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(LA Times)   A Lasting Toll: As the economy falters, families that lost homes and livelihoods in the Great Recession are increasingly confronting the possibility that they may never fully recover   (latimes.com) divider line 420
    More: Sick, Great Recession, logical possibility, families  
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12601 clicks; posted to Main » on 26 Sep 2011 at 12:35 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-09-26 05:28:50 PM
You'll get over it!

/wrong meme?
 
2011-09-26 05:32:44 PM

rewind2846: HeadLikeOrange: I have a client base of high-tech, B2B companies, and at least 2/3 of them are hiring and having trouble finding help. My company is also having trouble finding good candidates.

Are they also wording any ads they post like this: "Must have 4,000 years windows 7 programming experience, bring stone or clay tablets to interview" or "Must be left handed little person from the northern end of the Maldive islands. Submit passport and medical records." It's like the woman who would accept nothing less than the perfect man, and ending up with a house full of cats instead.

See, too often employers either word their requirements so esoterically that only six people on the planet qualify for the position, or they haven't figured out that in the long run it's actually cheaper to hire someone who knows 80-90% of what you need, then teach them the other 10%.

Perhaps they should look for what exists rather than what doesn't.


My company is in the same position. I've got 9 open requisitions we can't fill. We're doing lots of interviews, but the people simply aren't qualified (they are senior semiconductor engineering positions). My criteria is that they have to be as skilled as the employees we already have, I never settle and hire someone that I'm not impressed with. Current employment isn't a factor as long as they have a decent explanation of why they lost their job (i.e. weren't "fired").

We are purposefully picky. However, I'm just a program manager and am better technically than anyone I've interviewed. Our company is well regarded and doing extremely well, and compensation is competitive. But there are just some jobs that basically require masters degree plus 10+ years of experience, and those people don't seem to be jumping around too much currently.

I understand your comment about something that doesn't exist, or not being overly specific. However, we've also got plenty of junior positions that we are filling. At some point, you need people with experience. Also, if you've ever run large groups before you'd realize that the price for settling for a sub-par candidate can haunt you for years -- it takes a couple years and some big mistakes before you put the guy/gal on probation, a period where things are weird while they are on probation, then you let them go along with all the invested experience you put into them. A bad candidate can actually poison a whole group.

You spend more time with people you work with than your spouse, so you need to be just as careful choosing them.

There are probably industries out there that just need bodies, but there are also many where skills and experience are key and can't be quickly learned.
 
2011-09-26 05:37:15 PM

SpasticSloth: flatulent flea

it's your personality that makes you unemployable


Yeah, and a few internet posts fully illustrate my personality.

I DO have a job, by the way.
 
2011-09-26 05:41:41 PM

cracKness: AcneVulgaris: safetycap: *AND require that any future wars be soley funded via special sales + income tax line item. Every receipt you get will say,

War tax (10%): $3.98

and your 1040 will have a nice line that will say,

Add gross income line AA to capital gains amount line DD and multiply by 10%. Enter your WAR TAX amount on line JJ (note, you must pay this tax even if you owe no other amount).

Perfect. Flat 10% no matter what your income is. That'll get people off their asses. It won't stop the wars, but more people will be standing, and that's a good thing.

So you're of the opinion that those with the most should pay less than what they currently do, and that those who do not pay or pay the least because they make the least should pay more?

Have these people ever passed a math class before? 10% of nothing, is still nothing...


No, this is in addition to existing taxes. EVERYBODY pays more if we want to have a war.
 
2011-09-26 05:42:33 PM

rewind2846: HeadLikeOrange: I have a client base of high-tech, B2B companies, and at least 2/3 of them are hiring and having trouble finding help. My company is also having trouble finding good candidates.

These people and companies in your client base... they're not doing anything ridiculously stupid and short-sighted, like only hiring people who are already employed? Because it's quite obvious with all the millions of people unemployed for one, two years or more, they couldn't find any candidates who might be willing to work for less than they are willing to pay, but who would move if a job was guaranteed at the other end.

Are they also wording any ads they post like this: "Must have 4,000 years windows 7 programming experience, bring stone or clay tablets to interview" or "Must be left handed little person from the northern end of the Maldive islands. Submit passport and medical records." It's like the woman who would accept nothing less than the perfect man, and ending up with a house full of cats instead.

See, too often employers either word their requirements so esoterically that only six people on the planet qualify for the position, or they haven't figured out that in the long run it's actually cheaper to hire someone who knows 80-90% of what you need, then teach them the other 10%.

Every time I see someone complaining that they "can't find good candidates" here on FARK, my mind goes back to the cattle call that was the last job fair I attended. This scene is replicated thousands of times across the country every year with hundreds of thousands of applicants, multiplied by the around-the-block applicant lines that form whenever anything remotely resembling long-term employment pops up, so I find it difficult to believe that all these employers can't find anyone.

Perhaps they should look for what exists rather than what doesn't.


this.
 
2011-09-26 05:56:13 PM

Magnanimous_J: Philip J. Fry: What happens as efficiency continues eliminating jobs without new ones being created?

