Ladders, Ramps and Holes – Riding the Catastrophic Change Wave, part IV

I come not to complain about employment problems, but to try to figure out why “everything is broken.”

Most of us worked sh*tty jobs coming out of college, or while in college, or just starting out if we didn’t go to college. This is part of the American work experience. It’s like living in the stupidly cr*ppy student apartments or starting homes. (I actually lucked out on those, which I suspect is compensated for by older son’s first apartment, where what should be a corner cabinet in the kitchen was just a space filled with dirt. We didn’t dig in the dirt. For obvious reasons. This was also the apartment where the doorbell rang if you flushed the toilet.) It’s a bragging point for older adults, including parents and grandparents. “Oh, lord, remember that apartment where if you touched the stove the smoke alarm went off?”

And the truth is, because of the culture, most people are really proud of their “I ate frogs” period. It’s America, not other places, mind you.

Yes, you do get snowflakes complaining that they have to work at all, but if you go back, you’ll see the same going back for decades. The snowflakes they shall always be with us.

But the nature of jobs itself has changed, which the culture itself hasn’t adapted to. This is normal. The culture lags reality by two or three generations. That’s why we’re still seeing movies and books where the “grandparents” (objectively about my age or a little older) disapprove of women working. In fact, by the seventies pretty much no one under forty disapproved of women working. By the nineties, when I could stay home to mind my infant and try to break into writing, I was looked at askance for NOT having a job outside the home. Also in the nineties, I shocked a younger woman when she found out I had a post-graduate degree, because SURELY no woman smart enough to have a degree would be a stay at home mom. (Even if I was trying to break into writing.)

So, culture lags reality. In the late eighties, when Dan was talking to a company near his parents, my MIL advised me if they were serious (they were, though we turned down the offer for various reasons) they’d want to meet me and have a dinner with me and the other spouses of people in the department. This was apropos of the fact I had brought no “good clothes” up, only jeans and t-shirts. Dan and his father worked at similar levels. Apparently 20 or 30 years earlier companies vetted spouses? Anyway, the whole concept was completely bizarre and I accepted that was her experience, but I didn’t even know what to make of it.

By the eighties we heard tales of corporations that “looked after you.” You were hired for whatever frog-eating position was available, and then there was a ladder. As long as you were decent, honest, and a hard worker you’d be promoted.

I’ll be honest, I have no idea if that was ever true. In Portugal it kind of was, but Portugal runs on Roman models, and it’s all patronage and vassalage, all personal.

If it was true, I suspect what changed it was the huge elephant of the boomer generation moving through the snake of the system. Because there would be a glut of employees, so it was a buyers market for employers and they would need to offer less and could be more demanding. (The laws of the market apply to everything, yes. More than you’d think. A glut in supply means the demand gets more finicky.)

I know our experience of the job market is you found something, and then if you ever wanted a raise or a change in status, you went looking. And then again. And for a while there in the nineties, when Dan worked for a large corporation, there were annual layoffs and you never knew who would be cut. So we’d spend a month holding our breath as the ax fell and fell and fell again.

The good side of that kind of job market was that while it was almost impossible to advance within a corporation (unless you had certain markers that had nothing to do with your competence) it was fairly easy to get a job just off the bat by applying. Oh, you still had to send out hundreds of resumes, but you’d likely get something.

This changed after the great crash of 01-03. Suddenly the only way to find a job is to know someone. Same as in Portugal, in fact. I’m not sure why, but I’d guess something about unemployment or laws relating to that has changed, so people are less willing to take a chance on a wild card. It’s usually what causes these dramatic shifts.

At the same time, we started seeing bachelors being required for the most trivial of work. We’ve all seen advertisements for managing a coffee shop: must have bachelors.

Now, we know perfectly well where that comes from. I mean, I have read essays from college freshmen that I would have been ashamed to turn in in first grade. But the thing to understand is that it’s not the kids fault. To get to the point of people being so completely unable to express themselves in writing, a LOT of effort has gone in to PREVENTING people from learning. This is yet another finger pointing at our broken education system.

And part of the problem here is if you get someone non stem with a bachelors, they’re not likely much better at expressing themselves in writing.

Also even if they are better, they have no way to let it be known. The fact that jobs are deathly afraid of giving competence tests for fear of lawsuits is causing this nonsense, and making it almost impossible to get a job, because employers can’t trust anyone to be competent, even with credentials.

Meanwhile those who are employed are working their behinds off. The best way to signal that you can do a job, is that you are already doing a job. And then everyone wants you. Almost everyone I know who isn’t a free-lancer — I know a lot of free-lancers — and who is a mind-worker has two or three jobs and another gig on the side, because they were given an offer they couldn’t refuse.

All this while the “”Scrabbling bottom” who are mostly young and without connections are … scrabbling. Usually in retail and food service. Where they are treated as having already failed, if they’re there, and are given ridiculous job hours, etc. And then called lazy if they quit that and…. go home to tend to their kids or whatever. Oh, and if they get promoted, they usually take sniping from above and below. Because retail is a crab bucket, as is writing, and other places where there are a lot of eager widgets for a smaller number of positions.

“But there aren’t enough people applying!” you’ll say. And that’s true, probably. Maybe. Absent HR monkey games. But again, culture takes a long time to change. And this was formed when there was a vast pool scrabbling to get in.

It is clear and obvious that whatever is going on in our work force, is not conducive to getting the best people hired, or even to getting the work done once you’ve been hired.

I’ve floated several ideas of why this is, including, of course HR games and our broken education and event he fact that our workforce is tipping increasingly female, except in a few select professions. (And that means that the social mode of female applies and females — at least those who haven’t been taught to act male in work — have their own social games, which interfere with modern workplaces (though they are amazingly well suited to serraglios or the harems of proto-hominids. Go figure. Possibly workplaces resemble more the friendly competition of the hunt.))

Over all of this is government and litigation nonsense. Certain people must be hired, due to characteristics that have absolutely nothing to do with their performance of the job. And the DIE (die, die die!) nonsense is just a codifying of that. I will say, yes, there are women and people of various shades who are as or more competent than the palest of the pale. I flatter myself I’m one of those. And this is why no good is served by hiring for “has vagina” or “can tan” because that only encourages the random hiring of people with those characteristics, not those who are as — or more — competent. Anyone with an ounce of competence at their job should despite the DIE nonsense. It is a poison pill to the work marketplace.

How do we change from that? I’m not sure. It’s only clear that we have to change. And again, the left’s crazy rush to cram even more of the “doesn’t work” down our throat will only accelerate the change. Because it will accelerate the crash. Right now almost all the workplaces I have visibility in to barely work, except for the heroic work of one or two out of a 100 or so employees. The exceptions are small companies, and tightly knit groups, where things still more or less work. (And I suspect those companies, like those individuals in the bigger companies, are pulling disproportionate weight.) Add more of the dross and staffing of “widgets that look like this” and a collapse will happen, which will hasten a rebuild.

What the rebuild looks like, I have absolutely no idea.

I will only say that no, I don’t hold it against anyone, young or old, caught in this mess who decides to “lie flat”. My own experience of a broken marketplace for labor, with traditional publishing — it was broken when I came in, and it kept breaking more. There was no ladder up. There was no ramp. It was a sinkhole, and I kept myself from sinking for twenty some years by sheer, stubborn will power and refusal to die — is that it breaks you after a while. You take too many kicks in the teeth, and you can’t get up. You get the football taken away at the last minute one too many times, and you just can’t motivate yourself to run for it once more.

But as much as I don’t hold it against people, work is a necessity to live or even “merely” to survive. Most of the problems we’re having come from the fact that young people aren’t getting their foot on the ladder. Can’t even see a ladder. And are burning out caught in the sinkhole, while the cost of getting into the sinkhole gets higher in education and time.

Again, I want to point out I’ve experienced this in publishing where by the time I came along breaking in could take a decade, but once in you were treated as a lottery ticket to be disposed of if you didn’t bring a disproportionate pay off. It’s a matter of supply-glut.

And yet, we hear employers are hurting for employees. But the way the market is behaving is “we have a glut.” Could be hangover from the boomers. Could be. Or it could be something else and I can’t guess what.

The problem with corrupted statistics at every level is that it gives a high confidence we know what’s going on, while we lack even minimal understanding into what’s actually going on.

At this point it feels like we’re on our way to losing vast portions of two generations to “failure to launch” which affects everything from marriage to…. well, another generation. And whatever the officials are seeing must be dire as they’re now insisting we need the open border so we don’t run out of people. Think about it. All while the market behaves like it has too many people-widgets applying for jobs.

Can I tell you what to do to fix it? No. I can tell you to get as many abilities and as much knowledge as you can, and keep pushing. I suspect there’s a big…. crash (an earth-shattering kaboom?) ahead, and we’ll need everything we have to rebuild.

But lacking a crystal ball I can’t even tell you the shape of it. Just to keep pushing. Yes, I know it’s hard. The times that (to quote grandma) my heart broke, so I fashioned my gut into a new heart and kept going are more than the fingers of one hand. I know. My hair didn’t get white all by itself.

However, I do know we’re going to need a lot of capable people in the future. Not just for us, but for civilization. Keep trying.

214 thoughts on “Ladders, Ramps and Holes – Riding the Catastrophic Change Wave, part IV

  1. The answer when asked why he kept pushing the ball up the hill, even when he knew it would roll back down.
    “Meh its steady work” Sisyphus replied.

    1. I read about it at Tom Knighton’s before. No, it doesn’t explain why it changed after Covidiocy.
      And no, it doesn’t explain why jobs are sucky and stupid.

    2. ACA subsidies are not income in people’s pockets. End of story.

      If you’re broke or poor, you don’t buy insurance. It doesn’t matter if it’s 90% subsidised if you can’t afford your share.

      Cute morality tale, but while money is fungible, giving subsidies to buy something you can’t buy anyway is not money in your pocket.

      Unemployment is limited to a certain number of weeks. When it’s over, it’s over. So we’re well past the Covid layoffs unemployment in most if not all of the country. One or two cities might still be doing something.

      Shoddy, deceptive, ignorant journalism, but I repeat myself.

      1. Not only that, if you were out of the workforce taking care of someone sick, there is no unemployment – you “didn’t have a job”. Anyone who thinks people just “aren’t working” is… insane.

    3. Unemployment expires.
      Extrapolating a time-limited resource past its validity, is deliberately lying.

      Not to mention that taking optimal advantage of government programs would be a full time job (at least) in and of itself. (Not a productive one, but good enough for Keynsian models.)

