Meet Lennie, his story is ours

I have been meaning to write this for awhile because it’s such a sad story. This is a true story of a friend of mine named Lennie. Lennie is his real name and everything I am about to say is true.

I met Lennie in 1992 through a mutual friend. Lennie was interested in me but at 40 he was too old for me (I was 21).However we realized we had mutual interests and became friends. One of his hobbies was collecting music, vinyl, CDs and some cassettes as was mine and his favorite music tended to be classic and alternative rock, just like mine. At the time he was living with his parents to save money for a condo and I was in college and we would go to record stores to buy music. He made good money working at a railroad foundry and between putting money aside for his condo he was going to buy in downtown Chicago on the lake he had additional money, which he loved to spend. He was big on going to dinner and he always paid, and always bought me gifts. He did this partly because he thought we would date but also because he loved spending money in general.

In 1994 he finally bought his condo and he was happy! He had me and a few friends over for a dinner (he also liked to cook)and show us around his new home. It was small as most condos are on the lake that a middle class person can afford. These condos are expensive and I found out that he paid more for his tiny one bedroom condo than many pay for houses in the suburbs but he wanted to live downtown. It was nice taking walks during the summer on the beach and being downtown during summer is Heaven on Earth.  Life was going good for Lennie and he even found a girlfriend. He was making great money and putting aside for retirement.

Then 1996 came and with it NAFTA. At first the railroad foundry started sending factory jobs to Mexico. Lennie wasn’t worried because he assumed his office job was safe because they couldn’t do that job in Mexico. A few years later his job was sent to Mexico as was the rest of the jobs. Lennie still wasn’t worried because he thought with his experience someone would be dying to hire him. At first he got a lot of interviews but most resulted in nothing. A few offered him jobs but they were low paying and wouldn’t pay his condo, let alone bills. I helped him write his resume because it was a mess but still nothing. He got a job selling cigarettes to stores but after a few months they fired him because he wasn’t selling as much as he was supposed to.

The jobs by now weren’t coming. He would often see that the person who got the job instead of him was an immigrant and he became very hateful towards immigrants. He would also see himself lose a job to a recent college grad. Lennie had two things against him: he was by now close to 50 and never finished college (he had three years of college). He looked into going back to school to become a chef but found they wouldn’t give him much money to do so and he didn’t want loans. By now he had gone through his severance and his unemployment dried up. He had to do the one thing he dreaded and that was sell his condo, the one he saved up for many years and including living with his parents to afford.

This bring me up to him now. ¬†After he sold his condo he moved back with his parents, who by then had moved about a half hour from the city. He ended up getting a job at the deli at Wal-Mart. His mom passed away not long after he moved back in (she had been suffering from cancer). His 81 year old dad, long retired had to go back to work and got a job as a bag boy at the local grocery store. I haven’t spoken to Lennie in a few months but last time I spoke to him he was still working there and HATED it. He was making considerably less than he has in years. We were chatting about the Clinton’s 3 million dollar wedding of Chelsea and he was visibly angry that a family could afford that, considering Clinton signed NAFTA. Lennie was a long time Democrat but now hates both parties and blames them both.

Lennie who is 61 shouldn’t have to work a job like this. He should be working a decent job and still have his condo. He should be looking forward to retirement but instead looks forward to still working.

11 thoughts on “Meet Lennie, his story is ours”

  1. I will bet you that the Clintons got most of those wedding whatevers as freebies. You know how it is: everybody wants to jump on the celeb bandwagon and say “Hey, our floral place provided the 6 different types of dianthesis! Weren’t they lovely?”

    I will bet you also Lenny never had a resume per se. He’s a blue collar worker. What does a person working in a foundry need to have a resume for, even if you had an office job? It probably wasn’t a typical office job…but you know how it is: every employer and their Uncle Steve wants ‘that piece of paper”.

    It just plain sucks. What we are witnessing is a metamorphosis in the job market structure. Every job we “knew” is no longer in existence or it’s going to a select few.

    Now you’re going to have to write your own ticket.

    1. He never needed a resume that is for sure. In fact he has no idea how to write one so I wrote one for him. Contrary to what employers seem to think about me now many years ago I knew how to write a resume. I forgot how he got the job but I think he got it from having experience in that.

      Very true, I wonder how much of Chelsea’s wedding was given by sponsors in return for saying so and so provided it. Many celebs get free wedding goodies because it is great publicity.

  2. There is a guy we know whose son was 2 years into an aerospace technology degree…and then the Cold War ended. That was the end of his major.

    The only people who ever needed a resume — and they called them CVs, in their case — were higher profession people: researchers, biologists, chemists or somebody else that was involved in a highly educated and technical capacity.

    Certain professions will not need one. And certain jobs are self explanatory: now they want a resume for nurses, allied health professionals, admins and others.

    You are a nurse or an admin or a teacher: now it’s a whole song and dance because all they want now is that “piece of paper.”

    There are people who become unemployed due to no fault of their own:

    The job market changes and your job becomes obsolete

    You relocated for a specific reason — your spouse or your SO or your family needed to move to another area due to a variety of reasons — and now you can’t find a job in your field, due to whatever reason.

