The economy is bad. Jobs are in short supply. Times are tough. So, what is it really like for those job hunting? I looked into it a bit (an experiment for this blog) and what I saw was terrifying. There is a war on the jobless. They are being put into camps. It doesn’t look good.

Answers were once within walking distance. The unemployment office used to be centrally located within the nearby town. The town is a little factory town within a valley shape. The sun doesn’t spend too much time here and the water is bad. It is the type of place where people pawn first and ask questions later. Nothing is off limits when cash is short; because people will pay money for just about anything. There is public transportation, so people don’t give a second thought to selling their one vehicle (which is usually junk).

It starts with isolation. The buses have shortened their routes and hours. The costs certainly haven’t gotten any cheaper for these buses that have cut all programs for free rides (even to schools, unless you are taking a school bus). This wouldn’t be a problem normally, yet it is now. The unemployment office is no longer located within the city limits. It is certainly no longer within walking distance, as you will get arrested if caught walking the highway. Those most in need of a job can no longer get to the unemployment office at all. The men’s shelter has been closed and once you run out of unemployment you are no longer counted in the statistics of unemployed citizens. You disappear from public awareness.

Rounding up the undesirables. Where do these unemployed ghosts disappear to? It is a camp where the undesirables are kept. I will get to that later. First the road to the camp and its mazelike form. The area where the unemployment office is hidden is an abandoned airbase. It has a working airport and much of the rest is buildings in absolute ruin. Tall corn hides the street signs and makes navigation near impossible. Each building (that houses an actual business) is full of angry elderly people, more than willing to scowl when you enter and mumble in angry tones as you leave after asking where the unemployment office is.

At the corpse’ foot. Before finding my destination I stumbled across a labor camp. In high school I had heard of the “Job Corps”. I was told it was a place for people from high school to college age who came from poor families, had little work skill, and trouble finding jobs. It sounded like some sort of charity, you know the kind that might actually try to do some good. In recent years I have seen bus loads (when the buses still picked them up), and now van loads (the creepy Job Corp vehicles) of these things get dropped off at stores. They all look zombie like and devoid of any human nature, or concept of joy. They always seem distracted and nervous, as if in great fear and being watched. I’ve been told that its members are now forced to live on a Job Corp base and eat their food and live by their schedule and are allowed almost no contact with the outside world and very few personal belongings.

A harsh truth, in a country only free on paper and not in reality. The building I came to, or rather the military compound with fences and razor wire, was the last building I found before the unemployment office. It had a guard house and no entrance road (that I could find), so I walked up to the guard house on foot. The windows were very tinted and I could not at first see the men inside. When I pressed up against the glass, to see whom was on the other side, I saw a guard take a defensive stance and move his hand to his hip.

A tense negotiation. I realized the man was putting his hand on a gun. I took a step back, as calmly as I could. Taking on a polite tone I explained that I had trouble seeing him in the building. He gave me an “I know and we like it that way” look as if I was some kind of enemy soldier. He stood in a way meant to intimidate and looked down on me as if I was something below him. When I was asking questions he gave me annoyed looks and when he was answering he gave me a look as if I were some child that shouldn’t be there (child may not be the right word, it was a sort of condescending look that made me feel humiliated). He was very rude and gave very little info. It was clear that either I was not welcome, or he had no love for the things in the camp and thought I might be no better than one. The place had many strange locks and fences and gates. It was set up to keep people in. Eventually he pointed me to the building across the road.

The hidden fortress sits within a larger fortress. Its guard a master of lies and misdirection. The building was labeled as part of the campus of the local community college. A college I had the misfortune of having fallen into its sticky web in the past and I am still not yet free. Through the front door there was a desk and the most angry looking elderly woman I had met yet. She snapped at me in an angry I-can’t-be-bothered-with-the-likes-of-you-tone, “Who are you, why are you here, have you ever been or are currently a student with {Insert college name}?” I replied “I am looking for the unemployment office.” Getting angered at my simple request she replied “Do you currently owe {insert college name} any money?” I looked around for any sign of an unemployment office and only saw signs for the college in all directions. She became very angered and said, “I asked if you are currently a student or owe them any money?” I began to again politely mention “I am looking for the…” She interrupted,”I need to know your name and information to check the college records, give me your name and social security number!” A woman came out of a door from behind her and started talking to her. The old woman’s face changed into a friendly face as she looked away from me and took up the conversation.

Tricking hells guard. It occurred to me that if I became annoying she would point me away in an attempt to concentrate on the conversation, or yell at me. I took the chance. I kept asking where is the unemployment office like a child after attention. She pointed, and I ran in that direction. The running caught the attention of a friendly looking Latin American woman. She politely asked, with a smile “excuse me, do you need any help?”

The treasure had already been looted and the journey was in vein. I explained that I was looking for the unemployment office. She explained that I had found it. I looked around and saw only stuff for the college. I shrugged my shoulders and decided to request the info I was curious about and that had caused this experimental journey for the blog. While it was printing I asked why they had combined with the local college and if the college was allowed access to any of the personal info that was in the unemployment office. She didn’t answer the former and went for the later with a reassuring “they aren’t allowed into any of that info.” The print out I got showed the complete opposite and made it clear that the college had accessed my personal info and changed and erased much of it in a manner almost exactly the same as they had done to my info when I was an attending student. I smiled at the woman and said “thank you.” The info she had given me had been so altered that it would in no way ever help someone get a job (making this experiment all the more scary as this means people in desperate need of a job who had also attended the local college would be in a very bad position). As I walked out she suggested that I sign up at the Job Corps, a chill ran up my spine and I ran from the building.

The job market is not a job market. It is a slave market or a torture for those the world would rather be without. This was once a land of golden opportunity and now the Good ‘ol USA isn’t even a remote shell of its former self. I am done with this country. There is nothing here for anyone with their soul intact. As soon as I can get out for good I am gone from this scary place. The pride of Americans is gone. No longer do we help each other and value equality. Most rights are given up without a second thought all for simple convenience. I no longer think this country can return to its former glory as the greatest nation on earth. I don’t wish it any harm, I simply wish to get far away. I have seen a slight glimpse of where this country is headed and it is not a meal I can swallow.