Picture this.Last Friday, I strolled into the Fair Haven Dunkin’ Donuts to grab my usual cup o’ Joe. Needs to gets me fixes on, ya’ know?
That’s when I saw it.
Sitting idly by the cash register was a copy of the Rutland Herald. There,
smothered all over the front page, in BIG BOLD print, read the following: “MetroGroup to close Rutland plant.”
I ’bout bowled oer’ n’ ma’ britches.
Here’s some history for those of you who don’t understand the severity of the situation.
MetroGroup has been one of Rutland County’s leading employers since the sixties, and will leave over 200 current employees without jobs. These poor bastards are left to find new jobs in the already dilapidated Vermont job market-
Just in time for Christmas.
But why should you care, you ask? Well, MetroGroup also catered to many college students throughout the years – including myself.
They were often willing to bend for college kids’ schedules, and also paid better than most burger joints or crappy mall jobs in the area.
My stint with the company was brief, only a few months, and I’ve long since moved to slightly greener pastures until I graduate. But the plant closing draws even more attention to the questions many Vermont college students ask.
Where’s the money in Vermont? What reason do I have to stay here after college?
There’s nothing here. There are no high-paying jobs. There are minimal opportunities in my field. Most people who have money in this state migrated here AFTER they made their fortunes elsewhere.
Don’t believe me? Just go online. You know how many journalism jobs I found in Vermont? Less than 10. How many in, let’s say Cali or New York? Hundreds.
Rockwellian landscapes and world-renowned Cheddar isn’t going to feed my famished piggy bank, y’know?
Yeah I know. Vermont isn’t supposed to be California or New York. That’s part of its charm. It’s supposed to be an aesthetic escape from all the headache of the cities. Why else would city-fed leaf peepers and skiers come here in droves each year?
And that’s all fine and good. But what about the rest of us? When the season ends, tourists go back to their expensive city flats and lucrative careers, while we’re left again to fend for our pathetic paychecks each week.
To put it primitively – it sucks.
I’ve talked to CSC grads, those who left Vermont after graduating and those who stayed. I’ll give you a buffalo nickel if you can tell me which group of grads ended up with more successful careers.
I love Vermont – really I do. City people have their charms, but generally I’m too much of a misanthrope to live in most cities. I like my elbow room.
But I also like money. Not because I’m a greedy Scrooge, but because I want to know that my future family and career will be financially sound and stable.
I don’t want to leave Vermont, but I don’t want to resort to food stamps or working weekends to make ends meet – especially with a college education.
Vermont leaves me with little option, but to move on after school. I’ll be damned if all that hard work and expensive education are going to waste.
I owe too many people. Those who have been fortunate enough to deal with my constant barrage of bullshit on a daily basis deserve more than that.
I’ve got too many books to write and too many people worthy of dedications; it would be assholish of me to bail on them now, settling for less to stay in Vermont.
I’d love to stay, but until Vermont starts throwing better offers at my feet than other states, there is not much for me to do. My survival comes first. But I can be bought – for a price.
Show me the money, Vermont.
You owe me.
— Terry Badman