A flight to safety

Would you take less money in exchange for a guarantee you’ll have a job? How much?

Those are questions that many American workers are facing and answering “yes” and “plenty,” according to the New York Times.

America is on the hunt for a secure job.

Profiling workers in Wisconsin, the Times reports, for example, that people who’ve worked in a paper mill, are now training to be truckers and welders — two jobs thought to be relatively safe. In many cases, they’re not trying to replace lost wages. Behold, the declining standard of living!


“Two of my classmates just this week applied at a trucking company advertising for tractor-trailer drivers,” Mr. Geneen said. “They were hired on the spot and told to report for work on Feb. 1. They didn’t even meet with the personnel people.”

Mr. Geneen says he plans to drive a truck, preferably within Wisconsin. But with his wife, Kathy, earning $40,000 a year as a certified public accountant and with enough severance from his mill job to help care the family for a while, Mr. Geneen has enrolled in a yearlong course to qualify as a welder. It is another occupation chronically short of qualified people, even in a recession. At $40,000 a year or so, welders’ work would not match his old pay but would provide a backup plan for the future.

Which brings up another question. Can people afford to train for new jobs if they don’t have a working spouse making $40,000 a year and a fat severance package to help bankroll it?