That's why I could never believe a Star Trek style utopia, brought about by advancing technology, could ever happen. Eliminating all human need with the invention of transporters and replicators and holosuites is all good and great, but what makes you think the rich guys who own these things are going to let you use them?


The only thing you would need is access to the replicator for long enough to replicate another replicator and power source. The rest is easy.
 
2011-09-26 05:58:26 PM

cuzsis: Another day another person who's never been poor.


As someone who took a detour into poverty for a few years, yeah - it's pretty obvious who in this thread has never personally experienced it. And any time one of these 'poor people make poor choices' threads comes up on Fark, I'm still kinda surprised at the total lack of empathy for other human beings. Yeah, yeah, I know - welcome to Fark & all that, but still. Maybe it's just the anonymity of the net that brings out the inner sociopath in people. I'd like to think if some people were financially strapped that ideas like 'euthanizing the family pet to save cash' wouldn't actually be on the table.

Do many poor people make bad choices? Yes...but not all of them. Do some poor people need a good swift kick in the keister to see the error of their ways...yes again, but not every poor person is a blockhead. Sometimes poop just happens, and unless you are Warren Buffett or Bill Gates or Oprah, you might not be able to weather the storm. And sorry, but unless you're psychic too, there's no way to predict how much money you'll have on hand 10 or 20 or 40 years from now to pay for that job loss or cancer diagnosis or surprise pregnancy or car accident that you were somehow supposed to have predicted & accounted for in your youth.

/very tired right now
//am working the job of three people but getting one paycheck
///godspeed to everyone looking for work
 
2011-09-26 06:00:36 PM

jabelar:
There are probably industries out there that just need bodies, but there are also many where skills and experience are key and can't be quickly learned.


Okay, so how do you suppose people get these skills and experience if they aren't hired by someone? Or is the answer "just as long as it isn't me"?
 
2011-09-26 06:05:54 PM

StandsWithAFist: Do many poor people make bad choices? Yes...but not all of them. Do some poor people need a good swift kick in the keister to see the error of their ways...yes again, but not every poor person is a blockhead.


Heresy!! Everyone knows that poor people are victims of an unjust society. Anyone who suggests that individuals' bad decisions contribute to poverty is part of the problem. All cases of poverty MUST be regarded equally!
 
2011-09-26 06:07:34 PM

rewind2846: Okay, so how do you suppose people get these skills and experience if they aren't hired by someone?


Apprenticeships? Community College? Entry-level positions?
 
2011-09-26 06:09:47 PM

rewind2846: HeadLikeOrange: I have a client base of high-tech, B2B companies, and at least 2/3 of them are hiring and having trouble finding help. My company is also having trouble finding good candidates.

These people and companies in your client base... they're not doing anything ridiculously stupid and short-sighted, like only hiring people who are already employed? Because it's quite obvious with all the millions of people unemployed for one, two years or more, they couldn't find any candidates who might be willing to work for less than they are willing to pay, but who would move if a job was guaranteed at the other end.

Are they also wording any ads they post like this: "Must have 4,000 years windows 7 programming experience, bring stone or clay tablets to interview" or "Must be left handed little person from the northern end of the Maldive islands. Submit passport and medical records." It's like the woman who would accept nothing less than the perfect man, and ending up with a house full of cats instead.

See, too often employers either word their requirements so esoterically that only six people on the planet qualify for the position, or they haven't figured out that in the long run it's actually cheaper to hire someone who knows 80-90% of what you need, then teach them the other 10%.

Every time I see someone complaining that they "can't find good candidates" here on FARK, my mind goes back to the cattle call that was the last job fair I attended. This scene is replicated thousands of times across the country every year with hundreds of thousands of applicants, multiplied by the around-the-block applicant lines that form whenever anything remotely resembling long-term employment pops up, so I find it difficult to believe that all these employers can't find anyone.

Perhaps they should look for what exists rather than what doesn't.


Well, my company needs someone who is Google Adwords Qualified and can speak to a client without sounding like a total farktard. You'd be surprised how rare these gifts are.
 
2011-09-26 06:09:49 PM

jabelar: My criteria is that they have to be as skilled as the employees we already have, I never settle and hire someone that I'm not impressed with.


Presumably your current employees have been on the job for more than a month or two, so they've had an opportunity to grow to fit the position over time. I guarantee that none of those star-engineers were born designing semiconductors (or whatever the exact job description is); they were all unqualified and unskilled at some point in their careers. ...but due to some manager seeing potential in a sharp mind and good work ethic, they were hired into a position where they were allowed to grow and develop skills that they didn't already posses.

IMHO, this is the problem -- a policy of hiring someone with a very specific set of skills to fill a very well-defined roll with very little flexibility stagnates the career development process. We all needed a "break" at some point to develop the skills that make us marketable today.
 
2011-09-26 06:13:23 PM

jshine: jabelar: My criteria is that they have to be as skilled as the employees we already have, I never settle and hire someone that I'm not impressed with.

Presumably your current employees have been on the job for more than a month or two, so they've had an opportunity to grow to fit the position over time. I guarantee that none of those star-engineers were born designing semiconductors (or whatever the exact job description is); they were all unqualified and unskilled at some point in their careers. ...but due to some manager seeing potential in a sharp mind and good work ethic, they were hired into a position where they were allowed to grow and develop skills that they didn't already posses.

