Staying Alive

This post is a follow up on yesterday’s. Sort of. I mean, you don’t need to read yesterday’s to get this, but you might want to read it afterwards.

Part of the reason I wrote yesterday’s post is that I can feel a great disturbance in the force. There is turmoil ahead. The image is a shovel tearing into an anthill, but it’s not exactly right, because it’s not so much a destructive as an upside-downer event. A rebuild.

To the ants, and us, though, it won’t feel that different, so it will do.

Look, this is not new. The second half of the 20th century has been a wild ride of catastrophic innovation. I realized at one point, while talking to my kids about what they intended to study and why, that almost none of my friends, not even those with doctorates, worked in the fields they had trained for. The only exception was medical doctors and one biological doctor/scientist, but even there a lot of them have other careers going in parallel.

I don’t know if that’s because I’m an Odd among Odds. I mean, that’s always possible. We tend to assume our circles are the norm. Except that the wider circle is like that too, and…. so on ad infinitum. In fact, when we hear from a friend or acquaintance we haven’t heard since our twenties, and they’re still on the path we left them, and doing the same thing. Because that’s the exception. The normal is… bizarre, and often well-nigh unbelievable, since a lot of it are against known skills or characteristics.

Without giving away anyone’s stories, picture us, with Dan’s phone. and Dan going “Uh uh, so…. okay, Mike became a mountain guide. Wait, wasn’t he the one so afraid of heights he couldn’t stand on a step stool? Uh. He’s still like that? But he controls it for mountain climbing? Uh!” We exchange a puzzled look.

Now imagine that a couple hundred times over, and you have the picture. The shock is more “Oh, Mary who wanted to be a nurse is a nurse? Has been a nurse for thirty years? WOW. Odd.”

There are reasons for it. One of them is that, given how long we live now, and it grew by a third in the late twentieth century (yes, I know the average is creeping down, but look, to an extent that’s no real, because it reflects people living very risky lifestyles enabled by prosperity, etc.) Let’s remember the original retirement age was 60 for social security, and they thought they’d make out like bandits (the government) because most people didn’t live that long, and the ones who did died in two or three years maximum, except for a statistically irrelevant number.

But we live longer. More importantly, we live healthily longer. The first eighty year old I met, I was 14 and he was a wreck. Last time i saw my dad he was over 90 and he wasn’t THAT MUCH of a wreck. Or anything close to it. Unhealthy, well, at that age goes without saying, right. BUT NOT A WRECK. Still functional and doing things. Yes, I know it varies greatly. But I met my first 80 year old at 14, and now when friend dies at 80 we don’t say “so early?” but we often think it. 90s is now the more “fitting” time of death than 80s. Though of course it happens in the eighties with high frequency.

We live longer healthy lives, and in fact my dad retired at 80, and husband has worked with 80 year olds who got bored in retirement.

What does this mean? Well, we choose our career absurdly early, and expect it to last life-long. That’s half of it. A lot of us come to not like/loathe what we loved as kids. Now, I’m not suggesting the training to be self sufficient should be later. Let the kids grow up. Just …. we probably shouldn’t going for graduate degrees before 32 or so. Because we will change. Or at least a significant subset will.

The problem of course is that our legacy educational system is still geared for people who live till sixty just about, and therefore if you don’t pursue your education early and hard and to the extreme you want to take it, people will look at you funny, which in the case of people who work for college admissions might mean you don’t get in.

So we’re stuck taking a gamble on what we’ll do professionally for the rest of our lives, often signed, sealed and delivered by our early to mid twenties, though these times — and I wonder if it’s an unconscious attempt to fix it — stretching to our early thirties.

Anyway, the second leg of it, and the reason rarely stay in the same professions is that the things are changing much much faster. We’ve been caught in an era of catastrophic change since at least the fifties, maybe the sixties. It’s called catastrophic change, because even when the innovation is for the good or does good things, the speed of it has catastrophic results for the people caught in its path.

Sure, electrical light was life altering for candle makers, but not really. Because it took so long for places to be electrified (and there had been a false start first with gas lights) that the industry just slowly dwindled until it was the size needed for “candles for church” and “candles for pretty.”

I mean, even traditional publishing is being hit faster and harder than that in the last 20 years, and it’s still a manageable change, it just s-l-o-w-ly dwindles and finds niche places.

But the phone companies…. well. Yeah, some have gone cell, but…. It was hit hard. I honestly don’t know how many lines remain but it’s not many. And say a prayer for those people who’d just trained to become phone booth maintenance men.

Okay, I’m only part joking. Most of the catastrophic change you can’t see, nor I either, because it’s not even a whole industry (though I’m sure people in the comments will give me examples of that, too) but it’s “how things are done” within existing industries. Many ways of doing things, and highly specialized things people went to school for years and trained for are being swept away over night by a combination of technology and the idiocy of the last three years sending a lot of people home to work. (Not to mention the stupidity of showing to restaurant and small shop owners that they could be destroyed like that, making it a high risk to even begin to start such a business.)

I’ve been noticing it, back of the things: lots of friends getting laid off. Entire departments disappearing. Companies swallowed. People finishing degrees and having trouble finding jobs because they specialized in something that objectively doesn’t exist, really. Though it did five years ago.

We’re of course trying to help our own.

But it goes deeper than that. You see, centralization doesn’t work very well, but everything has been centralized and all credentials for most jobs are central, as are accreditation for the institutions, etc.

It never worked very well, but the utter horror events could be hidden, so we thought it worked well and was “so efficient.” But it never was. And the same openness and ease of communication that’s been showing the flaws of the system has hit every institution, enterprise, avocation, job, etc. hard. Really hard.

The short hand for this is “everything is broken” from hiring to promoting, to everything in between, in most fields, including STEM ones. It’s frankly a miracle that things more or less work and more people haven’t died from the necessary fields not working.

Sometimes the image I get from this is the coyote, just off the cliff, running on air, but he’s still suspended because he hasn’t noticed.

