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(Slate)   The world DOES need ditch diggers   (slate.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, school reform, false choice, course credits, social progress, basic skills  
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4960 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Mar 2014 at 2:00 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-19 11:16:21 AM  
The problem is, even ditch digging has become too complicated for your typical American. If he doesn't dig up a gas line, it will be a sewer line, or a power line, or he'll jab the shovel into his own foot and spend the rest of the day hopping on one leg and cursing.
We need to find something these people are capable of doing, and pretending they can all become ditch diggers is just wishful thinking.
 
2014-03-19 11:28:14 AM  
and that's all well and good if ditch digging pays a livable wage, which it doesn't.
 
2014-03-19 11:41:33 AM  

doublesecretprobation: and that's all well and good if ditch digging pays a livable wage, which it doesn't.


This.

Part of the problem is a combination of non-living wages for "basic" labor jobs and unreasonable requirements for those that pay reasonably (for example, the HR person who randomly decided that a position quite literally based on my college-dropout resume needed to have a degree requirement added, simply because "no one could do this without having some kind of degree").  Society as a whole has a very strong bias in the division of labor between "the educated" and "the uneducated" and strict definitions of what those are; the exceptions, mostly in the tech sector, are usually just hand-waved away.

I also think we need serious trade-school alternatives to college that don't cost anywhere near as much (JC prices or cheaper) but can provide for skilled labor, as well as drastic improvements in primary school education.
 
2014-03-19 12:38:07 PM  
The European model, with alternative paths to employment with trade schools and apprenticeships, works really well.
 
2014-03-19 12:53:04 PM  

KarmicDisaster: The European model, with alternative paths to employment with trade schools and apprenticeships, works really well.


And it makes sense. While I am someone who will always work in an office and do legal type work or copywriting (or something like that), I know people who are the people who stock hot water boilers, or install appliances, or lay flooring - and they do difficult, taxing jobs that take a toll on their bodies - often for low wages and are disrespected by a lot of the customers.  (The most common: rich people telling them to remove their work boots. Because delivering a refrigerator barefoot is safe and in no way a problem for anyone.)

I respect the hell out of them. They have worlds of knowledge I don't and could never have.  My boyfriend built an Ikea desk for me the other day and I just watched him in awe. If he didn't live with me, I'd have opened the box, looked at it, cried, gotten drunk and called a male friend to do it.  Possibly in a different order. But he did it like it was nothing.

We need to respect people who can do the skilled, difficult labor that many of us can't, or don't want to, do.
 
2014-03-19 01:33:42 PM  
www.smithcountylumber.com

The world used to need ditch diggers but now we have these.
 
2014-03-19 01:50:47 PM  

serpent_sky: KarmicDisaster: The European model, with alternative paths to employment with trade schools and apprenticeships, works really well.

And it makes sense. While I am someone who will always work in an office and do legal type work or copywriting (or something like that), I know people who are the people who stock hot water boilers, or install appliances, or lay flooring - and they do difficult, taxing jobs that take a toll on their bodies - often for low wages and are disrespected by a lot of the customers.  (The most common: rich people telling them to remove their work boots. Because delivering a refrigerator barefoot is safe and in no way a problem for anyone.)

I respect the hell out of them. They have worlds of knowledge I don't and could never have.  My boyfriend built an Ikea desk for me the other day and I just watched him in awe. If he didn't live with me, I'd have opened the box, looked at it, cried, gotten drunk and called a male friend to do it.  Possibly in a different order. But he did it like it was nothing.

We need to respect people who can do the skilled, difficult labor that many of us can't, or don't want to, do.


I was with you up to the Ikea desk.  Putting together an Ikea desk is no big thing.  Start with lumber and I am a bit more impressed (depending on the final product, of course)
 
2014-03-19 02:03:11 PM  
There are many American ideals that require as much suspension of logic and science as Creationism.  We just do it anyway because we've deemed it the right thing to do.  And most of the time, it is the right thing to do.
 
