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The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed

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  • by ameoba (173803) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:24PM (#7100562)
    Yes... now you have all the time in the world to be a FPer. Congrats, yo, you've achieved the Amernian dream.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:26PM (#7100576) Journal
    Yes I moved back in with my parents. :-(

    But now I have less stress, met a girlfriend online and I am going back to school.

    I feel I am working towards myself and not a greedy souless corporation.

    People work to hard today. I think the divorce rate might have something to do with people doing the work of 2-3 in order for bigcorp to boast its stock price for productivity increases.

    I love programming and want to do it. However I do not want to work more then 55 hours a week. I also want to learn and better myself. Its hard with such high demands. Also young college kids are willing to work 80 hrs a week so if you don't then they steal your job!??

    In other words its now the new norm to be underpaid and overworked where 40 hr work weeks are considered "not meeting expectations".

  • by JayBlalock (635935) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:27PM (#7100587)
    Laid off in April. The usual. Have to say, pretty much everything on this list rings really true. Although in my case, the biggest benefit was:

    Time to read up on any obscure or interesting subject that sprang to mind.

    I think I advanced my self-education more in the last few months than I had in years previously. I know a whole lot more about our legal and political systems, can tell you all sorts of fun things about Wicca and Buddhism, know more about more obscure European bands than I care to name, and I'm even getting closer to really understanding why the Middle East is the way it is.

    But things are looking up. Getting out of the cube farms seem to have freed my mind. I've been taking on odd freelance jobs. I've just gotten hired by a tutoring company which'll let me more or less make my own hours. Been doing some freelance writing. I'm not out of the woods yet, but if things keep going the way they are, I may be able to build up enough contacts and experience to make a good enough living without ever stepping foot in an office, and 3/4 of it from home.

    I feel oddly like the Campbellian hero having passed through the Cave. (Week of May 15th: Read "Hero of a Thousand Faces")

    So, just to chime in with the message of this article, if you're unemployed, take heart. Look at it as an opportunity. If you've got the money to ride on for a bit, DON'T spend all your time looking for yet another cube. Use the time to boost your knowledge or skills.

  • by puppetman (131489) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:32PM (#7100614) Homepage
    What about,

    - working on that interesting open-source software project. Good for the resume as well

    - do some volunteering (hey - just go to the park and pick up garbage for an hour or two, till the unionized city employees chase you off)

    - get in shape (running is cheap, and so are push-ups)

    - eat better; too broke to eat out, so buy lots of veggies; kick the coffee and beer habit (too expensive)

    - go to the library and get out all the "classics" (whatever your definition of a classic might be) and read them. No essay at the end required, unless you really want to.

    Time like that should be used in a positive way. The silver lining around the dark cloud. And when you go for interviews, let them know what you've been doing - makes you look like a well rounded person who knows how to organize his/her time.
  • A real benefit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tmark (230091) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:44PM (#7100686)
    Most of his "benefits" seem to have been writing with a smirk. One friend of mine who has been unemployed for about 9 months has been catching all hell from his wife. However, even she has to admit that his being unemployed and his consequent stays at home with their 2-y old son has made them much closer. For instance, before the son never ran to his father for comfort (only ever his mother), now he does. I think my friend has become a much better father largely because he is unemployed. (Of course, that doesn't stop him from wanting to leave the kid alone while he's sleeping so he can go checking out the satellite dish store down the street, because he thinks the baby monitor will reach halfway to the store, but don't tell his wife).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:59PM (#7100766)
    I recently had quit a job at a large fortune 500 company developing systems software for a shaky startup. I figured, I'm young, so why not give a less structured job a try where the fruits of my labor would come back and benefit me. Well, long story short, this particular startup had some issues; there wasn't a decent chemistry, and the management was somewhat capricious, fickle, inexperienced, and unaware of just what was involved in having a legitimate, organized business. (In fact, I think unemployment caused me to realize the importance of great management.) So, with legal dilemmas and financial dilemmas at hand, I decided maybe I made a mistake joining this particular venture. So, I ended up unemployed. I stopped going out because of a lack of health insurance, and COBRA didn't really cut it, because the insurance premiums were ridiculously high.

    I ended up finding another job, but I went through everything the man who wrote the featured article went through. I was dating a girl at one point; when she knew before that I had been making money, things were fine. However, as soon as she found out that I was in trouble and that I needed employment, suddenly I became a lot less attractive and we went our separate ways. (She's now dating another guy with a nicer car and presumably more money in the bank.) Everyone kept insisting that my failures were somehow my fault. Perhaps they were, but I like to think that in the grand scheme of things, this little experience of unemployment was to teach me a lesson about the value of a job.

    In college, you'll hear a lot of talk about how engineering is worthless because it only pays some petty 5 figure salary. People like to talk about how you should start a business, and how real losers become engineers. Increasingly, there's a trend for good American engineers to try and get their MBA or JD. All in all, I find the situation really disappointing and hard to cope with. I got into engineering thinking that I would be able to build cool things and be creative. Instead, I found insane market deadlines, invasive work spaces, no offices, ridiculous cubicles, no room for creativity. But, one thing is for sure, ... unemployment taught me to have more respect for having *a* job. I just am wondering how long it will be before the pendulum swings from "job is good" to "fuck it, maybe I need the fear of unemployment or business failure to drive me into a state of action again."

    Anyway, I wish the best of luck to anyone else out there in the same situation.

  • Re:Yeah right. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ashot (599110) <ashot.molsoft@com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:02AM (#7100785) Homepage
    It doesn't sound like you spent 20 years with computers, it sounds like you spent 20 years maintaining them. "working with computers" is a really broad field, and its actually one of the smartest things you could have done, and could be doing right now.
  • by Golias (176380) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:04AM (#7100799)
    I've been working shit jobs for two whole years now. Temping, laboring, substitute teaching. If you have any kind of education and experience at all, I assure you that you still feel unemployed when you are that badly underemployed.

    Were it not for my sporadic tech consulting jobs, I would probably be forced to throw the last 15 years of my life out the window, and start pursuing a new career.

    Thankfully, the job market is gradually improving. I've had more interviews for programming jobs in the last 2 months than I did in the previous 22, and I'm expecting an offer sheet in the mail from at least one of them this week. I suspect that, a year from now, people will be talking about the "Bush recovery," and whoever emerges from the Democratic primary is going to be scrambling for issues to run on.