“Everything is broken” and this effect is exacerbated by a lot of companies, not to mention schools or government appendages going “woke” in a futile effort to appease the unappeasable and also having propagandized themselves into believing it’s the wave of the future.

This generally leads them to run off the even mildly competent for the stupid who can say the slogans really loud.

Also it means that for many people their dream job, for which they trained and which they thought they’d work in the rest of their lives is now something to get away from. But they have nowhere to go.

I’ve talked of this problem here before. If you have your identity tied up with your work, particularly if you’re good at it and have justifiable pride in your achievements, finding yourself professionally homeless which is worse than unemployed can break you. Particularly in late middle age. (I call it “unemployed middle aged man syndrome.” Though a lot of the sufferers are women, there are fewer, because mostly men invest everything of themselves in the job.)

As this accelerates and it is accelerating both through innovation and through the sheer stupidification (totally a word) of work places and fields, more people find themselves in this position.

I don’t want people to be stuck. I don’t want our people to be hopeless. And honestly, we need to thrive, so we come out of this ready to rebuild.

Do I have pointers? No. But I have suggestions.

1- Before it happens, be aware it’s happening to a lot of people that thought it was unimaginable, or that they were indispensable. So…. Don’t be paranoid, but watch your six and sniff the air. Be aware that things could change in a moment.

2- Prepare yourself mentally. Understand it is not your fault. It’s happening to you, sure, but just because you’re in the path of the shovel ripping up the anthill, it doesn’t mean it’s your particular fault.

3- Help others now, and extend your network. Most jobs, in our falling-trust society are now obtained by word of mouth and friendly push. It’s also possible this is due to online application systems being worse than Kleenex soaked in pepper juice.

4- be aware of where your field/expertise is going, and of possible “indie” opportunities, if it’s even remotely possible. So, if you’re say a widget maker, consider becoming profficient n 3-d printing, thinking through licenses, etc.
For writers, publishers, editors, etc. this track is now well established. Yes, there are opportunities in indie. And you should find them with minimal effort. A little more effort is needed to figure out how to make more money than you do in trad, but this is also possible to find with a little research. These are still the wild frontier days, but now the trails are marked.

5 – Help others you see coming up behind you. This believe it or not will help. For one, you might stumble. For another, making the alternative healthier and stronger when a system is on the verge of dying makes everyone more secure.

6- Be ready to pick up a completely different field, and/or find a way to make a living in the gig economy.

7- The watch phrase is “Multiple streams of income.” PARTICULARLY if these idiots manage to destroy the economy and the chance is high they will, but also because frankly, in a catastrophic change environment you need backups to your backups. If you already have three or four streams of income, the loss of one won’t be catastrophic, while you hunt around for a fourth way to supplement.

8 – Donate to food banks. Yes, I know, but you’d be amazed how many people are already hurting.

9- Have a place you can crash if your job disappears without warning. Ditto, make like a Mormon and have food for a yer.

10 – Preparation will avoid catastrophe, if not unpleasantness. Prepare now. Forget the idea you were “born for” a field or forever in your path. (Yes, that’s a bit do as a I say, but I have few skills, honestly.)

Rough days are coming. Probably. We might still escape them, but it would take greater luck than I think even America has. If we escape the really rough times, I’m going to assume it’s a miracle. Particularly given our current idiots in power.

Rough days and poor economy in a time of catastrophic change is a deadly combination.

Be ready to jump and be productive, and give your friends and friendly acquaintances a hand up to a safe place.

The life you save might be your own.

98 thoughts on “Staying Alive

  1. I’m in my mid-sixties, and I’m working harder than ever. My field (conventions and corporate meetings) took a huge hit in 2020, and a lot of people quit for stable work.

    Now, a lot of the older guys retired, a lot of the middle-aged ones shifted to related (but also more stable) fields, and a bunch of the younger guys left completely. So those of us with experience are working our collective asses off.

    Meanwhile, I’m taking the temporary boost in income to buy hardware and software that will (possibly) let me make my own creative stuff. I’m halfway done with remaking my living room into an audio production suite (with Dolby Atmos and Ambisonics capability), and I’m already established as a video editor.

    Yeah, if things go THAT bad, I’m hosed either way, but I have a lot of older skills that would let me survive in that sort of environment (along with a stash of “that” sort of equipment).

  2. That part about helping other folks is critical. It can be ones coming up behind you at work – which I say in enlightened self-interest, also means more people who know more opportunities and can help you keep a weather eye out, as well as a network for opportunities.

    It can be people not at work. Sometimes, just giving back to the world and making it a better place is good for the soul. Even when it’s fixing the filing system. Especially when it’s doing scut work… because the inglorious boring unsung work needs to be done, and it’s good to be part of something bigger and better than yourself, and leave the world an better place than you found it.

    Of course, helping out can sometimes lead to the most unexpected networking opportunities.

    Not the kind a lot of people think, though. When I was in Nashville, I decided to take the chance to go to a networking event, to see what it was about. It was a bunch of very stylishly dressed, hip young critters who thought they were so sharp they could cut themselves. They all had business cards, and they all approached socializing with “what can you do for me?” Since I was not a mover, shaker, or power-player, not hot enough to bed, I got rapidly interviewed and dropped by aggressive young idiots.

    Real networking is more like this. Up in Alaska, my bro called me from the sandbox one night, and told me he’d heard a rumour that a new aviation unit was about to be stood up, and had I heard anything about it? I hadn’t, but I promised to ask around. Two days later, I stopped by my favorite association, and continued my work of sorting their filing system into current and past member… a critical step before compiling the list of past members, and sending out a request to rejoin. (Very successful campaign; a significant fraction of them had just forgotten to re-up, and all it took was one polite reminder and request.)

