Three and a Half Letters (I Need a Job)

The church is in a process of focussing its attention more closely on issues of wealth and poverty.  People are standing on the steps of the Cathedral and asking the question “what would Jesus do”.  This is the new song from Chickenfoot’s second album.  Sammy Hagar reads three and a half letters that were sent to his charitable foundation asking for help.  It has become the soundtrack of my life for the last two weeks.

I’m 37 years old
Married to my childhood sweetheart
Two beautiful girls, two and a half and four
Worked nine years at the plant where my father worked
And his father before him
I have a B.A. but laid off seven months ago
It’s been hard tough so many others
But I still believe
Can you help, brother?
Can you help?

I need a job
I need a job
I’m willing to work
But I need a job

I stand in the street
With a sign in my hand
But I need the work
I need a job, yeah

I just returned from Afghanistan
Spent four years in the military service
I’m 24, strong and I can’t find work in my hometown
I’m married with one beautiful son
Seven months old today
Never had a chance to buy a home
Can’t afford the apartment we’ve been living in
Moving in with Debbie’s parents, whose home is now in foreclosure
Can you help?

I need a job
I need a job
I’m willing to work
But I need a job

I stand in the street
With a sign in my hand
I’m willing to work
But I need a job

I’m sorry this letter is hand-written but I don’t have a computer
I don’t have access to one
I’m 51 years old
I lost my wife to breast cancer three years ago
Lost my job of 26 years one year later
I’m homeless with no one to turn to
I’ve been through a lot, bother
I heard you like to help people
Well, I need help

I need a job
I need a job
I’m willing to work
But I need a job

I stand in the street
With a sign in my hand
I’m willing to work
But I need a job

Got nothin’ left
Lost it all
Can I get back to zero
Zero, zero, zero, zero, zero
I need a job

Yeah, I need a job
I need a job

And the last letter said:
I’m nine years old and homeless.
F**k!

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5 Responses

  1. This is at the heart of this issue for me. Real stories about real life. These are things which should be front page news.

  2. Brother, I know this feeling. Sucks. Sucks the life out of your very soul.

    I’m one of the ‘lucky’ ones, if luck’s the word — and I guess it is, coz I see no reason why God would ‘bless’ me with a job when s/he doesn’t ‘bless’ everyone else the same way: I was in the right place at the right time when LST decided my number was up last year, the supermarket up the road just expanded and recruiting.

    I started out unemployed when I left college back in the ’80s, one of Thatcher’s casualties … 2 or was it 3 years, can’t rightly remember now, working as a volunteer boatman before eventually landing a job… wrote me a poem back then which I’m gonna post here if you don’t mind coz it seems to fit today too…

    One in three million parasitic statistic
    rejected by the human race,
    no use.
    Why carry on?
    There’s no future in living
    in the limits of time and space
    So I’m
    reaching beyond mankind’s imagination
    colliding with the Truth and Grace,
    meeting someone who says
    he knows
    where I’m going
    though I’ve never even seen his face…

    … and maybe, just maybe, that’s where the answer lies: in that encounter, beyond mankind’s imagination…

  3. Agreed – employment is what matters most in keeping a society functioning.

    Going to have to start checking the labels of what I buy in future more closely.

    The tennner in your pocket will do more than the vote in your ballot box.

  4. Phil – thanks for popping over and sharing. Great poem! Glad things eventually worked themselves out. The other day I shared a video of a TED talk that highlights inequality as the cause of division within society.

    Julz – good idea. Ethical buying is a key.

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