  • by JayBlalock (635935) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:07AM (#7100817)
    But ultimately, it IS all about food. We're plotting to get food, one way or another. (and shelter, and sex)

    The problem, ultimately, is that as we moved away from the insular village\tribal life, the idea of people's contributions to society became more and more abstract. At its heart, the most romantic definition of money is that it's a symbol of how much you have put into society. (I know, I know) Without trying to slip into some idealized Marxist fantasy of a world-tribal culture where everyone does exactly what work they want, and is rewarded with a decent lifestyle in return, money is pretty much the closest you can get.

    Those people who have the ability to make money entirely on their own are, ultimately, in the minority. Not bragging here - I have a real problem with self-motivation that's a hinderance. Many people simply don't have the resources to work for themselves. But more than that, as our world gets more streamlined, more efficient, there simply are not enough "fun" jobs to go around. Once we were a huge nation of millions of farmers, now we have corporate owned farms with thousands of workers.

    But you can't get rid of it without getting rid of all the infrastructure we take for granted - power, the Internet, running water, etc etc. Every modern convenience creates a new category of menial drudge work that SOMEONE has to do.

    It's pretty much an unsolvable problem. If you have the resources to get out from under the corporate thumb, then more power to you. But for our world to function as it does, large numbers of people have to stay put.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:09AM (#7100828)
    ...that it takes a person having to lose their job and not be able to afford to stuff their fat face for them to lose weight. Sounds like this guy has no will power. He mentions working out, and says he has all the time in the world but then says it's still something he plans to get to some day. Whatever. As soon as he's working again he and his wife will both be back up to 400 lbs.

    The line about thinking he couldn't live without air conditioning was funny too. Now that he can't afford to insulate his body so heavily, he "realizes" he can live without air conditioning. Wow - there's a shocker. Remember when 80 degrees was considered a beautiful, warm day? Now anything over 65 and people are panting and sweating.
  • whee... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sootman (158191) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:22AM (#7100881) Homepage Journal
    I haven't been this depressed since I read "Nickel and Dimed [barnesandnoble.com]." Excellent book, btw, but don't read it expecting to be cheered up. Anyone who's out of a job, I wish you well. (Been unemployed a bit before; now I've got two.)
  • by schtum (166052) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:25AM (#7100898)
    You are deeply misguided. There are many people in this world who would TAKE a job at McDonalds. But love it? Not a single one. Judging from your attitude, you've never had to make that decision, have you?
  • by bigmaddog (184845) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:26AM (#7100906)

    First, I don't think this article is irrelevant, unlike a lot of the people that posted replies so far (uh, what's this... I'm a (-1, troll) already? dammit...). Some guy's musings about his lack of a job are probably not front-page material, and posting it to Slashdot seems like shameless self-promotion, but the sad truth is that there are more and more people out there who are either unemployed or, almost if not equally as bad, underemployed (McJob, anyone?). People who went to school at the height of the late-90s high-tech boom (like me) are entering the workforce to find it flooded by people who worked through that boom, are more experienced, at least equally skilled, and are also looking for jobs. Even seemingly trivial jobs have substantial requirements of experience and obscure skills because employers know they can easily get overqualified people. At the same time, older people find themselves being edged out by the young'uns, who are willing to work longer and compromise more for less money.

    This leads to depression, sarcasm and cynicism, all of which seem come across in that writeup; most of the things he lists there are not really benefits of being unemployed but benefits of having lots of free time, which is a byproduct of unemployment but not the only way to get it. Philosophical insights and beard growth aside, you can get this stuff and still work. The trick is to have a good job, and by that I mean one that affords you lost of free time and enough money to get by. Working for the gov't is good, at least in Canada - pay's ok, hours are fixed, and the boss isn't particuarly evil. Getting into a union, though those are increasingly rare, is even better. My father always complains how lazy those union guys are - I envy their laziness, and weep every time unions lose out to big corporations.

    Personally, I've been without a job since April and haven't had much success finding for one. All I'm really going on right now is sarcasm and cynicism - the money's all gone (I guess, then, I'm also going on the good nature of my parents). I'm even starting to become cynical about my own cynicism. I go nutty periodically and produce "great" works of prose [virtualave.net] (beware of popups, and I promise that my resume is nowhere to be found), but how long can I go on? The end is not in sight...

  • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:48AM (#7100994) Journal
    ... He knows how to live despite having been laid off! [oddtodd.com]
  • by SupahVee (146778) <superv AT mischievousgeeks DOT net> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:58AM (#7101036) Journal
    1 - That while average Joe Worker makes 66% more salaray than he did in 1980, Joe CEO is making 1996% more than _he_ did in 1980.

    2 - that having to sell your house after 8 months of being unemployed, SUCKS, worse than anything you can imagine.

    3 - That moving a thousand miles away from a place you consider home for a job fixing Windows boxen is about as fun as it sounds.

    4 - That companies do job postings with no intention of filling them.

    5 - That of all the oddball things that helped while having a mortgage, a newborn and no job, Wife's Unionized insurance plan is at the top of the list.

    6 - that I can now be lazy at work, and get fired, or bust my ass at work, and get fired.

    7 - that startng over is as shitty as you think it is.
  • by Lurgen (563428) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:07AM (#7101071) Journal

    I went through this last year, and it changed the way I look at work completely. I'm back in a relatively "normal" IT consulting job, but I did some time contracting and enjoyed it.

    The downside of course, and the underlying message in this guys website is that it's not easy being unemployed. He hints at the downsides, like not eating the things you used to, not having the option of going out or buying new things. Of course, he wrote that page simply to cheer himself (and maybe others) up. Pity 'bout the political statement he felt obligated to make.

    When I was out of work, I started a blog [lurgen.com]. It made a good place to gather my thoughts, and I've written up quite a few entries on the subject of job-hunting. Not that I'm a master at it, I spent 5 weeks out of work when my last contract ended and got to enjoy 5 weeks of hell.

  • Re:Yeah right. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot@mo[ ]lectric.com ['nke' in gap]> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:08AM (#7101073)
    Christ tell me about it ... There's also a LEGION of college students out there who are terminally screwed as well.