    As I worked, I asked the president of the association if she knew anything about it. She shook her head, thought, and then came out of her office with a phone number written on a scrap of paper. “This is my buddy, XX, from high school. She moved out of state, married, and moved back here. If something’s going on with the military, she’ll know or can find out from her husband.”

    That night, my bro called with complaints about the propensity of his aircraft to catch fire even when he wasn’t being shot at, and asked if I’d heard anything. I told him yep, and read off the name and the phone number.


    “Do… do you know who that is?”

    “So-and-so’s high school buddy. Why?”

    “That’s the GENERAL’s WIFE!”


    His voice went up so high in octaves I hadn’t heard a sound like that since he’d finished puberty. “Captains don’t call Generals wives!”

    “Fine! You want me to call her instead?”


    …So help the folks around you, especially if they have identified a real need, have a clear mission on how to meet that need, and are good people. Because life will always be full of interesting surprises, and so will people.

      1. I certainly hope she did. That eat least half the General’s wife’s job: to be that back channel for getting information out of the captains and corporals wives/sisters/girlfriends that said captains and corporals don’t want to tell the general directly, but the general needs to know.

        1. The back-channel officers’ wives mutual support group is (or was, when I was in) one of the most important organizations in existence on any base, as well as between bases. Completely unofficial, and extremely vital.

          I don’t know where the maxim came from, that “captains may marry, majors should marry, colonels must marry” but the wives’ back-channel is a good bit of the reason.

    1. One of my self-assumed tasks at Day Job is “what will make life easier for all of us?” Not big expensive stuff, but, oh emptying out the coffee maker’s filter basket and topping off the water, checking to see who needs more whiteboard stuff from central supply, adding paper to the copier, putting furnishings back where they belong, grabbing something during the award ceremony and setting up a semi-assembly line so that part flowed more smoothly … It’s not huge, but it smooths out ruts.

    2. It’s going to come from really wacky directions sometimes, too. I have kids in Scouts. I decided to do Wood Badge, the big training program for adults, with a bunch of folk from my son’s troop. Since we were all going, we decided to carpool.

      I get a call from the scoutmaster, who is one of the trainers for this course (the reason we were all doing it), and he said “I have someone who needs a ride.” Sure, one more sounds like fun.

      My daughter had joined a troop meanwhile, and I’d gotten roped in to being an ASM. So it was me, another mom from that troop (her son had aged out of my son’s troop), and this other woman on a four-hour drive up north. Awesome road trip vibes, good friends by the end, she’s suddenly enthusiastic about her daughter joining our troop when she comes of age.

      Here’s the thing: This woman is a force. She’s the kind who makes connections in all sorts of ways. She’s already garnered invitations from our city’s mayor and our local congress rep for our kids’ troop, and she’s recently made some international connections on a governmental level.

      I haven’t had a problem that needs a networking solution yet. But if I do, I have my major in. Through a BSA training course.

      1. I haven’t had a problem that needs a networking solution yet. But if I do, I have my major in. Through a BSA training course.

        Yes. Wood Badge is a place this happens. I made some connections in the coarse I took, then later at the one where I was staff, and afterwards because Wood Badge is a connecting club. It isn’t just about the informational topics, that realistically most attending already know and have learned other places (including the group and project dynamic theories … I hadn’t but I was probably one of the few). Haven’t kept those connections over the years beyond mutual recognition, mostly because we are now outside the scouting (not registered) community/network these days. Hubby never attended Wood Badge, he didn’t see the need for it (then a lot of the Wood Badge experience is natural to him). It let me see better into the dynamics of what happens in scouts, from troop to council level, and projects I did at work (even if I was a group of me, myself, and I).

    3. Um, “aircraft . . . catch(es) fire even when he wasn’t being shot at”?

      That sounds – sub-optimal – to me, especially in miltary hardware. What aircraft, pray tell?

      1. C-130. The generators on his particular model had a known issue. This was years ago, when the Gulf War was much hotter – the newer models have decisively fixed that issue. (Whether or not they introduced other issues, well…)

          1. Yep. All machines do. From metal fatigue to chemical corrosion to gunk in the contacts juuuust out reach, from cracked hydraulic lines to brittle seals, from carbon buildup to percussion damage, from thermal stresses to galvanic corrosion… Even simple tools like axes and mauls break.

            That’s why intelligent humans always backup their saves, know two is one, and always pack essential (and “nonessential”) spares. And always check the plans against reality.

            And expect failures. Because Demon Murphy will have his say.

            1. 1982 pickup (used, new to us in ’84). Trip right after Christmas, leaving inlaws from Bend, headed to Arches National Park.

              1) Cross state via the 2-lane highways to hit I-80 south to Salt Lake. Good so far.
              2) Stop at rest area to let the dog and us out and to change drivers. Put on breaks, put auto transmission in park. Backfires. Mistake to put on breaks (do not know this, yet).
              3) Turn on truck, take breaks off, put in reverse. CLUNK!!!!!! Um? Wait? What? (You mechanics are going “ow ow ouch”, aren’t you?)
              4) Switch back drivers so hubby can determine if anything critical or not. Drives fine, switches gears fine. (We were sooooooo Lucky.) Switch drivers again and off we go.
              5) Stop in Salt Lake to call mechanic BIL, no answer. Continue.
              6) Still on the freeway out of nowhere from the medium comes a huge bird shadow. Thump. Hits the driver side grill and bounces of top of windshield. Sure we hit an Eagle as it was “that big” (pheasant, not uncommon apparently). Pull over. Hubby puts headlight back in place, zip ties grill back in place.
              7) Take turn off to Arches from freeway. Pull into gas station for fuel, dog, and potty breaks. My turn to drive, again. Head on down that highway into mid-level fog. No fog on the ground, and not that high, just at pickup windshield level. A few miles down the road I can see floating red dots on both sides of the road. I found a turn around and went back to the gas station where we slept until daylight. I was so NOT hitting a deer next.

