Class Matters – What job insecurity does to our kids

Source: Allison J. Pugh, New Republic, May 17, 2015

…. Inequality extends to how parents respond to the new economy. In the new ways of organizing work, people expect job insecurity. But the impact of the new precariousness is radically different for the top and the bottom of our economy. Workers with more education are less likely to lose their jobs than those with less education, and when they do lose their jobs, they are less likely to endure a pay cut when they get a new one. Insecurity feels more like flexibility among advantaged workers, and more like abandonment among low-income or marginalized workers.

These differences find their way into what we might consider today’s “insecurity parenting.” Both groups say they want their children to be flexible, but not all flexibility is the same. Affluent parents want their children to be able to take advantage of all the opportunities that may come their way. ….Low-income workers also talk about flexibility for their children both at work and at home, but the way they talk about it suggests a very different world, with very different prospects for their children. For them, it seems, flexibility is less a means of preparing children to vault into opportunity, than it is a kind of armor children can don against imminent disaster. …..