So It’s Off To Work — Riding the catastrophic Change Wave Part III

In case you thought that my rant at the educational system was the worst you’d see about what faces the new generations — and frankly has been going on since I was a young kid, but it’s worsened significantly — you were kind of wrong.

The working situation is completely broken as well. Not just for kids, but for them it must seem bizarre.

Recently at one of my groups, someone asked if anyone had ever had a job where they weren’t either cheated on money or time…. The silence was deafening, except for one whose main work experience was abroad.


Work is broken too. Not just at the lowest “entry” levels, but all the way up. We’ll get into how and some ideas into why, both cultural and economic. BUT the main thing we’re going to examine here over the next few posts is “Why are people not working?” or rather “What’s with all the help wanted signs since the covidiocy?”

I know, yes, the standard, routine answer on the right. It starts at “They are paid for not working” and if you hear that in the voice of an old man yelling at clouds, you’d be absolutely right. Partly because it’s the easiest and most stupid of answers. (These two are often combined.)

My friend Tom Knighton over at Tilting at Windmills has done an article on the ridiculous levels of welfare benefits in some states, and he’s not precisely wrong. Though what you should take from that is not “Wow, people choose to be on welfare rather than work” but rather marvel at the number of people who will break themselves in two in sh*tty jobs rather than go on welfare.

As I said, one of the most heartwarming things in 2016 is that Trump was running on bringing back jobs so people could work, while Hilary was running on “We’ll pay you to say home and exist and people voted for Trump in overwhelming enough numbers to overcome pre-planned fraud.

I’m not saying the welfare state isn’t crazy, or that the temptations not to work and just be paid for existing aren’t there.


And if you’re going to yell at the clouds that “Well, they were giving money for staying home” you’re not particularly well informed on the particulars. Yes, a ton of money was handed out, a lot of it, of course, embezzled or otherwise misdirected, because well, it’s a government project.

BUT individually people didn’t even get enough to keep them comfortably through the lockdowns, much less all the way to now. Yeah, people have benefited from “Student loan payment suspension” but the only ones who could take that and not work were probably already not working.

Trust me on this, I know a lot of people in service industries, who were locked out of work, and who were scrambling — often finding other (sometimes better) jobs — during lockdown, because it didn’t cover even partial expenses.

And not all states froze rents, etc. But the “Worker dearth” is nation wide.

So, what is going on?

Well, part of it is something none of us can understand. Yes, we have talked about want ads for show only because they hope to hire foreigners.

But why would restaurants and grocery stores have signs saying help wanted, and you drop off an application and never hear from them again?

No one seems to know. Mind you, going in and dropping off an application gets you better results than applying via website or chain-website, and that might be HR or simply “bot” issues. But even dropping in an application, and even for the older set, around my age, who no, are not going in drunk or dressed weirdly (I’m anticipating the easy excuse, see) the rate of response is nowhere near what you would expect from all the visible “We need help right now” signs.

Oh, and before you mention people who work retail or food service a few days then quit without collecting a pay check: I have bad news for you. That was going on when I worked retail in 86/87. Sometimes people worked two weeks, then never showed up to collect a pay check. I never understood it, and still don’t. Even if the amounts at the time were ridiculously low (I think I made something like $80 a week, on a good week with lots of hours) it was money I’d earned, and if it were me, I’d go back for the paycheck. But hey.

And I have no idea. I can’t explain it. It has occurred to me that since business is also down (the recession, but also the fact that probably a bunch of people learned to cook in lockdown) this is an excuse to limit the number of tables and/or days one is open and therefore save some money. “Downsize without appearing to” in other words. I don’t know. But it’s possible. At least for restaurants. No clue as to stores.

The other part is that I think — and there have been articles hinting at it, mostly from the irate “erasing gains” perspective, then they go suddenly quiet — a lot of women have quit work to go home. Particularly mothers, tired of the school nonsense. (And that’s another thing, as there seem to be more people homeschooling than official figures account for. Which considering that schools get paid per capita. Well…)

But the thing to remember is that many young or newly wed women work in the service industry, particularly retail, so I’d expect that sector to be hardest hit by female defection. Which seems to be true, at least apparently.

I don’t know if other young-female fields are equally affected, because I have no insight into administrative and clerical jobs of various kinds.

Though I’d expect a lot of people in offices to have decided they’re not going back to in-person work, too, and have either found other jobs or simply figured out how to consolidate to a single salary per family. Not to mention, and there were any number, the young singles who moved back in with mom and dad, because of the lockdown, and who now are reconsidering their life path/training for other jobs. I know any number in that situation as well. And that affects both males and females.

The thing is that there has been a wild dislocation caused by the lockdowns. The left thought it would accelerate some sort of “paid for existing” thing in which people would just love to be locked and fed through a straw for the rest of their lives.

Because they really don’t understand humans, to the point we sometimes wonder if they’ve ever met any.

Instead, they have precipitated several situations they find distasteful: parents deciding to raise their own kids; various workers deciding they prefer working from home/moving away from the big cities; women deciding that they are paying for working fairly menial jobs and would rather not, and “female advancement” be shafted. Etc.

In fact, people took the lockdowns and the fall out and used it for greater liberty and personal choices, which as usual has baffled our would-be rulers.

But there seems to be something else going on, and for that we’re going to have to dive into what the heck is going on with working life, and why everything is broken there too.

We’ll do that tomorrow and the next couple of days (I’ll probably do something different on New Years, because.)

For now “Are there too few workers or too few jobs?” seems to be best answered with “yes” and it’s not all a mismatch either.

More tomorrow.

173 thoughts on “So It’s Off To Work — Riding the catastrophic Change Wave Part III

  1. Um… Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve never been cheated on money or time. But most of the places I’ve worked are not the kind of places that would cheat, or I’ve been working for bosses who wouldn’t do anything like that.

    I have been lectured extensively, and once written up, for forgetting to take lunches or breaks, or for putting in a little surreptitious work when officially off the clock. That’s what you get in trouble for.

    1. I’ll say it’s been at least a good 10+ years since I was cheated on time/money (and that was more in terms of “in theoretical comparison with industry averages”, not the actual difficulty of the job or cost of living).

      But lately I’ve been allowed to see the nasty underside of the accounting games “because we can only charge so many hours to this billing code” and it stinks, the very nature of it encourages duplicity. And I’ve been told as well that “no, you have to actually charge for your time/take comp time, when you stay late”. Those reminders DID teach me to strongly separate work vs home – to “leave work, at work”. WorkFromHome is messing with that mental partition.

      1. The only time I can recall getting stiffed was when I left Defunct Semiconductor Company for another one. I gave two weeks notice, and they told me I was going to be walked out with severance in lieu of notice. I called the other company to change the start date, and must have let that bit out (it was 40+ years ago, and details are fuzzy).

        “Since you’re starting there next Monday, we won’t pay the severance.” I don’t know if what they did was legal, but it wasn’t worth fighting. Getting out of that hellhole (Management by Temper Tantrum was the department head’s style) was worth a lot more to me.

        1. In my case it was as a translator. THey told me they wouldn’t authorize overtime, because I should be doing EVERYTHING in the 8 hours I had. While piling more and more jobs on me, btw.
          when I quit, they hired three people.

      2. I was utterly charmed, after giving notice and quitting after a year in the Hellhole Telemarketing Call Center (most people only lasted six months at that job) to continue getting checks from that corporation for the paid days off that I never took. Since I never claimed the paid days off, I just sort of wrote them off, when I walked away … so I thought better of the Telemarketing Corporation – not enough to ever consider going back to work for them, though. They’ll be doing the Ice-capades in Hell before that ever happens.
        And I even unplugged and logged out twenty minutes before the end of my scheduled shift on that last day

        1. The job I am so glad I never got, I am pretty sure, is a call support center. They advertise (or did? haven’t followed now for years) about every 18 months.

        2. Unused accrued vacation time (or, the paid days off that need to be scheduled in advance) will frequently earn you a check for the unused time when you leave a job. Unused accrued sick time (or, the paid days off that you “schedule” half an hour before you’re supposed to arrive to work) generally does not.

    2. Hum… Neither have I. I’ve known the wage or salary and hours expected when I took a job, I can’t remember any time I didn’t get what I was owed.