      This piece reminds me of the effort last year to blame inflation on people getting individual checks for lockdown relief. (Pay no attention to the fact that most would have made more money working, are owed restitution for the illegal theft of their labor, and the trillion+ shoveled to cronies. We’ll just ignore all that to piss on your leg and tell you it’s raining.)
      It was a Marxist parody of how a capitalist would think, and anyone who stopped for two minutes to think about it would realize it.
      But professional political commentators are not our best and brightest, and two minutesz’ reflection seems to be incompatible with “hot takes”. (Or much of the “conservative” political commentariat are leftists grifters playing a role. At this point, what difference does it make?)

      1. We had neighbors, grandmother and her granddaughter (do not know where daughter/mom was) who admitted they moved state to state depending on where they could get the best benefits. At that time (’85 to ’88) it was Oregon/Lane County. ’88 we, and they moved, because the (overlapping) rental properties had sold. Having to deal with them directly was one of the reasons we put in the offer we did on the house we were renting that we did (low end, but reasonable, value, that thankfully was turned down). Also the house they lived in, had numerous problems that should have rendered it not livable, let alone legal to rent. We would have torn it down and recombined the properties. Or torn it down, and properly had a duplex built on the corner lot. (Property line for our house went through the southern quarter of the that house, the old farm house.)

      2. Extrapolating a time-limited resource past its validity, is deliberately lying.

        Of course it is. That is why this meme is so popular.

        It’s like the quote from one of Rand’s villains saying that if you tell an ugly woman that she is beautiful you give her the gift of debasing language in her service. Similarly the doomer/blackpill ideology demands the open sacrifice of truth from its adherents.

      3. Ah, a large part of the current inflation IS due to Congress printing money to cover the covid relief checks. Note that that is different from people receiving them, but the fact that people did receive those checks, and hoped/planned to buy goods that they were no longer being allowed to produce, IS what created the inflationary spiral.

  2. The government has made getting rid of a problem employee almost impossible. Then they forbid businesses from trying to identify problem employees before hiring. Then they mandate D.I.E. Then…

    The Democrats claim to ‘support the workers’ by destroying the businesses that would hire them.
    As with most cases of unfathomable stupidity, this one began and ended with the government.

      1. Except that many companies taking advantage of temp-to-hire, never actually hire.

        I like the concept, but I’ve also been on the “you’ve spent six months busting your hump, and you’ve proven that you would be an asset to our company. I see I’ve even set some productively records. Good job! We’d like to hire you—on another temp contract—with the same terms—as soon as it’s legally allowable for us to do so. You don’t mind a month or three of unpaid vacation, do you?” side of the table.

        The execution is flawed. (And MBAs are evil.)

        1. Response? “Sure!” Silently? “If I’m still available.” Then keep looking, only they end up on the list of examples where exceeded expectations. With a note of potential “expectation to return to work for another six months”. It implies someone else “wants” you. OTOH I know people who are perfectly happy to work under those conditions. Work 6 months. Take off somewhere for 1 or 3 months, come back, and repeat. Reality check, neither care.

          1. The other large companies in the area did the same thing, and had an agreement not to poach each other’s workers.

          2. That is also different from my current work, which is permanent part-time seasonal. (They do have this weird thing called “workshare” which is seasonal unemployment, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth for me.) Basically, I work as long as they have work for me (6-8 months), then I’m off until late August or early September.

            Which is super-nice as a Scout mom needing to be available in summer, heh.

            1. USFS what they call permanent seasonal tech supervisors. VS the crews they supervise which are 100% seasonal and not permanent. Eventually the former do work up to full time depending on budgets. The latter, a few might get lucky enough to get hired into the former slots. Have seen the work share applied to manufacturing VS shutdown during slow times, when the economy was particularly bad.

              Scout mom having summers off. 100%! I didn’t so much. But I could use vacation time for summer camp. The troop scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster (hubby was latter) both had to take time off without pay to do anything during the summer or fall (except weekends). Plus hubby’s work could nix LWP at the last minute even after approving (needless to say we left those requests for “you cancel, you will pay, so really think about this”, like Philmont). Then there was the period where hubby was banned (joke) to Randle, except Saturday and Sunday. Which you’d think would be fine, except he didn’t get home until late Friday night (leaving after 8 hours was a joke, put him in Portland at 5 PM). Scout weekends start earlier than he could get to Eugene on Friday night. More than once he backpacked in to meet the troop on weekend backpack trips. Good thing me and another mom (teacher sub) could pick up the slack (the two deep leadership requirement) and could both backpack/camp.

        2. Well, my current job is six years from the official hire, so I don’t know how it’s changed, but it worked for me.

        3. Hey, I’m an MBA.
          OTOH I have never been in HR and the degree started out as “Management in Technology,” because some quirk in Alabama law said only one college in town could have an MBA program and Alabama A&M got there first. (Then they somehow imploded, but I don’t know that story).

    1. The requirement for a college degree had only one source…with the EEOC banning intelligence tests, etc, it was impossible to screen and reject unqualified minority applicants without getting sued..But a college degree requirement was exempted, so every big business started requiring college degrees as the only way to deal with that problem…Trade school diplomas were also accepted…

      1. Now the only problem is figuring out which college degrees are worth the paper they’re printed on…

        …and which ones would be better used as an inadequate substitute for toilet paper.
        They’re the Experts! They only sound stupid to you because you’re not as Educated as they are.

      2. From time to time I imagine requiring Statistics 101 for all judges, lawyers, legislators, presidents, governors, and civil servants.

        Dreamland is where you don’t have to face that they know and willfully defy facts.

        1. Defy the facts? No, they simply deny the facts. Why shouldn’t they? They’ve been doing it for decades, and it’s never cost them anything. They can always get whatever they want if they just repeat the right lies enough times. That works.

  3. Several years back, I read an article on workplace cultures (in different countries) and the effect on the birth rate. And it came to an interesting conclusion: there are two ways to bring the birth rate up through employment structures. The first is the comprehensive system—the sort of all-inclusive governmental support that Scandinavian countries have. Everybody’s participating, so no one

    The second is at-will employment, such as the U.S.

    Why? Because the more difficult it is to fire someone, the more difficult it is to break into work, and most women, having done it once, simply cannot afford to have time off for a child (or more than one child), because that means they will never work again. (This was particularly notable in Italy, where the demographic curve is sharply inverted.)

    So “work protections” make it harder to work, and also depress the birth rate.

    Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  4. Oh my, what a naif am I. I had to go look up what a serraglios is. OF course, when doing such research it is best to click on the ‘images’ tab of the google results to get a better understanding of the term. Just Kidding! Just Kidding!

    1. Geez, I image search serraglios and get some politicians face with DDG… 🙂
      OK, and yes, I know what a serraglios is.

    2. No shame in that. First time I encountered the word “seraglio” I had to look it up, too. Pretty sure that was while reading a Conan story.

  5. This changed after the great crash of 01-03. Suddenly the only way to find a job is to know someone. Same as in Portugal, in fact. I’m not sure why, but I’d guess something about unemployment or laws relating to that has changed, so people are less willing to take a chance on a wild card. It’s usually what causes these dramatic shifts.

    After the dotcom crash there was a glut of “web developers” who didn’t have the faintest idea how to code. The market had to figure out who was actually a developer and who wasn’t. Which we are seeing now as well with all the people who used to get their wine on tap in the company breakroom.

    1. “After the dotcom crash there was a glut of “web developers” who didn’t have the faintest idea how to code.”

      Yep. It’s happening again, with the flushing out of woke positions in companies that are finding wokeness a luxury good they can (and must) do without in order to remain profitable. Viz Twitter.

    2. I saw that in microcosm in Flyover Falls. When we moved here, the lumber mills were disappearing quickly (IIRC, one sheet-goods place is running, as is a door and window factory). There were a couple of fallback approaches. Some of the medical admins I’ve dealt with used to be in the mills, and there’s have been some retail. (As lumber went away, there was an influx of California escapees of or close to retirement age. Raises hand.)

      The other approach was “let’s start a business”. In the mid Aughts, a bunch of beauty/hair cutting/tanning shops and used car lots opened up. It looks like the ’08 Cash for Clunkers destroyed the used car business; I can’t recall seeing any independent lot still in business, though the new car dealerships are selling the used cars. A few lonesome signs indicate where Honest Bob’s Used Cars used to be. It hasn’t helped that the local economy sucks and people are still trying to find something to replace the forest jobs. I hate spotted owls, and there’s a place in hell for their supporters in .gov and .org .

      I’m not sure about the beauty shops; I have vague memories of a (naturally anti-competition and/or rent seeking) requirement for beauticians and/or hair stylists to graduate from a beauty college. Yep, most of the little beauty shops are gone. (I must admit, never saw the sense in the tanning salons…)

      Hmm, there’s no crisis so bad that government help can’t make worse.

      1. The screaming for the spotted owls sightly bigger version moving in has crashed. Somehow the “they are spotted spotted owls, let nature take it coarse. Too bad, so sad” reply back put a spigot plug in that. Yes. Might be a big prejudice. Not against the owl. The poor owl just gets the blame. They aren’t hurting. They’ve never been hurting. Sure I probably benefited longer term hugely from the kick in the pants to get out of timber. Doesn’t mean I liked the kick. That doesn’t count the subsequent environmental fire ensuing problems it generated. Oregon/PNW is going to have fires. Just with more activity they might not have been so damaging and smaller size.

      2. I grew up in the timber lands west of the Cascades (Rogue Valley). Those people who chained themselves to forest gates to keep people from logging after the big burn in the Kalmiopsis two decades ago, the “people” who destroyed human lives for animal and tree “lives” – I hope they rot and putrefy and waste away until there is nothing but a sucking void of anguish. And that is too good for them.


        1. The Chetco Bar fire clobbered Curry county a few years ago, (191,000 acres), and a lot of that burn was standing dead trees that weren’t salvaged* from the 2002 Biscuit fire (200,000 acres, if I remember correctly). Between the greenies and the NIMO unit (“we’ll watch your house burn down, no extra charge!”), there were a lot of angry people.

          (*) The anti-salvaging strategy was horrendous–keep suing until the wood had no market value, never mind the loss of health of the burnt area.

          We had a large fire from the Sept ’20 Antifa Arson tantrum. AFAIK, a lot of the woods were private property or state highway easement. Salvage logging happened really fast; I think the ecoidiots were caught by surprise. OTOH, I didn’t see any activity on Nat’l Forest land last summer. (I note the greenies considered the 400,000 acre Bootleg fire in 2021 to be from “climate change”. Never mind a long term drought, apparently which never happened until the SUV was invented.)