2014-03-19 02:03:31 PM  

One Bad Apple: The world used to need ditch diggers but now we have these.


Those can't run themselves. That just means we need less ditch diggers.
 
2014-03-19 02:05:02 PM  

lockers: Those can't run themselves


Robot ditch diggers in 3. . .2. . .
 
2014-03-19 02:05:53 PM  

One Bad Apple: [www.smithcountylumber.com image 850x566]

The world used to need ditch diggers but now we have these.


Amateur.

perishablepress.com

bobcashmanphotography.com
 
2014-03-19 02:07:10 PM  

obenchainr: doublesecretprobation: and that's all well and good if ditch digging pays a livable wage, which it doesn't.

This.

Part of the problem is a combination of non-living wages for "basic" labor jobs and unreasonable requirements for those that pay reasonably (for example, the HR person who randomly decided that a position quite literally based on my college-dropout resume needed to have a degree requirement added, simply because "no one could do this without having some kind of degree").  Society as a whole has a very strong bias in the division of labor between "the educated" and "the uneducated" and strict definitions of what those are; the exceptions, mostly in the tech sector, are usually just hand-waved away.

I also think we need serious trade-school alternatives to college that don't cost anywhere near as much (JC prices or cheaper) but can provide for skilled labor, as well as drastic improvements in primary school education.


(In best scruffy the janitor voice) second
 
2014-03-19 02:07:17 PM  
I've often thought of becoming a golf club.
 
2014-03-19 02:07:56 PM  
galts gulch needs plumbers
 
2014-03-19 02:08:36 PM  
It's funny, I've told my kids that when the graduate high school, they don't necessarily have to go to college, but they do need to continue their education, and that can mean college, trade school, something that allows them to be able to support themselves and a family if they decide to have one.

They're pretty sure they want to be software and hardware designers, but they are also still pretty young to even be thinking about college.
 
2014-03-19 02:08:52 PM  
Yes you make more money with a degree but you're also in a butt-ton of debt so therefore the net gain only comes into effect after you pay off your ass-load of debt and that's assuming you don't die first or get kidnapped by pirates

/keep digging hole kids, trust me the degree ain't worth it
 
2014-03-19 02:09:32 PM  

Hot Panda Milk: I've often thought of becoming a golf club.


right in the lumberyard
 
2014-03-19 02:10:11 PM  
www.memehead.com
 
2014-03-19 02:11:05 PM  

doublesecretprobation: and that's all well and good if ditch digging pays a livable wage, which it doesn't.


Uhh, yeah, yeah it does.

Start early, join the union. Seriously, a single unskilled laborer can raise an entire family if he starts shoveling gravel at 18.
 
2014-03-19 02:11:54 PM  

EvilEgg: I was with you up to the Ikea desk. Putting together an Ikea desk is no big thing. Start with lumber and I am a bit more impressed (depending on the final product, of course)


For someone like me, it's a huge thing and it's a skill.  He could build a desk from raw lumber, too, I am sure. He usually can identify any problem and fix it - we do a lot of the maintenance on our apartment because he can. My closet door fell off the hinges, for example. He put it back up in half a second. I'd have called the landlord and complained. I have no idea how to put a door back on the hinges.

And the machines he drives at work? Just from photos he showed me, I was in awe. Not only does it require skill, but those things go up to 30 feet in the air. I don't even like standing at the top of a staircase too long.  He's badass, and so are the dudes who work with him. Much respect.
 
2014-03-19 02:12:46 PM  
Grave diggers will always have the last laugh.
 
2014-03-19 02:14:12 PM  

obenchainr: doublesecretprobation: and that's all well and good if ditch digging pays a livable wage, which it doesn't.

This.

