Friday, December 9, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Protester Gets a Job on Wall Street

Displaying its vast magnanimity, the firm is paying the new hire, a PhD in biomedical science, about minimum wage.

As soon as Occupy Wall Street began at Zuccotti Park on September 17, one of the first criticisms leveled at the protesters was, If you got a job offer from a big Wall Street firm you’d give up the protest, sell out and accept it in heartbeat.

The criticism misunderstood the point of the protests: the point wasn’t to tear down the system and destroy opportunities and jobs—it was a plea to create more opportunities and jobs for more people. Protesters didn’t want to be unemployed anarchists, they wanted the middle class to return to prosperity.

Nonetheless, there was bound to be at least one story of an Occupy Wall Street protester “selling out” and taking a job on Wall Street. Today that story finally comes via an exclusive from the New York Post.

In what seems like a bit of media opportunism the firm John Thomas Financial Brokerage hired Tracy Postert off the street when Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst, passed her on the sidewalk as she was protesting. Postert was holding a sign that read “Ph.D. Biomedical Scientist seeking full time employment. Ask me for my resume.”

Kaufman did, and was able to hire the the PhD for about minimum wage. Before protesting at Zuccotti park, Postert says, ““I had been unemployed for so long, I thought why not?” The Post notes that though her starting salary is “near minimum wage…in time, she can earn a cool six figures.” It goes on to describe this as “a dream job.”

This story proves the protesters’ point. Most young people graduate from Bachelors degree programs owing tens of thousands in student loan debt. To accrue the kind of debt most people require to complete a PhD, and then emerge from that program to score a near-minium wage job with the hope of one day earning $100,000 does not exactly sound like “a dream job.” In fact, it sounds terrible. Sure, it’s better than having no job at all, but that’s the point of the protests—the economic landscape has deteriorated such that PhDs are accepting near minimum wage starting salaries.

That doesn’t sound like the American dream to most of us. The protests have always been a rallying call to restore that dream.

The firm’s CEO Thomas Belesis said “She was ranting about Wall Street, and now she’s working on Wall Street. Banks are not so bad. I hope we have opened her eyes.”

If this doesn’t exemplify the arrogant condescension exhibited by the banks, I don’t know what does. Our eyes are open, Mr. Belesis, but no thanks to you. You are not our savior, and your minimum wage offer is not our salvation. That is what Occupy Wall Street has always been about.


Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More