          1. St Helen was logged as quickly as anyone could get in there and whatever could be reached. Granted a lot of it was Weyerhauser interspersed with BLM and USFS. By the time TPTB put a stop to it, the loggers had gotten to everything that was salvageable and reachable.

            The Holiday fire. Lots of truck loads coming off the mountain. Weyerhouser trashed their logging plans for 2021 going forward until they got the dead standing salvageable timber out (I think they are still logging it). Replanting and reseeding as they move on. Is all of it salvageable? No. If it can’t go for lumber it can’t go for chips, too burnt. Will they get all of it? No. They’ll get what they can. The rest? USFS and BLM. Doesn’t look like it has been touched.

            The 2003 fire around Big Lake and off Hwy 126 pass, as well as the Scott fire off Hwy 242, no salvage. But then all (most) of that is Wilderness. Almost 20 years and the rock bluffs as approaching from the west to the pass, the small trees are now visible; they are not very old.

          2. There was a lot of salvage happening fast around Detroit from the ’20 fires. Which I was very happy to see.

            I bet the 7 years of famine in Egypt under Joseph ben Israel were climate change as well. /Dryastinder

            1. “lot of salvage happening fast around Detroit from the ’20 fires”

              Private timber would be my bet. Could be Weyerhouser. Could be Sierra. Shouldn’t be Rosburg or Roseburo, they are further south in Umpqua basins and on the coast (former Western Region IP).

      3. If I recall correctly, there’s evidence that old-growth forest is actually harmful to spotted owls — there’s no vegetation on the forest floor, and thus no place for mice to hide and thrive, and no mice means no food for spotted owls.

        To the extent that this is true — and knowing .gov and .org, I suspect it’s very true — it’s unfair to blame spotted owls for being unwillingly drafted as a mascot for an anti-human cause!

  6. “This changed after the great crash of 01-03. Suddenly the only way to find a job is to know someone. Same as in Portugal, in fact. I’m not sure why, but I’d guess something about unemployment or laws relating to that has changed, so people are less willing to take a chance on a wild card. It’s usually what causes these dramatic shifts.”

    China entered the World Trade Organization in December of 2001.

  7. Part of it (and only part) might be a difference between what Corporate sees as a necessity, and what the local office/store/installation sees as a necessity when talking about the number of employees at a given location. At an IT support job that I had earlier this year, we had what all of us local employees considered to be the bare minimum of people to get the work done. The corporate office (halfway across the country from our site) apparently disagreed, because it eliminated two of the six positions in our department (including mine). This was at a site that was making a lot of money for the company (which, from what I’d been told, wasn’t the case at quite a few sites).

    There’s a tendency for many in the corporate office to see employees as interchangeable numbers on a spreadsheet. If the overall spreadsheet calculations say if x then y, then the calculations must be correct for each of the local sites. Input and suggestions from the local manager are likely ignored. If the manager wants to hire two new employees, but the calculations say that those two new employees will provide diminishing returns, then the employees simply don’t get hired. Is that what’s happening? I don’t know. But it’s possible. Though if it is what’s happening, I don’t know why the local managers wouldn’t be informed.

    1. Why wouldn’t the local managers be informed?

      Perhaps the local managers are also viewed as interchangeable widgets by Corporate?

      1. Or worse.
        Green Giant had a profitable corn operation in Idaho’s Magic Valley that the company badly wanted to close. (I don’t know why.) The CEO made the push a could of times, but shareholder pressure kept him from swinging the ax.
        It was the only processing facility the company had which consistently met the importation standards Japan set, and while growing on irrigated land was more expensive, it was also much more consistent.
        In 2012 (+/-1 my memory isn’t what it used to be), we had an epicly bad growing season, and the plant went in the red for the first time ever. The ax fell immediately. Our government leaned hard on Japan to change their standards, since there were so unrealistic that no existing facility could meet them. A region’s economy was devastated. And the company executives have themselves a large bonus.

        Or the various companies that “bought out” competitors, moved their headquarters to the urban-based company they’d purchase, and left the profitable portion of their company to die on the vine.

  8. Much of that seems unreal to me. Admittedly I’ve been out of the job market for over twenty years (& out of the lower forty eight job market for over fifty years.) but in the world I knew one could always find work.

    The way you found it differed from place to place. In Perrine, Florida, yes it was knowing somebody but, everybody knew everybody. George would say to Billy Bob; “Hey I heard you’re looking for work, Franklin needs hands, give him a holler.” When I hitchhiked up to NYC I found one didn’t want to appear too anxious, too hungry, that gave the employer the impression you weren’t too good, if you were too anxious. Up here in Fairbanks, Alaska, originally a mining camp, a boom and bust and boom and bust again and again town. When I first arrived here I quickly found that if you didn’t appear hungry enough, anxious enough, often the job would go to someone else whom the employer thought needed it more.

    Work, wages, often exceptionally good wages yes. Over the years I’ve known a large number of PhDs working out of the laborer’s union hall, making more money in just the summer than they could have made all winter in tenured positions.

    Mt fallback was hey, I can always go pump gas. Never had to do so but if necessary I was ready to do that or anything to put bread on the table and a roof over the family’s heads.

    OK pumping gas is off the table, flipping burgers may be on the way out (Fully automated McDonald’s going into operation in Texas?), but it’s hard for me at accept there aren’t other options, even today.

    1. One of the problems that’s being mentioned (and this isn’t the first place I’ve heard about it) is people applying to a place where the local manager wants to hire them, but the application never getting processed by corporate. When I first heard it mentioned several months ago, a teenager and a supermarket were mentioned. The teenager had applied, and the manager wanted to hire the kid. But corporate acted as if the application didn’t exist. And that meant that the hiring couldn’t happen. We’re talking about a supermarket job here. That’s a recognized starter job, one of the recognized places to get the “I can do a job” tick on your resume. Further, the kid’s experience was not unique. EVERY application submitted appeared to be suffering an identical fate, from what the manager could determine.

    2. Oregon is the holdout for gas jockeys. Drives visiting Californians bonkers, and the last time I drove out of state, it took a moment to remember that I actually had control over the damned nozzle.

      It’s usually younger people, though as the economy got weird, the workforce adapted.

      1. We see a lot of older people manning the gas nozzle in Eugene. Specifically Costco. Then getting onto Costco is suppose to be a good gig.

        We do the same with the gas nozzle when traveling out of state. Pull in for gas and sit there (well not quite, with the dog, I get out immediately and take her for a break). But it is self hilarious realization of “Oh. Yea. We’re allowed.” Reverse when back in state. Start to get out. Reach for the nozzle and “Well. Oh, yea. We’re ‘home’!”

        Note. Baker and Ontario Oregon area have been a lot slower to go back to providing pumping services (after the brief bit where we could pump ourselves). People are there if you need help but if you have a CC, just pull up and pump. It is funny to watch people from out of state faces when they realize they flat out are not allowed to pump their own gas.

        1. The idea of being DEPENDENT on another to fuel a vehicle is seriously weird. Now, if it was TRUE “Full Service” (check oil, clean the windows, check the tires…) that’s another matter. But that generally has an add cost – if it even exists – nowadays.

          1. In Oregon, it was like that when I was a pup.
            Then they added a lower priced option of just having them pump the gas, most people took it, and the full service option went practically extinct.

        2. There is a law/regulation that allows self-pumping in the seriously rural counties in Oregon, generally those well east of the Cascades. (Ours isn’t included.) I don’t know if it’s only for certain hours or what, but it was supposed to address the issue of lack of people to man a pump that might get used a few times a night.
          I’m pretty sure the gas jockey requirement is TPTB’s attempt to provide “equity” or something. After all, it doesn’t come out of their paychecks (or at least they don’t drive that much), and the higher gas prices mostly affect the rural counties. They’d consider such a win-win. a la lantern!

          1. I know what the “a la lantern!” means, but I cannot help but picture the bastages being used as wicks and set alight. For that might be the only way they could experience… enlightenment.

          2. I’m surprised TPTB are being so reasonable.

            Baker we learned when drove over for aunt and uncles 65th anniversary. Middle of the day, everyone was pumping their own gas. I had to get help to start the pump (something I hadn’t seen) but was golden otherwise.

            Ontario, it was “Wait? Are we in Idaho already?” 😉 Then on the way home, … well it was 4:30 AM!

            1. I suspect that Somebody got stranded, or several somebodies got stranded in really bad weather with adverse results. In Flyover County, you can usually find a gas station every 25-40 miles on the state highways, but further east, it’s rare. OR-140 in Lake County; there’s Lakeview, then if you go east, the station (in 2014) in Adel changed to fleet card-access only, then nothing until Denio Junction in Nevada. So, it’d be 110 or more miles between gas stations from Lakeview to Denio. (I vowed never to take that route from October through March, and to go to Ontario if I had to go back East. Didn’t have to…)

              I’m guessing the 100 mile interval is common in some counties.

              When it’s not cost effective to man a station at night, but the gas is needed, an application of the Clue by Four might have worked with TPTB. It did, there.

              1. “the 100 mile interval is common in some counties” <

                I am well aware.

                Not as big of a problem now that we’re using the Santa Fe for travel. But when one is using a pickup, towing a trailer? We’ve watched that little tattle tale … “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, ….” miles left. Filling up generally indicated some fuel left. But when the MPG is running 6 (uphill and against the wind) … you pay attention that it is a long, long, long, way between available stations. The worst was Field, BC/Alberta on Hwy 1. Got there and the local power was out. We just got in line and hoped we could get into a station when they opened up, without needing to get a can for a gallon or so to get to a pump. We did. Others didn’t.

                The other problem Canada Hwy 1 has? No rest areas. Not a problem towing a trailer, just pull over at a safe spot and take advantage. In the Santa Fe … problem! Note, some eastern Oregon Counties have the same problem. Not quite as bad, but still a problem. (So do freeways in Wyoming and Montana on the N/S freeways on their east Rocky flank plains.)

                1. I-80 in Wyoming was horrible for rest stops in 2005, but not too bad in ’14. OTOH, late April weather was worse in ’14, with a downright exciting weather menu in North Platte, NE (LAL* 6 thunderstorm appetizer with tornado entree, with a few inches of snow the next morning for dessert.)

                  (*) Lightning Activity Level. 6 is maxed out.

                2. “some eastern Oregon Counties have the same problem.”

                  There’s a rest area just east of Burns, Oregon. Pit toilets. It’s the only one on 20, and it’s pretty much the only stop between there and the Idaho border.