IMHO, this is the problem -- a policy of hiring someone with a very specific set of skills to fill a very well-defined roll with very little flexibility stagnates the career development process. We all needed a "break" at some point to develop the skills that make us marketable today.


not according to many of the self-proclaimed geniuses on fark. the designed integrated circuits instead for their parents to hang on the fridge and so on...
 
2011-09-26 06:14:08 PM

jshine: ...but due to some manager seeing potential in a sharp mind and good work ethic, they were hired into a position where they were allowed to grow and develop skills that they didn't already posses.


That's what "entry-level positions" are for. I didn't graduate from college and expect to be hired immediately as a server administrator. I started out on the helpdesk answering calls and opening support tickets.
 
2011-09-26 06:17:04 PM

GoldSpider: jshine: ...but due to some manager seeing potential in a sharp mind and good work ethic, they were hired into a position where they were allowed to grow and develop skills that they didn't already posses.

That's what "entry-level positions" are for. I didn't graduate from college and expect to be hired immediately as a server administrator. I started out on the helpdesk answering calls and opening support tickets.


the problem is that there are non-entry level jobs that pay entry level wages. i can't wait to get out of this industry.
 
2011-09-26 06:18:29 PM

GoldSpider: rewind2846: Okay, so how do you suppose people get these skills and experience if they aren't hired by someone?

Apprenticeships? Community College? Entry-level positions?


From the original post:

jabelar:
But there are just some jobs that basically require masters degree plus 10+ years of experience, and those people don't seem to be jumping around too much currently.


Apprenticeships? Not viable, unless they are paid apprenticeships. If you're not living in your mom's basement, you'll need money.

Community College? Ask high tech employers how many people with associate degrees they've hired lately.

Entry-level positions? BWAAHHHAHAHAH! Better have your Bachelor's first, be prepared to eat minimum wage, and to sell one of your kidneys to pay your school loans.

The issue here is that more and more people with their thousands of years of experience are going to become more and more scarce, yet employers cannot see this and will continue to chase the same ever-shrinking pool of talent rather than fostering new talent to fill the void.

After they do this for awhile, they complain they can't find anyone. If you don't go to the grocery store or the garden and get more food, your pantry will be empty when you get the munchies.
 
2011-09-26 06:22:57 PM
Pro tip: You can get more bang for your buck by NOT LIVING IN FARKING CALIFORNIA!
 
2011-09-26 06:32:38 PM
People will talk about ideologies and platforms as if they were of any relevance. But you cannot elect an ideology or platform to office, you can only elect human beings to office. And those human beings will, with exceptions rare enough to be statistically irrelevant, act in their own self-interest first.

Now, in an electoral democracy, it's in the direct, personal self-interest of the politicians of the party the poor favor to maximize the number of the poor, in order to maximize the number of votes for themselves. Therefore, the rational expectation would be that if the politicians of the party the poor favor are in power, the number of poor will go up.

Testing this hypothesis against reality, we see that in the United States, the Democrats, the party favored by the poor, have controlled at least two of the three policy-making bodies (White House, Senate, House of Representatives) since early January 2007. Looking at the American people, the poor are more numerous than they were before January 2007. These results are just as one would predict would happen if you simply believe politicians act in their own self-interest.

Now, of course, people will respond to this with various forms of argument, mockery, and rage. But all those attacks, at the root, are based on the premise that politicians are not selfish. They are all accordingly deeply rooted in idiocy.
 
2011-09-26 06:34:19 PM

GoldSpider: jshine: ...but due to some manager seeing potential in a sharp mind and good work ethic, they were hired into a position where they were allowed to grow and develop skills that they didn't already posses.

That's what "entry-level positions" are for. I didn't graduate from college and expect to be hired immediately as a server administrator. I started out on the helpdesk answering calls and opening support tickets.


Of course -- and after answering calls & opening support tickets you would be (by some interpretations & job descriptions) qualified for exactly that: answering calls and opening support tickets. Working at the help desk is not server admin, and wouldn't necessarily qualify you for server admin under a "we only hire you to do more of what you've already done" policy.
 
2011-09-26 06:40:40 PM

jabelar: I expect my best years financially are behind me. I did really well during the tech boom. Luckily I'm naturally fiscally conservative and so never took out major loans -- even my house was paid off without any mortgage. I'm also still employed with a wage many might envy, but even for me things are seeming much tighter (no vacations, less eating out, not buying nice clothes, not buying new cars, etc.) I'm not whining about it because my life is still very good, but just saying that I know if I'm being affected like this others must be miserable.

The crux of it is that middle class living now requires $350k/year income. Most people are fooling themselves thinking they are middle class when they aren't (very few are). Middle class here is defined as living the "American dream" of having a house (in decent neighborhood in nice suburb of good city) with bedrooms for everyone, nice entertainment system and plenty of gadgets, two cars bought new on regular basis, saving well for retirement, saving well for kids' college, and having nice vacations at least once a year.