              Now the Lucky part. Sunday early evening we find a pay phone, call BIL. His exact words were. “Go to a mechanic first thing Monday. Do nothing else. Do not wait. Do it.” He said the transmission gears had to been cracked. We were lucky the transmission gearing didn’t dissolve while we were rounding curves on the highway into Arches. Sure enough the mechanics dropped the transmission and the gears came out in pieces. We got a new refurbished transmission 3 days later (how long it took to get if down from Salt Lake, then install it). Then as we continued on our trip, we discovered that transmission leaked. When we got home got the leaky part covered by the warranty AND paid extra to beef it up.

              Dang Murphy was working overtime on that trip. OTOH got Murphy out of the way. (Knock on wood), Murphy has been staying out of our business since. Honestly I think Murphy was paying us back because we weren’t on Rainer Sunday at 8:32 AM May 18, 1980, like we’d planned (camping) because Murphy made me forget the dog’s regular leash so instead of camping overnight we came home instead. Getting of Rainer that Sunday was, by all accounts, Not Fun (better than those on Helen or on Toutle and Cowliz rivers that day).

  3. On the plus side, after a mid career diversion, I am back working in areas adjacent to my degree, and an sufficiently networked I think I could find a similar position, though I might have to move. On the minus side, I am sufficiently mobility impaired and medication dependent that a collapse would stress my ability to sustain myself and my family.

    1. I’m retired, and much of what I did for a living is now being done in Taiwan or toastier places in Asia. OTOH, I have some skills and knowledge that some of the people I know have a use for. I try my damndest not to give unsolicited advice, but when it’s solicited, if I have the answer, it’s right quick. Beyond pushing electrons around, I can do decent carpentry and some fine(ish) woodworking, mediocre concrete and so-so welding. Other skills are a bit rusty, and am trying to deoxidize them.

      We help the food bank directly via small change (Kroger lets you up the tab to the next whole dollar for them, and I’ll do this) and indirectly through donations to the Gospel Mission. Usually monthly donations of rice & beans, each in 50 pound bags. Peanut butter when we can get it. (Was a shortage a few months ago. Thanks, Brandon!)

      If we have a surplus out of our garden, we’ll share. $SPOUSE starts more seedlings than we’ll need in case of catastrophic issues, and the excess will go to the store in $TINY_TOWN for those willing to grow them. If we have surplus food (less, now that we’ve learned to dehydrate zucchini and adapted the fish-cake recipe to use half bread crumbs and half zucchini), that will go where it will do good.

      With respect to having a food reserve, a Very Good Idea. Talking about quantity of food reserve is kind of like revealing your salary to your co-workers. Nope. Protip: if you think you have enough, think about getting more. OTOH, watch the expiration dates, especially on canned goods. Late BIL ignored that (to extremes–tomato products have a serious expiration date…), and when tested, the resultant food explosion was memorable. Glad I wasn’t in the area to enjoy it. Our other BIL got a facefull.

  4. I saw a headline today, some News! outlet explaining why it’s so great that The Biden* Regime’s primary ‘negotiators’ on the debt limit are Shalanda Young and Steve Ricchetti — a clueless diversity hire and the most corrupt wanker in Washington. I think that shows how seriously they’re taking this debt limit ‘crisis’, aside from the hype and lies. The government is not going to ‘default’ on the existing debt, it just won’t be allowed to borrow more money and get even deeper in the hole. That’s their ‘crisis’.

    Plus, on (8) — I still want to know who thought it was a good idea to have fat people shilling for food bank donations.
    The U.S. Capitol is OUR house. Congresscritters are just the help.

    1. Lazy stupid help that in most cases should be in prison or hanging from a rope, we’ll give them a trial just like they gave the Jan 6th bunch. Should be fair. Congress Critters should also all be spayed and neutered so they can’t reproduce. The stupid has to stop somewhere.

      1. Problem is they don’t reproduce sexually – their spawn is one of the mind. Biologcal children can be trained – ones who have the rot in the head are much harder.

  5. I really feel like people have had ENOUGH of this Trans bullshit. We are telling them that their grooming and mutilating of the kids MUST stop and they are doubling down with their old “the right is denying the kids free expression” and are expecting us to back down, but now more and more are turning towards them and saying “No, fuck you we said ‘get away from the kids'”.

    This coming Pride month is going to be a shitshow. People are done with this crap and the terrorist leftists can’t handle it. So when we hit them with No for the thousandth time they will begin lashing out now.

    Yeah, you can feel it in the air. But part of that is the smell of “no more, no further, back off now.”

    1. Oh, and how the ‘poe chilluns’ have to be ‘helped’ to save them from committing suicide.

      Funny how children weren’t committing suicide in droves for all the thousands of years before they had all these ‘helpful’ activists telling them they had ‘gender dysphoria’ and were being oppressed by ‘trans-phobia’. But now, growing numbers of children are committing suicide after getting the ‘gender affirming care’ they so desperately needed.

      If there was any justice in the world, there would be hangin’s.
      They’re the Experts! They only sound stupid to you because you’re not as Educated as they are.

    2. It will be interesting to see if all the lawsuits around that manifesto finally play out in the middle of Pride Month.

      TPTB seem to think it is extremely damaging stuff. It would be, in a way sparkly hilarious if all their attempts to suppress it just mean it gets loose in the middle of the month dedicated to it.

    3. The left is and always has been desperate to glom onto the next cause du jour to hitch their Marxist wagons to and garner a free ride. The whole race bit had legs for years, then the gay business, both now mainstreamed so have lost their edge and much less rewarding for the grifters and con artists. Now trans is the thing and here is where IMHO they have finally overstepped big time in two regards.
      First off, their promotion of the chemical and surgical mutilation of minor children all in “support” of gender dysphoria, until recently a known mental disorder, now the latest boogie fad. To be clear, no issue with transvestite, you go girl! And a transgender lifestyle, hey if it floats your boat, who am I to say otherwise? But the current fad that demands medical alteration to children strikes me as a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
      And the other ramification that is going to bite the trans movement in the tuchus is their in your face attack on women’s sports by trans athletes, cheating pure and simple. I’m old enough to recall when Eastern Block countries got slapped down hard for stealing Olympic medals in women’s competition with ringers. Now apparently it’s perfectly OK for competitors with male advantages to snatch titles, trophies, and considerable award monies from female athletes in some twisted version of “fairness”.