                  1. I know. Trust me. I know. It is the route we take to the Idaho border, Bend thru Ontario to Yellowstone/Tetons.

                3. When I drove the Wolf Pup with the Honda Ridgeline, I wasn’t thrilled to get 15 mpg between Flyover Falls and $TINY_TOWN, with a few hills (Summit is 1000 feet above the lowest point, and there’s only one to deal with). Doesn’t sound too bad until you realize the Honda only has a 16 gallon tank.

                  OTOH, we bought it as emergency/temporary housing. We’ll likely use it this spring/summer when the master bedroom gets painted and a carpetectomy. Vinyl plank for the win, I hope.

                  1. A carpetectomy… 🙂 I really, really, really want…need…to give my basement one of those. Carpets do have their place, but concrete basement floors are NOT it.

      2. I was pumping gas in Yreka once and a young (about 19-20ish) woman asked me for help because she’d never pumped gas before. I walked her through it, reassuring her that it’s not dumb to ask for help for something she’d literally never done before, though it is pretty simple overall. Oregon kid, of course.

      1. … as rolls of picture-printed toilet paper?

        Useful RINOs!

        They -will- take (crap) from you!

      2. Sadly, I live in the district of one.
        He just got re-elected, and immediately started stabbing us in the back with vote after vote after vote.
        When he knew he was going to have to face the voters, he was on his best behavior.
        But now that he has six years of insulation…
        He has free rein to show us what he really thinks of us.

        Of course, the state party is avoiding the issue as hard as it possibly can.

      3. One of them is already on the way out (Inhofe). We elected his replacement in November. (Unfortunately doesn’t get seated until January.)

      1. Indeed, while my half of my “Republican” Senators almost certainly didn’t vote for it because this bill went against his principles (the other half, “Mittens”, did vote for it), how many Republican Senators are there who would have voted for it, but the other 18 who did gave them cover?

  9. Apparently 20 or 30 years earlier companies vetted spouses?

    Sort of, yes– the spouse was the support staff for your employee. for a big part (the idea of work/life balance is, sadly, not a new challenge) — and you can identify some red flags, varying by your job culture.

    When I was a kid, ranches still did this- although since half the time the wives worked on the ranch, too, much more understandable. 😀

    1. Also, getting married is likely the biggest choice you’ll make in your lifetime.
      So if you want to evaluate someone’s decision-making…

  10. “Most of us worked sh*tty jobs coming out of college, or while in college, or just starting out if we didn’t go to college.”

    Well, they called it “steamfitter’s apprentice,” but industrial plumbing did include fixing toilets on occasion. I have stories… That will probably never be told, because a professional keeps his clients’ secrets. But if I ever did tell, well.

    There’s always been humor in blue collar jobs. It’s quite often pretty damned dark. Police and paramedics get that sort of humor as well. We all see people on some of their worst days.

    It teaches you a lot about humanity, practical psychology, and the limits that each of us have. And what happens when those limits are breached. If you can’t laugh when faced with the big stuff, you’ll break.

    Sh*tty jobs are different for everyone. Some would call crawling through mud and pig crap in -10 weather a pretty bad day. It was annoying is what it was. There’s worse things than having another human being upset and yelling, spitting in your face. Worse things than being late to work and getting chewed out by a pencil necked paper pusher with zero sense of irony.

    Bad days leave you with scars. Most folks have a few, if you listen long enough. Sometimes that long sigh after standing up ain’t arthritis, it’s shrapnel slowly working its way out. Sometimes its reactions that don’t fit the setting. Everybody gathers a collection of ticks and trips going through life.

    But the thing about those scars is they can also come with hard won experience. Wisdom comes from surviving bad decisions. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, those might be the bad decisions of others. Right now, we’re in the process of surviving bad decisions at the highest level on a national scale.

    One can only hope that folks recognize what’s going on, and remember. Wisdom only works so long as your memory of the disaster remains intact enough to recognize it, plan for it, and enact the plan when necessary.

    1. A spent an evening once at an SCA event outside Philly with a crew of EMTs. I laughed myself sick because the stories were the sort where you either laugh or cry. Very dark humor, I deed.

      1. There was once a panel about odd (not Odd) medical issues… generally self-inflicted. Identities were protected, and I am glad to have seen ONLY X-rays/radiographs. Some things… well, it might have been in Slot B, but they sure were NOT Tab A.

        1. Ah yes, the “You thought that was strange? We had a guy come in with a . . . ” challenge. yet another thing I don’t understand about people and don’t care to try to understand.

        2. I read about a gay guy at an emergency room to have a flashlight…extracted. It was switched on, too. At least the proctologist had plenty of light to work by. 😀

          I also read that most emergency rooms have a specific tool for removing pool balls from the mouths of drunks. Somebody bets them they can’t… They win the bet, but then there’s just a bit of a problem…

      2. Some of the patients are a riot as well.

        Paramedic friend of mine took a concentration camp survivor to the hospital, my friend noticed the number tattoo. Patient saw that and said “worst summer camp ever.”

      3. I remember one “research” discussion area for writers where we could get Very Silly Indeed, because even though the questions were all hypothetical, the ones about death tended toward the — unusual.

        I particularly remembering the thread discussing the possibility of pickling a human corpse.

  11. Don’t discount the impact of unrealistic identity group quota’s in hiring and workforce composition that are impossible to meet because the population within reasonable distance simply does not match the mandated quotas. HR departments would rather leave the job unfilled than hire someone in the wrong group resulting in what is considered an unacceptable identity group ratio.

  12. What I find ironic is now that I’m out of the work market, I am getting blasted with inquiries to come to work. What is with that? Before? Silence.

    Seriously. A lot of depends on the job you are qualified for. I know my BIL has never had a problem getting work as a mechanic. Sure when through some hoops to get on with PG&E but had jobs lined up wherever he went. Nursing is the same. In fact a lot of the spouses where hubby worked were nurses. Hair cutters, etc. Electricians, ditto. Computers were suppose to be the similar. It got swamped with qualified people.

    1. Hospital was going to hire one of my boys as an aide.
      But he’d have to take the covid shot, that gave his biological uncle myocarditis. That his own doctor says he should never take.


      So until the medical system gets undelusional, they’re hiring from a much smaller pool.

      This may be part of it in other fields in other parts of the country, come to think of it. If you don’t have your health you can’t work, and heaven only knows how many young adults have decided that, on balence, they’d rather not roll the dice.

      1. I don’t know what my former employer is requiring. They don’t work with the public. Last I heard the programmers were permanently working from home, except for a few that had their own reasons for not doing so. OTOH all the “new” (since I left) programmers are gone, except one, and he is working IT part time (and the son of a retired programmer). They have also lost, besides me, 3 others to retirement (at age 70). This is 8 programmer/support people they have lost since 2016. My sources are not talking. I don’t know what is going on.

      2. I’ve heard that the traveling nurses, hired to replace those refusing to get the clot-shot, are somehow exempt from having to get the shot. And, the pay’s better. #headdesk

        1. The regulation is that to remain in compliance with Medicare and Medicaid, all employees must be vaxxed.

          But subcontractors aren’t employees.

          But simple.

          1. Explains why an associate’s wife has been a “traveling nurse” in Albuquerque for two years now. They’re making it work, but it’s rough.

          2. A good chunk of the nursing staff at the big medical complex [hospital & clinics, think Borg] left, presumably to restart as travelers. The clinic I use has a bunch of new CMAs and PAs, though they were always short of Real Nurses(tm).

            The hygienists at my dentist’s office were supposed to get a clot shot or leave, but the majority stayed. My regular hygienist gets/got tested weekly, though I thought that option had been killed by TPTB.

  13. I’ve seen the ladder bit work a couple of places, in various ways. Absorbed-Semiconductor Inc hired a technician who had gone through the DeVry Tech program. A little bit (year or so) of study at Silicon Valley State got him promoted to Engineer. (In another case, a very experienced tech quit HP because lack of BSEE prevented him from an engineering slot, so he went to A-S Inc and hired as an engineer.

    At HP, my boss taught electronics at one of the junior colleges. Promising students were interviewed and a few hired as a tech. One very sharp lady (formerly a waitress) grabbed on the tech job and did the necessary to become an engineer, and boss of the tech unit for our department.

    Though, that was over 27 years in the semi industry, not a lot of ladder activity.

    1. Dad worked up from draftsman to working engineer but not the title (didn’t have the degree). Started early ’60s, forced “retirement”, same company, in ’86, due to his debilitating stroke. Then mom had to go to work.

      She’d worked before they were married (early ’50s), done the Christmas season retail (generally at Penny’s), worked as fill in help where grandma worked (small town newspaper, type setting, old ye style), plus by then they were running their own seasonal salmon fishing two person boat off Oregon coast (had been for 15 years). None of this counts the volunteer unpaid work managing summer camps, campfire girls, girl scouts, and swimming team activities, through the ’60s and ’70s. Got asked why she was going to “work” now at 50. Answer: Medical Insurance. She went to work for the (by then) lunchroom contracting agencies as the lunch person. She got on through recommendations and references through (you guessed it): Camp Fire, Swimming, Girl Scouts, and co-seasonal fishing people (who also worked there).

  14. My sympathy for people who complain they can’t hire good help is zero or even minus. Pay more and hire for ability to do the job, fire those who can’t, or shut up. That includes individual people hiring professional help (lawyers, real estate, doctors) etcetera as well. In real estate, I hear people complain about results after hiring a ‘we’ll do nothing for 1%’ agent or firm and LAUGH at the idiot who thought he was saving several percent – but ended up with a problem property or one that didn’t sell and paid 20% too much or got 20% less than they should (and the figure is often higher than that). This applies all across the economy. It’s amazing and dismaying how few people will bother to find out what the right metrics to hire an expert are, and that’s when they’re using their own money. In the corporate world it’s even lower and in government it’s basically zero.

    1. Private. We research options. We talk to people. We don’t go with the highest bid. We don’t go with the lowest. But that is our private business.

      Work related. I hate it. But I do realize why companies are going with temp to hire, even professional positions. I saw the start of that in the mid ’70s when I got called by HR on how I felt about XYZ being hired into the summer crew I worked on. Answer: “Heck No. I’ll end up partnered all the time with XYZ.” They had to make a case to NOT hire XYZ onto a different crew who was threatening, and eventually did, file a discrimination suit. When the investigator showed up to shadow the crew, three of us on the crew were taken aside for interviews on whether the work was deliberately being easier while they were shadowing. Answer: “No. This is an easy week.” Today that lawsuit wouldn’t have been thrown out.