Part of the problem is a combination of non-living wages for "basic" labor jobs and unreasonable requirements for those that pay reasonably (for example, the HR person who randomly decided that a position quite literally based on my college-dropout resume needed to have a degree requirement added, simply because "no one could do this without having some kind of degree").  Society as a whole has a very strong bias in the division of labor between "the educated" and "the uneducated" and strict definitions of what those are; the exceptions, mostly in the tech sector, are usually just hand-waved away.

I also think we need serious trade-school alternatives to college that don't cost anywhere near as much (JC prices or cheaper) but can provide for skilled labor, as well as drastic improvements in primary school education.


Oh... you're just now getting it? This country is so far behind any other first world nation because we don't need to create more unionists, and we all certainly hate socialism... erm, socially beneficial programs.
It's the short sighted sons-of-biatches in power today, whose ideals and personal motives fly in the face of those that our forefathers dreamed would ensure this country to someday be great - and you and I can keep on waiting because so long as "they" have the money, they are going to keep the power - and screw you for ever wanting no more than a decent wage... you farking slave.

...so vote Republican!

/end troll rant
 
2014-03-19 02:15:15 PM  
obenchainr: "I also think we need serious trade-school alternatives"

Trade-type-schools are a dead-end unless you can get the market to accept certificates and such.
And the areas that reasonably *can* (plumbers, electricians, nurses, chefs, etc) generally already *do*.

And if you could get the market to agree that, say, administrative assistants don't need a four-year degree, you wouldn't even even need a hypothetical trade school.
You could just tell those people "get your associates degree from community college". (How different would a trade school look from a community college associates program, for any of the variety of white-collar administrative-type jobs?)

And if college *cost* was the big problem, people would go to smaller schools.
But they don't. Because cost by itself isn't the issue.
Expensive as it is, it's still more expensive to *not* go.
 
2014-03-19 02:15:47 PM  

KarmicDisaster: The European model, with alternative paths to employment with trade schools and apprenticeships, works really well.


We can't do that because something, something, socialism.
 
2014-03-19 02:16:05 PM  
I work with Lifeguards who make $7.50/hr

They save children from drowning EVERY day.

They have to be CPR, A.E.D. and oxygen certified.

They have to be able to treat a spinal injury, anaphylactic shock, diabetic shock, etc.

For $7.50/hr.

So, basically, society equally values someones ability to cook a hamburger to someone who saves lives daily.
 
2014-03-19 02:16:37 PM  
Because people should be rewarded for not wanting to do anything.
 
2014-03-19 02:18:58 PM  
People who enjoy working with their hands rather than standard college studies should have options like trade school or specialized job schools. I went to high school with someone that was a straight C student in school but went to a culinary science school and graduated top of his class. He started a small restaurant and believes he makes better money now than anything he probably would have majored in for a normal college experience. People with skills should be compensated with a decent pay as much as people who have knowledge.
 
2014-03-19 02:20:07 PM  
It needs greengrocers and bramblepickers too, eh Mickeylove?

4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-03-19 02:20:59 PM  
The biggest problem blue collar workers face is the decline of labor unions.

The warehouse job that pays $8/hr now with $7.25 min wage payed $8/hr like 30 years ago when min wage was like 3 something an hour.

Even blue collar jobs that pay well above min wage are making the same money they did years and years ago. A local driving job that pays like $15/hr now was making like $15/hr 30 years ago with 3 something minimum wage.
 
2014-03-19 02:21:54 PM  

rumpelstiltskin: The problem is, even ditch digging has become too complicated for your typical American. If he doesn't dig up a gas line, it will be a sewer line, or a power line, or he'll jab the shovel into his own foot and spend the rest of the day hopping on one leg and cursing.
We need to find something these people are capable of doing, and pretending they can all become ditch diggers is just wishful thinking.


You can't always blame the diggers or even the company for hitting the lines.
Working for a contractor I compiled data for a case against the Army Corps of Engineers for inaccurate records of utility lines.
 
2014-03-19 02:23:11 PM  

Thingster: doublesecretprobation: and that's all well and good if ditch digging pays a livable wage, which it doesn't.