I realize that there are other "American dreams" and also we should revisit whether this particular one is important. But just saying that there are lots of people thinking they're middle class when they're not. Most are sort of pretending, but really not saving properly for retirement/college, living in housing that is compromised in some way (maybe big house in bad neighborhood, or cramped house in good neighborhood), buying used cars, and forgoing exotic vacations.

It is really quite scary -- the middle class is pretty much disappearing and unless you're making $350k per year (yeah I've worked this through with a couple accountants, not just pulling out of my ass, based on living in Bay Area), you're already on a trajectory to give up the traditional American dream.


This is preposterous. My family makes half that much and we have a 2400 sq ft. 4-bedroom colonial in a neighborhood of other 4-bed colonials in a nice town outside Boston, 2 cars less than 5 years old, we put away 10% of all income to retirement and $1K a month for college. Granted, our vacations are of the generally reached by car, not plane (mostly due to the age of our 2 kids) and I wish we could save more for college, but don't tell me I'm not middle class.

I don't blow money on gadgets or game/entertainment systems because I am not interested in them. And we both drive Toyotas because, guess what, Toyotas are perfectly fine for us. Also, our only debt is our mortgage.
 
2011-09-26 06:52:29 PM
War is Peace
http://www.panarchy.org/orwell/war.1949.html
 
2011-09-26 06:55:31 PM

jabelar: I've got 9 open requisitions we can't fill. We're doing lots of interviews, but the people simply aren't qualified (they are senior semiconductor engineering positions). My criteria is that they have to be as skilled as the employees we already have, I never settle and hire someone that I'm not impressed with.


You reap what you sew, I guess. Companies gave up on training employees years ago as a cost savings. This worked for a little while, but you can't stop doing job training and expect to hire anyone but entry-level employees in any quantity in the long run.

If you want a senior semiconductor engineer today, you should have started grooming your juniors eight years ago, so you could be hiring more easy-to-find juniors today instead.
 
2011-09-26 06:58:54 PM

raygundan: jabelar: I've got 9 open requisitions we can't fill. We're doing lots of interviews, but the people simply aren't qualified (they are senior semiconductor engineering positions). My criteria is that they have to be as skilled as the employees we already have, I never settle and hire someone that I'm not impressed with.

You reap what you sew, I guess. Companies gave up on training employees years ago as a cost savings. This worked for a little while, but you can't stop doing job training and expect to hire anyone but entry-level employees in any quantity in the long run.

If you want a senior semiconductor engineer today, you should have started grooming your juniors eight years ago, so you could be hiring more easy-to-find juniors today instead.


You're not factoring in expansion. We're not replacing retiring engineers, we're expanding. We hire plenty of junior people, now and in the past. But we need additional engineers from outside.
 
2011-09-26 07:02:33 PM

GoldSpider: jshine: ...but due to some manager seeing potential in a sharp mind and good work ethic, they were hired into a position where they were allowed to grow and develop skills that they didn't already posses.

That's what "entry-level positions" are for. I didn't graduate from college and expect to be hired immediately as a server administrator. I started out on the helpdesk answering calls and opening support tickets.


I don't think anybody does this anymore. Every promotion and all but one raise I've received in the last decade has required changing jobs. Companies have stopped seeing employees as a resource to be groomed and improved, and instead as interchangeable parts to fill an opening. You don't get promoted out of that niche-- you either quit when you find something better or are laid off when the niche you occupy closes. The concepts of "training" and "promotion" have all but disappeared, at least in my experience.
 
2011-09-26 07:05:41 PM

jshine: jabelar: My criteria is that they have to be as skilled as the employees we already have, I never settle and hire someone that I'm not impressed with.

Presumably your current employees have been on the job for more than a month or two, so they've had an opportunity to grow to fit the position over time. I guarantee that none of those star-engineers were born designing semiconductors (or whatever the exact job description is); they were all unqualified and unskilled at some point in their careers. ...but due to some manager seeing potential in a sharp mind and good work ethic, they were hired into a position where they were allowed to grow and develop skills that they didn't already posses.


We don't look for things that are specific to our company. We're looking for skills that are common across the entire industry. There's no skill we ask for that isn't already being learned by lots of people in many companies and universities. There are presumably many stars in the industry, and we'd be happy to hire them.

The problem is different: the reality is that top people don't jump around much in high tech any more, unless they're forced to. Even with major restructuring, the stars are the last to go. Furthermore there are stock options, so a person gives up lots (literally $M) to move companies. I know LOTS of people who are suitable for the job, I just can't convince them to jump over. You could claim it is something about our company, except I've worked in many of these companies and know that the compensations, environment, etc. are very similar.

Basically what is happening is that skilled employees are both hunkering down and also being more actively retained. It is the lesser skilled people that are being let loose on the job market.
 
2011-09-26 07:07:02 PM

raygundan: jabelar: I've got 9 open requisitions we can't fill. We're doing lots of interviews, but the people simply aren't qualified (they are senior semiconductor engineering positions). My criteria is that they have to be as skilled as the employees we already have, I never settle and hire someone that I'm not impressed with.

You reap what you sew, I guess. Companies gave up on training employees years ago as a cost savings. This worked for a little while, but you can't stop doing job training and expect to hire anyone but entry-level employees in any quantity in the long run.