    Almost all of the people I graduated college with in 2001 are unemployed or severly underemployed (the lucky ones). The *lucky* folks are selling motorcylces, the less lucky are delivering pizzas etc... but most are just unemployable. Ever try to get a minimum wage job when you have a BS degree? I have a BS in CSIf you lie you have to explain why you haven't been working for the last 4 years, or in my case why my previous job was as a Systems Administrator and now I want to answer telephones at a reservation center?

    If you don't lie they are very nice to you and you get a letter in the mail a few days later saying you don't match their needs. What community college flunky manager for Hilton reservation center is going to hire an engineer to answer their phones? They probably have no doubt that you could do a good job but still they know Im gone as SOON as I find a new job and their training costs are wasted.

    I've had similiar situations with jobs where I would be underemployed, I interviewed for a job as a Computer Tech II for 20,000k a year. I had more experience/education then the MIS director who interviewed me ... was he gonna give me a job? no fucking way :) They hired some guy who could barely find the power switch on a computer -- no threat to him.

  • 14 steps. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Martigan80 (305400) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:34AM (#7101170) Journal
    This sounds like nothing but a 14 step program. 14 ways to look at a glum problem. Well you can look at it this way there are always jobs out there-it just depends on how much pride you have.
  • Depressing read. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zapp (201236) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:37AM (#7101184)
    This is one of the most depressing things I've read in atleast a month. This guy lives in Denver, an hour away from me.
    His resume is filled with the same buzzword bullshit as mine, only more of it and with more experience.

    I feel right now like I just lost everything in the stock market. 4 years ago when I started college (investing in a skillset), those skills were climbing in value at a good rate. I remember being told that I'd be making an easy 50-60k right out of college - as in the day I graduate.

    Now the prices on my skills have collapsed. What once went for $60/share now goes for $2.50. Everyone knows Java. Or Perl, or SQL, or blah blah blah.

    I want a real career. Without computers. Without the corporation.

    Fuck this.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:57AM (#7101260)
    all kidding aside,

    my unemployment (former microsoft admin, 500 systems) has allowed me to convert entirely to gnu/linux/freebsd....and yea..to read the wild and wooly, slashdot.

    (fuck if i know where to put commas)

    i've got enough work to pay the bills, but things are turning up. I'm admining several linux boxes, and i got little side jobs.

    life is allright.

  • by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@nOspAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:15AM (#7101308) Homepage Journal
    I completely agree. I've recently graduated (BS in Comp Sci/BA in Philosophy), and have been unemployed since then. I've been learning how to play guitar better (something I've always wanted to do) and reading. Speaking of which, I'm currently reading Campell's The Power of Myth and I really enjoy it. I'd be very interested in any good material you've read on Buddhism. I've read a couple books as coursework and found them fascinating (though the neatest single thing I've found is the Jainist theory of reality (i.e. their metaphysics)).
  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:28AM (#7101342) Journal
    Being unemployed and/or underemployeed is really kind of cool. You really ought to try it for 6 months or so. I don't live in a ghetto, I'm not next to prostitutes or crackhouses. My needs are really pretty modest I've found. If I was trying to raise a family, and if someone with those kinds of responsibilities has lost a job, you have my sympathy. I live with roommates. I drive a 12 year old car. I cook most of my meals. I steal music. Oops. I mean, I infringe copyrights. =) I do occassional low stress jobs to pay the bills. My standard of living has plummeted, but I really don't care. I'm much happier. Let the Indians or the Chinese work their asses off for a change. They need the money more than i do.
  • living in a dream! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by abolith (204863) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:29AM (#7101344) Homepage
    "your company will reciprocate by making sacrifices in bad times to take care of you by not depriving you of your paycheck and benefits"


    HA! ya right, and the moon is made of green cheese. the only loyalty I feel for the company I work for is when they are paying me, and that varies upon the ammount they are paying me. More money = More loyalty. at least until 5:30pm then all loyalty stops and they can shove off cause I'm on my own time from then on.

  • by Mikey-San (582838) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:49AM (#7101413) Homepage Journal
    As a matter of fact, when the Clinton Administration moved into the White House, their audit team discovered that things were far worse than they knew:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cl in ton/chapters/2.html

    The excerpt:

    Reich: Well, we knew the deficit was large. In fact, years before [Reagan budget chief] David Stockman had referred to '$200 billion-a-year deficits as far as the eye could see." And during the campaign, the president did talk about the importance of reducing the deficit, but it had been of second order priority to investing in education, in job skills, in health care, and a lot of other things that the country needed to do. But, obviously, when the president is on the cusp of actually governing the country, he's got to know how bad that deficit projection really is, how much damage has been done, what he's inherited in terms of an economic mess.

    And so I headed over to the Treasury Department to talk to officials over there, officials in the Bush administration, and try to get the best estimate I possibly could as to how bad the numbers really looked, how bad that deficit was going to be the next year and likely to be in years to come.

    Frontline: And you found out it was going to be worse than you had been told, and on December 7th I think it was, you go to tell the president the news. What's his reaction?

    Reich: The president was not happy when he heard that the projected deficit was much larger than we had assumed, larger than we had been told, larger than the Bush administration had told the public. He knew that it meant that we couldn't do everything that he wanted to do, everything that he had promised the public. Now, he was both upset, but he was also -- I remember this very vividly, and I was surprised at the time because he was also kind of excited. He said, "Gee, that's a great challenge. We're going to really, really have to work on that." And I remember sitting there thinking, "Now, wait a minute. This is going to set a lot of our plans back. Certainly this is going to put a major crimp in all of this public investment.
  • by DownTheLongRoad (597665) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:10AM (#7101511)

    Read "Suriviving without a salary" by Charles Long. Make sure to check it out from the library instead of buying it(as mentioned in the book itself). Charles Long is the true penny pinching non-salaried person. Some of his ideas can be far out such as when he comments on how he started to shower in the rain(that is until he almost got hit by lightning).

    It's a good guide for learning how to end the daily consumer culture grind.
  • by uptownguy (215934) <UptownGuyEmail@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:18AM (#7101546)
    Because, when your unemployeed, any future employer will want to know why and how long you have been without work.

