Economic Anxiety is Existential Dread

For as long as I could remember, my dad worked in radio and my mom stayed at home with their four kids. We had as comfortable a life as can be had living paycheck to paycheck on the bottom end of the middle class spectrum. Neither of them had college degrees. Our trajectory out of the lower middle class had a razor-thin margin for error.

Dad had a real talent for radio. He was good on the air and good at managing the day-to-day operations of a station. He took a middling adult contemporary station in central Illinois, changed formats, and turned it into the area’s most popular station.

When I was a teenager and my dad was around 50, he lost his job at the station. The details aren’t important, but there weren’t jobs for him in radio any more. He bounced around. He sold siding. He was the manager of a dollar store a hundred miles away that he commuted to every morning. But those were jobs, not careers, and he was an old dog desperately trying to learn new tricks.

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