    3. I worked at a job where they had such a long delay between the end of the pay period and cutting the checks that you’d have to go back to them a full six weeks after you quit and pick up your last two paychecks, which they refused to mail. And nobody ever actually got their last paycheck. I wanted to turn them in to the law, but didn’t know how, and didn’t have any way to prove what they’d done to me anyway. This was back in the early 90s, for a minimum wage job in my late teens…there have been various jerkwads doing this kind of thing forever.

      1. Forest service used to work this way. Depending on when the pay period ended, it would be either 4 to 6 weeks before your first pay check was cut. Mine was mailed home (so parents could deposit it for me). Made for some interesting start to summer. Mom & dad always had to subsidize the first few weeks until I could catch up and pay them back. Then start paying my way as well as saving for the next school year (with loans).

      2. Two months after I got laid off from my last job, they reconciled the books and discovered they still owed me money.

        They mailed me a check for 10¢.

        I got a good laugh out of it. So did the bank teller. (Back when they still had bank tellers)

        Hey, they went through the trouble to mail me a check for 10¢, the least I could do was deposit it. 😀

  2. I’ve NEVER gotten a job when I didn’t know someone personally in the company I was applying at. Ever. (Except for the print shop job I got in 84 and I got that as a temporary that got hired on permanent.) There is something drastically wrong with the HR mechanism.

    1. I’ve gotten them, but I’ve had a lot more applications disappear without trace. And it’s to the point where meeting personally with a manager, and making sure someone knows to look for your name, is the only way to retrieve applications from the official webpage, at a lot of places.

      1. I got Current Job about 15 months ago: its Indeed-dot-com ad said “Apply in person Mondays 0730 ready to work,” so I did. But instead of being thrown on the crew as a quick-hire, I sat down for an interview and aced it for once (job interviews were/are my least-favorite part of the job hunt, when I actually ever got that far).

        1. Wow. They were desperate. I’ve never been on an software type job interview that wasn’t either 3 or more short interviews, or one almost all day interview being passed from person to group to person. Including all the ones I landed. I too despise the interview process.

          1. Small company, manual labor, low bar to enter but a high turnover rate. I actually interviewed with the lead supervisor/manager and both operating managers (brothers, running the company their grandfather founded in ’61). They told me at one point that I seemed too qualified: I said I was willing to start at the bottom and just needed full-time, long-term work. They asked if I could start in the morning.

            1. “They told me at one point that I seemed too qualified: I said I was willing to start at the bottom and just needed full-time, long-term work. They asked if I could start in the morning.” <

              Sounds like the small firm I last worked for (12 years). I didn’t start the next day. The last hurdle was the boss was worried about the small company being an “all boys club”. I was able to point out that I was used to that,, granted over 20 years before (even in ’04 I was so not pointing out how dangerous that comment was … wanted a damn job). Not that anyone worked on anything together. Everyone got their assignments from the list and proceeded individually. Note there was no hint of troubles or resentment based on my gender, not when I hired, not during the 12 years I was there, not when I retired. All the others cared about was could I do the job.

    2. I spent… 15? years in various temp/term/contract positions. Often I would change employers and keep the job. And yes, it took knowing people who wanted me and had input in the final approvals, to get my previous “permanent” position as well as my current one.

    3. I’m pretty sure that’s how I managed to get in at the current job, asking someone who used to work in my previous one to vouch for me, and even then it took three different interviews before I actually made it in thanks to me…not being the greatest at those and being sick for one of them. It’s also making me very nervous about getting something lined up out to where I’m moving to without taking the…less than ideal option, shall we say, of transferring from supply chain to storefront with my current employer.

    4. I was laid off in 2001 as part of the dot-com (V1.0) bubble burst. Part of collecting unemployment meant I had to take a few-hour class (lecture) on How To Find A Job. This was back when newspapers had big help wanted sections, and the online job application companies were just starting up. Answering paper wantads was close to useless, with the websites in the middle, but Knowing Someone was ideal. Such was my case.

      The newspaper ads were useless for engineering positions, (not sure anybody bothered to put engineering ads in the Murky News), and due to 9/11, I had no success with job applications through the ‘net. (Had a few phone interviews, a couple of one-on-one locally, and one company that really wanted to hire me (and was setting off more red flags than a commie convention…). My rough guess was that management put one over on the vulture capitalists and would point the finger at the worker engineers when it failed. The job was outside my wheelhouse. It was on a tester I barely knew know, doing tests I wasn’t familiar with, under max pressure. The guy interviewing me let on that the managers were doing Really Well even before they had anything to ship. Hard pass, especially after they called back several times…)

      Where I got a job was through the rep for the tester I was familiar with. (I knew her fairly well, and she passed away too soon… Her husband was putting a consultancy together, and the first client was the tester company. The client and the consultancy went under within a year, but it was a well-paid year… Paid for the needed renovations for the Silicon Valley house to get out of Dodge.

      So, knowing somebody where you want to go is (also per the lecture) A Really Good Bet.

      1. My last layoff was 2002, but same DOT COM bust (given how long it took company to under).

        Been laid off a lot. Not just computer companies. Started out in a job that “expect annual layoff for at least 10 years” (also get expected to be transferred regularly). The former happened (the latter not as expected) a lot. In fact hubby who managed to stay with that company for 33 years was laid off every year (toward the end only a few days at holidays, and/or summer for “act of God” (fire), but still, every year). Hubby didn’t have to do more than file for unemployment. No work searches. As long as expected to be hired back no search (union seniority covered that).

        My unemployment (beyond the above) required work searches. Had to list the companies applied for every week. Doubt there was any followup. Heard of people having to get actual signatures at places applied for. Not sure how that works anymore since most require online submissions, or did. Ended up getting a job that was posted in the paper. Given it only gave the job type and a po box, almost did not apply (more likely to be scans). But desperate times. Then when interviewed was told resume was picked because owner thought he’d seen my name before. I had done a drive by drop off when dropping off resume with another firm, saw two other software firms were in the complex and dropped resume with them too. This company was one of those. Then too one of my prior employers the owner knew.

        Only time son has had to deal with unemployment is under work share program. Technically working, but short hours.

    5. Well, the one where I walked into the recruiting office got me a job stat, and I know I’d never met that sergeant in my life.

      Although I understand the value of networking, I’d say all the jobs I had as a kid (16 through enlisting at 23) were 50/50 as to knowing someone or just walking in cold and getting hired on the spot.

      The two jobs I’ve had since retirement have been a career change into IT and both have been applying and interviewing and getting the offer on the spot. First one held up 17 years and my current position has been for 10 years.

      I don’t feel I interview exceptionally well, but everywhere I’ve been I’ve encountered people who are looking for someone earnest and obviously willing to work hard. I didn’t have IT experience for that first job, but they made sure I got training and it was an excellent match for both.

  3. Usually, not getting paid correctly, on time, is a sign that somebody is a screw-up, or that somebody is stealing, or that the entire business is about to go belly-up.

    1. Or embrace the power of “and.”
      And the Lord have mercy on you if you’re connected to payroll and payroll taxes. When the company goes under your unfriendly Uncle will be after you, on the theory that, “We can find you.”
      (Luckily by that time my beloved had found a boss with a good tax lawyer who helped us out of that by cutting the amount of money we had to pay back. My beloved had gotten himself clear the minute he realized what was happening, but that wasn’t quite fast eough).

      1. The frustrating part of having a company go under is in figuring out the W-2 information from a defunct group. It’s a lot easier now, with computer-filed taxes keeping the codes in memory, but there were TWO times we had to dig through a year’s worth of pay stubs in order to fake up a W-2, and it sucked.

  4. Sarah sees clearly on this.
    I think I’ve heard “well everybody is hiring” a thousand times in the past months. It is not true. It’s just not. And the people who call you back instantly pay $12 an hour part time only and you have to show up at 7 am.
    I’m really struggling with the big decision: work from home on whatever I can pick up with up work and study for com and try to cobble together enough to pay the bills or face utter misery and work for Lowe’s.
    And every single place now has added mandatory drug testing. This was never the case even a few years ago.
    Anyhow this topic lights me up in a good way. I want to find some sort of clarity. And I’m tired.

    1. Marijuana is legal in many states, and they don’t want to hire people who are stoners. But they don’t want to come right out and say that.