      It isn’t that they can’t or won’t let go people who aren’t working out. It is the perceived paperwork and steps are a nightmare and not a guaranty of not being sued or fined by government overseers. This is Oregon which is a “right to work” which also implies a “right to let go” for most any stated reason. Or as hubby used to say regarding people he worked with “They can fire someone. They just do not want to do the work required.” His job was seniority based and union protected. Everyone did the same job. There was no moving up the ranks except time.

  15. Correct me if I’m wrong (no kids to use as a benchmark,) but it also seems a lot of the “starter jobs” are going to older workers. Either retirees who either can’t make ends meet on just social “security” or who are bored out of their minds; or people who’ve held a job but need another (either second / third, or previous job is gone.)

    Paper routes are long, long gone, they were on the way out when I was a teen, going to adults with cars who could handle the equivalent of 3-4-5+ routes. Grocery store staff largely seem to be older than teens, ditto a lot of restaurant workers. Fast food I don’t do often enough to say one way or the other.

    And as pointed out in the post, more and more jobs no matter how trivial are requiring a Bachelors in something, ideally related, just to get an application looked at. So getting a foot in the door is getting harder and harder.

    Possibly when the education system implodes, the situation will improve, in the meantime not sure what could be done to start to turn things around…

    1. It’s so normal that when, about a year ago, I noticed that there were actual kids in the starter jobs, I was startled and pleased.

      The take-out-only pizza place was being run by a grandmother aged lady and a kid I’m not sure has a license yet. (and they were doing a good job, too)

      On the road trip this summer, it was really notable how almost nowhere else was actually hiring kids, or even young people. I’m not young anymore, and most of the entry-level jobs were being done by people notably older than me– and not many of them, at that.

      Now, sure, I wouldn’t let my teen girl wait tables next to a major interstate either, but that wasn’t the ONLY place we went!

    2. I’m seeing a mix at the grocery stores, though the people doing the “you order, we pick it” tend to be younger.

      My experience with MacD is limited (occasionally get a drink after medical/dental fun), but the older people on the registers seem to have disappeared with the store redos. OTOH, I think older people are doing the actual food work and assembling orders. My in-town restaurant is a taqueria (micro chain–three locations, two in our city), with younger people on the registers and a mix in the kitchens. Fluency in Spanish seems to be required, at least for the employees. Not for customers, though. 🙂

      The local paper isn’t quite dead, though they’re pining for the fijords, so I can’t speak to deliveries.

      1. I’m seeing a mix in our local grocery chain as well – HS, early twenties … and a scattering of retirement-age workers. The chain is apparently a good one to work for, as their management policy is to promote within, rather than wasting time importing from outside.

    3. A lot jobs that teens in HS used to take, gas jocky, etc., have been limited by law. Either flat out forbidden or limited by hours able to work. College students run into inflexible hours by employers (the whole scheduled to work when student blocked out time for major tests, or just the time to get to class). Older workers regardless of the reason of why going back to work, don’t have those conflicts.

      Does it make it harder for the above students as they enter the work market? Regardless of when (post HS or college)? 100%

      Also older people are less likely to take offense or even guff from the cranky. They Do Not Care. They don’t get upset. They Do Not Care. OTHO Older people are more likely to just quit suddenly … They Do Not Care.

      1. College is expensive enough now that a full time minimum wage job does not even begin to dent the debt load you’re going to take on, and will significantly increase the likelihood that you’ll fail out of any degree worth getting. So it ends up being a lose-lose prospect for any college kid. You basically need to be a working full time in a white collar equivalent job to pay for it out of pocket, and if you’re making that kind of money, usually you’re better off sticking in that profession.

        For highschool kids, you’ll bust your behind for not enough money to do much with, and likely miss out on any extra-curricular activities that you need to do now to get into good colleges and potentially get scholarships that would make a dent in your debt, so its also not really worth it for them either.

        1. “College is expensive enough now that a full time minimum wage job does not even begin to dent the debt load you’re going to take on.” <
          I know. Put myself through college, ’74 – ’79. Again in ’83 – ’85. Then finally ’86 – ’89. Then we put son through college ’07 – ’12. Trust me I know how bad things were between ’74 and ’12. No reason to believe it has gotten any better. While hourly rates have gone up between ’74 and ’12, they have not gone up anywhere near as fast.

          Note. The reason we got son through without loans is because we started saving for college for him before he turned one. We also had savings not “marked” for his college (didn’t when he got done.) He worked, when he could. He earned a scholarship. He earned awards that had me going “well now I know how books are being paid for next term”. It did help when he moved to month to month rental so that wasn’t due in bulk (just incorporate in to monthly expenses).

          Aside. Do I resent the whole “pay off those dead beats student loans”? Yep. Nailed it. We paid our loans. We made sure our son emerged loan unscathed … Damn free loaders.

          1. Yeah, the student loan payoff is a rather massive scam in its own way too. It’s not enough to make a dent for the individuals who actually are drowning in debt, and is mostly a way to justify allowing colleges to harvest even more loan money from future students.

            1. I strongly suspect that the reason Pretendant Biden didn’t push for student loans via Congress — and the reason Chuck Schumer didn’t make it a priority — is because as much as I think it should be considered, considering how much a mess has been made by the Government to get us to the point where it is necessary — I suspect that, had it been brought up in Congress, just enough Republicans in Congress would have asked “But how did we get here in the first place?” that the Media would have reported on it.

              Which makes the entire thing criminally suspect in my own mind. But then, we’re talking about Democrats. What would you expect?

    4. Supermarkets have had a mix of young and old for as long as I can remember. There hasn’t been a change in my area. And really, the intro job at a supermarket – bagger – works better with the younger people. There’s a certain amount of energy required to quickly get the groceries bagged, and the carts collected. That’s not to say that plenty of older people can’t do it. But younger people are less likely to slow down. And those are two tasks that require high bursts of activity.

      1. I haven’t seen bagger as a separate position at any of the grocery stores by me in well over a decade. The cashiers now bag as they scan

        1. United (regional chain) has separate bagging people, often young, or new immigrants (who work HARD), or people with things like mild Downs Syndrome. The checkers tend to be older (mid 30s and up).

        2. The Ralphs (part of the Kroger company) that I always patronize here in LA County has baggers. I don’t visit other chains, so I don’t know whether they still have the position (the Trader Joe’s that I sometimes visit doesn’t have them; but it’s expected there due to the unusual nature of that chain of stores). But it’s the first I’ve heard of the position being phased out.

          And quite frankly, it would be bad to get rid of it. Baggers aren’t just there for bagging groceries (which is important because it gets customers moving through the checkout lines more quickly), though that is their primary job. Baggers are also there to handle collecting the carts, and taking care of the myriad little things (many of them gofer tasks) that pop up throughout the day. You don’t need to interrupt a stockist from their job to take care of something. You get a bagger to deal with it, instead.

    5. minimum wage creates deadweight loss.

      as the cost of labor is fixed higher by government regulation, the cost of kids, newbies, learning employees, and honestly the guy you like who can’t actually earn his keep becomes too high and they get laid off or not hired to start with. They are a deadweight to the company and what they cost has to be considered in light to what they either produce or might produce in the future.

      minimum wage creates deadweight loss.

      1. People working for $5.00 an hour are contributing to the economy. People not working because they can’t do anything that’s worth $15.00 an hour are not contributing to the economy.

        Low-wage jobs are the oil that keeps the economy turning. Democrats have drained the oil, but expect the engine to go on running, and it will — for a while.
        It is not within the power of any government to increase the value of unskilled labor, only to raise the cost.

  16. Have semi-celebrities been dropping like flies lately? Seems as if every few days I hear about another ‘mysterious death’ such as that sports announcer in Qatar.

    How many of them had taken the COVID19 shots a few months before? Why does nobody even ask that question?

    Then there’s the other kind of ‘mysterious death’ — two Russian oligarchs died in the same hotel in India this week. One had a ‘heart attack’ and the other one ‘fell’ out of a window. Seems as if Vlad has graduated from poison to defenestration.

    1. To be obvious…

      How many of them had taken the COVID19 shots a few months before? Why does nobody even ask that question?

      Because they (know and) fear the answer?

      I was worried, before this started, that the rush would result in an sort of “American Thalidomide” and I am seeing less and less reason to NOT consider Pfizer/Moderna American Chemie Grünenthal.

      And I say that as someone who HAS had a couple dose of the mRNA (not really a) “vaccine” – who is now RELIGIOUSLY taking assorted supplements in hopes of countering things.

      $AUNT wants me to get “boosted” saying “But you have a HEART CONDITION!” and, yes, I do have A heart condition (treated). And ONE is more than enough! Do NOT desire any more! Falls on deaf brain, alas.

      1. I do feel for $AUNT as her job for the last couple years has been administering Moderna’s mRNA thing. Even to kids. When the truth is realized and comes out (it ALWAYS does – eventually)… well, it ain’t gonna be pretty. I have NOT said anything of that to her.

      2. I’ve read that nicotine (patch form) can start the apoptosis process that the spike proteins screw up. There was one of the contra-narrative bits that came out: cigarette smokers had a lower problem rate from COVID. Of course, such news got quickly suppressed.

        I never expected T J Tyne’s Bones character to be an inspiration in dealing with government dis-information…

        My cardiologist recommended I stay away from the shot. At that time, letting TPTB know his advice would have had major consequences. Arggh.

        1. a family friend is allergic to components in vaccines (not just in the accursed mrna junk and it manifested over time) and still has had supposedly “knowledgeable” medical people tell her she really should get the shot.

          1. I see my regular doctor every 6 months to monitor my “diabetes”, though my A1C has dropped low enough the cardiologist says I’m not even pre-diabetic.

            The regular doc was hounding me to get the clot-shot since it was rolled out. He was on “the COVID team” for the clinic/hospital/medical junta in the county, and said I couldn’t possibly have had COVID in March 2020 since the first “reported” case didn’t happen until April. (No mention of the two people stuck in the hospital with symptoms in March who couldn’t get a test. Flyover County wasn’t high on the priority list to get test kits. Sarah, I borrowed your shocked face. I cleaned it.)

            Once the not-vax got rolled out, I said I’d wait until the FDA actually approved it. He kept banging on about “it’ll keep you from getting it”, then next visit “do it for the community”. “Suddenly” [word picked for irony’s sake], this last June, zero comments about the not-Vax. Same thing this December. COVID never got mentioned.

            Of course, now he’s going on about the latest and greatest pneumonia shot. I’ve had the -13 shot, and the -23 (complete with adverse reaction, and the clinic lost the info saying I got the shot), but he wants me to get the new one (a -20). He passed off the adverse reaction (“you must caught pneumonia when you saw me earlier in that week”).

