Last week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned of dire consequences if Washington, D.C. didn’t get its act together and come up with a realistic plan to create jobs for the millions of unemployed Americans. With an uncertain future surrounding the American Jobs Act and more college graduates joining the ranks of the jobless, Bloomberg warns of the absolute worst scenario.
"We have a lot of kids graduating college, can't find jobs," Bloomberg told the masses who listen to his weekly WOR radio show. "That's what happened in Cairo. That's what happened in Madrid. You don't want those kinds of riots here." If they weren’t thinking riot now, the statement sure put the idea in their head. Luckily, New Yorkers went a safer route to have their voices heard.
Instead of looting stores and creating a criminal disturbance, over 1,000 protestors made their way to the Financial District last Friday and into the weekend to demand that big banks stop their greed and do more to help the economy. The protestors organized what turned out to be a very peaceful demonstration through such social media outlets as Facebook and Twitter. While police ended up blocking protestors from Wall Street, the band of peaceful demonstrators had their voices heard, carrying colorful signs, like Make Jobs Not War. With further protests planned, the ongoing effort to shame Wall Street is receiving an ample amount of news coverage and even has a Twitter tag - #OccupyWallStreet.
Peaceful demonstrations are great, but the New York Daily News reported that two protesters, who had their faces hidden by bandannas, were arrested when they tried to enter a building on Broadway and Liberty Street. The building houses Bank of America, which presents a problem. How long before peaceful becomes violent? Riots, like the kind Bloomberg warns of, do not get a message across. Instead, they exacerbate the problem. Here are reasons, if you really needed them (and I am afraid some people might) why you shouldn’t riot in the name of the economy:
Rioting actually hurts the economy. As crazy as this might sound, rioting because you want to see the economy get better, actually has the exact opposite effect. There are no networking opportunities when looting with complete strangers and the damage done is damage done to the economy. The British Chamber of Commerce stated that the riots in London and nearby cities had a significant impact on their already struggling economy with 1 in 10 retail and leisure firms being affected. Businesses closed earlier out of warranted fear. Let’s break it down further – if a company’s windows are smashed in and they need repair or a store loses inventory due to looting, they have to find ways to recoup their losses. Guess who won’t be hiring anytime soon? Now think exponentially. Yes, that’s a lot of companies not hiring. With even less jobs, there is less consumer spending and thus a domino effect. Unemployment will actually get worse.
It’s harder to get a job when you are arrested. Companies perform background checks. If you’ve been arrested for rioting, chances are you won’t be getting the job no matter how good your resume might be. You might ace the interview and think you have the job in the bag, but that rock you smashed through a window just came back to haunt you. Of course, The New York Public Library offers Connections and the Job Search, an annual guide and directory of resources in NYC available to help former inmates when they are leaving correctional facilities, so there’s always that.
It’s tough to be taken seriously during a job interview with a shiner. Riots, by their very nature, tend to get very violent. Participating in one can result in physical harm and hinder your job search capabilities. A potential applicant won’t look good with a black eye. How to answer a job interview question like, “How did you get that black eye,” wasn’t covered in any of our previous blogs and shouldn’t be. Breaking an arm makes searching for a job online that much more difficult. “When can you start?” “Well, I have to wait until I get my leg out of a cast.” Nope, that doesn’t help either.
You might find this blog a little sarcastic and you would be right. The idea that riots would take place in New York is very believable. Sometimes, desperate people do desperate things, but if people realized how much worse things could get as a result of such actions, they might think twice. Continue those peaceful protests. You catch more bees with honey. Maybe you can shame Wall Street into doing something to support the unemployed. Probably not, but it’s worth the shot.
--Jon Minners, Vault.com
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