      The other thing is that you often have to show up at the lab for drug testing on time and sober, and that’s a way of testing people in itself.

      Just don’t eat any poppyseed muffins. (Although they say that stopped showing up as a false positive on drug tests.)

      1. Why is the default “prove you are not a drug addict”? It’s an unreasonable request. I know what employers are doing I just know it’s not for the reasons you just listed.
        I used to think these reasons were real. They aren’t.

        1. Around our neck of the woods, every larger town I pass through has billboards advertising marijuana. Someone’s buying their wares. And employment law has made references nearly useless, so that doesn’t help screen out the inattentive and unpredictable.

          1. Aye on references. By 2001, the only reference I would get from the former employer was that I worked there. Not even sure if they’d have said when I started (1979).

            The best references were personal relationships. I had two instances where I knew (and liked/was liked) by the people; one had the position frozen (9/11 really hurt semiconductors) and the other I got the job.

            1. Work employment references were worthless. “Yes worked here” were the best gotten. Maybe pried start date verification.

              Work colleague references OTOH worth gold.

              1. I should add. Did have notations on my resume, BECAUSE work place references were gone. No way for them to be verified. Co-workers, in same boat, however, were still around.

              2. Problem is, employers are wary of giving you a strong, or a negative, reference, because that can get them tangled up in a lawsuit..That was true at the F500 corporation where I worked….,Personal references, off the record, don’t have those problems..

                1. The employee references idea wasn’t broached when I was job searching in 2001, and it never occurred to me to try. (I’d been working at HP and the spinoff Agilent for 22 years, so my job-search-fu was attenuated.)

                  OTOH, I knew two of the people who interviewed me. Got the job at one, while the other found his department getting clobbered by post-Dot-Com and post-9/11 ills. The company didn’t survive as an independent entity much longer, either.

                  1. Son was in the same position. Had 3 different people, 3 different labs, mentoring him on his resume for submission coming out of college. Two of them, lab leads, wanted him on their lab teams. Then suddenly all 3 were scrambling for their own jobs as the companies were bought out for intellectual properties and shutdown (leaving existing employees hung out to dry).

              3. Heh,references, heh… When DoS was looking to hire me they came to the neighborhood where my HOR was except I had been a field engineer for 20 years and was probably at the house 2 – 3 days a year. And everybody in the ‘hood who might have known me had either died or moved away.

                1. LOL.

                  So ’79 to ’81 work history. Was in the main office once, for my interview. Our base (and hubby’s through his career) was our residence. Never the “office”. Then my jobs, as I looked for work, for ’85 – ’88 (moved to Portland), ’90 – ’96 (regional shutdown, corporate still around), ’96 – ’02 (bankruptcy, early part looking for work still trying to survive, but quickly evaporated). So even getting verification beyond “yep, worked for us” was not possible.

                  As far as neighbor checking (DOD or other type background check). Mom still lives in the old neighborhood, however all the childhood neighbors are long gone and have been for decades. Existing neighbors have no clue who I am. Never knew the neighbors anywhere else beyond “hello”. Even here. I know who they are, they know who we are (we have been here 34 years). Beyond that? Not like it was growing up.

            2. My first job out of college was a temp (although they told me if I worked hard it might be made permanent. I think they lied). At my final interview the company owner, a man in his late 70s, told me I would make someone a fine secretary someday. I made sure that wasn’t on the references letter. (And then watched my sweet, Southern mother figuratively swing off the light fixture when I repeated the bit about “secretary,”).
              The letter, BTW, turned out to be useless.

            3. Because of liabilities most companies have not provided a reference other than “Joe Shmoe worked for us from date xx/xx/xx to date yy/yy/yy (with maybe with a final position of senior dextrobopper). Even in 1985 DEC which was a VERY honest (if a bit discombobulated) corporation because of its founders ethics would provide no more than this because of legal issues. This is why employee recommendations are the standard now.

              As for having been properly paid IN general I would say the pay has been fair. I think a lot of that is because replacing me would have been somewhat difficult (i.e. it was easier to keep me than to find a replacement) so basic economic reality forced integrity upon the employers. The one place I’ve seen skating along the margins is in the DOD/Government world. The standard there had been for many years to work your engineer/white collar people 50+ hours a week (expected) and only charge for 40 . This became worse as the contractors slowly disappeared and the contracts rarer and more lucrative and being the low bidder was a near guarantee of winning the bid and could mean life or death for the company. At some point someone ratted the DOD contractors out, and undercharging came under the umbrella of intentional mischarging and was potentially a federal felony even for those filing the time card. They still cheat just in far less obvious ways, for example group meetings which were NOT optional were during lunch ran 60-90 minutes and were reimbursed by a $10 chit to the cafeteria to get your food and bring it to the meeting. Given engineers made $40-$80/hr this was a cheat. Proper would be to provide a charge number on the general (not project) overhead, but that would impact profit over time. as that would have to come out of the companies money not the projects.

          2. If you give a good reference adn the person flops, you get sued. If you give a bad honest reference (“We were delighted to see him go – anywhere else.”) you get sued.

        2. 1) because so many people are too stoned to do the job, and that’s a liability issue for the company (and a medical insurance premium issue too)
          2) it demonstrates you can follow instructions and show up somewhere for an appointment, handle some paperwork, and do what’s requested if you even if it’s annoying,
          3) since companies can’t not hire you based on criminal record without being sued, it’s a proxy for criminal record.

          1. Nope. I’ll need evidence of what you claim.
            It’s a violation of my right to privacy.
            If they do not randomly drug test everyone all the time then it’s a joke, and a cruel stupid one.

      2. One company locally used to do drug testing on hire, then random testing of all employees. Stopped when Oregon went legal on marijuana. Now only drug/alcohol test if an accident occurs.

      3. “Marijuana is legal in many states, and they don’t want to hire people who are stoners. But they don’t want to come right out and say that.”

        Especially when it’s been prescribed by a doctor for a chronic condition and you’ll be discriminating against the disabled.

      4. There have been times I would have been THRILLED with a functional addict instead of the non- or even anti-functional personages that allegedly were ‘clean’.

    2. Let’s just say I sympathize with how bad it can be working for the specific employer you mentioned and that it’s not just their stores that are miserable…

      1. I have very quickly judged many a business as strong candidates for the “don’t ever work there” label simply by attempting to be one of their customers.

        The outfit you mentioned is quite near the top of the list as is their “closest competitor.”

        Unfortunately, both have a great deal of competition for the title.

    3. I find it curious that $WORKPLACE has seemed to have given up on drug testing. Now, I know there is some rule (federal) against intelligence/IQ testing, but I have let it be known that such would be preferable. Too many have been hired that make ox wonder if they even brain. And then there are those…special… folks ox can WALK circles around.

      And those are the ones that show up! We’ve had folks not show up for orientation, folks show up for that and never again, folks show up for one shift, folks show up until first paycheck…. and then could afford the dope again and were in jail… There are decent workers, too, but sometimes it seems like we need to hire three and hope one is halfway decent.

      1. If only we could test politicians before voting on them.

        Destructive testing sounds appropriate… 😛
        “I can’t force Congress to make legislation that matches the real world.” — Climatologist Dr. John Christy

      2. At least for federal contracts a drug test for employment is still required running back to the 1980’s drug panics. You provide a list of medications you use (as for example Ritalin would show up) and may be required to provide documentation in some cases (e.g. Opiates). Marijuana though legal for medicinal and recreational use in some states is NOT legal for either use under the Federal statutes and is an issue at DOD and similar federal contractors.

    4. Enough people find universal mandatory drug testing to be egregiously intrusive and WILL NOT knuckle under to it. So they don’t even apply. And the gap may not be entirely visible, but it’s there. And those who DO NOT find universal mandatory drug testing to be anti-liberty in nature will NEVER admit that’s why all the qualified applicants have suddenly disappeared.

      1. It would be a slightly less bitter pill if all Federal and state employees, from the President down to part-time librarians, also has to be regularly drug tested.

        Their excuse is “an employer has the right to know if his employees are using drugs.”

        Good. They’re OUR employees.

        1. What good would testing them do? The rules are rigged so that they can’t be fired.

          It’s almost impossible to fire a teacher convicted of molesting students! The union will fight the firing, every step of the way.

