Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU occupy?
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ATTENTION: Documentary filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart is looking to connect with people who have submitted their stories to We Are the 99 Percent. She would like to bring your stories to life in a new feature documentary film. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more and explore being interviewed on camera.
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Back in 1995, Information Technology jobs were the jobs of the future. I went into IT and worked for two different companies for a couple years each before starting my own consulting company.
I worked hard and my customers liked the quality of the service I provided. I had three employees at one point.
I felt like my employees were dependent on me for their livelihood. I was a “good boss”, I even offered health insurance benefits. Next to payroll itself, health insurance was my company’s biggest expense.
We went on like this for over 8 years. We weren’t rolling in dough, but we were getting by.
When the economy began to stiffen up, getting by turned into scraping by. I spent a good portion of my time chasing after customers to pay their bills. I began to experience minor health problems which my doctor advised me were stress related.
I had to get rid of one employee who was stabbing me in the back. A year or so later another employee left for greener pastures. I eventually had to let the last one go as I closed up shop.
Paying for employee benefits definitely contributed to the lackluster success of my business. If I had been more of a “bastard boss”, I’d probably have been ok.
I threw everything I had into my company figuring that when the business grew, I’d get it back.
I’m in my early 40’s now. I don’t own my own home or any other property for that matter. I don’t have any retirement savings. No IRAs. No 401k. I drive a 12 year old car. I incurred a ton of debt, much of which is penalty fees from when the company got behind in state taxes and worker’s compensation payments.
I have a public sector job now, which is a lot of frustrating work for a salary that barely covers my monthy expenses, and doesn’t leave me anything to do about my debt.
If I can manage to stay in this job for at least 20 years, I’ll be eligible to get something from the state pension system when I retire at 65, if the state pension system doesn’t go insolvent before then.
It takes me a few minutes every morning, when I look in the mirror, to talk myself out of the belief that I am a failure.
I know that there are other people who have even less than I do, and that makes me sad, sad for my country, sad for this world.
The Occupy movement gives me hope.
Hope for a future where financial might does not make moral right.
Where no one is “too big to fail”, and where we do hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, regardless of how much money they do or don’t have in their pockets.
My name is Jon
I am the 99%.
I wonder how much time the 1% really spend counting their lucky stars?