    (First off, I'll avoid making any comments about the difference between "your" and "you're")

    I think you are thinking pre-2001. Seriously. I've hired over 15 people for a medium-term project in the last month or two. Lots of qualified people. Some were amazingly over-qualified. But you know what? We all know that the job market sucks right now and really could care less if you have a three or six or nine month employment gap on your resume. Seriously. Listening to people spend five minutes trying to explain "why" they are currently "between jobs" gets old.

    Interview tip: Hold your head high and don't worry too much about your current employment status. Make your cover story short and to the point and then move on.

    Personal Aside: The project I have been interviewing people for is so atrociously foul that of the people we have hired, the best have already quit or are in the process of doing so. People's fears that you will jump ship because you are overqualified are justified by real world experiences.
  • but it has helped. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pyrrho (167252) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:21AM (#7101556) Journal
    It got the weekend, the forty hour week. (Unless your exempt). It got rid of Monarchy (unless you're british etc.) It got national health care (well, if you are british). Blaming stuff on other people has helped in a lot of cases.

    He said that dedication to a company deserves reciprocal dedication from a company. Is there a problem with that in particular?
  • by alien_blueprint (681111) <alien_blueprintNO@SPAMhiredgoons.org> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:52AM (#7101637) Homepage Journal
    How much it really cost to keep a light on while you have a shower?

    The obsession people have with not leaving lights on even for a few minutes has always bothered me, because it's really the last thing you should be concerned about. I'll have to look at my electricity bill when I get home and work it out ... I did do this exercise once to defeat an annoying co-habitant, but I can't remember the exact result. It really was not worth talking about, even for (at the time) starving students :) 20 cents to run a light for 24 hours, or something like that. I remember giving her one dollar, and requesting that she therefore never bug me about lights again, as those few minutes I leave lights on are now covered for at least a year.

    And then there are flourescent lights. In that case, they are cheaper to run, *but* it takes a lot of electricity to start them up. The equivalent of about 30 minutes worth of running time IIRC. This means that if you walk into and out of a room switching the damned flourescent light on and off, you are actually costing much more money then just leaving it on! And yes, the ex-roommate kept switching the flourescent kitchen light off, and then back on again, every ten minutes.

  • by Open Council (704163) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @04:00AM (#7101669) Homepage

    The most annoying thing about being unemployed is that I still can't visit all those places that I wanted to visit but didn't have the time because now that I've got the time I haven't got the money.

    On the positive side I've done the other things that people have suggested ...

    I've got involved : restructured the local borough's service delivery and IT structures..

    I'm setting up a (hopefully) useful website www.opencouncil.org [opencouncil.org] to promote open source in local government and, in particular, assist in the process of persuading the decision makers, not the techies, of the merits of open source.

    I'm creating an open source product ... one for creating "Rich Internet Applications" and front-ending web-services.

    I keep trying to write that book ... over 20 years of journalism only helping a little...

    And I'm keeping myself up-to-date with new technologies.

    read lots of books ... and not just computer manuals ... discovered James Lee Burke, rediscovered Jerome K Jerome

    Actually I was able to do more when I was employed and busy. Having so much time makes it so difficult to concentrate on individual projects.

    Staying up all night does let me discover old programs on cable (2hrs of Dr Who most nights) and catch up on the episodes that I missed decades ago..

    The availability of instant messaging and email to keep in contact with old friends would take up all my time if I let it.. not having to get up early lets me match my UK time with my friends US time as well.

    The bad bits : I am annoyed that my 35 years IT experience is considered a problem - "we have a young team". That being able to understand business systems and problem solving doesn't count if you experience only covers up to version 3.475 of some software that has just released version 3.476.

    Seeing job ads that want people in "mid-career" and define that as 2 to 3 years experience. Being unable to apply for lesser jobs because they'll think I'll leave.

    And then recently watching a TV ad campaign conning people into spending their money on computer training that will guarantee them high earnings "even if you have no experience".. You have to laugh don't you ??

  • Re:Yeah it sucks... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @04:23AM (#7101740)
    Way to go man. Just curious, how did you manage to get 11,000 hosting customers in 2 years?

  • by Penguinshit (591885) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @04:50AM (#7101805) Homepage Journal
    I think Bush has done to much, but I am very pro small government

    Then you should be anti-Bush, as he has drastically expanded government in his term (think "Department of Homeland Security" on top of an expanded FBI, etc.).

    He has investments in oil and energy companies

    The ones he and his buddies own? The ones who made up the secret counsel advising his energy policy?

    has fought to decrease our dependance on foreign oil

    by trying to drill in ANWR?? Are you serious?

    Cutting taxes from the rich does not hurt the middle class.

    Yes it does, because it places the burden more on our shoulders. We get to enjoy the higher tax rates on the lower end of their income bracket with a very limited ability to exploit loopholes^H^H^H^H^H^Htax shelters.

  • by roninbix (710736) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @05:06AM (#7101852)
    4 years ago my company lost 95% of it's revenue generating contracts (programming consulting at the time) in a 3 month period, 35-40% went to India. As an added insult we had to train them while laying off our staff, and keep 1 person around on an el cheapo retainer just in case they screwed up badly down there and needed help. We helped ensure there was no risk to them while they screwed us. Course, since then we rebuilt and have recovered significantly by creating different products. But man did that period of time suck. Remember that 10% isn't evenly spread out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @05:32AM (#7101934)
    I was a March layoff. Funny thing, I never thought I'd be let go since I was young, relatively speaking.

    The usual thing you hear is, "better you than me, you'll have no problem finding a job." This from co-workers and other middle-aged employeed people.

    I didn't see it. For the last few months I pushed real hard to get a job, particularly in a prospering market area. It was a no go. The only responses I've got were from staffing firms. So, I gave it another ultimate go, handing out revised resumes to friends and all the jobs I took an interest in.

    My friend told me he was jobless for 8 months, so he suggested, just get used to the empty ride. I figured employees wouldn't be knocking down my door, so I picked up a few things.

    I learned how to do wood flooring, installed wood floors in all my rooms. I taught myself how to do home improvement skills, painting, texturing, adding trim around walls and such. I taught myself how to do tiling. I burned a bit of cash to do something I always wanted to do, but never had the time. I also made a website, re-learn web making skills. I also got back to exercising and eating right, lost a lot of weight.

