Like I said, it has been 6 years since my last in-house IT position. I am coming close to the point where my experience will be too old and irrelevant to matter any longer. Maybe another year or two, then what? Finish my degree? I still won't have the experience.
If I switch careers, I will expected to except low-pay entry level positions which could not support my family.
Companies these days don't like to invest in people. They would rather hire someone of average intelligence and potential who can "hit the ground running," than someone of above average intelligence and potential who might need some development. Every organization expects new employees to have completed their professional development somewhere else, but no organization is willing to contribute towards professional development. If a person's ability can't be summed up in what they have already done or what is on various consumer reports, it doesn't exist.
Companies are looking for workers they can "set and forget." Here's your job, do it within parameters, don't rock the boat. Decisions are made on high, you will change when we tell you too and not a moment before. Oh and we write your paycheck, so that means even if we cut your pay, you owe your life to us; you'd better do exactly as we say and like it, or you can just quit. Instead of a mutually enriching relationship, the relationship between employee and employer becomes one of a cog in the machine.
Most supervisors in the work force today do not take responsibility for the development and satisfaction of their employees. So when the inevitable occurs, and employees begin acting out their dissatisfaction, management turns a blind eye, slaps the offender with a write-up, or goes running to HR. The message, again, is "if you don't like it here then quit." Folks, that's what's called a passive-aggressive threat, and it is a projection of power to cover up the employer's complete disregard for the needs of the employees.
Follow the $$$. Such employees in such an organization are little more than slaves. In 2010, who is going to quit their job without another lined up? Companies know they have their employees by the nose and can treat them (and pay them) however they like. Slaves make the best workers. You can pay them mere sustenance wages and they have to do whatever you say.
When a company hires workers they may think it is a pure investment decision. X dollars for a "human resource" that can produce Y profit. Such thinking is callous and ignores the humanity of the employees. When you make the decision to hire someone you are making a decision to share control and profit of the business. Your employees may not legally own the business but they should be partners in every sense of the word. You delegate the employee a sphere of control and recognize that they have a right to a living wage at a minimum plus a share of profits. If you aren't willing to make this commitment, don't hire.
I will finish my degree in 3 years or so. Maybe then everybody will want to hire me? I doubt it. Today's corporate landscape in regards to employment is structurally deficient. And I am not even referring to the current economic crisis. I am referring to a set of attitudes that dehumanize employees on many levels, from wages to development and all the way up to creativity and control. American workers are tumbling down Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs at an alarming rate.