      1. The whole Tranns thing is just another attack on the church and religion. In essence all of it is just more self loathing, I hate god because god says I am a sinner and that must mean I am evil so god hates me. No, you’re a sinner, just like the heterosexual who sits in church on Sunday with his/her spouse and kids after whoring around all Friday and Saturday night. Both are sins. All people sin, the trannies and others just want their sin excused because no one really wants to be evil. You are not evil if you are a sinner, just a sinner. You can always seek redemption or not the choice is yours.

  6. I really feel like people have had ENOUGH of this Trans bullshit. We are telling them that their grooming and mutilating of the kids MUST stop and they are doubling down with their old “the right is denying the kids free expression” and are expecting us to back down, but now more and more are turning towards them and saying “No, fuck you we said ‘get away from the kids'”.

    This coming Pride month is going to be a shitshow. People are done with this crap and the terrorist leftists can’t handle it. So when we hit them with No for the thousandth time they will begin lashing out now.

    Yeah, you can feel it in the air. But part of that is the smell of “no more, no further, back off now.”

  7. I’m on ‘career’ number 3 at least. Job, more like it. Careen, possibly. Didn’t know the second existed until college. Have been unqualified, on paper, at least, for most of the jobs I’ve sweet-talked my way into, including one that didn’t exist until a chance cconversation. Seem to do better at smaller places where I can talk to a ‘does the thing’ interviewer with minimal Hoomin Recourse involvement. How many of those jobs will survive if federal labor law compliance is no longer a concern?

    First job in the family farm is always available as fallback, but there were good reasons to leave. I’ll trust Himself to have me in the right places, wouldn’t have met the wife otherwise. Not gonna sell the farm, though, even if it is in the dominion of Chicago.

  8. I work for a small company. Real small. We’ve got two employees. I’m the other one. 😀

    Some folks wonder how much difference they make to the company’s bottom line. I am the company’s bottom line. I make our products, pack and ship them. Half the time, I’m the only one in the office.

    I found this job on Craigslist, while they still had a ‘part-time jobs’ category. Then the politicians in Sacra-de-mento passed a law making companies like Craigslist legally liable for all content that appeared on their sites. Craigslist immediately shut down the ‘singles’ lists so they wouldn’t be fined millions over all the prostitutes posting there. The prostitutes moved to ‘part-time jobs’ so they shut that down, too.

    Of course the big-time prostitutes, the ones in the government, never face any penalties.
    Why do so many idiots believe that our problems will be solved by the same shitheads that caused them?

    1. My hometown is Sacramento, and let me tell you, people there are really tired that they get blamed for the work of folk sent there (often from SoCal.)

      Mostly, though, people want to turn the air conditioning off at the Capitol. Fair is fair.

    1. Who else hears that start and begins reciting the CPR count under his/her/its breath?

      Hey, it works! Yes I know they’ve changed the recommended number of compressions per minute, but it works.

      1. They still promote this as a tempo, simply because being a little bit off but still doing it is better than getting confused about the timing and not being rhythmic. The main thing they’ve changed is the breathing. Because the rescue breathing is difficult, gross, and potentially biohazardous, they would rather rank amateurs stick to the compressions.

      2. The local EMTs gave a course recently in the Reader’s neighborhood. They are still using ‘Staying Alive’ for the count.

        1. When I was still working and was teaching CPR we used the classic “Staying Alive” as a way to keep count however, being rather challenged in working with cynical law enforcement and prison staff types we also used “Another one Bites The Dust” as it has a good count too!

          1. Here’s an excellent medley, that’ll leave you laughing (and with a different song, if you want.)

  9. catastrophic change you can’t see, nor I either, because it’s not even a whole industry

    Few examples.

    Even if I’d stayed in the forestry field, as in wandering the forests, by ’96 (before then) the field jobs that required two people were cut in half (perimeter/slope area measurements). That is when on the ground GPS/GIS systems hit. Still takes a field person that person can do more than 2 people with tape measure and slope calculating machine. True whether running perimeters or straight line.

    Hubby’s job almost blew up. If the state legislators for both Oregon and Washington had required that third party measure and grade logs for tax purposes, they would have needed a lot more scalers. Legislation never passed. The USFS and State still require this out of any unit of USFS (not BLM, which sells on the bulk cruise) and the state lands. Problem is neither of those are selling units for logging. Thus the 95% specific job decline. The office got hit when the process went from paper requiring 10 or so people in the office, to the field employees using handheld computers and the data was transferred over phone lines.

    Number of jobs radically declined in both examples, but neither totally disappeared.

    I know a number of people who were able to make a career out of their college degree. Some even stuck with their original out of HS plans.

    1. FWIW, I saw a logging truck hauling well-toasted logs westbound towards Flyover Falls, then heading north. I think (not sure, but the time is right) that salvage logging from the Bootleg might be starting. Lots-o-chips and/or biomass fuels out of that one.

      If not Bootleg, there have been myriad smaller fires, with the majority of those on FS land. I don’t think there’s much privately owned forest land nearby. BLM is a bit closer to town.

