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Run for the Unemployed

Washington wants to talk about deficit reduction, bond vigilantes and runaway inflation.  Yes, let’s just scare everyone into thinking that the money is all going to run out and interest rates are going to soar.  So far, no indication that that’s true.

But what *is* true is that 9% of us are out of work and looking for jobs.  And I’m not just talking high school dropouts.  I went to an all day session yesterday at Rutgers for people in the pharma/biotech industry who have lost their jobs.  The crazy suggestions I heard yesterday might make a surreal chapter in an even more surreal book.  (one not so crazy suggestion is that if you want to start your own biotech with state aid, one of your best bets is Minnesota.  Who knew?)  The lunatics have definitely taken over the asylum.  But that’s for another post.

This post is about making us more visible.  It does us no good to sit behind our doors in our middle class suburbs where no one can see us. That’s what the masters of the universe would like.  If no one can see us, we’ll just go away.

I think we should flaunt our unemployment.  Not only should we flaunt it, we should run around outside wearing T-shirts that announce our employment status and what our professions are.  If anyone has ideas for a design that we can get made in a union shop, post them in the comments.

I’m also proposing that we plan a running event to coincide with Labor Day.  That’s right about when the presidential race will begin in earnest.  Let’s make sure they see us.

OK, here are some basic guidelines:

1.) Wear whatever footgear you want. I wear Nikes.  Yes, I know they are made in sweatshops in Asia.  But my Nike shoes, engineered for mild overpronation save me from days of pain.  I can’t run in any other brand of running shoe and believe me, I have tried many.  If you have a problem with Nike, don’t wear them.  I am not enduring shin splints to satisfy your purity. Let’s all just keep our eyes on our own running shoes, ok?  Other than that, wear clothing appropriate for the exercise. It should be comfortable, have some stretch and not be too loose.  Batten down those boobs, ladies.  Although genetics have more to do with whether you’ll sag or not, it’s just not comfy to have the girls slapping you in the face while you bounce along.

2.) Run with other people.  I propose that we find a running group meetup tool that will allow unemployed runners to meetup and run together during the remaining spring and into the summer.  Maybe we can pick a time when our visibility would be at its highest.  Rush hour?  Or we can pick places that would generate the most consternation in the observers. I’m open to suggestions.

3.) If you can run, run.  If you can’t run, walk.  If you can’t walk, roll.  You decide what level of physical activity is right for you.  Consult a physician first.  I just had a physical complete with EKG, BP and full blood work and I’m in excellent physical condition so there’s no excuse for me.  But if you don’t know what your stress level is, make an appointment with your doctor first or just walk.

4.) Get some good music on your ipod.  It will make the time go faster and your run easier, especially at the beginning.  I suck as a runner. In fact, it is one of my least favorite activities.  But music makes it all bearable and over time, I *do* get better.  I try to pick music that has a propelling rhythm and that matches my heel strike.  The first song starts pretty slowly but usually has a “kick” to it.  I put the songs in order of intensity so that by the time I get to My Big 10 Inch (Record), I’m cruising at my peak speed (which for a beginner is not that fast).  After that, the songs ease up a bit and I finish with a slow song to come down from a run to a walk.  Before I run, I do some calf stretches and lunges just to loosen things up a bit.  When I’m finished, I do a stretch routine usually on the floor of my nice cool basement.

Here’s my run playlist.  Feel free to make it yours:

1.) Amazing Grace- Laura Love (warm up)

2.) Jessica- Allman Brothers

3.) Raise Your Glass- The Warblers (Glee)

4.) Welcome to the Future – Brad Paisley

5.) Iko Iko – The Belle Stars

6.) My Big 10 Inch Record – Aerosmith

7.) Love Today- Mika

8.) All These Things That I’ve Done- The Killers

9.)Let the River Run- Carly Simon

10.) River of Dreams- Billy Joel

11.) Run – George Strait (cool down)

12.) Volcano- Jimmy Buffet (post run stretch)

Ok, all you unemployed, are you ready for this?

Let’s move.