If you want a senior semiconductor engineer today, you should have started grooming your juniors eight years ago, so you could be hiring more easy-to-find juniors today instead.


or some companies didn't plan on hiring anyone (american) in the long run. the long run sees public education dismantled to put good education out of the reach of people below a certain income level. it makes university education prohibitively expensive. it sees intellectualism in this country demonized. it sees jobs being sent to other countries where slave wages are still allowed. it sees scientific and social progress stunted while churches gain political power and still pay no taxes. it sees china and india blowing past us in education in math and science further ensuring america's failure.

we're farked.
 
2011-09-26 07:10:38 PM

jabelar: raygundan: jabelar: I've got 9 open requisitions we can't fill. We're doing lots of interviews, but the people simply aren't qualified (they are senior semiconductor engineering positions). My criteria is that they have to be as skilled as the employees we already have, I never settle and hire someone that I'm not impressed with.

You reap what you sew, I guess. Companies gave up on training employees years ago as a cost savings. This worked for a little while, but you can't stop doing job training and expect to hire anyone but entry-level employees in any quantity in the long run.

If you want a senior semiconductor engineer today, you should have started grooming your juniors eight years ago, so you could be hiring more easy-to-find juniors today instead.

You're not factoring in expansion. We're not replacing retiring engineers, we're expanding. We hire plenty of junior people, now and in the past. But we need additional engineers from outside.


Right-- but if you'd trained up your juniors to be ready for senior positions when they opened, your problem would be the simpler "where do we find more recent college grads" instead of the difficult "where do I find people with senior-level experience in this specific industry?"

In the larger picture, if you're not making enough senior engineers through your own internal processes, how do you expect to find them in a job market full of similar companies? You, and everyone else, have to make them. That's where they come from.
 
2011-09-26 07:14:17 PM

raygundan: GoldSpider: jshine: ...but due to some manager seeing potential in a sharp mind and good work ethic, they were hired into a position where they were allowed to grow and develop skills that they didn't already posses.

That's what "entry-level positions" are for. I didn't graduate from college and expect to be hired immediately as a server administrator. I started out on the helpdesk answering calls and opening support tickets.

I don't think anybody does this anymore. Every promotion and all but one raise I've received in the last decade has required changing jobs. Companies have stopped seeing employees as a resource to be groomed and improved, and instead as interchangeable parts to fill an opening. You don't get promoted out of that niche-- you either quit when you find something better or are laid off when the niche you occupy closes. The concepts of "training" and "promotion" have all but disappeared, at least in my experience.


they have in mine as well. i've been at a major computer company supporting their laptops, desktops, workstations, and entry-level servers. the last person in our department went permanent 5 years ago. there have been no new permanent employees since. the enterprise server support guys that occupy the remaining 2/3 of this floor see new employees coming in as contractors with no hope of going permanent with all the benefits that it entails.

i have to take the experience here as a resume-builder that will help me find something that actually pays me a decent wage. it sucks, but until i can go back to school...
 
2011-09-26 07:20:59 PM

jabelar: It is the lesser skilled people that are being let loose on the job market.


Hire them and train them. I know it's anathema to corporate budgets, but if the limited supply of high-skill workers is content where they are, you're either going to have to make your own high-skill workers (on-the-job training, internal promotion) or design a business that can run with fewer high-skill workers. (See the heavy use of PAs and NPs in the medical industry to work around the shortage of doctors as an example) And as a third option, there's always good ol' capitalism. Can't hire away those stars you mentioned? Plain and simple, you didn't offer them enough.

If you can't afford to train your own or pay more, and you can't figure out how to get by without them, what you have is a failed business plan that made hand-wavey assumptions about where key personnel would come from and how much they would cost.
 
2011-09-26 07:26:54 PM

pxlboy: i have to take the experience here as a resume-builder that will help me find something that actually pays me a decent wage.


If you're not already, the only sane thing to do as an employee in this sort of work environment is to be *constantly* applying for new jobs and networking. If your company doesn't train or promote (or convert contractors to full-time), they deserve exactly as much long-term loyalty as they're showing you.
 
2011-09-26 07:34:06 PM
I only feel for the middle family, the other two I don't feel anything for.

Being a music promoter is a fancy term for drugy loser and the third family was broke to begin with
 
2011-09-26 07:37:23 PM

raygundan: pxlboy: i have to take the experience here as a resume-builder that will help me find something that actually pays me a decent wage.

If you're not already, the only sane thing to do as an employee in this sort of work environment is to be *constantly* applying for new jobs and networking. If your company doesn't train or promote (or convert contractors to full-time), they deserve exactly as much long-term loyalty as they're showing you.


i know. i've gotten "comfortable", and that's not helping. i'm planning on going back to finish my degree in teaching and do that instead. the job and the pay aren't glamorous, but i would rather do that than work out the rest of my days in a place like this.

i put my resume out there and got calls on it almost immediately, went on a couple of interviews -- nothing really solid.

still looking, though. thanks for the encouragement.
 
2011-09-26 07:38:13 PM

RanDomino: I'm talking about after WWII, when everyone got a car and moved to the suburbs.