            I’m more or less stuck with this guy. OTOH, a rural FNP does flu shots (not-Vax for COVID after he makes the patient/sheep sign off the multi-page info sheet–he doesn’t get many takers), and if I really felt I needed the pneumonia shot, I’d get it from him. Not sure how soon he’ll retire; the medical junta already tried to shut his clinic down “for efficiency”, but the pitchfork and torch pushback got them to back down.

            I get the distinct impression that my regular doc might have an interesting life when more people figure things out.

            1. Now, I would get the pneumonia shot if I could but records indicate I’m not ancient enough (mine all the irony you can! It’s high-grade ore!) to do without spending a bundle.

            2. “I couldn’t possibly have had COVID in March 2020 since the first “reported” case didn’t happen until April.”

              I’m not in “flyover country”, but it’s a fairly high possibility that my kids’ elementary school had COVID in December of 2019.

              The logic works like this:
              1. There was a super-nasty “flu” that just hung around for a couple of weeks going around the school. (We dodged that.) At one point, one of my kid’s classes had up to a third of their kids out.
              2. Nursing home deaths were reported in late January of 2020. We don’t know if earlier ones might have been classified for this new disease.
              3. (the kicker) I personally know someone whose BiL was in Wuhan in November 2019 for a conference. He came back to the US, visited for Thanksgiving, they all got a “flu,” they stayed home—but who knows who they exposed just prior to showing symptoms. Said person has kids at our elementary.

              It was widespread in Wuhan in November of 2019 (per a Bangladesh contact who was sharing stories from late November. I specifically remember commenting, “Oh joy, Connie Willis’ Pandemic.”) There is no way, given the free transportation around the world well into December, that it wasn’t just about everywhere before the end of the year.

              They’re going to try and tell you otherwise. But I remember.

              1. I was sicker than I’ve ever been in Dec 2019, from mid-week right after Thanksgiving until just before Christmas (as in thinking about canceling dinner, but got better a few days before). No way to know of coarse, but still, worse cold/flu ever. Then repeated early 2022. The latter? Right after son had tested positive for covid. He had a low grade fever for a few days (which did result in canceling Christmas day dinner). Then hubby had the same symptoms a few days later, but only for 48 hours. A few days later … my turn.

              2. The information that is coming out (slowly, accompanied by much kicking and screaming) indicates that ‘a novel virus’ appeared in the Wuhan area in late July or early August 2019. October was the first anybody noticed that ‘something’ was going on in Wuhan, and the communist Chinese government banned travel from Wuhan to the rest of China. They went on flying thousands of people from Wuhan to other parts of the world until President Trump restricted travel from China to the U.S. at the end of January 2020. The Democrats instantly screeched “RRRAAACISSST!!! XENOPHOBIA!!” at him for that.

                Tests of blood samples taken in the U.S. for other reasons revealed that COVID19 (they didn’t call it COVID20, now did they?) was present as early as September 2019.

                By the time it was declared ‘A CRISIS!!‘ the COVID19 virus had been on the loose around the world for almost 6 months.

                And hardly anybody had noticed. If anything, they saw a bad flu season.

                What we’ve found out over the last 3 years:

                The Chinese found a new corona virus in a cave in Hunan province.

                They transported bats infected with the virus 1,000 miles to the Wuhan lab.

                Fauxi passed our tax money through a third party, Eco Health Alliance, to fund prohibited ‘gain of function’ experiments in Wuhan on a number of viruses, including one particular bat corona virus.

                COVID19 is 98% identical to that bat virus, except for the parts that make it contagious to humans instead of bats. Those parts show unmistakeable signs of artificial modification, including RNA sequences never before seen in nature.

                Fauxi helped the communist Chinese cover up the outbreak until March 2020, when it was too widespread to hide any longer.

                Fauxi had announced in February 2017 that ‘a pandemic’ would break out while President Trump was in office. It ain’t a prophecy if the prophet is the one making it happen.

                Everything Fauxi did after admitting COVID19 was loose was the least effective medically, and the most damaging to the U.S. economically and politically.

                The communist Chinese have perpetrated the most egregious act of biological warfare in world history, with Fauxi as an accomplice before, during and after the fact.
                A good Zombie Apocalypse novel is at least as believable as anything we’ve heard out of the ‘Publick Health Authoriteez’ over the last three years.

              3. The World Military Games were in Wuhan September-October 2019. That mess was here in the US by Halloween, and fairly widespread by Christmas. There was a noticeable uptick in “influenza-like illness” around that time. Just like there had been during the Games.

                1. So, there were several possible vectors for me to get the ChiComFlu. Between a critical military presence (not big, but important) and a really good tech school, the odds of getting into droplet range of an infectious somebody were medium high.

                  I’m mildly surprised (looking back) that I didn’t get it a couple weeks earlier, when I was west of the Cascades for a medical appointment. I think that was sheer luck.

              4. I know of a nursing home that may have been hit by it, and a woman who might have died of it, before I ever even heard of it.

  17. Get work skills that require your hands. Welding, plumbing, HVAC, electrician. Don’t try for anything else unless you can do it on your own as a side hustle.

      1. I think I see a future where folks will be doing a LOT more odd jobbing versus having a job. Just a guess. So my point is that having a hard skill is a good idea. My mother managed to be able to teach English and ESL as a side hustle and as a main gig for a few decades. I wonder if that’s still marketable.

      2. When son left the Army he took machining courses, got his first job at it about halfway through, and never looked back. Right now the problem is nobody wants to hire anyone they don’t have to because the economy is so screwed.

        And that’s another big problem because of an aging workforce in a lot of the trades. His second job was for a subsidiary of Boeing, and they were, a few years back, really worried because a LOT of their senior machinists were hitting retirement age, and there weren’t nearly enough young people training for the trade. And it paid damn well, especially after a few years experience.

        Right now he, at 38, is the youngest guy in the place he’s working. Good pay, steady job with good benefits, and- again- not nearly enough younger people out there. I pray for Mike Rowe to have more effect on getting young people into the trades.

        1. Don’t worry. Chicago will just outsource the machinists to Mumbai same as they are to engineering.

      3. Plumbing courses here went online after covid and stayed online through 21-22. So did welding. No, I’m not kidding.

        It’s rather difficult to get into these courses now. Highly restricted, very few sevrions. No teachers available. Course are at times that conflict with having a first or second shift job or even other classes.

        The lack of CC teachers fits the same odd pattern of other non-existent employment. Supposedly demand is high for courses and yet no teachers exist anymore. Because lockdown and covid led to retirements? Dei training and policies makes it worthless? No hiring of teachers except of certain preferred identity groups? They cent find a teacher for an intro to engineering course requires by their own system for anyone to complete the Assoc degree…

          1. Texas used to have a great shop class/trades program in most public high schools and junior highs. Then 1) All teachers had to pass a basic test. My Junior High lost a fantastic welding teacher because he just could not pass the algebra part of the new test. 2) Then it became a BA degree at minimum, preferably education, to teach shop/auto mechanics/building trades. A few places hung in there, or the guys had enough continuing ed hours to bluff.

            Now? A lot of places are rebuilding from scratch, and “vo-tech” is in high demand as a skill set. But no instructors. The local community college has become in many ways a for-tuition vocational high school, while the school district just spent $$$$ on a new skilled trades and computers high school. (One of our master plumbers said that of the 20+ guys who started the program with him, he was the sole survivor. Work full time as apprentice and journeyman, plus classes, plus skill tests. Which explains why there are so few master plumbers up here.)

  18. This sounds interesting.

    “Andrew Crapuchettes shares his story about how he built a tech company from the ground up, and nurtured and grew it into a 50-million dollar leader in the industry. But because the Board of Directors decided that his conservative, Christian values did not suit the company, they fired him.”

  19. I also wonder if this is the difficulty of society adapting to electronic everything, and not having good methods for dealing with the deluge. I do recall every time hiring actually gets to the managers that need people, it is usually a massive bale of resumes that no-one knows how to sort through, but everyone knows contains at least one lunatic who will flip their lid and deploy the lawyers if someone not them gets hired.

    It sort of reminds me of the online dating scene, where attractive girls get carpet bombed by contacts, and everyone else gets told they need to send out about 100+ pings to expect a single date. Which means every guy sends out 100 or so pings a day and the upper 1/3 of the girls logs in every day to find 300 new pings, ranging from shakespear to please forward to the nearest serial killer tipline. And, of course, they’ll probably reply to one of the top 10% or so, so there is a small fraction of the guys getting more responses than they can actually respond to.

    I suspect there is a similar dynamic in hiring. When all interviews were with the people who showed up at the front desk there was a pretty hard limit to the number of people who could even show up.

    I wonder if the culture has become overly obsessed with making perfect choices? I’ve noticed this is down-selects as well. The whole US tanker contract turned into this absolute mass of litigation, when ultimately, either plane would have met the requirements, and probably for the same price to performance as well. But because it was such a winner take all contract, the decision was litigated into the ground to on pretty thin grounds.

    I know, three wildly different things, but I can’t shake the feel that there is a common root thread here that’s just out of my sight.

    1. Found it. And it has to do with AI and AI neural learning somehow. I just know it. Stupid programmers keep thinking that “learning” algorithms imply judgement because they are right more often than wrong. That’s not judgment, that’s odds and stacking the deck programatically.

        1. And the programmers are paying insufficient attention to that. IMO. “It’s working, right?” “You’re getting results, right”?

    2. That’s because you have one or two contracts a decade and the politicians purchased by contractors can’t get their beaks wet if the contractors can’t win. Tbh the public info I’m aware of on the last three major competitions have all run to who can meet the specs for the least, not the best product, but it’s also leading to a loss of capability. Now if you want a fighter you go to LM, bombers NG, and if you need a cf you go to Chicago. And folks are starting to sort appropriately.

  20. “Oh, lord, remember that apartment where if you touched the stove the smoke alarm went off?”

    That’s not the apartment. I’ve known cooks like that.

    In nursing school, after having been laid off from my last computer job, I was studying near a bunch of CompSci students. We had a nice conversation on careers – I suggested they look into something other than computer stuff for long-term employment. That is, plan to be laid off, plan to shift jobs a couple times, and have a fall-back interest.

    No idea what they actually did.

    1. Tbh that is what I know at least the smarter pilots do. Get a career outside field and have something to make layoffs bearable, and if you get to the level of jfk to Hong Kong you got something for the other 20 days of month

    2. It can be. Once the family got an early Christmas present, a replacement smoke detector for the one that was going off whenever anyone opened the door after taking a shower.