          1. Which is why I laugh like a hyena at all the NeverTrumpers sniping at “Trump’s bad hires”. The entire system is stacked against any President being able to rein in the bureaucracy without his own death squads.

  5. In fact, people took the lockdowns and the fall out and used it for greater liberty and personal choices, which as usual has baffled our would-be rulers.

    But not nearly as baffled as the alluded to old men yelling at clouds.

    For them I get the idea they would rather kill themselves than admit that someone younger than them might have figured out something better while also not being commies.

    1. The same for liquor store clerks. But for both, CCW “don’t ask, don’t tell” is appropriate. Regardless of company policy.

  6. There’s the gripping hand, too:

    They’re working, just not at jobs where they report their income to the government. I know quite a few people who started working for themselves, and I’m pretty sure that a majority of them never bothered to tell the Feds about it.

    Taxes? Maybe? When they get around to it?

    On the other hand, we’ll see how many of them suddenly “have a job” in the stats when places like OnlyFans report more of them for those over-$600-a-year incomes (currently on hold for at least another year, though).

      1. Back when I was a flight instructor, we were all cash-only contractors, unless we chose to take checks and thus involve the money-Feds. The grey economy was going strong in some areas, and that was coughcough decade or so ago.

    1. It’s not just the income taxes. A lot of benefits, like health insurance, are income based so you lose your subsidy if you report the income. There will be a 20% increase in SNAP in 2023. People got on the benefits during the “essential worker” shutdowns and are now trapped if they go back to on the books paying work….

      1. There is a double-whammy on this, as employers who go over a certain number of employees get whacked by additional costs and regulations, including they myriad of Obamacare requirements, plus a whole host of other ones. Better to advertise job openings and then fill needs off the books, or go without.

      2. Not to mention they can’t afford the required co-pay for monthly work insurance for themselves let alone add insurance for any dependents. If they have enough hours to qualify for employer “provided” insurance. Even software firms, at least the ones I worked for, have notoriously horrible insurance plans. My last job is the only job I didn’t wave medical insurance (still able to wave now since Obama care flop ?) because the employer paid for my insurance, but not husband or son without me paying for it. Even then the deductible and copay had hubby’s (family) work insurance picking up the difference as secondary every single time. Even until we both qualified for medicare supplement, his work (union) insurance beat anything we could get on the open market, not only for monthly cost, but out of pocket annual (deductible + remaining).

    2. I’ve been an independent contractor for at least 2 years of my career in the 2011-2013 time frame. Because my hourly rate was $85 and terms were 30 days paid in arrears when invoiced a months pay ran $10-15K month depending on hours the month (February sucks). Every deposit exceeded the 10K reporting limit, even if I had been paid in cash the company in question report the payments to the IRS. Unless you’re doing something purely in cash and stashing that in your mattress you’re going to quickly leave a trail in the current world.

      As an aside being your own tax preparer and accountant and making the quarterly payments is an immense pain in the ass. (expletive deleted) that (expletive deleted), even if that’s probably the best money I ever made…

      1. I’m trying to get Dan to find us a tax preparer, as the business is getting more… interesting.
        But it’s so hard to find one that knows what to do for freelancers.

        1. I looked briefly and it quickly became clear that my rate would be insufficient to cover things without dropping to the point where I was making (considerably less) less than I had been at Big DOD Supplier Inc if I wanted preparation AND quarterly payment estimation. I ended up over paying the taxes a bit and getting back some largish refunds, something I loathe doing as making an interest free loan to the US government (especially one where the chief executive as Obama) is not a choice I like. But the penalties if you under estimate verge on violating the 8th amendment so to be avoided.

          1. With new tax rules that came out in 2020, even if you pay taxes through withholding you can get caught out and have to pay a penalty if your employer undercalculated your withholding and you end the year owing > $1000. Ask me how I found that lovely bit of information out. And it is now calculated and penalized quarterly, even though tax returns are only collected annually. The argument by the IRS is that the tax system is actually supposed to be “pay as you go”, even if not self-employed/contracting. So now the rest of us may be required to make quarterly catch up estimated tax payments. The only bright side was that I figured it out early in January and if you file and pay by 30 JAN there is no penalty for the 4th quarter. It was a hot mess though.

  7. I noticed one thing: the local restaurant supply was a regional chain, mostly Left Coast and a state or so inland. The store I usually shop at (no sales tax in OR [so far…], so open to the public) had a very stable workforce. We’d been shopping there for years, and maybe one retirement (assistant manager). The workers knew us and would say hi, and some would chat if it was slow. The worker bee stockers would say hi and nod if they weren’t busy.

    This changed when they got bought out by one of the largest supply companies. Some of the staff stuck around, usually those middle aged or a bit older. However, the junior people, mostly those went away. OTOH, the more senior people had more variety; they’d stock in various sections and might handle a register for a while, but the junior people, it was pretty much stocking. (Chats were usually at the register…)

    I’m not sure, but there seems to be a lot of turnover in that junior slot. That’s not what it was. Something went wonky when Enormous Food Company bought Regional Food Supply.

  8. I was never cheated of wages at my former (division of Huge retail company) employer (my job was eliminated and I retired in 2017) – but even then the bean counters had declared that fewer than 50% of cashiers could be full-time, and while part-timers could ask for and receive certain restrictions on their availability, none of them could have set schedules.
    Part-time work with semi-random scheduling creates disgruntled employees associates and high turnover. The last few times I shopped there this year I didn’t recognize any of the current staff…

    1. I see that at the big national chain grocery. The high turnover also guarantees “I don’t know” when questions come up. Sigh.

      OTOH, the big independent has very low turnover.

      1. I had a dispute with my wife over loaning money to a co-worker to buy a car, she said the co-worker would steal the money and never pay me back. I knew this as a matter of fact, but I told her “you can’t steal what is freely given.” Part of that is you shouldn’t make a secret deal with the other person and not tell him, or change your mind later if it was a loan that must be paid back. Because all I would have gotten, really, is the joy of being offended. I won’t loan that person any money in the future of course, though I might make another gift without the pretense.

        Excluding the intentional scams and frauds, my experience in dealing with wage and hour complaints is lots of people work extra hours to get the job done, and eventually get tired of it and feel they are being taken advantage. Sometimes it is compelled, sometimes it is regular “just a few minutes to finish” or fudged timecards to keep from being yelled at for working OT, and overtime isn’t paid, or breaks aren’t taken, or whatever.

        I figured that people work for love and for money, and when the love goes away, they want the money. My counsel was always, “keep track of the hours and pay, and speak up when there is an issue. It makes life simpler”

        1. “Expected to work during crunch times” and other wording. Then when get on, work is always under time crunch. Salaried work. So that huge monthly salary has you working a less than minimum wage. Fine for startup gambles and go in eyes wide open. For employees? 100% there are companies taking advantage. I refused to participate in those shenanigans. Did it hurt me? I suspect it did. Didn’t help that hubby was salary not exempt. He got paid for the required extra hours he put in.

      1. This is also known as “on-demand scheduling” and is as horrible as “on-time inventory.”

        I had a part-time job at Borders before the steep decline (the early signs were there) and one of the things the GM told us was that our schedules might bounce around in shift time from day to day, but they would be consistent from week to week. IOW, if you worked the opening Sunday shift, you’d be working that same shift every week unless you swapped with someone for a week.

        He was a good guy, with great ideas for making the store work, and when Borders corporate started the really stupid ideas (like not allowing GMs to come up with signings or other events based on their knowledge of the local wants), he went off to work for the Chamber of Commerce.

    2. My former workplace reset schedules and work sites every year. The Olds, like I was had a clause limiting that, but new hires were screwed. Of course, team H.R worked 9-5 in the same location. Top management were generally… unloved.

      I’m convinced they went from positional-good proggies, to so screamingly woke my SF-based sister didn’t believe me, as a defense against their front-line employees and long-time customers.

  9. Stolen Time is stolen pay (changes the rate per hour of contract). Or attempt to steal time. 100% The whole “not performing to standards by not putting in the same hours as colleagues” who are putting in more than 40 hours per week when on salary exempt (no overtime). So essentially employer is requiring overtime, that never seems to go away, when overtime is not paid. Sometimes the not paid OT is compensated by additional time off on the books instead, either hour for hour or time x 1.5, which does change the narrative. Something that tends to occur in software. Other industries have gotten caught and gotten punished for pulling this (requiring workers to clock out then continue working to keep job).