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22 Responses

  1. Great idea. just a few thoughts off the top of my head: labeling the event a “run” might deter walkers who may not know that walking is acceptable during a “run”. Secondly, Labor Day around here, tends to be kinda hot, so running might be only for the most hardy. Third, most people see Labor Day weekend (the whole weekend) as the end of summer hurrah, so might not be the ideal time to attract the most participants; although I understand the symbolism of Labor Day.

    • Hmmm, well, running in the winter tends to be too cold. I live in NJ and you’ve probably noticed what a cold, rainy miserable spring we have had. There’s probably no day that is ideal. I prefer to go for the visible impact.
      “Physical Event for the Unemployed” doesn’t have the same punch as “Run for the Unemployed”. I have noted in the guidelines that running is not required if you can’t do it. Rather than focussing all of our attention on the Labor Day event, I’d prefer it if we could keep the focus on getting unemployed people out of their houses and onto the streets, with T-Shirts, all during the spring-summer season.
      The idea is to make sure the rest of the country knows who we are and that they can see we are not the stereotypical overweight, bad dye job blond who lost their job 3 years ago. That image does not engender a sense of urgency in the viewer. Most of us don’t fit that mold anyway. We need visibility so, let’s think of ways to get people to meetup and run (or walk) together in the open.

      • I understand and I think it’s a good idea. I also like the Labor Day symbolism but maybe it should be that Saturday or Sunday; as you say, there is no ideal date; winter is a non-starter. I’m just giving my initial reaction; assuming you’re not being facetious and this is something you want to be seriously considered.

        We need to do something soon. We (the unemployed)are invisible to those who still have jobs. Speaking for myself, I’ve done everything to keep up a semblance of normalcy; but things are really tough.

        • Yes, I am serious. After yesterday, my amusement with the ironic and absurd just hit a breaking point. It seems like the business world wants to turn everyone into MBA’s running their own high risk business venture whether they are suited for it or not. I’m a big believer in “adapt or die” but this shit’s gotta stop.

  2. Maybe we should start a line of tee-shirts with appropriate logos?

    • Yes! I am not an artist. We need arty people to tell us what will work.

    • Tee-shirts are great. But I think some sort of group event be it a walk, run, samba, whatever designed for impact and coverage to attach faces to the numbers is what RD is envisioning.

      • Ooo, I would LOVE Zumba for the Unemployed. But you know, that kind of exercise can burn up to 1000 calories per hour and can be more strenuous than running.

  3. I think we should flaunt our unemployment. Not only should we flaunt it, we should run around outside wearing T-shirts that announce our employment status and what our professions are. If anyone has ideas for a design that we can get made in a union shop, post them in the comments.

    I don’t think it needs to be really arty. A tasteful font and a good sloggan.

    • Front: Announce how it happened to you, such as…
      Budget Balanced
      Restructured
      Pfizered
      Back: Announce your status
      Unemployed- Structural Biologist
      Furloughed- NJTransit worker
      Laid Off: English Teacher

  4. great idea..:)

  5. How about turning it around with a slogan like “Run for a Job”, or “Move for a Job”. That way, bystanders will get the picture of just how many people are actively looking for work.

  6. … or just “actively looking for work!” That covers all physical activities.

  7. How bout: “Lucky me I KNOW someone who still has a job! Oh wait…never mind.”

    • It’s amazing how many people I know who have been laid off. Just about all of them. And I don’t really know how they made the cut. If we wanted to save the most motivated, most passionate for the science, well, we didn’t save those people. Oh, sure, I know a lot of good people who were retained. But an awful lot of the deadwood was retained as well. It all came down to who you knew and how loyal you were to them.

  8. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!!!!!!

  9. How about simply a circle with: AAOW in it and the cirlce is made up of Another American Out of Work around it – on the back I’m educated, energetic, able bodied and want to work.

  10. How about a 4th of July run/walk as well as Labor Day? Many cities have 4th of July parades; a good size group of people walking in a local parade would make quite a statement on unemployment in the US.

  11. Well those children making the Nikes are in a dry and probably heated place. Before that they were up to their waists in water with water buffalo planting rice.

    All is relative. I saw them out the train window while inside my train the money changers were counting wads of money on their way,

  12. I really like this run idea. The govt is playing with lit matches and gasoline.

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