Living in the same Republican cesspool where you appear to be residing, Terijo, I totally get the employment frustration. Wages are ridiculously low and experience and professionalism is rarely rewarded. Businesses routinely skirt employment laws by not giving breaks, not paying overtime, and taking advantage of the lack of federal laws and state laws here that should mandate sick and vacation time — paid or unpaid. Unemployment here may be low but that’s because most people are working for minimum wage at 2 or 3 different jobs to survive.
I can’t tell you the number of college-educated professionals I know who work in grocery and home-improvement stores.
I hope you are able to climb out of the darkness and find work worthy of your talents and experience. Sounds like you have an admirable plan to accomplish your goals.