    I got a lot of things done, but I only see it as keeping myself from going crazy.
  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @05:34AM (#7101937)
    <rant>
    This is true, my brother in law decided to get a new job and got the idea to move into locomotive maintenance (he's a truck mechanic). He called up a number of train operators in the UK and was told at every turn that they don't train people any more, he should go to Virgin trains (apparently the only ones in the UK who still train/educate personnel), complete their training course and then when his contract with Virgin expires they would be happy to hire him. So in summary the training program of every train operator in the UK consists of poaching the people trained/educated by the few haples idiots in the corporate community (in this case Virgin trains) who still still live up to their obligation to provide their field of industry with a new crop of trained professionals. This attitude is pretty typical for much of Europe, of course I dont know how things are in the United States but I can't imagine they are much different. Companies are screaming for:

    - Experienced personnel

    They are not:

    - Providing training programmes
    - Entry level jobs

    Apparently the overhead involved in training new personnel or hiring somebody with less than a minimum of 5 years experience is too great for this to be a viable option for modern European companies. Just getting an engineering degree is insufficient. They only ray of sunshie here is that they are prepared to hire you, even if you are not especially experienced, if you have a set of cetificates the length of your arm. Unfortunately most certificates are obscenely expensive to get, they are slightly less obscenely expensive to maintain and in Germany at least, where I used to work, many companies seem to expect you to pay for your vast portfolio of obscenely expensive certificates out of your own pocket and to do the studying on your own time. And with all of this plus the ever present danger of being dropped like hot potato (ie getting your ass fired) every time one of the CO's feel in a mood to draw the magic cost cutting sword from its stone and go on a crusade, they expect you to be loyal to the company. It kind of makes me glad that after 6 months of being unemployed I finally found a job with one of those haples idiot companies that will still hire people with limited experience.
    </rant>
    Have karma will burn it!
  • by Morgaine (4316) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:13AM (#7102036)
    Pretty odd really, his entire set of "benefits" were almost entirely negative, or at least presented negatively: for example, not needing to wake up to the alarm clock, yet waking up anyway at the crack of dawn owing to a sense of dread. That seems to stem from a less than positive outlook on life, and it isn't really all that consistent with the title of the essay.

    As a freelancer, I go through long periods between contracts as part of normal operation, and yes, one does turn down the spending knob to its lowest setting, but it's entirely a positive experience. One simply doesn't need to keep up with the Jones's every time they go out to the restaurant, buy a new DVD, or upgrade their car. Life in the affluent west is great ... as long as you don't fall for the hype, and you keep the telly firmly switched off, and you do your own thing.

    And as a programmer, assuming that it's in your blood and not just a job, then "your own thing" really means being creative with computers.

    So, I'd have expected a long list of new technologies that he'd always meant to catch up on and now has the time, and a long list of personal projects that he always wanted to develop and at last has the opportunity, etc etc.

    Being positive is in the mind, and has almost nothing to do with external circumstances, and definitely has nothing to do with financial circumstances.

    Just keep that telly firmly switched off, as it's the primary instrument of evil hype and distorted goals, and it will not help you to feel happy in yourself unless you have the cash that the advertisers implicitly require viewers to have. The messaging is largely subliminal or implicit too in "entertainment" features, so it's not enoough to simply avoid the adverts. Stick to online games ... same square format, no evil hype. :-)
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:20AM (#7102055)
    (I realize that my subject line might sound cynical to those out of work; sorry for that.)

    There is actually an entire movement of people that have discovered this.

    There is at least an entire continent that has discovered this: Europe. Industrialized nations all of them, the top nations on all quality of life rankings, little violence, though a bit crowded. Now check the hours they work. Now realize that, by law, they have weeks and weeks of vacation time -- if I remember correctly, it is 20 days by federal law for Germany. You have 35 hour work weeks in a lot of places. You have paid maternity leave and sick leave. You can't be fired at the drop of a hat.

    Why does this work? You don't buy every piece of crap that some ad throws in your face. Consumer spending is two-thirds of the U.S. economy. In Germany (to stick with the example), it is about one third. You don't pay your CEOs so much money that a company's pay chart has to have a logarithmic scale: Read up on what the Daimler managers at DaimlerChrysler get and what the Chrysler managers get. Try to explain -- with a straight face -- why some Chrysler manager who couldn't keep his company from being de facto swallowed gets more money than they guy who is now his boss.

    It used to be that the U.S. economists pointed to all of this and said, yeah, sure, you have universal medical care while we have children who can't get antibiotics, you are home with your families while we are putting in more hours than the Japanese, and you are getting tan on Spain's beaches five weeks out of every year while we don't dare take those pitiful few days of vacation we have. But your unemployment is high and not coming down.

    Well, guess what: This is basically going to be a jobless recovery. Maybe some of Europe's prices can't compete with the U.S., but nobody can compete with India, and even India can't compete with China, or government-sponsored slave labor in Burma. Your job is ending up in Asia just like everybody else's. And do you really think that it is going to come back in our lifetime? Fool.

    Tell me again why you are spending all that time at work while those Europeans are at home after 35 hours and playing with their children. What is the justification? More to the point, what is wrong with you? Why are you supporting, maybe even defending this system instead of trying to change it?

    Remember when Tyler Durden told you that you are not your job?

    Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don't need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they really don't need.
    Fight Club, book (which this quote is from) and film, are so hated by the establishment not because of the violence, but because the CEOs and such ilk are deathly afraid that the American middle class will figure out that it isn't worth it -- that the Europeans (though politically they might be loathsome cowards), might have the right idea here. That you don't need to by the latest gadget, follow the newest fad, buy the newest gizmo. They might decide that quality of life is more important than blowing their paycheck on crap just to keep the GDP up by one more decimal point. They might decide they don't want to be bombarded with ads morning, noon, and night.

    They might not want to make their carreers the center of their lives anymore. They might not want to define themselves by the job they have. They might not be content anymore to start living only after they have stopped working.

    It's you choice, really. The U.S. is just about the only real democracy on the planet (ironically, all of those Europeans are living in republics). You can change the system, and get this country's priorities straight -- once you have gotten yours straight.