    A highly unusual circumstance causes your unemployment: the Cold War is over, for example. And you did something that was related to the Cold War. Maybe it’s even something you cannot disclose to a potential employer!

    You developed a chronic illness and now after some time, you wish to pursue working again…but nothing is in the cards.

    Others I can name: your company closes without notice, you are a victim of “at will” employment or your field simply dries up and vanishes.

    There are too many Lennies out there. I still don’t get it: a job is a given, to everybody who “does” something. Now it’s a game of the odds — real Death Race 2000, Running Man or Hunger Games stuff. How in hell did all of us get into this kind of horrible mess?

    And there now is no guarantee you will be hired as a whatever-it-is-you-are-employed-as if the situation warrants that you get a new job in your field.

  3. Is it unreasonable to want to know where people worked previously? Hospitals might well want to avoid hiring the latest Donald Harvey, a nurse who is an “angel of death”, who is in prison for murdering a number of his patients.

    I did a couple of days of jury duty this week, and one of the things that surprised me was that people were unwilling to consider anything that wasn’t obvious or proven beyond any doubt, rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt” as the law requires. Because the door that the defendant was accused of damaging was not perfect before it was damaged by the defendant (the house was 50 years old), it didn’t matter to my fellow jurors that he had damaged it more. There is no level of proof that is adequate when people are going to decide based on what they think and feel rather than the evidence at hand. As far as I’m concerned, the law does not carve out a special bad behavior exception when one damages the property of family members.

    1. Donald Harvey, eh?

      How closely do they check the employment backgrounds of every single Filipino nurse, med tech, pharmacist and other allied health care employee that they import to work in OUR country and OUR hospitals???

      Maybe this person’s been fired repeatedly or got the worst grades in their college/school! yet they are bringing them over here in droves.

      These hospitals have to get an incentive and tax break to bring them here. WHy not let them have the same tax break and incentive to hire our own???

      1. Why is it that I suspect that the only background check that would satisfy you with respect to the Filipino nurses and techs is a background check that would prevent them from ever entering the country? Unforunately, our immigration policy favors family reunification, so if you can get one person here, you can get a whole chain of people into the country over a period of years.

        A substantial portion of people who are currently illegal immigrants entered the country legally, probably on a tourist or student visa, and simply overstayed their visa. If they managed to marry an American citizen in that time, they would be eligible for citizenship even though they were currently an illegal alien, provided that the deportation order had not yet been signed.

        Ther Phillippines used to be a U.S. territory. Prior to independence in 1946, Filipinos had status as U.S. nationals, which is different from being a citizen, though many of the same rights apply. I haven’t worked it through, but it seems that this would open the door for many Filipinos to emigrate. THe Phillippines passed a law about 10 years ago that would allow Filipino Americans to hold both U.S, and Phillipines citizenship. The latter is important if one wishes to buy property in the Phillippines for retirement.

        I would argue that background checks are less valuable than they once were because companies fear getting sued if they give adverse information about the ex-employee. THe only “background check” were there isn’t a liability issue is a criminal background check, and even there, there may be wrong information.

  4. I have no problem with them doing background checks but I once read a story where it stated employers were checking American workers but not visaed workers. I have read so many stories of people who came here who then committed a crime.

    1. Could confirmation bias be an issue for you? I know that I have problems with it. It seems to me that stories that have to do with minorities or immigrants get a lot more ink than white-collar crime. It is often instructive to read the police department’s daily bulletin if they make it available to the public. If they don’t, there is usually a column in the local paper that reports local crime.

      The amount of checking that an employee gets varies with the industry. I like to say that I have been fingerprinted more times than many criminals, although the last time that I had to be fingerprinted was 2003 or so. If you’re going to work in a meatpacking plant, which used to be a pretty good job, but is now low-wage, you might not get that close of a look if you look like you can do the work. As job conditions get better, employers are pickier because more people are willing to apply for the job.

      1. There have been MANY cases of a viased worker coming here then finding they were scum. I posted one such story in another thread where this viased computer worker was convicted of sexually assaulting women. In India I’m sure he got a slap on the wrist since they aren’t big on women’s right.s

        1. At least he got convicted, and wasn’t let off with one of those, “You have to take the culture into account” arguments as the jury deliberated. I went through that when I was on jury duty recently. Because I believe that the Constitution gives us equal protection under the law, I did the only responsible thing: I hung the jury. I don’t believe that family members can treat each other worse than they treat strangers, and they should be prosecuted as vigorously as if they did the things that they did to family members as to a stranger.

          Lots of people, regardless of race, are scum. My point was that you may pay closer attention to cases that involve immigrants than other groups. If John Smith rapes a woman, it doesn’t register with you the same way as if Kamalesh Singh commits the same crime.

          1. I fear as we get more non western immigrants there will be more “take the culture in consideration” bs. If they are in this country they obey OUR laws not their backwards ones where honor killings are allowed (many Muslim countries)or hatred of women.

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