    I think you, Sarah, has hit on some reasons. “Downsizing while not appearing to downsize”, “Shorter open hours or days”, etc. If so, the employees working aren’t necessarily in on the deception.

    Don’t know of many reports of working and not picking up pay checks. There is the point that HR has the address to send the check to (legally required). Have heard of people being hired and either never showing up for orientation, or doing orientation and walking out. One employer locally has experienced the former. Employees working only two weeks then expecting to get not only hours worked paid for but paid PTO timed earned. They changed their policy to employees earn PTO from the start, but does not pay out until worked X months (I think 6 months). Another location (restaurant) where servers didn’t want to deal with annual special that keeps them hopping (Red Lobster “all you can eat”); which irritated at least one long term server.

    I also know of couples who have decided they can afford to have one stay home with the children. Or make other choices to benefit their family.

    I do not think it is “these kids today.” That was spouted about my generation 50 years ago. I’m sure it was the same as the children of farmers and ranchers abandoned the family farms and ranches for industrial jobs in the city. And so forth back through history.

    1. People being hired and either not showing up or quitting after the first day/week was endemic when I worked in The Supermarket Deli, especially when my first manager was running the department. Odds were 50/50 they’d actually show up on the first day, and about 50/50 after that that they’d last past the first two weeks. And if First Manager decided she didn’t like the new hire for some reason (usually because either she didn’t hire them or else the decision was taken out of her hands), she would go out of her way to ensure that they quit after the first day (screwing with their schedule to either schedule them when they weren’t available or leaving them to close the counter alone with no training were favorite tactics of hers).

      She actually tried that on me (I’d been hired by the Perishables Manager as a summer “plug” position – i.e. hired and then placed whatever perishables department had the most urgent need, and then transitioned to permanent employment with the Perishables Manager’s approval), but I was too naive to realize what she was doing, plus I didn’t have another job lined up and my parents (who I was still living with at the time) made it absolutely clear that I wasn’t allowed to quit my job under any circumstances if I didn’t already have a new job lined up first.

  10. I’ve done well by my employers, aside from “supervisor from heck.” But I’ve always worked for small companies with a pretty direct chain of command and accountability. (Yet another reason not to work for Huge State University or College right now, assuming I could even get hired.)

      1. I’ve got Ogilvie’s book (guilds) and it is working toward the top of my TBR list. And I agree with a lot of what the larger article says.

        Full professors are replaced by TAs or adjuncts because of costs and benefits. The remaining courses are often wait-listed and fill up in seconds once registration opens. In some cases, pop-culture classes are encouraged as an alternative to traditional history, and so the administrations says, “See, fewer students are taking history classes, so we don’t need to hire as many teaching faculty, or offer all the listed classes every year.” Since fewer students can get into the classes, more look for other options . . . Hyphenated-Studies does well because the classes tend to be easy, trendy, and cater to the loudest activists on campus. That makes administrators happy, even if the history faculty grumbles.

        I was trained as a research historian. The year I finished my doctorate, a lot of Regents’ universities suddenly flipped to wanting lots of teaching experience. Which you can’t get unless you get it as a TA . . . At the time, the ratio of applications sent to tenure-track job hires was 120:1. Meaning you could expect to apply to over a hundred places before getting hired. Granted, it was a bad year, and my specialty was in a glut. Now, you also have to prove that you “have experience with outreach to previously-underserved and marginalized communities.”

        Hey! Get that soap box away. Shoo, shoo!

        1. I suppose that “currently underserved and marginalized communities” wouldn’t get the woke points, since that would mean teaching to boys, especially white ones…. /sigh

  11. Sarah, I hope you unravel the mystery for me because nothing seems to be making sense. I will offer this – after 35 years at the same employer, and a well paid job, I am planning on quitting in 2023. Still in my 50’s but just so tired of both the corporate world and the thought that I am a chump for working when so many don’t. Not retiring – just taking a year or two off and then will decide what to do. I have a side gig and could make a living doing that… if I want. I know others my age, and younger, that are just dropping out…

    1. Jalan If you’re mid 50’s I would think long and hard about jumping without a landing place, and especially about a 1-2 year employment gap. Had to hunt at 44, 50 and 52. The 44 hunt was quick because the employer that was laying us off (HP/Compaq/Digital) went to great trouble to bring companies in to interview us and I had a spot by the time of the layoffs. At 50 was about 3 Months seeking and only got employed (as independent contractor) as a couple buddies were at a company that had a contract and they needed more help NOW. At 52 was ~5 months searching, many times got beat by younger folks (primarily because they were cheaper) often spent ridiculous amounts of time in online interviews. Many employers (especially in the tech world) view a resume gap as a non starter even my 3-4 month gap drew questions. Only reason I got employed was the small company I was talking to did LOTS of embedded work Linux and others) and that skill set is rare and almost unfindable in recent CS/EE grads. Similarly age discrimination although de jure illegal is still de facto there and if your resume shows 10-20 years of experience they may just circular file/bitbucket it. Make sure you are ready and able to be retired as that may be what this yields especially going into what appears to be a moderate to strong recessionary economy.

      1. Jalan, I am going to agree with tregonsee314. It is possible. But have something to put in the gap years to cover them. I knew I was taking a chance in ’89 when I chose a 6 month maternity leave after graduation. I lucked out in that the one and only job I applied for could have been written with me in mind (wasn’t). The next gap was similar to tregonesee314 but not tech, timber. The division was sold (pay in lieu of proper notification) and the corporate expected us to spend the last 30 days using their resources looking for jobs either to move corporate or to get on with one of the two entities purchasing the resources sold, or get on somewhere else. Corporate also paid the county to come in with their “dislocated workers” programs to assist. Unemployment started the day following the official shutdown day, even though we were still being paid the “in lieu of” + severance (two weeks/year service) + unused sick and vacation. I landed a job (after updating skill seminars, paid by program) before payments ended but well after official shutdown. The next gap I wasn’t as lucky. That last gap was during the DOT com bust with a lot of people in the industry off, plus I did not have the option to move. That company gave 2 weeks severance + unused sick/vacation. Economy was so bad that extended unemployment weeks, intermittent short unemployment extensions, helped but we still saw savings drain like crazy. Quitting eliminates the latter.

        My experience counted against me as either being “too old” or “too expensive”, even though I never put salary requirements on them. Probably thought I’d keep looking. Weren’t wrong depending on conditions. OTOH I did take a job that was under my salary for the first job I’ve detailed here. Barely reached the second job’s salary by the time I retired 12 years later. OTOH there were some job conditions that I never saw that I’d often see at least in the second job detailed and mentioned by other IT/software people here on this blog. I did look. I did interview at three other locations after being on that job, was offered, what would be a lateral move at two of them. Chose not to jump … not for lateral moves.

        While the work market looks good now, that can change in a nano second flash, let alone in a year or two.

        Just my 2 bits worth.

  12. I’m fairly certain I was cheated out of both money and time at my last job. I was paid WELL below (as in at least $15k-$20k per year below) the regional average for my position. And by the end, I was wearing doing work for five different positions – four of which I had been neither hired nor trained for – without any increase in compensation. And the owner of the company (who I am fairly certain was legitimately, certifiably crazy) would call at all hours of the day and night, even on weekends, and yell and scream at me to drop whatever I was doing and get back to work to fix a mistake he or somebody else made: didn’t matter if I knew what it was about or not (and half the time he was telling me about the wrong thing anyway), he expected me to do it or else I’d lose my job.

    Yeah, glad I don’t work for him anymore.

    I suspect that at least part of the reason that nobody seems to be actually hiring anymore is, like I mentioned in my comment on yesterday’s (I think? Maybe the day before’s) post, most hiring and job searching seems to be being conducted online now, and many companies are subcontracting the first phase of the hiring process out to third parties who run applications and applicant resumes through software algorithms to filter out the “bad” applicants, but those algorithms seem to be chucking out EVERYBODY, and for stupid reasons like the software not liking or not being able to read your resume’s formatting.