      1. There are a LOT of logs coming out of the Holiday fire area. Not sure if anything is coming off USFS or not. Weyerhauser scrapped their logging plans and immediately focused on the burn areas. Anything that still has bark but not too black, is hitting export. Everything else is hitting domestic both lumber and chips. Roseburg (former IP lands) doesn’t have anything east of I-5 this far north, that is west valley and coast range. Not sure who else has private timber locally until further south which is Wooley and Roseburg. Wouldn’t surprise me if Roseburg private timber wasn’t affected in the N. Umpqua fire. Smaller lot owners hit by the Holiday fire are logging too. I suspect the stacks have been hauled off now, but last time I was on hwy 126 there were stacks after stacks of piled burnt logs. Still a lot of burned trees on the hills too above the road, and across the river as far as one could see. Hard to say how long fire killed timber is still viable as lumber, then chips. Depends on species (most is Douglas Fir) and, other than being killed, how much not visible damage. Then, cue the insects.

        I do remember that by the time TITB got TPTB to stop logging St Helen blast area, everything that could be reached had been. What was left was not commercially viable quickly. That was because of species mix (non-Douglas Fir softer woods does that) and the blast not only burned but cooked the wood (quite deep). Species identification became such a challenge joy as those logs were hauled through the Cougar log ramp in spring/summer/fall of ’81. The usual identification, color of wood, bark color and shape, methods were wiped out. The dendrology books we all had stashed away from school got hauled out. Had to identify by less common means, including consensus more than once (didn’t normally see Cottonwood go through a ramp on a log truck).

        1. The butt ends of the logs I saw indicated that these were chip-worthy, and not viable as lumber. They might have been Lodgepole; I know that there are a few stands left east of us. Locally, the pines tend to run to Ponderosa, though I have some trees that have similar needles to Pondo, but rather larger pine cones.

  10. “Sometimes the image I get from this is the road runner, just off the cliff, running on air, but he’s still suspended because he hasn’t noticed.”

    The road runner never notices, and even somehow kicks up a cloud of dust running across a gap. The coyote, on the other hand…


    The innovation might be a lot less catastrophic if it weren’t for the fact that the left and woke (but I repeat myself) keep insisting on following nonsensical paths forward instead of the stuff that will work. Case in point is “renewables” (i.e. solar and wind ONLY) versus nuclear and hydroelectric. For the latter, it’s not that we’ll be building any new dams in the near future (we’ve already likely built all that we can for now). It’s that the greens want to destroy the ones that are already in place. So the carbon-free power sources that work will be thrown out in order to try and run everything on unicorn farts. This is not going to make dealing with the period of catastrophic innovation any easier.

    As for finding a career early… it makes sense for a simple reason – raising a family. People might be living longer. But – for now, at least – women still have a hard and fast time limit on how long they can have kids. The sooner a couple can settle in on solid career plans that will last for a while, the more secure the future will be for both them and their kids. This is a good thing. It’s not the only thing. But if early on you can find something that you like that will last for the rest of your life and pay well, then you’ve got an environment to raise a family in that’s about as stable as it can possibly get. And chances are that there will be fewer complications when she gets pregnant.

    1. Dam removal on the Klamath river has been driven by a few things. A) They hate us. B) Tribes downstream of the dams (four of them) blame the dams for warm water afflicting trout. Nevermind the dams on the Trinity that contribute. C) They hate us. D) The alternative of fish ladders is something Pacific Power (a Berkshire Spit Hathaway company) doesn’t want to do. E) They hate us. F) According to Woke Mathmagics, 36MWe of Solar will replace 100MWe of hydro power, because nobody uses power after dark. G) They not only hate us, but the users of the water are conservative.

      George W Bush bought into the damned removal. Not. A. Fan.

      1. A few here in California have been removed, as well, though I think they were primarily for the state’s water retention system. And before people go pointing the finger at stupid Californians getting what they vote for, iirc this was something that was initially proposed at the federal level in a bill introduced by a senator from New Jersey.

        1. I lived in San Jose for 24 years. From what I’ve seen of county and city politics and various fraud, I have doubts that what the people of California got is what they voted for. (Barring San Fran and their ilk.)

          1. At this point, I doubt even the San Fran-atics are getting legitimate vote counts. Election fraud is so ingrained, they do it even where they don’t need to.
            Candidate Joe Biden, August 2020: “We have assembled the most extensive, comprehensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”

            Minutes later: “What do you mean, I wasn’t supposed to say that?”

      2. They still hate us. I’ve mentioned, once or twice, that should TPTB pull what they did on the Upper Willamette tributaries or McKenzie (latter doesn’t have the huge dams), we are getting out of the lower Willamette Valley. But they pull that and they are hurting UofO (oh, maybe Salem too, but mainly UofO … PTB won’t care about that beaver college). While the dams in question have hydro, most were built for flood control first and foremost. Besides there aren’t any tribal areas downstream of those dams for the idiot conservation people to manipulate get on board. Eugene used to have epic floods. In fact some of the newer wealthy neighborhood areas had 10′ of water during the ’61 flood (no houses then). I remember when the neighborhoods were developed, told hubby “we aren’t buying there, even if we could afford it”.

      1. OT: Some years back I had a dream where I was walking across a bridge… and many planks were out.. enough that jumping wasn’t an option. Somehow, in the dream, there was the Realization that “cartoon physics” applied… so I looked UP… and walked across. And, no, my awakening was not to avert a fall. I suspect it was more the amount of surprise at “That worked?!”

      2. Didn’t you write a short story about a bunch of soldiers getting stranded on Looney Tunes planet?

    2. “Unreliables”

      They advocate for power sources that are unreliable.

      Intent is de-industrialization and return to simple agrarian life for most folks. Peasant farming demonstrably can work without electricity. “Nasty, brutish, and short”, but there are too many unruly folks who expect a rising standard of living. Serfs mind their places, not anyone elses.

      Once you understand their goal, and your fate in it, you can respond appropriately.