      1. We had one like that. Turns out that “smoke” detectors can’t tell the difference between smoke and steam, if the steam is thick enough, and that “in the hall right outside the bathroom door” is kind of a stupid place to put a smoke detector, even if it is at the entrance of the hallway to all the bedrooms.

    3. It can be either. I had an apartment where the fire alarm just eventually decided to always go off. Turns out it had broken…

      And then there was the house where you couldn’t run the computer on the same circuit as the vacuum. That was fun.

      1. The previous owners of a house I bought had ‘upgraded’ the electrical wiring. They installed a new service drop and 20-slot 100 amp panel. Inside the old 60 amp meter/fuse box, they tied all 4 circuits together, ran an ugly conduit around two walls of the laundry room, and connected them to a 15 amp breaker.

        Yup, 3/4 of the house on ONE 15 amp circuit. Use the toaster, or the microwave, and somebody uses a hair dryer in another room, most of the house went dark.

        I rewired the whole house. To code. All 12-2 Romex. One circuit per room, and 3 circuits for the kitchen. You’re not allowed to put more than 4 kitchen outlets on the same circuit, and the lights should be separate. All the kitchen circuits should be taken from the same phase in the panel, too, although the code doesn’t specify that.
        You have to get up, furball. Your cat food is not going to walk over there and feed itself to you.

        1. Prior owners added a room over the garage. For reasons we have had all the permits pulled, including the ones we had done. We know the electrical was done under a permit. Whatever that means. Regardless. Anytime hubby tries to run equipment in garage, better have everything off upstairs because the fuse will get blown.

  21. The Liberals/Communists have created a perfect storm, which they think will propel them to the ultimate victory. The problem is the conservative people aren’t playing the way the Liberals/Communists/Democrats think they should. Oh, the politicians do, but the people themselves don’t. They are at about the strongest they will ever be, unfortunately their strongholds are falling apart and the people are fleeing them. Hence the need for the illegals, they will replace their escaped slaves, err people. The downside is when the illegals learn they can live without working they don’t. Thus speeding up their collapse and eventual over throw. When you don’t feed the slaves, err people, they have a tendency to rebel.

    1. many many illegals are a monetary suck, who export their money to families elsewhere, and the leftoids pay them to come, they then work under the table as well as use the handouts speeding up the collapse, and will be first to leave when it does go to pot.

  22. Education, Wokeness, Climate and Corruption. By the way as a side note, the unholy alliance between the Media and the Democrat Party is the definition of Fascism. The liberals are and have always been the real Nazi’s in America.

  23. Lying flat may be the only response. There used to be a social contract: work well and we pay you, as long as we have a job. I mean even the Ben Hur quote, “Row well, and live” is a social contract that you can deal with if you have to.

    The social contact has become: work hard and get the shot that might harm you because we have the right to command this of you, because you will go broke if you don’t have insurance,, and no one can afford insurance without employers’ contribution and if you comply we will still fire you if we don’t need or want you anymore because we have obligations to certain rules that the people in HR tell us we can use.

    Debt peonage on a latifundia was more honest.

  24. “Possibly workplaces resemble more the friendly competition of the hunt.”

    Success in the seraglio is zero-sum, if your son is emperor then mine cannot be. Success in the hunt is collective, either the hunt is a success and everyone brings meat home for the tribe or it isn’t and they don’t. Despite what that idiot Marx believed, the relationship between employer and employee is fundamentally cooperative. The similarity between the words “corporation” and “cooperation” isn’t a coincidence.

    1. Success in a small company is like a hunt, but in a mega-corp (or government bureaucracy) it approaches zero-sum. Nothing you do is likely to have any significant effect on the bottom line, so any rewards are measured against everybody else in the office. Backstabbing becomes profitable.

      These days I work at a company with two employees, counting me. If I didn’t give it my best effort, the effects on the company would be obvious and immediate.

      1. It’s the classic moral hazard problem. The employer wants to get as much work as possible for as little money as possible while the employee wants to get as much money as possible for as little work as possible. In a small company social pressure can solve that problem, but larger companies need things like bonuses and active management (and the managers have similar incentives as lower employees). That costs money, which is why it’s been fashionable for large companies to talk about how everyone’s just one big family.

    2. A successful one is. An unsuccessful one tends to result when either side tries to gain advantage thru power or deceit. I’ve lost track of the amount of folks leaving because the new hire comes in making more than they do, management feeling that their success comes at the expense of us peons, giving impossible edicts, and so on. On the other side a lot of groups have priced themselves into a corner. Look at the various port unions and such that have hampered everyone because the US will not upgrade ports to be competitive. And we all know the issue with the gov unions

      1. A lot of the Progressive agenda involves implementing anticompetitive, and thus anti-growth, policies in the name of “fairness.”

        Like our union policies, which are just monopolies in the labor markets and have all the downsides of any monopoly.

  25. I think a big part of what we are seeing is momentum and the rise of “know nothing know it all’s”. My (soon to be finished) career has been with a huge US manufacturer. Twenty years ago the leadership were mostly people who worked their way up through the company. We had the occasional fool, but most of the people running the place had practical working knowledge of our processes and business. Then the “power point” people started to rise. They appear to know a lot, but the knowledge is nothing deeper than a Wikipedia summary. They can string together words into beautiful salads, but the “salads” say nothing and accomplish nothing. Meanwhile, the place is kept moving by a shrinking number of people who know what they are doing. So momentum and legacy people make it appear that things are going well. But along comes the stress of covid and suddenly things are not going so well. The people who can do things are hitting the road – going elsewhere or early retirement – and the cracks are getting bigger. My core technology group had 15 people two years ago and now I am the sole person left. The salad makers plan is to hire more managers (!) to “plan and coordinate” my work. Hire more people with experience and knowledge? That costs money! So big companies are on their way to being little companies. This has always been happening it is just that it is happening everywhere all at once.

    1. Question– as the joke goes, was that 20 years ago as in the 80’s, or twenty years ago as in after 2000?

      (I say ‘joke’, but even I talk about “20 years ago, in the 80s” and that’s when I was born.)

  26. “Yes, you do get snowflakes complaining that they have to work at all, but if you go back, you’ll see the same going back for decades” Cousin Dave was a manager of a store. Young’un cashier- “It’s exhausting working the register 4 hours without a break” Dave- “No. Exhausting is splitting and stacking wood for 12 hours in August so you can heat the house come winter. 4 hours at the register is boring, not exhausting.”

    1. :laughs: My mom is still talking about the multiple ranch-hands that complained about how hard the work they were doing was…when there there two pre-teen girls doing more than they were, right there.

      1. All true! For clarification I am not talking about how “hard” people work or claiming young people are lazy. I am sure there were just as many goof offs when I was younger as now. It is the leadership people who have changed. I am sure they all work really hard. Unfortunately they work really hard at word smithing and pretty presentations. They are not working hard at learning how our manufacturing systems work or the key drivers of the company. They literally have no clue how we manufacture our products or what the main driver to success is. The problem is not just that they are clueless; the problem is they have no clue that they have no clue. I didn’t know anything when I started but I listened to the “old guys” and worked hard to learn. The farm can get along with one “Henry” doing all the work but it collapses when Henry is sold off for glue rendering (“Animal Farm”).

        1. I just wanted to know when the rot set in that you saw– my aunt in nursing has been ranting about it since about early 90s, my video game producing classmate rants about it starting about 07.

          Heck, we can look at movies and the habit of handing movies to people who ACTIVELY DISLIKE whatever they’re supposed to be working on, or are proudly ignorant of it, though I don’t know the timeline of that one as much.

          1. A data point for the movies: Starship Troopers was released in 1997. I’ve only seen a snippet (was looking for something else), but the word is that Paul Verhoeven hated the book, so naturally he leaped at the chance to make the movie. rolls eyes…

            The sucker-punch movies were somewhere in there: Happy Feet (2006) was billed as a dancing penguin, but the punch came from “people throwing plastics in the ocean”. The DVD got donated, though walled might have been better.

          2. Another data point (I don’t have dates) are the Lucas remixes of the original Star Wars to make Greedo shooting first. Then there’s the prequels (1999 onward)…

            1. Lucas is a… uh… special class of “thanks I hate it”.
              He’s been Jossing stuff since at least the time that Joss Whedon was making a reputation for himself for the same childish nonsense– husband was going through books to recommend to someone and realized that Lucas had nixed an entire plotline, before he even did the prequels, after having approved it, because that version of the Clone Wars was so popular. Something about cloned Jedi, I’m not the Wars fan and didn’t read the books, but I believe it was Zhan. Zahn?

              1. Can’t say myself. I watched Star Wars (multiple times) from the first release, and the other two. I have the prequels on DVD, and watched 1 and 2 (might have skipped a bit of 2), and watched 3 on fast forward. I’m mercifully ignorant of the sequels and related movies/videos.

                The only non-canonical SW book I’ve read was Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which seems to predate Empire.

                Back to the rot: I had a designer who was a royal pain in the ass (obsessing over shrinking non-useful portions of his chip) who managed to keep getting plaudits because “the project always met schedule”. Unmentioned was that he’d republish the schedule every damned week with pushed out dates. This was in the mid 1980s. OTOH, the guy quit (encouraged to leave?) from being an IC designer. I heard he was going to dentistry school. (Flashes on the villain from Little Shop of Horrors.)

                1. I have read nearly every pre sequel series novel – I HIGHLY recommend Heir to the Empire trilogy, the Hand of Thrawn duology, I, Jedi and the xwing series from Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston.

              2. I know that Timothy Zahn wrote one of the better post Return trilogies, featuring Admiral Thrawn as the main villain, and I believe that character was picked up for some of the spin-off series.

                1. They did a really good job with him, too; managed to nail the “I am intelligent, and interested, and incredibly competent– oh, and utterly terrifying, did I mention that?” aura.

          3. I think it started around 15-20 years ago. We had a CEO who was a lifer and came up through the ranks. He understood the business at least. Then we were purchased by a big private company (who shall remain nameless) and they put their team in place. Since then most of the leadership is people with no connection to or love of our core business. I think most of them are a bit embarrassed by our core business.

          4. For Marvel, post-2016, give or take a bit. Shane Black preceded Taika Waititi, and no matter how funny Ragnarok is, it shows he doesn’t care about Marvel (and that Marvel no longer cares about Marvel).

            Star Trek…the 2009 and following film reboots are a matter of taste. Star Wars disappears in 2012, when Disney bought it, though I grant Lucas dealt it a fatal blow much earlier. To get Star Wars Disney deliberately killed their John Carter series, and if I was Andrew Stanton, I would not be sure I could forgive or work with them again.