  • by mankey wanker (673345) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:08AM (#7102162)
    Hey, we won't be alone for long:

    http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/invest/extra /P 62115.asp?Printer

    Management, legal, sales, and even regular office staffers will be joining our ranks soon!

    What I think is funny is how Management people in particular have seen themselves as invulnerable as they happily gobbled up bonus after bonus for doing the layoff dirty work of the even higher-up than themselves. The thing is, when there's nobody left to manage they too are out the door. Surely, they saw this coming?

    I had lunch with my girlfriend's dad the other week where he was in full silverback glory:

    "I don't know anything about computers," he said, looking squarely down his nose at me, "I just run the IT department for the whole corporation."

    Maybe not for much longer, y'old fart!
  • by Azghoul (25786) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @08:11AM (#7102370) Homepage
    Reread your history. FDR's policies extended the great depression, didn't mitigate or end it quickly. A number of new historical economic analyses demonstrate it pretty clearly.

    Good try though.
  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @09:11AM (#7102717) Journal
    Hear, hear. Alex, if I had mod points, you'd get them.

    I couldn't stand the corporate rat race, so I got out and started my own small business, and I love it. I work more for about the same amount of money, but I'm my own boss and I make my own hours.

    However, I never realized quite how much the government squeezes little guys like me until I got out on my own. The stupid taxes I have to pay for no good reason just boggle my mind. The worst ones are the "fees." See, I know, they're "fees" because it says in big bold letters on the form, "THIS IS NOT A TAX."

    For instance, the Florida Department of Corporations [state.fl.us] informed me that, after already paying my city and county for an occupational license, and paying the federal government to register my corporation, I need to pay them another $200 to register my corporation with them. Now, if I don't pay the "fee", they disolve my corporation. So, it's $200, that I pay to the government, for no obvious service, and if I don't do it, they disolve my company. Well, it sure is great to know it's NOT A TAX, though! Rat bastards every one of 'em...
  • by malice95 (40013) <Michael...Cunningham...USA@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @09:53AM (#7103026)
    Boy can I relate to this one.. When I was unemployed I lost 30 lbs. I think from just sheer worrying about getting another job, increased activity around the house, and stress. Now that I am back to work I quickly put the weight back on, but being unemployed has taught me quite a few lessons,

    1. SAVE!! (and I dont mean 50$ here and there) Hundreds of dollars or more a month if possible. You will need it if you are ever out of work for a long period of time. I just payed off my car so I am going to take every penny of that payment and put it in savings every month.

    2. Unemployment doesnt pay shit

    3. Its very easy to get used to living and eating well. Buy generic all the time if you can. Its just as good in most cases and every penny counts.

    4. In this economy its not a matter of If a rainy day is going to come, its WHEN a rainy day comes.

  • Older than I Thought (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ReadParse (38517) <{moc.wocynnuf} {ta} {nhoj}> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @09:55AM (#7103036) Homepage
    While reading this article, which is really good, by the way, I clicked on the "resume" link and glanced at it. I figured he was a dot-com generation guy who had gotten out of school and started working for six-figured salaries until his various employers started showing up on f**kedcompany.com. You know, the same old story of the IT workers who didn't how much they had until they lost it. But Holy Astronauts, Batman! This guy worked on the friggin' APOLLO program. He worked at NASA from 1967-1971 (the year I was born).
  • by tetra103 (611412) <tetra103@yahoo.com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @09:57AM (#7103050)

    A 5yr cash reserve is just good planning. Congrats! I don't think anyone can tell you what you should or should not do. Everyone's situation is different. I would suggest that you just concider what's important. Think of what memories you'll have later in life. You also have to play "what if". You may be a top dog now in your profession, but will it always be that way? You know the saying, "Get while the getting is good." That money pot may not be there tomorrow. Think of your health (this is a big one for me). If you're in your prime of life now, no money in the future will buy that health back. Above anything else, take your health very serious. If you have childern, no money will buy back time spent with them when they're young. And if you don't have childern, do you really want to wait until your 40 to have them? You sound like you have a good plan now and I wish you the best of luck. Just remember, money isn't everything.

    My own personal story. My prime of life was a few years back. I made a decent salary and I worked for a Wall Street firm. I was recently married and my wife and I were just turning 30. We wanted kids, but with both of us working long hours, we just couldn't see it happening. The money was so nice, that it was hard to leave. We finally made the decision that having a family sooner was better than waiting. We left the big city and moved to a smaller place near our folks (to be grandparents). We decided family was better than money. Looking back, it was the right decision to make. My former job was on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center. I worked for Cantor and I left in 2000. I know that's not a good example and tragety can happen at any time anywhere. Still, my wife and I can't help but call it fate.

    Today we have a beutiful baby girl and I stand a very good chance of loosing my job. Honestly, it doesn't bother us to the least. Where there's a will there's a way. I may never be rich, but I'm alive and happy. You just need to prioritize what's important in your life. Use your head and follow your heart...or said differently...think things over and do what You feel is right for you. Best of luck!

  • by danheskett (178529) <(danheskett) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @09:58AM (#7103055)
    If it's no big deal, then why is the CIA going after the administration?
    Because information was leaked. And that deserves an investigation. The original quote was referring to "agents". This is one case. Not multiple. The CIA is also covering its ass, because Novak contacted them - confirmed the person in question was an employee - and didn't ask him not to print the name. They are just as much at fault. Novak stumbled upon information that he had no idea was even illicit. On top of that, as I pointed out, Wilson himself to Novak outed his own wife by confirming she worked for the CIA. The quote you provide from the CIA analyst from PBS Newshour says he couldnt dilvulge to anyone except his wife that he even worked for the CIA. Yet Wilson divulged to Novak that he was sent to Niger at the suggestion of his wife who worked at the CIA.

    The timeline is like this:

    1. Novak looks into "yellow-cake" incident.
    2. Novak wonders why a Clinton-appointee was sent on a highly sensitive mission.
    3. Novak contacts Wilson and asks him why he was chosen.
    4. Wilson says he was sent because of the influence of his wife - who is a WMD expert analyst for the CIA.
    5. Novak - now knowing that the wife is an employee of the CIA contacts administration officals to verify Wilsons story.
    6. Administration officals believing that Novak already knew that the wife was a CIA Agent (he did) and that she was "covered" as part of another government agency (he didn't know that yet) confirmed Wilson's story that he was sent to Niger due to the influence of his wife - a long time CIA employee.
    7. Novak prints a story with information he believes is open-sourced and which is clearly cross checked and verified.