  11. AT&T, at least, has made a serious effort to reinvent itself as a provider of Internet access. On the other hand . . .
    Did you have any experience with the days of monopoly phone service, when AT&T went in for simple and reliable services?
    Item: When I had AT&T Internet, I had occasional issues with e-mail. This was really frustrating to deal with, because their e-mail was contracted to Yahoo, and as far as I could tell Yahoo had no help service. None. If you had trouble you were on your own.
    Item: When we moved out of California, we were told we could suspend our service, and restart it when we were moved into our new address. So then we were in Kansas, and I called up AT&T and asked them to do so . . . and nothing happened. A week later, after daily calls and daily assurances that everything would be resolved, I got a call from an AT&T tech who was trying to find our address . . . in Lawrence, California! (I didn’t even know there was a place with that name in California.) So at that point I decided AT&T’s assurances were worth nothing, and I got in touch with the local cable company and was online less than a week later, on the date when they told me I would be.
    As far as I could tell, everyone I talked with at AT&T had the job of “reassure the customer, but don’t actually fix the problem.” Because I talked with a different person each time, and none of them ever seemed to have any record of what I had told the previous person. If the old culture of simple technical competence still exists at AT&T I was never able to find it.

        1. “Can we talk to you about your vehicle warranty?”

          “Its seventeen years old with three hundred and thirty thousand miles. What can you do for me?”

          “Pray.” (Click)

      1. I did that a few times while we were living with my folks for a few years. I doubt they believed me, but I was being literal.

  12. Few things I learned during my years at Huge Mega Corporation:

    When taking a new job your second task is developing and training your repklacement because….
    Your first task is finding your next job, and if there isn’t someone who can step in and take over you will not be allowed to leave.

    Outside Huge Mega Corporation you’re still looking for your next job, but the search parameters are much, much wider and your flexibility is greater.

    Most of a manager’s job is helping his (or her) people Look Good. Because the better the department performs, the better it looks to the suits 2-5 levels up, and that enables the manager to get his peple promoted. Pro Tip: The trick is working your ass off but making it look like Just Another Sunny Day at the Beach; never sweat, never display stress.

    RE: “Do the Mormon thing and have enough food for a year.” Absolutely, without a doubt (given what’s happening here, today, two years would be much more betterer, but even 3 months is better than zero). But….also have enough money for a year. A very, very, really lean year, but a year nonetheless. And that “year’s worth of money” should be separate from your Emergency Fund. Consider: That next job you’re always on the alert for? What if it’s The Dream Job and 1200 miles away? How do you get there and where/how do you live until the first couple of paychecks come in?

    1. Sister worked for major corporation for 25 years. She was always changing jobs every 18 months, ish. Not always because the job project had completed.

      Have 3 nieces who work for a major corporation. Only one of them is staying in the same job category long term (changing focus/departments which “technically” is changing jobs, but same category). The other two have changed jobs every 24 months or so (I can’t keep track). All for the same major corporation. Note some of the job shifts of the two have come because of department reviews, where the entire department could and some do disappear, which means scrambling to stay a major corporation (or “get rid of deadwood syndrome”). So far the two have survived (not unexpected).

  13. Long time no comment here, This good advice for anytime, not just hard times. It just becomes even more important then.

    1. Hey! Glad to see you, so to speak. 😀

      After 2020 and the 2020-21 academic year, my motto became Semper Gumbi. Always flexible.

      1. Keeping to the FB, trying keep my arguing with people on the internet to a minimum, and on there.

  14. Old fart over here, now on 3rd career. And thankful that I ‘have’ that capability and the health to do it. Things are ‘broke’, but more concerning is the infrastructure is ‘breaking’… Power, roads, waterways/water usage are all teetering on the brink of failure. My personal goals were to get west of the Mississippi, out of any metroplex, and find/build a like minded group of folks as required. Thankfully, I believe we’ve accomplished that with our group. None of us are ‘young’, but we are ‘experienced’ in multiple areas. And we’re in a red state!!!

  15. I’m trying to get back into the job market and…

    First job I got after COVID, nine months, there wasn’t enough business to justify having me around, even at a 32-hour schedule. Boss liked me, still gives me good references.
    Second job I got after COVID, two months. One day the boss comes in and “you’re just not fitting in,” and that was that. They knew I was trying to get a new career, and my training and supervision was…ad hoc at best. Even when I was asking about how I was doing and things I needed to learn.
    (Should have printed out the emails that I was asking about things I needed to know.)

    I’m not in a bad place, as long as I have MediCal. I have a place to stay, family who loves me, I don’t have any real bills to pay…but I need a job.

    The problem is…they don’t just want pure writers anymore. All the jobs I get when I put in searches want you to do 3.75 jobs, including sales and being a full-time front counter person and all the terrible jobs when you’re barely able to deal with people on a regular basis.

    I’ve got two interviews with County jobs around here. Did one, have another coming up next week. There’s a job with our local city that sounds like I can do most of it, I’m asking for help from people I know.

    Despair is hard to avoid, especially when you have one parent with health issues and another that you have to literally SIT on to have you help him do things.

    But The Winter Solist is at the last polish phase of writing and that’s something.

  16. I had picked out two goals in 9th grade. It turned out that ‘astronaut’ was out of my grasp when I graduated, but Nuclear Reactor Operator was something the Navy very much wanted me to be. Wasn’t quite as good as the Nuclear Engineering degree I originally had lined up before the lovely 1970s recession and my Dad getting laid off and all my scholarships drying up, but it WAS within what I had envisioned as a goal. Even though I DID go to a National Science Foundation summer semester of college in Physics and Computing, computers were not yet a thing I envisioned as an actual career, just something it would be good to understand in the careers I was interested in.

    If you had told me I when I was 13 that I would one day work for the post office, I would have LAUGHED and wondered Whatever For. When the first job offer related to my training after I left the Navy to start a family was at a defense contractor, THAT didn’t surprise me. That my skills were mostly unappreciated, and I would eventually find that the place actually WAS run by crooks, DID surprise me. Luckily, my MotherInLaw had convinced me to take the Postal Service tests, and I got called for a maintenance department interview right before the crooks got themselves caught, and THAT company went under. That I ended up getting paid over twice as much, and my varied background ( from growing up on a farm, navy training, and YES, that original computing class ) all came in quite handy was a great bonus. Though I am not officially in IT, I am the local ‘IT expert’ thanks to Congress doing such a great job “improving” our organization. I don’t know if the broad background in computers will continue to be vital, but if things DO tank that badly, that original ‘grew up on a farm’ as well as ‘experience in steam powered devices’ could still come in handy!

