Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

LeBron James extraordinarily gifted in being able to select where he works

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Given the hoops that millions of Americans are going through to try and get a job, it has been funny on some level to watch the courtship of LeBron James by several NBA teams. James had been invited to several cities — New York, Chicago, Miami, and his longtime team location — Cleveland.

And there were other cities who wanted James but couldn’t afford his services. Imagine a job prospect in 2010 being wined and dined, having people on the radio and around these cities hoping, wishing, and praying that he would come to work in their city.

Most job prospects also don’t get to announce their new job on ESPN, as LeBron James did yesterday, selecting New York/Chicago/Miami/Cleveland as his new home.

Money could have been part of the equation for James, but even the worst offer would have been more than what 99% of Americans make.

And people in real life are having to consider moving to other cities, but likely aren’t getting much help in relocating.

Yes, there is the free market philosophy that putting a basketball through a basket is a rare gift that people will want to come and watch. And James earns his money, not just on the court but off the court as well. Most of us could live off of the money he makes off the court.

People in non-athlete scenarios have great gifts too, but there are fewer places for them to show what they can do. They aren’t being wooed by multiple employers, much less one of them.

Their stories aren’t being debated on the radio; they are more worried about paying rent/mortgage on one place, not several.

The athletes aren’t worrying about their health insurance or security; whichever place James or the other NBA stars available for free agency picked — they would get enough money to live on for the rest of their lives.

People are begging for an opportunity to showcase what they can do, or what they might be able to do. But they don’t even have that chance.

But maybe the spirit of James rubbed off on one person. The New York Times, apparently not being able to find enough people who are really hurting in the job field, found a 24-year-old who turned down a $40,000 job in Boston:

Rather than waste early years in dead-end work, he reasoned, he would hold out for a corporate position that would draw on his college training and put him, as he sees it, on the bottom rungs of a career ladder.

People would line up from Chicago to Boston to have a chance at a $40,000 job, especially one that doesn’t involve significant physical labor or take an emotional toll.

The caption to the photo says:

“Scott Nicholson, 24, has not been able to find a job since he graduated from college in 2008.”

The photo caption should have read:

“Scott Nicholson, 24, found a job that paid $40,000 but decided it wasn’t worthwhile, and so he sits at home.”

Nicholson found a job; he just didn’t want it. For him, there was something “better.”

For millions, they would like to be as picky as James or Nicholson, but they have bills to pay and health insurance to get.

There is a significant threat that workers will feel undervalued over the next few years as their talents lay in waste since there is no outlet for their services. Sports teams have suffered because of declining attendance because people can’t afford to pay the often outrageous prices for the games. And James couldn’t make the kind of money he makes on the basketball court without the fine “donations” of the fans who support the sport.

Don’t worry about LeBron James; he’ll do just fine in Miami. And Scott Nicholson will figure something out. As for the rest of those who suffer from the giant unemployment cloud, hope they will find someone or something who will appreciate their talents. There just aren’t that many chances at the moment.


Written by democracysoup

July 9, 2010 at 8:06 am

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