Uhh, yeah, yeah it does.

Start early, join the union. Seriously, a single unskilled laborer can raise an entire family if he starts shoveling gravel at 18.


Yeah, i'm a union carpenter if you want a more skilled trade a 4 year apprenticeship with us gets you up to the mid 30 an hr range eventually, but even the unskilled laborers we keep around to haul our trash and do shiat jobs make like 25 an hr plus decent benefits and don't even require an apprenticeship, you start right out at that level.

Considering that there is a fair bit of overtime in contsruction quite often, that can work out to a comfortable life at home (but a pretty rough one at work to be fair)
 
2014-03-19 02:24:45 PM  
There is a way to deal with jobs no one wants.
img.fark.net
 
2014-03-19 02:24:58 PM  

Thingster: doublesecretprobation: and that's all well and good if ditch digging pays a livable wage, which it doesn't.

Uhh, yeah, yeah it does.

Start early, join the union. Seriously, a single unskilled laborer can raise an entire family if he starts shoveling gravel at 18.


keepstuff.homestead.com
"Unions?, to god-damned hell with unions! We have no unions. In fact, we don't need unions. I don't have to show you any stinking unions, you god-damned  cabrion and chinga tu madre!
 
2014-03-19 02:26:04 PM  

serpent_sky: For someone like me, it's a huge thing and it's a skill. He could build a desk from raw lumber, too, I am sure. He usually can identify any problem and fix it - we do a lot of the maintenance on our apartment because he can. My closet door fell off the hinges, for example. He put it back up in half a second. I'd have called the landlord and complained. I have no idea how to put a door back on the hinges.

And the machines he drives at work? Just from photos he showed me, I was in awe. Not only does it require skill, but those things go up to 30 feet in the air. I don't even like standing at the top of a staircase too long. He's badass, and so are the dudes who work with him. Much respect.


I don't mean this as an insult, so please don't take it that way. But if putting a door back on its hinges baffles you, I'd suggest taking a home maintenance class or two. Or even just going to youtube and watching a few home improvement videos. Home repair isn't nearly as tough as you think it is.
 
2014-03-19 02:26:38 PM  

obenchainr: doublesecretprobation: and that's all well and good if ditch digging pays a livable wage, which it doesn't.

This.

Part of the problem is a combination of non-living wages for "basic" labor jobs and unreasonable requirements for those that pay reasonably (for example, the HR person who randomly decided that a position quite literally based on my college-dropout resume needed to have a degree requirement added, simply because "no one could do this without having some kind of degree").  Society as a whole has a very strong bias in the division of labor between "the educated" and "the uneducated" and strict definitions of what those are; the exceptions, mostly in the tech sector, are usually just hand-waved away.

I also think we need serious trade-school alternatives to college that don't cost anywhere near as much (JC prices or cheaper) but can provide for skilled labor, as well as drastic improvements in primary school education.


Please define "a livable wage" along with a series of parameters with which to measure it.
 
2014-03-19 02:27:10 PM  
As the old French Carpenter said, " I measured dis board and cut it tree times and eet's steel too short"
 
2014-03-19 02:28:50 PM  
The basic problem is the myth that we are all equal, and if give a chance, we could all be surgeons, astronauts, college professors... But we're not.  Intelligence is like height - you are short, tall, or in the middle.  The myth was used to gut Vo-Tech programs out of High Schools in the 80's (they were expensive), leaving nothing but C level classes for students that could have been learning useful skills.  Now we're facing shortages of plumbers and electricians, jobs which can pay far more than what a lot of middling BS/BA required jobs pay.
 
2014-03-19 02:29:58 PM  

martissimo: Thingster: doublesecretprobation: and that's all well and good if ditch digging pays a livable wage, which it doesn't.

Uhh, yeah, yeah it does.

Start early, join the union. Seriously, a single unskilled laborer can raise an entire family if he starts shoveling gravel at 18.