    The claims coming from some are clear: Bush admin people - namely Karl Rove - purposely outed the wife to punish Wilson. The information that Novak and others provide does not support this possibility. Novak contacted Wilson, Wilson told Novak about his wife being an employee of the CIA. Novak contacted the White House for confirmation of Wilsons story, which is when the administration people gave out information that is proscribed. Clearly the law was broken by the White House people giving out information that is protected. However, there is not yet a single shred of evidence - investigation pending - that this was deliberately leaked. All signs indicate that it was Novak investigating Wilson's story that lead to the information being let out. Additionally, under the law as written the crime is mitigated if the information is no longer secret - meaning that this conversation we are having isn't a violation of the law. If anyone can prove that this information was pubic knowledge before the Novak article the crime is completely mitigated.

    Regardless of any of that though - it is very clear that the claims of deliberate retilation by the White House are unfounded at this time. There isn't anything to suggest it other than it would be conveinent for the White House and that it was physically possible. The quote from the PBS person does nothing to further the case except to confirm that the wife was in fact a CIA employee (which is now confirmed through the CIA) and that a leak did happen (which Novak said in his follow-up article).

    Bottom line? Two admin officals probably broke the law, and will likely get slapped on the wrist. In terms of who is actually responsible it is Wilson himself.

    Back to the President and jobs. There is a big difference between 4.8 million jobs and 400,000 jobs as originally claimed. A freaking huge difference. In terms of raw unemployment there is not a huge nationwide problem. Uemployment is higher than it has been in the past 15 years, but not certainly record breaking. Additionally, it has been trending downwards. On top of that economic recovery experts will gladly tell you how jobs are the last thing to recover from a recession or downturn.
    I am not suggesting that we give the President a
  • sleep... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kidlinux (2550) <duke@spacebo x . n et> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @10:26AM (#7103264) Homepage
    As a student one of the most important things I've learned is getting up early. That is, not sleeping in. Getting up by 8am every day makes me more productive than I would have ever guessed. Any later than that, and my day is toast. It's strange.

    An even better combination is getting up bloody early and going to the gym. My gym opens at 6:30am, and I'm there when the doors open. A jog and some good stretching is a great way to get fired up for the day. Some weights too, if I have time. I did this in the summer before work too. Makes my day much better.

    I even did it when I was home from school and before I started work. You'd be surprised at how nice mornings can be.

    Whatever you do, don't sleep in! (well, maybe on the weekends once in a while ;) Seriously, getting up early makes a big difference. Even when I'm fartin around on my computer. I though hackin code was all about stayin up late - it's all about gettin up early! It's just a matter of self-control. You're workin on somethin and you just wanna keep goin - but it's that much better with a fresh mind in the early morning. Some problems I've spent hours on the night before I'll wake up the next day and solve in 5 minutes. It's crazy.

    Try it!

  • How To Be Disloyal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by radtea (464814) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @10:33AM (#7103309)
    This article is mostly dead-on, but misses the mark in two respects on the loyalty question.

    In the first place, it's wrong to say that companies are loyal to their Boards of Directors, or shareholders. The fact is that companies are loyal to nothing whatsoever, except possibly to the neurotic personal needs of their executives and managers. If companies were loyal to their boards or shareholders we wouldn't see the gross mis-management and poor corporate governance that is all too common.

    In the second place, employees should not just not be loyal, they should be actively disloyal, in the sense that every employee should be in the job market all the time. Seriously.

    That means keeping your resume up-to-date, and reading the job ads in your field (print and on-line) regularly. If you see something that looks particularly interesting, don't be shy about applying for it, and if you get an interview go for it. It'll keep your interview skills in shape, and you never know--it might be your dream job. Don't worry about wasting anyone's time: as mentioned by other posters, companies advertise jobs they have no intention of filling, so turn-about is fair play.

    Furthermore, you should be fairly up-front with your current employer about this attitude after you've been with them for a year or so. You don't have to make a big deal of it--just mention casually now and then that you've seen that Company X is hiring (it helps if Company X is a well-known competitor, as your boss won't know if you're keen and keeping an eye on the market or thinking of jumping ship.)

    No matter who you work for, you are your own boss. You are the only boss who will ever care about your career, your goals, your well-being or the well-being of your family.

    After moving into the tech world from academia seven years ago, I've had five jobs. I jumped ship twice, companies folded twice, and I'm currently running my own business after a period of unemployment resulting from the last company folding, so I know whereof I speak. Both as a developer and a manager I pursued the policy I've outlined above.

    As a manager, I encouraged members of my team to do the same--I wanted them to be able to walk in the door in the morning and ask, "What has the company done for me lately?" and be able to find an answer that would motivate them to work hard and well, which they did. Of course, part of the answer to that question is always, "Paid my salary", which is important to keep in mind.

    Senior management, of course, did not like my attitude--amongst other things, they were unhappy that I insisted that every member of the development team actually take all the accrued vacation owing to them! But so long as my team kept mysteriously producing outstanding results they had to put up with it.

    And equally unsurprisingly, those outstanding results did not stop half my team from being laid off (over my objections) a few months prior to the company folding up.

    --Tom
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @10:34AM (#7103319)
    A Loser is always Loser

    A Winner is always a Winner

    Having spend 16 months sans job, with a new baby showing up about 3/4 of the way through it, I can safely say, that your attitude towards life is what makes it (and you) a good, worthwhile Winner, or a pathatic, whiney Loser.

    Remember, a loser not only looks to lay blame for their predicment on ANYONE else, but insists on holding that someone else repsonsible for fixing their problem.

    A winner will note how they got screwed, remember not to let it happen again, and WORK to pull themselves out of whatever mire they are stuck in.

    There were times, when I was looking at the mounting doctor bills, borrowed money payments, and other things stacking up, when I wondered if _I_ was truly worthless, because I couldn't find someone to pay me full time (like everyone else, I did the consultant thing to tide me over).