Ohh my bad, i was thrown off with the thought that oil ended the depression. It was actually the war that brought us out of the depression, and the subsequent prosperity that allowed Americans to buy cars and homes in the burbs. It really wasn't an era of cheap oil by any stretch of the means given the lingering control of domestic prices by the Texas Railroad Commission, and the pegging of international oil sales to the Gulf Coast price. The era of truly cheap oil was the 1930s with the crisis created by the East Texas field (which ultimately spawned the TRC since states could somehow proration while oil companies tended to get prosecuted for that kind of thing). The term "Hot Oil" refers to oil leeched off pipelines, or illegally produced from wells, that people were selling like moonshine through the depression years. You could say the early days of the 1860s-1890s were the truly cheap days, but who cares about mere kerosene? The modern sense of "cheap oil" is a reference to the glut of production we finally got in the post-war years of prosperity when the Middle East was finally developed.

Our prosperity itself isn't reliant on cheap oil, it relies on having markets for our goods to keep our industries producing. When oil is gone, coal will be hydrogenated to take its place until other hydrocarbons are synthesized if we can't figure out a better fuel. While it's true that our control of many middle eastern oil concessions, and possession of the largest stocks of coal, give us a competitive edge against the rest of the world, without it industry would merely be paying the same input costs as other nations. The problem is trade imbalance, best visualized with the British specie flow problem that led to the opium trade and the Unequal Treaty system in China.
 
2011-09-26 07:43:19 PM

HeadLikeOrange: jabelar: I expect my best years financially are behind me. I did really well during the tech boom. Luckily I'm naturally fiscally conservative and so never took out major loans -- even my house was paid off without any mortgage. I'm also still employed with a wage many might envy, but even for me things are seeming much tighter (no vacations, less eating out, not buying nice clothes, not buying new cars, etc.) I'm not whining about it because my life is still very good, but just saying that I know if I'm being affected like this others must be miserable.

The crux of it is that middle class living now requires $350k/year income. Most people are fooling themselves thinking they are middle class when they aren't (very few are). Middle class here is defined as living the "American dream" of having a house (in decent neighborhood in nice suburb of good city) with bedrooms for everyone, nice entertainment system and plenty of gadgets, two cars bought new on regular basis, saving well for retirement, saving well for kids' college, and having nice vacations at least once a year.

I realize that there are other "American dreams" and also we should revisit whether this particular one is important. But just saying that there are lots of people thinking they're middle class when they're not. Most are sort of pretending, but really not saving properly for retirement/college, living in housing that is compromised in some way (maybe big house in bad neighborhood, or cramped house in good neighborhood), buying used cars, and forgoing exotic vacations.

It is really quite scary -- the middle class is pretty much disappearing and unless you're making $350k per year (yeah I've worked this through with a couple accountants, not just pulling out of my ass, based on living in Bay Area), you're already on a trajectory to give up the traditional American dream.

This is preposterous. My family makes half that much and we have a 2400 sq ft. 4-bedroom colonial in a neighborhood of other 4-bed colonials in a nice town outside Boston, 2 cars less than 5 years old, we put away 10% of all income to retirement and $1K a month for college. Granted, our vacations are of the generally reached by car, not plane (mostly due to the age of our 2 kids) and I wish we could save more for college, but don't tell me I'm not middle class.

I don't blow money on gadgets or game/entertainment systems because I am not interested in them. And we both drive Toyotas because, guess what, Toyotas are perfectly fine for us. Also, our only debt is our mortgage.


It only works if you're not living in major suburb. Smaller towns and bedroom communities, I'd buy you could do with less. I mentioned I did my math in Bay Area. There is no 2400sq.ft detached house in good neighborhood for less than $750k here (in fact in my neighborhood the 1800sq ft place is listed at $999k).

But just doing the math off the top of my head, I can come up with $200k without including a whole bunch of additional things:

Mortgage or rent: $3k
Groceries: $2.5k
Eating out: $250
Gas: $350
Clothes: $800
Retirement savings: $400
Buying cars ($35k cars every 5 years with 1/2 trade-in): $580
Car maintenance: $
College savings (two kids, $25k/year for 4-years): $1k
Vacation (flight plus week hotel and other fun): $290
Misc. Health and Dental (i.e. not covered, occasional crown, kid requiring stitches, meds, co-pays): $600
Internet/Landline/Cable: $120
Mobile phones with family plan: $120
Private school (2 kids, $11k per year): $1800
Yard Service: $150
Maid Service: $120
Dry Cleaning: $200

This list already requires $200k to sustain and I haven't even put on things like house maintenance, car maintenance, insurance, pets, hobbies gifts and parties, helping out your parents and family.

Of course you can argue any of the above down (clean your own house, no one needs to play golf, etc.) but really the above typifies what being middle class is all about. I'm not being snobby about it. Just putting some perspective on it.

Keep in mind that working class also has cars, a house, buys food and clothes, etc. But each aspect is skimped on, and where they really fail is in the savings. If you're not saving for college, etc. you're definitely skimping and on the verge.

I'm really not advocating that we should strive for any of this, I'm just indicating that for people who are striving for this the bar is set pretty high.

If you happen to have the luxury of being able to work anywhere (i.e. not tied to major city) then obviously you can do much better. However, a city is a city precisely because there are lots of people and there are lots of people for a reason (i.e. their jobs are there).
 