    All I know for certain was that after Crazy Owner used COVID as an excuse to purge his company’s marketing team for the fourth time since I started (and my luck ran out this time), I applied to 26 positions in the six months I was unemployed (and I spent the first month after I got laid off doing nothing since that was at the height of COVIDpocalypse 1.0 and nobody was hiring, so it was really more like 26 positions in 5 months). Of those, seven of those were either filled by a different applicant, I was told the company “was not moving forward with my application at this time,” one was an outright rejection, and three led to phone interviews (the first two of which were full of more red flags than Communist China and I wouldn’t have touched either position if I had advanced in the process), the third of which turned out to be the awesome job I have now).

    The other seventeen applications disappeared into the either. I got an automated “we have received your application” message if I was lucky, but most of them didn’t even have the common courtesy to do that. And I never got a follow-up from any of them, not even a “we are still reviewing candidates” or a :LOL! REEEEEEEEEJECTED!”

  13. “And that’s another thing, as there seem to be more people homeschooling than official figures account for. ”

    The Dragonette is a Junior at Florida Virtual (High) School. Technically, she is not homeschooled, since FLVS is a public school serving K-12, but she is attending school from home. I think a lot of parents have put their kids in something similar to avoid the extra work that is homeschooling.

    1. And such a thing would still require a parent, usually the mother, at home to supervise, not least because of the overzealousness of CPS and Karens. While at the same time not showing up in homeschooling stats.

  14. Well two things are obvious. People are finding non-traditional ways to survive. Since this alternate economy appears to function outside the traditional economy, government economists haven’t a clue what’s going on or how people are doing this.

  15. Why are the home schooling numbers bad?

    Assuming legal home schooling:

    The green states do not count home schoolers in any way, shape, or form. Your guess is as good as any. (But note that some of them are exodus top ten destinations.)
    The pale blue states may count some home schoolers but not all, or they may count all. They have at least one option to home school legally that requires registering with the state. Florida, for example, has three options to home school, one of which requires registration, tipping it into pale blue. The other two options do not require registration, so how many home schoolers there are in Florida is unknown.

    No one knows how many legal home schoolers there are. No one knows how many scofflaw home schoolers there are.

    Another thing is that the public online charter schools and public at home supervised charter schools are growing like mad and many of those families, doing public school at home, will say they are home schoolers while they are legally public charter school students. These families will have a parent at home supervising and teaching, but are properly being counted in public charter school numbers. Many local home school organizations are happy to welcome these families to their activities, but by no means are they legally home schoolers. This gets very confusing very quickly: of the twenty-six families in our home school co-op more than half are not actually home schoolers.

    You can figure that the number of HSLDA members is a hard floor: there are definitely more home schoolers than are HSLDA members. But how many more?

    1. Also, school districts lie.

      My Washington homeschool group nearly had a meltdown because one of our members went to register her youngest for homeschooling, and was informed there were only a total of three homeschool children in the entire school. She took it to mean families.

      Since she was socially intimate with either six or nine other families in that school, and was counting on them to socialize with her two, she rather freaked out.

      (by the time the various moms finished networking, they had at least 60 kids who were actively registered, and either this one little group on the wet side knew 90% of the homeschoolers in the entire state, or the books were cooked)

      1. Wel, if you consider that the number of children registered as “in school” is analogous to the number of “COVID deaths” reported by hospitals, and that both determine how much money the organization gets, it shouldn’t be much of a mystery why number inflation is the rule.

        (Cynical? Me?!? Perish the thought.)

        1. Since this identity theft can result in criminal charges against the parents, especially if someone at the school panics and starts throwing out accusations–

          1. I wouldn’t, although with my daughter in her 50s and even my granddaughter in her mid-20s, I’m well out of the homeschool business. 🙂

              1. 🙂 Wouldn’t work, though. It took my boss(es) months, but they finally got it through their heads that being a competent engineer doesn’t translate to being able to teach engineering. Or anything else. I can do “hands-on” training just fine, but classrooms leave me cold.

                1. :snickers: you wouldn’t believe how much time and stress it took my mom to figure out that, as a homeschooler, I’m not doing classroom management.

                  She has a minor in education, and most of it was “how to control 30-some feral humans.”

                  1. It’s not the classroom management, it’s the formal education I don’t “do”. As I noted, hands-on with people who have the basics is fine; teaching the basics, not so much. In fact, not at all. As the sweatshirt logo says, “My patience test came back. I was negative.” 🙂

              2. I think I could be a fun teacher.

                “You’re right, kids, memorizing the multiplication table is a pain in the ass. It was a pain in the ass when I was your age, and it still is. It’s worth it, though. I don’t regret going through it.”

                “One practical application of math is figuring out how many multiplications you have to memorize. I bet it’s not as many as you think. Would you believe less than 50?”

                1. Schoolhouse rock is awesome.

                  I never did memorize the multiplication table– not really– but I did well enough that I could try to get my kids drilled into it, and while they can’t SAY them, they are really good at writing them because I said they could use the multiplication tables each day if they wrote them at the start of ‘class’.

      2. With that kind of money on the line? Those books are so cooked there’s nothing left of them but mush. You’d be lucky to find one honest number in there anywhere, and that one probably just by chance.

    2. In our state, NC, homeschoolers must file e-paperwork with a state office to open a school. They are not required to indicate how many students attend, but for archaic reasons, that state office is required to send out a piece of paper indicating a student is in good standing for the student to enroll in drivers ed (which is subsidized for homeschoolers too.) This provides a reasonable lower bound on how many kids are in homeschool. Currently that number is 10% of students in NC, higher than the percentage in private schools in the state. But while there has been a drop in public school enrollment, it’s not large enough to match.

      Imo that’s because the districts lie to maintain funding, maintaining kids on the books after they’ve moved out of the district. during lockdowns, thousands of kids here “went missing from school” and never logged in to virtual classes. Did they exist in the first place?

      1. An interesting thing to note is that the folks doing such things in school districts are also the same people who fight against voter rolls being purged/updated. Can’t imagine why that is.

  16. Businesses on the edge are committing Arson for insurance
    (Only criminal if one gets caught:-) So do not expect morality.

    People on UI have to apply to get paid; Do businesses get paid for advertising ?
    A business could use an extra dollar, but can’t risk a discrimination lawsuit ?

    Smarter businesses look at the economic analysts (Zero Hedge) and see the pit.
    Long-term unemployed, who have not paid rent in three years, expect to go on so.

    Five million illegal aliens have come into the US in the last two years; That many
    citizens could be instantly homeless if one large city goes loses infrastructure.

  17. Thank heavens I’m now retired – it’s really crazy in the employment world today. With that, I was looking for work back in 2009 when my job ceased to exist as the position was eliminated (can we say ‘RIF’) and I went looking for employment. The tough part was being a white male in his 50’s and unemployed. The wife person described my efforts as a “job” where I got up every weekday morning, breakfast and to “work” where I did job search stuff all day – went to meetings, you know the AA type meeting for the unemployed “Hi, I’m Paul and I’m unemployed! ” “Hi Paul!”. Did mailings, both electronic and actual postal. Went to (few) interviews, networked and in general worked at trying to get a job.

    I got a couple of short contract jobs which helped keep the fiscal wolf at bay but no actual full time and permanent employment for just over a year and a half. Then I got a great job with a huge multinational company that was great for about six months until they closed a bunch of plants and in my town everybody (including some folks that had been with them for 45+ years) got canned and it was back to searching for almost another year.

    The point I’m getting to is that during my efforts back then I was seeing/experiencing some of what is going on now – respond to 28 position announcements and get back maybe two replies, if any, both rejections during a single week of effort. I completed hundreds of applications and sent out cover letters with resumes and called bunches of contacts and there was… nothing. It was weird, I would apply for a job that read like it was actually written for my exact skill set and experience and never get a response yet the offering was posted for several weeks. I would get the “thanks but nope” once in an odd while without an interview yet see the posting still advertised and often edited to ask for less than the original.

    When I finally got a real job again it was great and we were able to come back from the abyss of fiscal ruin and make ends meet. About a year into the job (which is the one I’ve retired from) I actually asked my boss why she hired me, the old guy. Her response was refreshing (one of the best bosses I ever had) – She said: “Hell, you were the one that could actually do the job.” Anyway, with all the weird and confusing stuff going on today in the world of employment – I think it started back about fifteen years ago and that was when I was hit with it – maybe it was the ‘pre-weird’ but it sure wasn’t normal.