Yeah, i'm a union carpenter if you want a more skilled trade a 4 year apprenticeship with us gets you up to the mid 30 an hr range eventually, but even the unskilled laborers we keep around to haul our trash and do shiat jobs make like 25 an hr plus decent benefits and don't even require an apprenticeship, you start right out at that level.

Considering that there is a fair bit of overtime in contsruction quite often, that can work out to a comfortable life at home (but a pretty rough one at work to be fair)


Yep, a level 1 laborer is 21.42/11.32 around me.

To those actually paying attention, this is a guy that literally moves rocks and dirt, takes out trash, manual demolition work, etc.

He doesn't use anything mechanized (that's a laborer 2), just hand tools and a wheelbarrow.
 
2014-03-19 02:30:15 PM  

KarmicDisaster: The European model, with alternative paths to employment with trade schools and apprenticeships, works really well.




I agree.
 
2014-03-19 02:31:40 PM  

OdradekRex: The basic problem is the myth that we are all equal, and if give a chance, we could all be surgeons, astronauts, college professors... But we're not.  Intelligence is like height - you are short, tall, or in the middle.  The myth was used to gut Vo-Tech programs out of High Schools in the 80's (they were expensive), leaving nothing but C level classes for students that could have been learning useful skills.  Now we're facing shortages of plumbers and electricians, jobs which can pay far more than what a lot of middling BS/BA required jobs pay.


People of middling ability who work hard, regularly outperform people who have greater natural ability.
 
2014-03-19 02:32:16 PM  

Gary-L: Please define "a livable wage" along with a series of parameters with which to measure it.


In a given locale, one should be able to rent a small one-bedroom apartment, afford heat, electricity, food, gas, car insurance (if necessary - not everyone needs to have a car) and other regular expenses.  If the wage is well below even being able to sustain basic life in that locale, then it is not a living wage.

Over time, one would assume as this person advanced in their career, the wage would rise and they would be able to support a family (with or without the help of a spouse also making a living wage) if they so desired.

A lot of companies like to give "promotions" without raises, and that's some bullshiat right there.
 
2014-03-19 02:32:59 PM  

Thingster: Uhh, yeah, yeah it does.

Start early, join the union. Seriously, a single unskilled laborer can raise an entire family if he starts shoveling gravel at 18.


do they have a union for people who are overly pedantic about cliche sayings?
 
2014-03-19 02:33:21 PM  

rumpelstiltskin: The problem is, even ditch digging has become too complicated for your typical American. If he doesn't dig up a gas line, it will be a sewer line, or a power line, or he'll jab the shovel into his own foot and spend the rest of the day hopping on one leg and cursing.
We need to find something these people are capable of doing, and pretending they can all become ditch diggers is just wishful thinking.


So very this. There is no basic "don't be an idiot" training in this country. The major qualification for ditch-digger, "apprentice"-level work in construction, entry-level road-worker, and a lot of these other infrastructure jobs is "don't be an idiot". Having worked at a couple of these jobs in recent years due to having had to uproot for family reasons, I was astonished at how rare "don't be an idiot" turned out to be. All I did was show up on time and find my ass with both hands, and I was on their management track in three months after hire.
 
2014-03-19 02:46:27 PM  

Pokey.Clyde: serpent_sky: For someone like me, it's a huge thing and it's a skill. He could build a desk from raw lumber, too, I am sure. He usually can identify any problem and fix it - we do a lot of the maintenance on our apartment because he can. My closet door fell off the hinges, for example. He put it back up in half a second. I'd have called the landlord and complained. I have no idea how to put a door back on the hinges.

And the machines he drives at work? Just from photos he showed me, I was in awe. Not only does it require skill, but those things go up to 30 feet in the air. I don't even like standing at the top of a staircase too long. He's badass, and so are the dudes who work with him. Much respect.