2011-09-26 07:48:21 PM

raygundan: jabelar: It is the lesser skilled people that are being let loose on the job market.

Hire them and train them. I know it's anathema to corporate budgets, but if the limited supply of high-skill workers is content where they are, you're either going to have to make your own high-skill workers (on-the-job training, internal promotion) or design a business that can run with fewer high-skill workers. (See the heavy use of PAs and NPs in the medical industry to work around the shortage of doctors as an example) And as a third option, there's always good ol' capitalism. Can't hire away those stars you mentioned? Plain and simple, you didn't offer them enough.

If you can't afford to train your own or pay more, and you can't figure out how to get by without them, what you have is a failed business plan that made hand-wavey assumptions about where key personnel would come from and how much they would cost.


I agree that if it is a sustained problem then companies need to adjust. However, this is a new problem -- high tech never used to have a problem with top guys jumping around regularly.

The answer won't be to train people though, at least not more people. We hire lots of junior people, but a company can only absorb so many junior people. We're talking about engineering work where the results of mistake are literally life-and-death or at least extremely dire. Would you want your medical equipment designed by a junior engineer? Or your banking system? Or your airliner control system? There is a ratio of senior to junior that works and there is a ratio that is dangerous.
 
2011-09-26 07:58:36 PM

jabelar: We don't look for things that are specific to our company. We're looking for skills that are common across the entire industry. There's no skill we ask for that isn't already being learned by lots of people in many companies and universities. There are presumably many stars in the industry, and we'd be happy to hire them.


Sure, but I think we're talking past each other. My point is that stars do not start out as stars; they have to acquire that status somewhere. Presumably this happens by young engineers proving themselves in a job where -- initially -- they started out unproven.

Careers are not a Möbius loop; they must have a beginning.
 
2011-09-26 08:00:30 PM

jabelar:
It only works if you're not living in major suburb. Smaller towns and bedroom communities, I'd buy you could do with less. I mentioned I did my math in Bay Area. There is no 2400sq.ft detached house in good neighborhood for less than $750k here (in fact in my neighborhood the 1800sq ft place is listed at $999k).

But just doing the math off the top of my head, I can come up with $200k without including a whole bunch of additional things:

Mortgage or rent: $3k
Groceries: $2.5k
Eating out: $250
Gas: $350
Clothes: $800
Retirement savings: $400
Buying cars ($35k cars every 5 years with 1/2 trade-in): $580
Car maintenance: $
College savings (two kids, $25k/year for 4-years): $1k
Vacation (flight plus week hotel and other fun): $290
Misc. Health and Dental (i.e. not covered, occasional crown, kid requiring stitches, meds, co-pays): $600
Internet/Landline/Cable: $120
Mobile phones with family plan: $120
Private school (2 kids, $11k per year): $1800
Yard Service: $150
Maid Service: $120
Dry Cleaning: $200


All due respect, but I have a family of four and I can't believe these numbers. $2500 a month on groceries? We spend $600. $800 a month on clothes? I spend that much -- maybe -- a year. I cut my own grass and clean my own messes. My kids will go to public school, but then I chose the town I moved to based on the quality of the school system.

Your definition of middle class appears to be having kids in private schools, annual "exotic" vacations (safari anyone?), $200 a week on clothes, and hiring people to cut your grass, clean your toilets, and iron your shirts. This is not middle class to most Americans. Go back a generation and tell our parents that these things are required to be middle class and see how far that gets you. Further, if this is what middle class is, then I don't need it.

Dude, $800 a month on clothes but $400 a month towards retirement? Really?
 
2011-09-26 08:04:34 PM

HeadLikeOrange: Dude, $800 a month on clothes but $400 a month towards retirement? Really?


Sounds like someone really likes to hang out at the Stanford Mall.
 
2011-09-26 08:13:36 PM

pxlboy: i put my resume out there and got calls on it almost immediately, went on a couple of interviews -- nothing really solid.

still looking, though. thanks for the encouragement.


Solid shmolid. Make it a game. Try to get a free lunch at least once a week. Worst case, you'll have developed a skill that can feed you through the lean times of unemployment. It wouldn't hurt to learn how to live in your car and still show up to work looking at least moderately well-groomed, too. Then you're indestructible. When they come for your house, you can just drive off, surviving on a combination of job-interview lunches, take-home leftovers, and donuts you steal by just walking into random office buildings while wearing khakis and a dress shirt. You can do this indefinitely, and eventually one of the interviews will result in another job.
 
2011-09-26 08:18:00 PM

jabelar: We hire lots of junior people, but a company can only absorb so many junior people. We're talking about engineering work where the results of mistake are literally life-and-death or at least extremely dire. Would you want your medical equipment designed by a junior engineer? Or your banking system? Or your airliner control system? There is a ratio of senior to junior that works and there is a ratio that is dangerous.


I'd agree with this statement, but it strikes me as odd coming from somebody hiring their senior engineers from outside the company. You don't want the newbie, no matter how well-educated, doing the critical bits until he's had some time with your specific systems.
 
