The setting: since about 1980, real wages in the US have stagnated or declined across the board. The "growth" of the economy has been based entirely on financial and commodity speculation (stocks, real estate, currency trading, and so on), meaning only people who are already wealthy have access to further wealth. The social standard is still that of the so-called full-time job: a 40-hour work week (not counting commute, lunch and breaks, and heaps of unpaid overtime for salaried employees) with a decent wage and modest benefits. Full-time jobs are, however, the privilege of a relatively small elite of educated, well-connected people, and they're always vulnerable to outsourcing / downsizing / restructuring / further corporate euphemism.

The protagonist: a basically well-meaning and friendly fellow with a lot of degrees and some technical skills.

The challenge: can our tinhorn hero navigate the treacherous waters of postmodern capitalism and arrive at the shoals of a semi-secure "full-time job," having despaired of the larger context improving in the slightest? Will he scale the ice wall of technical certifications armed with the crampons of a mediocre understanding of networking and domain administration, or will he skip from stone to stone across the river of community college education, earning barely enough to keep his family fed (to quote the Beverly Hillbillies theme)?

Or will his metaphors get even worse?!

Tune in this decade as we find out if the far-off dream of buying a small bungalow in a livable neighborhood of Portland, going on the occasional trip to a nearby spot featuring a river or something, and modern amenities like new socks once in a while are on the horizon!

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