Vacant & 4 Sale

Originally uploaded by In Shaw

The blue/grey house is up for sale for about $370K. The house is a gut job, or 1/2 gut job as it has structural issues. Then again, whose house around here doesn’t have some sort of issue?
The city’s assessed value of the address is $357K. It was bought in 2002 for $110K. Similar styled houses on the block assess in the $400-500K range. So it is possible, I guess, to throw $150,000 at the house in repairs and get the value of the house, however I don’t think you’d be able to sell it in the $500K range , with the market being soft as a pillow and all.

Job Gentrification

My first Federal job was as a GS-5. I had a brand new shiny MA in History and I was a Museum Technician. Know what I did as a Museum Technician? Hung coats and told people where the bathroom was, and they were almost always down the stairs and to the left. Other duties included monitoring the exhibits, stuffing brochures into the hands of tourists at the information desk, and inform people in long lines of how to get through security. Occasionally, I would lead a tour, work on information sheets, and speak in pigeon German. But for most of what I did, did not require a graduate degree, or even a Bachelor’s. I had a gentrified job, low pay but high requirements.
Don’t get me wrong I appreciated the job. It was a foot in the wonderful world of the culture industry, Federal employment, and they paid to keep my language skills up. For several of my colleagues, also people with BAs, and MAs it was a stepping stone to other positions at the Museum, or in the Park Service. We had a fair amount of turnover, and I left after about 2 years to go to grad school again to get a degree I could eat with. At the same time a colleague left for a desired position along the C&O canal (Park Service).
But back to the job gentrification, something I have been thinking about as it applies to my college educated and unemployed cousins. Those low paying jobs that really don’t pay a lot and don’t really require anything more than a High School diploma to actually “do” the job. But like housing gentrification, where the price of housing goes up past the masses’ income levels, the job’s requirements go past the masses’ education levels.
I’m betting right now there is a bright young thing with a newly printed BA or MA in hand getting off the plane (or train) and heading to DC to make his or her mark. And that person will be competing with other degreed people for jobs worthy of their education, as well as those lower paying AdminAsst jobs competing with non-degreed people.
Can this possibly further plain old gentrification when the jobs that would help people afford the homes are basically only available to people with a doctorate in basket weaving?
The Council is planning on passing legislation to make sick leave a mandatory benefit. This will be great for persons already employed. However, I think it one of the several things that makes the city less competitive and will create fewer jobs that wouldn’t have had sick leave anyway. Also it will make jobs more valuable, too valuable to be wasted on the hard to employ crowd, thus increasing unemployment amongst the unskilled. Also it would encourage employers to seek alternative solutions to get tasks done, rather than hire another person (contract out, buy a machine, make people do more work, etc). We have seen this in our industrial sector, where people have been replaced by machines or production has been moved abroad, with in call centers in Manila or Mumbai.