Thursday, July 30, 2015

Halfway house

Jobbing blog: Lindsay Runyen, 23, a bartender and waitress who dreams of teaching history, describes Winnie's LeBus, a Manayunk bar and eatery, as a halfway house for people like her -- 20-somethings who are underemployed.

Halfway house


Lindsay Runyen, 23, a bartender and waitress who dreams of teaching history,  describes Winnie's LeBus, a Manayunk bar and eatery, as a halfway house for people like her -- 20 somethings who are under-employed.

There's an academic name for her situation: Paul Harrington, director of Drexel University's Center for Labor Markets and Policy, calls it mal-employment. You can read more about mal-employment in "Struggling for Work," our series about the millennial generation and their less-than-promising future. 

When I interviewed Lindsay a month or so ago, she described her co-workers:

There was Bernadette, a speech pathologist who doesn't have a job and Josh, "a great guy" who went to community college for music and would like to figure out how to get in a union so he could make more money and have a stable job. 

She talked about Tim, "a bartender, very intelligent, who works every crossword puzzle he encounters. He's halfway through college -- majored in chemistry. He could excel in everything, but he doesn't know what to do." There was Katie, a Catholic school teacher, who was worried about whether she'd keep her job if parochial schools closed, and Elaine, a teacher with a master's degree, who moved from Pittsburgh, but could only land sub jobs here.

Another off and on co-worker, Rob, she said, pokes fun at his college grad co-workers. A high school dropout, he doesn't have a GED. "He kids around," she said. "He says, `Look at us. You have a college degree, yet we're all in the same line of work."

Exactly. Lindsay has some interesting mixed emotions about her situation. But that's tomorrow's blog.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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