2011-09-26 08:28:58 PM

raygundan: pxlboy: i put my resume out there and got calls on it almost immediately, went on a couple of interviews -- nothing really solid.

still looking, though. thanks for the encouragement.

Solid shmolid. Make it a game. Try to get a free lunch at least once a week. Worst case, you'll have developed a skill that can feed you through the lean times of unemployment. It wouldn't hurt to learn how to live in your car and still show up to work looking at least moderately well-groomed, too. Then you're indestructible. When they come for your house, you can just drive off, surviving on a combination of job-interview lunches, take-home leftovers, and donuts you steal by just walking into random office buildings while wearing khakis and a dress shirt. You can do this indefinitely, and eventually one of the interviews will result in another job.


Wow, it's not that bad (yet). I'm living with my girlfriend; we rarely eat out and bring our lunches to work. There is budgeting and that helps.

However, the salary for this job is a joke. I've just hit two years here, so it's time to start looking.
 
2011-09-26 08:43:10 PM
The best part about already being broke is that I've barely noticed the recession. My life already sucks.
 
2011-09-26 08:47:56 PM
Verzio 2011-09-26 06:32:38 PM

[meaningless blat]

You know, I heard that same sh*t spewing from the sewers at Fox News
when people were busy drowning in New Orleans.

And the then-governor of Louisiana(D) was also an asshole for crying
about what designer clothing she was gonna wear for a photoshoot
during the disaster.

So fark off.
 
2011-09-26 08:59:22 PM

hailin: Hell meat is starting to get pricey. Even though I hate the idea of killing anything my husband and I are considering going out with our friends this fall to hunt for wild game and they are going to show us how to butcher ourselves to save the $200 processing fee. If it means us being able to eat and not go over the food budget I've set I'm willing to get a little blood on my hands.


Surely things are not that bad for you.
 
2011-09-26 08:59:53 PM
"The crux of it is that middle class living now requires $350k/year income. Most people are fooling themselves thinking they are middle class when they aren't (very few are). "

Bullshiat.....I make 86 k a yr, put 15% into 401k and have house paid for, with a renthouse. Turned down the 3 hard sells over the years to refi $ out of the house (with an ARM each time, no less) when I was paying it off/

2 cars, 3 motorcycles...all paid for.

It can be done, first thing is not to live in CA or NY, etc. And don't make stupid decisions. And, have a little luck too.

/TX
 
2011-09-26 09:02:35 PM

jshine: Working at the help desk is not server admin, and wouldn't necessarily qualify you for server admin under a "we only hire you to do more of what you've already done" policy.


Nope it's not but it's not like answering calls is all I did all day.
 
2011-09-26 09:04:06 PM

StrangeQ: Oh, and I love this bit...

Other employers turned him down. He thought it might have to do with the tattoos covering his arms

You farking THINK?


I was about to say that. Anyway, it could be worse.

www.splcenter.org
 
2011-09-26 09:13:03 PM

ritalinchild 54: It's been a long downhill slide since 2006 and it was tilting about 4 years prior to that for me.

I am 57 and was recently asked to leave my apartment because I hadn't paid rent for 3 months. I now reside in the back room of my shop. I am not really "homeless" but I now use the words "showers at the Y" to describe my situation. (PS the mens locker-room at the Easton MD Y is disgusting)

If not for the kindness of a few friends, I would be in worse shape. As odd as my situation is I really pity the folks with kids in similar situations.

I am scared.
I live in a small town and I already know that my situation is a regular topic in the circles I used to belong to.

I am a small blip on the screen. My situation is nothing compared to others in similar situations. This economy and the government that I still hope to do something is possibly not going to help.


Look around you and notice the guy that was normally at all the fundraisers and helping others out. He's not there anymore. He's too embarrassed to be seen in public.

Once again I am being maudlin and sad. I want things to be better.

/feel free to mock now

//holy shiat! A customer walked in! second one today!

thanks to an earlier rant on this same topic, a nice person sponsored me to the Total Fark side of this site "thanks?" (that was an attempt at humor) also to the kind person that offered a gift of a paypal donation... I appreciate it more than you know, I let it sit for a few days and hopefully you will send it to another person that you choose. It made my feel very lucky


Hoping you get back on your feet soon. I too have run into troubles lately. Its nice having a Dr. tell you.... get some insurance! Gee, doc, yah wanna tell me how to do that when I have existing conditions and nobody is hiring?
 
2011-09-26 09:17:29 PM
s2s2s2:

Next up: Slavery.

And not just for Negroes this time: non-discrimination has a down-side. Instead of skin color as a marker you can always tattoo or brand SLAVE on their faces. Or maybe even "Property of Joe Blow, 123 W. Oak St."
 
2011-09-26 10:02:53 PM
Shaggy_C:

Don't pin this on Republicans; if you voted Democrat between 1988 and 2008 you are just as much to blame. Both sides are bad, so vote for real liberals.

Such as? The only candidate in decades worth voting for was poor old Nader, who's still demonized for "getting Bush elected" in 2000.

If you must participate in this political system you could go Socialist. (new window)

Unlike Barack Obama, who's more right-wing than Nixon. People who think Obama's a socialist are idiots: even he doesn't think he's one.
 
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