Things Likelier Than Being Employed
Out of seven people chosen at random, then, four are likely to have a job. The next time you are stuck in traffic trying to get to work (or even worse, stuck in traffic with no job and low on gas), reflect, as an exercise in perspective, on some circumstances that are more likely than being employed:
Chastity & mental disorders. Consider the adults in traffic around you. Each one is likelier to never have had sex on a first date (the odds are 1 in 1.41, or 71%) than to be employed. And for those between the ages of 30 and 44 years, the odds of having been diagnosed with a mental disorder, 1 in 1.57 (64%), are also higher than the odds they are employed.
Health insurance & library cards. Think of the contents of your wallet. Greater than the odds an adult has a job are the odds he or she has a library card: 1 in 1.47 (68%)—unsurprising, given that libraries are free. Perhaps more surprising are the odds that your wallet contains a health insurance card—the odds a person has health insurance are 1 in 1.18 (85%). You are likelier to have health insurance than to have a job with which to get health insurance.
Speeding tickets & shark attack survival. If you break free of the traffic, only to get pulled over for speeding, the odds are not in your favor: greater than the odds of being employed this year are the odds that a driver stopped by the police for speeding will receive a ticket: 1 in 1.37 (73%). Before pessimism sets in, pay attention—while you wait for the officer to finish checking your registration—to the latest shark-attack survival story being discussed on the radio. The odds a person attacked by a shark will survive are a merciful 1 in 1.02 (98%).
By comparison, those are roughly the odds that a member of the House of Representatives who seeks reelection gets reelected—in fact, in 2004, after the 108th Congress, the odds were exactly 1 in 1.02 (98%). At least someone gets to keep their job.