            Disney started going downhill after Frozen for sure, though there were cracks showing elsewhere on the shows on its TV channel. A lot of TV was becoming flat/boring from about 2012 onward, so…that might be when it became truly noticeable, if not when it began per se. From 2012 onward, the best movies were Marvel films, The Hobbit, and B-movies like Pacific Rim. Almost everything else in theaters that might have caught my interest dried up from 2014 forward. And I had been losing interest in going to the movies pre-2012 anyway because they all seemed to be either trying too hard or hating the audience, more often than not.

            1. Ragnarok Had the benefit of actually having character development – I much prefer that one to the other Thor movies. The development of Jane Foster was the best part of Love and Thunder – unfortunately all the development of Thor from the last few movies went out the window in that one.

              Star Trek: Beyond Is the most Star Trek of the Abramsverse movies, and Strange New Worlds is what my nostalgic memories tell me what TOS and TNG were when I was growing up.

              Frozen II was actually far better than the first, and up until very recently I have found many Disney/Pixar movies to be highly agreeable. Lightyear, Turning Red, Toy Story 4 & a few others over the last 2 years have been … either disappointing or disgusting.

    2. Eh, you have physically exhausting and mentally exhausting. There is a lot of stuff today where you’re expending more energy just jumping thru hoops. And I will note, people go hiking, camping, etc for fun. I don’t know anyone running a register for fun.

      Sry, just one of the peeves, along with the ‘just go out and beat the industries for work, otherwise you’re a wuss’. A lot of the ladder has been reeled up and there are more hands going for the available rungs and more willing to put a knife in your back to get it. The whole remote work and anonymization aspect since the pandemic has done insane amounts of work to put anyone at a disadvantage since everything is algorithms.

    3. A coworker at the 1969 MacD got bored, and decided to play a trick on me. He took the cover off the $10s row on my register and keyed in a $10 sale. When the manager saw the discrepancy, he looked at the tape and asked pointed questions. Said ex-coworker was out the door faster than you can say “Burger, Fries, Small Coke”. I got a friendly warning to watch my back…

      Ended up running a register about half the time, splitting with doing fries. Come closing, I’d do the cleanup. Washing the stuff was relaxing after dealing with kids my age across the counter. My only regret from that summer was not being able to see the Apollo 11 moonwalk. We did have it on radio.

  27. “Apparently 20 or 30 years earlier companies vetted spouses?”

    Once an employee reached a certain level of management he and his wife were expected to host and attend gatherings (cocktail parties, bbq’s, events at “the club”) as well as entertain important vendors & customers. In those days a wife’s ability to be a good hostess and fit into the company culture was busy to the man’s successful career.

    1. Which is the source of a great deal of the humor in shows like “Bewitched”, where Darren is constantly worrying about folks from work finding out that Sam’s a witch.

    2. Having the boss for dinner was important for your career, and it was a home-cooked dinner at your home.

      1. They’re soft socialist in the way that they want to be the nice, good, people and that’s clearly Democrats/socialistic propaganda. Not that they’re True Believers in anything other than them being the good, nice people. Whatever that means at any given time.

    1. I laugh, cause I work for HD.

      And my store is failing to hire (failing to even LIST the jobs as open) to fill full-time positions because sales are so far down this year that management/district/regional peoples won’t get their bonuses if we hire right now (we didn’t even make sales plan the week of Black Friday). Meanwhile those of us who are still here are busting ass to cover 3 departments at a time, which pisses off customers, which results in lower sales….

      1. Hmm, the local HD is fairly understaffed, and certain departments (cough electrical cough) never seem to have anybody around. As a result, there’s a plumbing and electric regional chain that gets my business when I need service. I’ve spent a lot of money on electrical projects (when you need 350′ of wire to power a pumphouse, the bill is high) that Depot never saw.

        (No Lowes in town, but there’s a small chain that covers the same market space as HD. They’ve delivered a few truckloads of lumber for building projects for me. Again, service, though Depot got my paver order because the price differential was so large–different manufacture had something to do with it.

        I’m guessing there’s a lot of “Take this job and shove it” under such circumstances. Curious how the smaller stores seem to be able to keep employees. I jest; it’s not curious at all.

          1. I’ve worked electrical. I wince SELLING the wire at current prices. If someone told me twenty years ago that there would be theft tags on rolls of 12/3 Romex I’d call for the psych capture team.

  28. I’ve said a few times that part of the problem is the computerization of much of the HR duties, and of the tracking of sales/trends/managing work hours/etc. The computer tracks sales, determines how many hours are needed to fill those sales, writes schedules, manage sales plan, etc. The computer pings when goals aren’t met, and the stores are expected to meet those goals without going over hours. Employees are treated like widgets because that’s how the computer expects people to work, and failure to meet those goals gets you fire, meanwhile meeting those goals or even going over doesn’t get you a raise. People dislike being treated like widgets, and not being given appropriate recognition, so they quit and go find a new job in hopes of something better. Which results in people who’ve had 6 jobs in 5 years, which looks horrid on a resume. People end up with no loyalty to a company that treats them like a widget, compounding the problem.

    I don’t have a work-able solution, not one that would be implemented anyway.

    1. Sam Walton had it figured out. He made sure Wal-Mart had the data they needed internally, but absolutely refused to release any sales or profit guidance. He encouraged associates buying stock in the company by giving a 15% match (up to an annual limit) for payroll deduction stock purchases – which they could sell with no fee.
      He allowed his managers to make local decisions. He also visited locations at random with no notice to see what people won’t pass up the chain to corporate.
      Basically he ran a very large corporation yet maintained much of the cooperative mentality.

      Unfortunately, people like Mr. Sam are quite rare. And the people who took over after his passing couldn’t resist the pressure to release guidance. That’s when the bean counters starting wrecking the culture. The culture was ingrained enough that it held on pretty well for more than a decade but by the 20 year A.S. mark it was honored mainly in the breach.

      Still he proved it can be done. It’s just incredibly hard to find people able to do it.

      1. Used to work with a lady who had been his secretary for several years; she loved him, and was really upset when he died.

        And worried about what would happen to the company, and she was right to be.

      2. There’s another side to that policy…

        The guy who founded the Jeld-Wen window & door company encouraged employee stock ownership for retirement, but he made zero plans for a) any downturns, and b) anybody to succeed him.

        When he died, all his land acquisitions for future development had to be sold off, as was the company. (The name is around, but IIRC it’s a Canadian company.) The people who held that stock lost almost all the value.

        He was also the guy who killed Costco from coming to Flyover Falls because he didn’t want competition for employees.

        1. It’s certainly true that for every Sam Walton or John C. Lincoln there are thousands of business owners without combination of passion, foresight, ability to plan, execute and adjust as necessary, & morals/ethics to create businesses that will last long-term. All the more reason to study how those that did accomplished it.

      3. The problem is, even if you could find a CEO who’d run a company that way these days, how do you convince the rest of the company to follow suit? The attitude has filtered down to the store management level.

        My own store is a perfect example.

        My last store manager was freaking awesome, not only a great personable guy, but he went through the depts, figured out who was supposed to have THIS many full timers, and THIS many part timers, and HIRED to fill those positions. Despite the fuckedupness of 2020 and 2021 we were as fully staffed as he could make us. We were run ragged, but he backed us up with as much support and people as he could pull in (and he himself was on the sales floor helping customers for large portions of his day).

        Then end of 2021 regional management decided to re-arrange store management again, they do this periodically, drives all of us lower level folks nuts for a variety of reasons, and this is one of them. My store got a brand new baby store manager, who (on paper) looked like a great hire, he’d worked his way up through the company (I’d worked with him previously in a different store in the area). But here we are a year later running at least 3 (no, at least 5!) full time employees short (because they quit or transfered to a different store, which is telling all by itself as several were long time company employees), not to mention massively short on part time employees, and most of those empty positions aren’t listed as open to hire into…..

  29. “As long as the illegals cut my lawn and trim the verge cheaper than the overpriced lawn services, so what?”

    Hmmm… I live in a town that ought to be conservative but ain’t…

  30. Nothing I can really add to this since you summarized what me, Raptor, and a few others have experienced so well, including the part where if you do a good job in the frog eating jobs you find yourself too valuable in said job and can’t go anywhere else. The lag in cultural attitudes makes sense, too, but even if you know that’s the case it doesn’t make it any easier to navigate through, especially the part where they drive home “you’ve already failed” if you can’t get anything other than one of those frog-eating service jobs. I have no idea how to get through any of this either of course.

  31. Lots of good observations in this one, Sarah – thanx!
    Basic human motivation is we all want to feel like we’re accomplishing something, and that our achievements are recognized and rewarded. This is ignored in favor of the DIE agenda. The beatings will continue until morale improves…
    I remember my early working days – I’d excel, receive the standard raise that they gave to everyone regardless of performance, and then I’d improve my situation by finding another job. In later years I lived through the lip service of “Our employees are our greatest asset” interwoven with layoffs of experienced employees in favor of new, cheaper labor who had learned latest tech, but had no knowledge of the company’s business or culture. Lots of knowledge loss.
    When I first graduated high school in the mid 70’s, I went to community college (theatre major), which felt a little like they were trying to fix the deficiencies of a public school education. In the mid 80’s, I went to a larger college to get a degree (BSCS) that would land a “real” job. There was no attempt to create people with rounded proficiencies (the 3 R’s.) Instructors in my stem classes didn’t care whether you could properly communicate.
    BTW – I called a large STEM employer when I was deciding whether to get a Bachelor’s or a certificate in the trade. He told me the Bachelor’s was better, because it showed that I had stuck with the program more than 6-months, so I might stick around if they hired me. He also said that once I had my degree, the company would teach me what I really needed to know. So elementary and secondary were failing, colleges weren’t able to bring the students up to speed from there and just gave credentials, and companies were left to educate you.

    1. Weird. I too graduated mid-’70s. Went straight to 4 year college. My degree required extra classes to be “well rounded”. (Hated most of what required extra classes I had to take. Ones I got to choose OTOH weren’t bad.) The community college 8 years later didn’t require Me to take extra classes beyond the programming and a few others I was “missing”. (Including “statistics” because “biometrics” wasn’t good enough … same damn class under different name). Technically the second 4 year career path, CS, also required “well rounding” only they called it a minor. Tried to get me to declare a minor. Informed them I was already “well rounded”. No go. So declared “forestry” as my “minor” (the gate keepers were not happy, the department head just laughed and accepted the minor as completed).

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