Print. Lukasik, Rich. College Paper. E-mail. Wayne, NJ. 30 September 2013. Interview. MacDonald, John. College Paper. Phone call. Wayne, NJ. 30 September 2013. Interview.

Interview Questions 1. What was your level of schooling and/or major? 2. What was your first job? 3. What was your range of salary in your first job? 4. What was, what you consider, your best job?

MacDonald 6 5. When were you laid-off? 6. How long were you unemployed? 7. What is your job currently? 8. What is the range of salary in this job? 9. What are your overall feelings about this job?