Report from Louisiana: Working two jobs

Posted: July 18, 2022 by Pat Austin in Uncategorized
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Photo by Yassine Khalfalli on Unsplash

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I am no economist and so would have poor skills in predicting where this incredible inflation will end, but man, it has got to end somewhere.

When I retired from teaching a year and a half ago, my pension was comfortable. Now? It doesn’t go nearly as far as it did then. That’s why when my church needed a part-time receptionist in the office, I took it on. I figured the extra money would ease the pain. And then, when they asked me to add another day and work four days a week, I agreed to that, too.  Picking up that extra four or five days a month looked good. Now I’m thinking I need to ramp up my paid writing sideline a bit and earn even more.

We just returned from a trip to Iowa where my husband’s family lives. From Louisiana, we usually spend about $200 to $250 in gas there and back each year. This year it was literally double, costing us right at $100 every time we filled up. On top of that, rising food prices are causing pain at the grocery store, too. Across the nation, more and more people are looking for supplemental income. According to the Washington Post, “the percentage of employed people working multiple jobs in the United States has steadily increased since March 2020 from 4 percent in April 2020 to 4.8 percent in June 2022…”.  That percentage seems somewhat low to me.

In Iowa, where we just spent a week, we were in the south-central region. I know there are very liberal pockets in Iowa, but there are plenty of conservatives, too, and we met a lot of them. I saw one lady in the grocery store wearing a t-shirt that said, “Buck Joe Fiden.” Uh, okay. I saw a lot of Trump flags, and I saw zero Biden signs although I know there are Biden supporters there.

The chatter I heard at baseball games, in the stores, and in the shops were all full of angst at the state of the economy. My husband’s family is a farming family with a generational farm. The cost of fuel to run tractors and trucks is just crippling and many farmers will not make it because of this. It is devastating in the Midwest.

Like I said, I’m not sure where all this will end up, or who will be left standing when it’s over, if it is ever over, but I, for one, am working double time to get debts paid off and sock something back before everything implodes. I have one friend, an older lady who has seen some things in her day, who is selling off assets and putting up cash. She is downsizing, selling off jewelry with no sentimental meaning, putting up cold cash whenever she can. “I’m scared,” she told me. “I’ve never seen it like this, and I’m scared.” She is not usually this reactive.

She’s not wrong.

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