    1. Agree. I’ve been there. Worse between ’02 – ’04, 17 months. The 1989 job search, it was essentially one application and done (like it was tailored for me). ’96 job search, little more difficult, but once could put the two “buzz words” on my resume (Visual Basic and Java) landed the first job applied for. ’02 – ’04 OTOH, OMG. The only difference between now and then, is no one was posting employees wanted, anywhere. The only time I heard back from a job application is if I actually got an interview. Then got a lot of “2nd place, if the person offered the job …”. White female pushing 50 (47 at the time) in tech was the problem (I don’t care how they worded it). I did take a job I was way overqualified for. It stopped the financial bleed.

  18. The one thing I learned in 40 years in the corporate life is not to take one for the team because they won’t take one for you.

    I think Sarah is on the right track around women finding out just how little is left over after paying someone else to raise your kids. One of the best tricks the borg ever pulled was making child raising subject to income tax.

  19. I’m stuck in the following horrible situation (I’m also going to acknowledge that the timing is bad as well)-
    1-A lot of the “intellectual” jobs that I have trained for are getting apps and AI software that can do most of that work…to the satisfaction of people at the corporate level. It doesn’t matter if the content is tapioca pudding-paying for an AI package is cheaper than an employee.
    2-A lot of these companies are wanting employees that can do four or five jobs on three-quarters of the salary. Often all at the same time. The one I got laid off from wanted both somebody to write copy and social media content (that was actually tricky, and I thought I was getting better at it, but…) and do cold call selling and do it all on a part-time schedule without health care. (Literally, I saw a help-wanted ad from the company that was my job…plus cold calling.)
    3-I need health care-no ifs, ands, or buts. I have enough medical issues that without some health care (especially psychiatric), I can’t work. Or work well enough to survive most jobs.
    3a-I will be in trouble if/when I lose MediCal, because I only have so much savings and I don’t have enough to justify Covered Calfornia, but I can’t wear enough of a hair shirt to be considered “poor.”
    4-I’ve only gotten jobs that weren’t temp/seasonal because I applied directly with the person hiring me.

    The only things that I can see that are positive is that nobody is in the office until after the first of the years, so my deluge of applications might set something off. I’m taking a “Science of Well Being ” program to try and deal with this damned mood that I have. And I’m working any odd jobs I can find for spending money.

    I think I agree with Great Aunt in principle-there are a lot of people wanting jobs, but the jobs that are being offered don’t offer anything other than cheap ramen and sleeping ten to a one bedroom.

    1. 3A – You’re in ‘The Gap’: not rich enough to afford health care, not poor enough to qualify for ‘help’

      After 12 years of 0bamacare, what have we got?

      Fewer doctors and nurses, by several thousand at least
      Fewer hospitals
      Hordes more bureaucrats to ‘administer The System’

      And for some reason the Democrats can’t figure out why health care is getting less available and more expensive.

      1. Are ying? For the d.c. commie-crats that’s a feature not a bug Heck those of them employed there are getting the best health-care that we tax-payers can buy for them Not to mention that once they’re in the mix it’s damn near impossible to get rid of them.

    2. Their ideal model seems to be British National Health — which anyone who’s had to endure the tender mercies of British National Health will tell you is an abomination. Canuckistan’s ‘Free Health Care For All’ comes close, but they just haven’t worked as hard at being horrible.

      At least Canuckistan doesn’t prevent people from spending their own money for American health care.

      Under socialized medicine, each patient incurs expenses which end when the patient dies. In private practice, each patient provides profits which end when the patient dies. Which patient would YOU rather be?

      1. But Canuckistan is apparently ahead of GB when it comes to encouragement of euthanasia (which is in line with your last comment); I understand it’s even showing up in childrens’ schoolbooks.

        1. No, I think arresting parents for trying to take their dying child to America after British National Health denied his treatment has got Canuckistan beat, at least for now.

          1. For quite a while, we’ve seen “UK and Canadian families going on vacation to Orlando for a week in Orlando,” where most of the family has a real vacation, but one or more members spend that time in medical treatment. Quite a few knee replacements for Dad while Mom and the kids go to Disney…

            1. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them arrested on their return, for “interfering with government property”.

      2. Great Britain is not yet asking people to consent to murder because it costs money to treat them.

        On the other hand, they don’t ask.

  20. I was told to work on studying for my job on my own time for at least 1 hour a day and 4 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I know they knew it was illegal because my supervisor who was assigning work, specifically asked me not to email my finished assignments. Extra 13 hours on top of 40.

    I am far too agreeable, this substantially ate into potential spouse finding time, and eventually led to burnout.

    What I’m seeing in the low level jobs, is that they are just so unpleasant to work at that good workers are turned off from working there. So it’s a feedback loop. Waiting an hour for fast food, because the employees are just not service oriented.

    I think it has a lot to do with the dechristanization of America too, the concept of the servant as the ultimate calling, is lacking in many young people.

    Remember when Obama got his panties in a twist about our government officials being called public servants, and officially changed their name? Obama has no understanding of basic Christian concepts or culture.

  21. Oh, and before you mention people who work retail or food service a few days then quit without collecting a pay check: I have bad news for you. That was going on when I worked retail in 86/87. Sometimes people worked two weeks, then never showed up to collect a pay check. I never understood it, and still don’t.

    Per Target’s loss protection guys– and some other retail security I’ve spoken to– they’re seeing if a TV or similar can walk out the door.

    Use to be, they’d walk stuff out the door, be on video, and then get arrested when they came to pick up the paycheck.

    So they stopped doing that.

    Identity theft is generally involved in their hiring details, or so I was told– someone else’s house, etc.

    It’s one of the arguments for E-Verify.

  22. One other issue, that I also believe I hit on in my comment on (the day before?) yesterday’s post is that the requirements in the description often have little to do with the job title. Several infamous examples from my six-month job hunt were put out by a certain aerospace defense contractor. I won’t say which one, but one of their predecessor companies built The Greatest Jet Fighter Ever, which the Navy should still be flying instead of the “Super” Hornet [spits in Dick Cheney’s direction].


    Said positions had job titles for Technical Writer, Proposal Writer, etc. But if you read down into the nitty gritty of the job details, not only did you need five years of writing experience in the aerospace industry (which I didn’t have), but also experience with several programming languages, CAD experience, and degrees in aerospace engineering. Basically, they wanted a computer programmer/aerospace engineer that could also write technical documents. Which you wouldn’t know just from looking at the job description. Which I am not.

    Which also caused no small number of heated arguments between myself and Mama Raptor: she’d see the job description on Indeed and send it to me without actually reading the requirements, and then get pissed at me when I told her that I wasn’t going to apply for it because I didn’t meet the job requirements. Took me actually physically printing out the job and forcing her to read it before she realized that no, I wasn’t being a lazy bum, I was being smart enough to not waste my time applying for jobs I had no chance of getting.

    And getting back on topic AGAIN…

    I’m still signed up for some job aggregator notifications (mostly because I’m too lazy to unsubscribe from them), and I note that the same aerospace defense contractor has continued to post those same jobs with the same job titles and the same requirements that have nothing to do with said job title for over two years running. I can’t imagine why they haven’t been able to fill them and/or they’re experiencing such rapid turnover….

    1. Thing is, I have no idea if they are even filling those job, if they correspond to an actual contract, or any actual internal hiring need at all.

      As near as I can tell, there is no real relationship between what companies need and what’s actually in their external hiring boards. Which also makes me wonder what HR is actually doing at those sorts of firms. I almost wonder if there has been such a complete breakdown that the openings are just there so HR can claim it’s doing something, but otherwise completely useless.

      1. Sometimes HR thinks they know better than the line departments. And/or they get a “brilliant” idea but neglect to tell the affected department about it. Like the software company where HR decided, after a succession of new hires for the role didn’t work out, to hire a writer with no software industry experience for a technical writer position with the “understanding” that his department would teach him about software and programming stuff. But neglected to tell anyone in said department that a) the new hire didn’t know squat about software processes and b) they were supposed to teach him everything he needed to know to write their documentation.