    1. I’m trying to get a mail carrier job with the Post Office (according to people I know, it’s almost entirely self-directed and solo, which isn’t bad). The problem is that the USPS website (you can only apply there) puts me through one of those “are you a thief?” tests and I keep getting bounced by it.

      If I wanted to work in sorting and stocking (which for someone that hates noise and always-on OCD work is a small slice of Hell), I could get that easy as pie…

      1. Sorry, I don’t know anything about the carrier applications or tests. I have a friend who has been a carrier for MANY years, but it is quite possible he doesn’t know what the PRESENT policy is. I know they have been trying to get rid of as many experienced career carriers and replace them with part-timers, though. My friend got taken off his old route ( where he knew the majority of his customers and could keep an eye out for the welfare of his more elderly clients. Now he has a totally different route that is twice as long and has essentially been told to not waste any time learning about his route other than how to do it as quickly as possible. Service USED to be an encouraged part of the carrier’s job, but now the only thing they are supposed to do besides maintain a required number of steps per minute is look out for opportunities to sell businesses on a business contract.

          1. Eh. It’s more merciful, methinks, in many ways. Oft times excessively. But, nonetheless, mercy is more necessary than one might expect. Himself knows I’d not be ’round but for that.

            But for the current crop of idiots?


            This world lacks sufficient supply of humility, going by what we see of late. Too many would-be tyrants. Not enough defiant individuals. Not enough saintly women and men, a pitiful quantity of courage, enduring toughness, truthfulness, and grace compared to what’s needed.

            But all Ages suffer such a lack, methinks. We do not see what blessings find us, too often, until it’s too late.

            I was lucky, very lucky to escape the Last Job before it fell to shambles. Things are Not Good there, now. Yet, at the time, the money was good and the job was not so bad, considering. The time after, scrambling to keep food on the table sucked.

            But from that, I wouldn’t be here today had I not left when I did.

            Sometimes it’s roughest and hardest just before things come together. Luck to you. And may Himself grant you the strength and wisdom to make the best of what comes.

            1. …I hate that kind of logic, only because it requires me to believe that this is the best of all possible worlds. Considering that JMS is doing another B5 series (he’s quietly crowing about it on Twitter), I’ve found this line to be my opinion on God and the universe-

              “You know, um…I used to think that it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.”

              All I can really do is take care of myself, those that I love, keep moving forward, and hope that tomorrow is better than today.

              Or at least not worse.

              1. Hope is a wonderful thing. Never leave home without it. Luck is quite nice, too, when it is good to you.

                I am not aware of better worlds than this one. Worse ones? Well, mayhap I could conceive of a few. Not so much worse for adding more bad stuff… worse by taking the good stuff away.

                This world does indeed have goodness in it. Babies and kittens. Warm summer days with no plans, worries, or deadlines looming. Unlooked for kindness from strangers. Stuff like that.

                But the little things. Now those, they’re easy to miss.

                Knew a guy once. Old guy. Fatter than fat. Obese. Vet, never talked about his service much. Drinker. Couldn’t function without alcohol in him. Never knew him to drink water.

                Slow worker. Never in a hurry. Could you imagine three hundred forty pounds in a hurry? At five nine on his tippy toes? Not a good image that one. Cussed like it was going out of style. Smelled like alcohol when he sweat, and he was always sweating.


                He never asked anyone for a single solitary thing. Never caused problems for other people. Never complained a single time that I can remember. He just did his job, cussing and smelling like a brewery leaked into a gym locker downstairs, without ever being a burden on another solitary soul.

                Most people won’t remember that guy. In fact, the things people remember most tend to be on the bad side of things. Our brains collect things to be wary of and avoid, first and foremost, because the hairy apes that did usually managed to live long enough to pass on their genes.

                The ones just in it for the adventure and thrill of it, well, a lot fewer of them did.

                That’s why memories of bad things tend to stick around like a bad smell, while the good ones tend to fade. When there’s one idiot on the sidewalk screaming like a loon and annoying everybody else, you don’t suddenly focus on the slightly overweight girl behind him walking quickly away with her head down, like everyone else.

                Bad and annoying like to take up space in our brains a lot quicker than good stuff. That’s why it’s important to remember the things that are good. Friends and family. Yes, that includes fuzzy family on four feet. Quiet sunrises. Rainy nights. Long drives in the middle of eff all with no one else on the road. Good books. In jokes. Memes.

                Take some time to heal your soul when you can. Best to do that when the bills are paid and you’re reasonably healthy, but sometimes that’s not an option.

                Just remember, despair is a liar. And a sin. Refer to friends when necessary to check on the world- sometimes it’s the world that’s crazy, not you.

              1. Well, you might “bag more” if you go after State/Local politicians. 😈

                1. Federal vs state. Totally different systems, and different limits. Although if you get tags for both the BLM might object.

                  1. That reminds me, where do we get the tags for federal bureaucrats? 😈

                    1. Ummm…wouldn’t those have to be issued by the bureaucrats? 😮

                      Now maybe we could get state bureaucrats to issue permits to hunt federal bureaucrats, and vice versa, but somebody might catch on.

                  2. Well, judging by their actions most beurocrats believe themselves independent of state OR federal law, so I suggest open season, no limits.

                    (And for those who don’t have either “facetious” or “sarcastic” in their vocabulary, here’s a quote from my neice. “I’m speciesist. I can’t stand homo sapiens stupidus.”)

        1. Try living with a rabid Astros fan. I swear, the Astros are sponsored by the Herman Hospital/ University of Texas cardiology department.

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