quit telling the poor to get a job

Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Our town is in a mess.

It’s the poor. The poor are everywhere.

There’s also a church on every corner.

Anyone else live here?

So, how about this? How about we try to clean up all the riff-raff with some laws? How about we under-represent the poor in our spheres of decision-making, close the double doors hiding large, heavy tables surrounded by The Important, and get rid of poverty once and for all? “I know, let’s make poverty illegal!”

How many important decisions that impact the hungry are being made by people who have never been hungry?

The last time I checked, a good way to explore solutions was to check in with the people closest to the issue.

Companies run by exceptional leaders know this. They go to the place where the shit hits the fan. They don’t just listen to other leaders; they listen to the team. Bright, informed, intelligent workers are all over the company. Find them. They have relevant information and collaborating with them will create stronger solutions.

Which takes me back to the poor. What is wrong with being poor? Is it that people lacking homes exist, or that we have to look at them?

Do we not want another human being to remind us of need? Are we so uncomfortable with feeling uncomfortable, we’re willing to sacrifice solutions for short cuts that solve nothing?

Let’s see…what’s not working? How about we start asking some better questions? How about we start getting some information from the ones closest to the streets?


Some of these laws make it practically illegal to be poor.

I guess it won’t be illegal to be poor and die, but where could one even go to die? It’s probably illegal to die in front of a business, if you’re poor and have no place to sleep. I know you can’t die in your car unless it’s operational. No dying in a broken or out of gas car. Can’t sleep there either. Must get out of the car, and hit the streets. Keep Moving.

And while you’re unshowered, without hope, sleep-deprived, your mouth aches, your whole body aches, you are completely alone and misunderstood, you have no address and no resources, for heaven’s sake: get a job.

Anyone know how difficult it can be to get a job when you can email fifteen resumes a day, you have a master’s degree, and you shower regularly?

Everyone wants the homeless to get a job, and many of the places that hire the homeless are shit. I don’t know which is worse: the treatment of the poor working day labor or trying to find a place to sleep.

I guess the mindset is that these guys are dispensable. If they don’t like the boss’ verbal abuse, they can easily be replaced. I suppose they can. By someone else who’s a little more comfortable with abuse.


How about we quit telling the poor to get a job?

They do, they get them, they get kicked in the face, or told to work a shift after the busses stop running and they have to walk three hours to get home, or it takes them half a day to visit the doctor and their job is gone.

They get jobs. They get so many fucking jobs it would blow your mind.

And then, the system really kicks in for someone with a record.  When a truly good job comes along, their parole officer won’t change their appointment, so they have to leave work every Wednesday afternoon at 1 pm to show up for an appointment, and the parole officer isn’t on time, and it takes longer than it should, and the bus system is so broken, and you’re back at work by 4 pm, and you just lost the best job you’ve had all year.

Being poor is like trying to live your life in the dark. Everyone else can pick out their clothes, grab their bags, run out the door, all while using a very important sense: sight. But living life with few resources and connections, it’s like trying to get ready for the day in total darkness.

It can take twenty minutes just to find your fucking shoe.




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