I don't mean this as an insult, so please don't take it that way. But if putting a door back on its hinges baffles you, I'd suggest taking a home maintenance class or two. Or even just going to youtube and watching a few home improvement videos. Home repair isn't nearly as tough as you think it is.


Seriously.  Youtube is an *amazing* resource for home stuff- there's all sorts of very detailed how-to videos out there that show every step of the way.  Our dryer has broken three times in the past few years- once a thermal fuse, once the main controller and once the dryer drum bearing and seal.  I've fixed all of them without any problems, and the latter one required disassembling the entire dryer and putting it back together.  I have *zero* skill in this sort of repair, but online help articles, a few basic tools and patience are all you really need.

//Biggest disaster so far?  I did have to toss a pair of jeans after accidentally sitting in a bunch of vinyl adhesive while laying a bathroom floor...
 
2014-03-19 02:47:00 PM  
 
2014-03-19 02:48:59 PM  

OdradekRex: The basic problem is the myth that we are all equal, and if give a chance, we could all be surgeons, astronauts, college professors... But we're not. Intelligence is like height - you are short, tall, or in the middle. The myth was used to gut Vo-Tech programs out of High Schools in the 80's (they were expensive), leaving nothing but C level classes for students that could have been learning useful skills. Now we're facing shortages of plumbers and electricians, jobs which can pay far more than what a lot of middling BS/BA required jobs pay.


I don't think that comparison is appropriate, because height isn't anywhere near as malleable as intelligence. I think most of us are born with the capacity of being intelligent, but our environment and our own motivation has a very large impact on that. A better comparison may be to weight, weight has some genetic factors, but mostly people are fat because of diet and lack of exercise, often exacerbated by their environment. Just as poor people tend to be fat because they are use to eating junk food and not exercising and don't have the physical discipline to do otherwise so poor people become stupid because they aren't use to learning and thinking and don't have the mental discipline to do otherwise. In both cases their environment is really the primary cause though, as even discipline is a learned skill.

Anyway, the reason why so many people aren't ready for college is because a failure in the system long before they reach college age, and not usually because of genetic predisposition for being stupid.
 
2014-03-19 02:54:58 PM  

Pokey.Clyde: I don't mean this as an insult, so please don't take it that way. But if putting a door back on its hinges baffles you, I'd suggest taking a home maintenance class or two. Or even just going to youtube and watching a few home improvement videos. Home repair isn't nearly as tough as you think it is.


I'm a woman; that's why I have men in my life. I have no desire to do things like that. I'll cook and clean and do laundry and fold it and put it away and the house will be immaculate, but if it involves tools, that's men's work and I don't do it.

That's just how I am.

Then again, I also have no real interest in it and it is very difficult, the way I am wired, to get me to do anything that I don't have a real interest in.
 
2014-03-19 03:03:12 PM  
My high school guidance councilor told me I would be wasting money going to college. And by my grades he should have been right.

I ended up graduating with high honors from an engineering program and taking a 100k a year job. Funny story that one.  Turns out when you push kids through a system they get a shiatty education.

Some schools just suck. Some people get left behind. And if you think you're better than someone who didn't make it to college then you're a dick that doesn't know what privilege is. Shouldn't give up on anyone who's willing to work hard enough for it.

That 20 question IQ test you took online that said you were 140 was just trying to take your money.  You're probably not intrinsically smarter than anyone else even if you're better educated.  Get over yourself.
 
2014-03-19 03:03:45 PM  
www.beheadingboredom.com
 
2014-03-19 03:04:41 PM  

rumpelstiltskin: The problem is, even ditch digging has become too complicated for your typical American. If he doesn't dig up a gas line, it will be a sewer line, or a power line, or he'll jab the shovel into his own foot and spend the rest of the day hopping on one leg and cursing.
We need to find something these people are capable of doing, and pretending they can all become ditch diggers is just wishful thinking.


Most have turned to sitting on their dead asses and collecting govt checks. Which is just what our current leadership planned..
 
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