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.