Occupy to office

Tracy Postert holds her sign indoors

Tracy Postert’s protests with Occupy Wall Street led rather directly to a job inside nearby.  Ms. Postert, a biochemist with a Ph.D., had suffered bouts of unemployment over the years, and had a hard time finding another job in science.  Her frustration in job-hunting, according to the CNN story, led to her decision to join the Occupation.  (Thanks to Julie Song for the reference.)

Ms. Postert says that she moved her job search to Zuccotti Park in response to taunts from opponents of the Occupation, who cracked that the Occupiers would do better to find work rather than protest.  She handed out resumes to passersby.  As the job search manuals suggest, she used every opportunity to network.

It might lead to a job, but it was good politics nonetheless.  Hardworking young women with science doctorates should be employable.  Her resume was a job search, but it was also an indictment.

Wayne Kaufman, a market analyst, took a resume, and called her in for an interview.  In short order, he offered her a job as an analyst for potential biotech investments,

It’s a good story, but it’s not one of redemption or selling out.  Although some Occupiers want the financial infrastructure of the United States to collapse, that’s hardly the majority of the movement or its supporters.  And surely some Wall Streeters, investors, analysts, and financiers, want to live in a country that takes better care of the 99 percent.  (It’s no accident that President Obama constantly invokes the name of Warren Buffet in support of higher taxes on the very wealthy.  But Buffet is unusual in his extraordinary wealth, not his politics.)  Mr. Kaufman didn’t see Ms. Postert’s politics as a disqualification.

Tracy Postert went to Zuccotti Park for personal and political reasons.  The personal (personnel) issues now resolved, the politics can still remain.  Even if she’s now unavailable for full-time occupation, there’s much more that she can do.  And it’s a mistake to assume that Mr. Kaufman and his colleagues are waiting for Donald Trump’s debate to resolve the Republican nomination fight and continue the decades-long process of eviscerating what passes for the American welfare state.

And of course, although one underemployed Occupier now has a job, there are still roughly 13 million others still looking.  I expect that Tracy Postert and Wayne Kaufman will remember this.

About David S. Meyer

Author and professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine
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