        That was an absolutely miserable six months for both myself and all of my coworkers in that department.

        1. I can believe it. Thing with the 2y old opening for a software tech writer though, by that point if you don’t have a position staffed, you are going to be wildly behind schedule, and bringing in a new person is not going to help.

          And it’s not usually the sort of thing that you hire someone for a staff position for either; it’s normally a contract job that’s triggered it.

          When I got hired a while I go, I do recall it was for an opening that was only vaguely related to the programs I ended up working on. They were the same sort of program, but apparently by the time they got the cattle-call interview thing out the door, the program itself had collapsed under technical issues.

          Thing is, they weren’t able to staff for the program they had planned on staffing for, and the only reason they didn’t have to let go all the new hires was because they were big enough they could store them for a bit until they had programs they could put them on. Which just seems sort of non-functional.

          1. I was hired in ’96 to bring to completion and market a project that the contractor was saying at least a year. Needed to be out in 6 months (actually got 8 months as it turned out, as the hardware slipped). I pulled it off because of my experience working on a lot of different type of projects (or a lot of variety width, just not depth, of experience). So was able to go in, figure out what was going on and patch it together in time. The next release had a few new features for the new hardware and fixes for the more fragile aspects. Then TPTB figured that project was “done”. Boss wasn’t sold. So I got put on the projects that people were calling for using that product rather than buying it themselves, or using one of the national companies doing just that. Something that support had been, um, not doing well … Did two projects, before I was put back on the product expansions. They then hired someone to do what I was doing (someone I recommended …) I couldn’t do both, not enough time. At EOL started on another software project.

    2. Wouldn’t happen to rhyme with “Hummin’,” would it? I have a history with those guys.

        1. Ah, yes. Spent a decade or so on the other side, as the technical editor trying to get a decent (or even finished) product out of them.

        2. I should add I had no problems with the worker bees, who all seemed to want to do a good job. It was management, with its, “minimum amount t of work for maximum amount of money,” attitude that drove me nuts.

  23. I’ll just note that those of us shouting at clouds are performing a public service.

    Those clouds need some discipline, which they could develop if they would just listen; clouds don’t talk back, which is nice. And, all that shouting is good for the soul (or, Vogonity).

    I have had similar employment-seeking stories; fortunately, the jobs themselves were all pretty good. And when the jobs seemed to disappear, I was lucky that I could retire in good financial order, because my wife had a CALPERS job for a few years beyond that.

    1. We were able to retire in decent financial order because: We paid ourselves first. It did allow us options on the one pension retirement. Fiden’s economy is hurting on two fronts. Part because the pension(s) do not adjust for inflation (like PERS, at least mom’s Oregon one does). The other … well quantity has a quality all it’s own. We are down, but not quality of life down.

  24. What I can’t figure out is why nobody posts the payscale associated with a job. I was let go end of Oct and have been applying for things since then.

    I know what my low end requirement is, and applying for jobs that don’t meet it is a waste of everyone’s time

  25. Issue getting shorted hours? No. Issue with people getting properly paid for overtime just before I started? Yes.

    I do IT work, which means job placement on a contract by a contractor company that has a placement company find me for the job. The placement company is considered to be the actual employer as far as the pay stub and W-2 are concerned. On two separate jobs, there was an issue with the placement company not paying overtime wages that got resolved just before I started.

    On an unrelated note, Word Press just tried to populate my name and website fields (but not my e-mail address field, which I’d already entered) with Orvan’s information. Odd…

    1. That’s not odd; the population here is Odd. That’s just WP, which delenda est. With extreme prejudice.

  26. ‘Instead, they have precipitated several situations they find distasteful: parents deciding to raise their own kids; various workers deciding they prefer working from home/moving away from the big cities; women deciding that they are paying for working fairly menial jobs and would rather not, and “female advancement” be shafted. Etc.”

    Proof that He works in mysterious ways?

  27. As a union carpenter most of my adult life, like my father, I was never cheated on pay or time I’ve been laid off because the foreman and I had personal problems, but never, ever cheated. We had a saying “8 for 8” meaning pay us for 8 hours of work and you get 8 hours of work. I’m always telling my wife when she’s working for free that her management will start to expect it. Though to be honest, non trade unions baffle me and some jobs just scream abuse. Airline stewards (or whatever the name now) don’t get their time counted until the plane leaves the ground.

    1. “I’m always telling my wife when she’s working for free that her management will start to expect it. ”

      If your wife is working in a field that can be worked remotely, or that can get imported labor, legal(?) or otherwise, they’ve been expecting it for 30+ years.

  28. I think it is the cost of going back to work is too high, It might be commute issues, or childcare, or taxes, or knuckling under to the fact that any job that carries any value is at risk for denouncement and firing for cause and court fees for violation of some HR policy.

    If the wage is half taken by taxes and the rest never keeps up with inflation, there is less reward to offset the costs and the risks.

    1. Even in the eighties, my husband once inadvertently got a secretary to quit by calculating her income and outgo. She was paying more for working than if she stayed home. Transportation, child care, food away from home for her and child (even if made at home, it’s different.) clothes for work, etc.

      1. at one point I was commuting 120 miles through the worst traffic in the state, and I was calculating the cost of commuting against the income. I was holding on hoping to be transferred back to the local office that I had come from.
        I still got laid off, after 11 months.

        1. Hubby’s record of commute was 8 miles round trip late ’03 – early ’05. But his commute to our official residence was 900 miles round trip. When told of the transfer we figured we’d work it until he could retire full benefits, early ’07, or got transferred back. The latter happened. Didn’t have any choice. I was still looking. Finally found something 4 months later, but we still couldn’t afford for him to quit. Luckily we had the older 28′ RV trailer because where he got sent the housing situation was lousy to worse.

  29. Yes it’s wage mismatch and yes it’s lockdown mismatch (why work that hard in mask to get paid too little to care for someone else’s child or parents in when you could move home and do it yourself and mom and dad pay the mortgage or you don’t have to cover childcare.)

    But I wonder how much is incompetence and how much is fraud.

    A teen I know had a local bike shop in a national chain begging him to work there. But his application was online through corporate. For 4 months, shop kept begging the kid, the kid kept saying he had already applied, and corporate didn’t even deliver any resumes to the shop. Because he wasn’t a diversity hire? Because no staff in corporate actually existed to handle HR? Because it’s all software and software was broken? Eventually the local manager got someone to help the kid get hired, but it took 6 total months. For a $15/hour job. Kid worked at fast food and hardware stores during that time, and wages now higher than 15. If that’s the norm, real people who need work faster than that aren’t possibly going to hold out.

    In fact, I have another friend who applied to BigTechComp a sw eng. The process is “moving forward” BigTechComp says. Except it began 8 months ago. He’s been through rounds of interviews, been told he’s still in the running. He’s actually applied for and been hired and started at another bigtech firm in the same amount of time.

    I wonder too if it’s fraud. Do companies pretend to be hiring so scammers can bill UI system? I don’t mean a guy here or there. I mean systematic fraud by people in state offices who know how to create fake “for hire” entries so fake job seekers can collect benefits. That’s what was happening in MN. Fake children were in fake childcare so people could collect dependent childcare welfare payments. This wasn’t a woman here or therem it was dozens of people, maybe hundreds, involved in the scam. Run by Somali refugee scammers, same as the recent fake child food payments were.

    1. How many of those job listings are there to ‘prove’ they can’t get any ‘qualified American citizens’ so they ‘have no choice’ but to bring in foreigners and pay them half as much?

      1. I suspect a majority. Also the reason almost every job requires a college education, because H1B Visas require there to be a technical gap, e.g. not enough degrees. Even though the degree in my experience offers little…

  30. I think the elephant being ignored in the room is the number of working age people who have been killed or disabled by the jab…Insurance companies said, before being censored, that the death rate for working age folks was up 80%..And the number disabled by cardiac problems, cancer, etc, must be much greater…

      1. Perhaps because companies are slashing jobs faster than the work force can decline!? Jobs still seem fairly available here in service businesses, but Amazon’s layoffs could be changing that metric…..I think the US is in the early stages of a very severe recession…

  31. Where I live, if you home school your children, the school still gets paid.
    Because there is money involved, the school will have CPS knock on your door to check on the welfare of the children. And so they can get paid.

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