    Every time, I came back to the fact that we let dumb asses screw up our businesses, and the Head Honcho in DC did NOTHING not even think about providing oversite, we have to pay the price for their lack of responsibility.

    The fact that it was all coming home to roost a few MONTHS before 9/11 happened, and that so many companies blamed that tradegy for their failure sickened me. This was going to happen one way or another, because too many companies used their VC money and the media to inflate and overhype themselves, with the SOLE purpose of rapeing their investors.

    When companies are not in business to make money, but to 'increase shareholder value', that is always a bad sign. When a company is in business to 'build enough value to sell to another company' that is a REALLY bad sign. Yet over and over again, we saw BILLIONS of dollars handed over to people who's express purpose was to do exactly that! They called it 'The New Economy' and said all the old rules were wrong...

    Yea, Right.

    It wasn't my fault I had lost my job, but it was my problem. What was I doing about it... Well for one thing, I woke up early every morning. I had a routine. I had a new job, I would tell myself. I was now in marketing, and the product was ME. First 2 or 3 hours of the morning was spent pouring over 10 diffrent on-line newspapers (they have better want-ads than monster, with less competition). A break for Lunch. After noon was spent calling as many new prospects as I could looking for full or part time work. Break for dinner, and I would sit back and enjoy the fact that I had not wasted a day.

    Of course, it was nice to be able to do that at home, with my lovely wife (and eventualy child) to comfort me, and remind me why I wanted to do what I was doing.

    I considered starting my own business, but remembering how hard I had worked at previous ones, decided that now as not the time.

    I survived. You will too, if you keep your head up, and continue to BELIEVE your skills are worthy of getting paid. If you can't convince yourself, you sure arn't going to convince anyone else they should pay you!

    If you believe your skills are not going to get you the 'big check', for whatever reason (lack of experience, too much competition, etc), then you are in the wrong business. Your carreer needs to provide you with satisfaction beyond just the money you expect to gain. If you REALLY enjoy what you are doing, the money is a secondary consideration.

    When you are successful at what you do, that will result in you making lots of money. Don't make the mistake of thinking making a lot of money makes you sucessful. Most of the time making a lot of money is the RESULT of sucess.

    So, your goal should not be to make the big paycheck, INITIALY, your goal should be to be the BEST at whatever it is you do. That will LEAD to the big paycheck, if that is what you want.

    If your goal is making a lot of money, you will FAIL. Only the guys that work in the mint make money. If you want to EARN a lot of money, see the previous paragraph.

    After working at my new job for only six months, we have virtualy erased all the debt built up during our 'vacation', and are closing on a new house at the end of the month...

    Go and do Likewise, The money is out there. If you can't be bothered to pick it up, I have no sympathy for you.
  • by dustman (34626) <{dleary} {at} {ttlc.net}> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @10:36AM (#7103328)
    But what if you have a lot of technical skills? MacDonalds won't hire you because they're concerned that you'll run off the first instance that a better job shows up!

    Last year, I got a job stocking shelves at the Home Depot. When I applied, I was up front about the facts: I am a computer person, looking for a computer job. When I find one, you'll get two weeks notice. I am also a hard worker.

    You just have to find the right places. And the job wasn't that bad, either... It was nice to do something physical.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @10:42AM (#7103372)
    " While reading this article, which is really good, by the way, I clicked on the "resume" link and glanced at it. I figured he was a dot-com generation guy who had gotten out of school and started working for six-figured salaries until his various employers started showing up on f**kedcompany.com. "

    And there in lies most of the problem. Nearly everyone replying, comes in with bad preconceptions.

    I got news for everyone. There are a lot of people out of work, whom the dot.com never even touched. There were a lot of people who only made 5 figures, or less. Just because a few made out well doesn't mean we all did.
  • by hamhocks (255514) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @10:51AM (#7103436) Homepage

    If you liked this article, then definitely must read Juliet B. Schor's "The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need [amazon.com]." She makes a great argument that Americans, by default, are caught in a see-want-borrow-buy-repay cycle.

    The problem is marketers who traditionally appealled to the top 5% of income earners (e.g. Tommy Hillfiger) now direct their marketing efforts to all 100% of households. Whereas 95% of households never knew who Hillfiger was 20 years ago, everybody does does. And now that we see, we want, and borrow (because we're not among the top 5% of income earners) to buy, and repay. The repay part is a kicker. This means working longer hours in a job you may not even like because you have to pay back you $15,000 in credit card debt.

    Ms. Schor makes a very well-researched article that explores the different influences that contribute to the desire to purchase. She also includes a discussion of how some people have bucked the trend to more by going less. She calls these folks, like the author above, "downshifters."

    As a freshly minted "downshifter," I highly recommend the read.

  • In my last job as a basic computer application instructor at a community college, I saw MANY people who were going back to school at age 50+ to 'learn how to use computers' so they could get a job. That nice nest-egg they thought they could live on disappeared with the stockmarket crash.

    It is truely pathetic to see these people who worked most of thier life, saved, invested, did everything right, looking for some menial position to pay the mortgage.

    Funny, many of these same people will support GWBush & Co. to the end.
  • by Doofus (43075) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:12PM (#7104174)
    In a recent article in Business2.0 ( September 2003), The Coming Job Boom [business2.com], the authors demonstrate quite handily that over the next 20 years or so ( beginning sooner, rather than later, for the impatient or unemployed out there ), the baby boomers are going to be retiring. IN DROVES. HUGE FLOCKS, running from the workplace to drive their RVs around the country ( Side Note: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway holding company just invested some ungodly amount in an RV insurance company. Don't think he's doing that just for a few extra bucks.)

    The article describes, sometimes in painstaking detail (and with a number of information-dense graphs), that this demographic issue is inexorable, and that the most serious problems will be in the skilled job market. Those retiring booomers are going to leave gaps in the job market the size of Meteor Crater, and those of us in Generations X and Y will have some sense of job security again.

    The authors provide a list of the jobs that will be highest in demand - and their comments in the text indicate that the shortage of tech workers in the late 1990s was nothing compared to what's coming.

    Here's some of the list:

    Systems Analyst - approx 60% growth

    DBA - approx 65% growth

    Network/System Admin - approx 80% growth

    Software engineers - between 85-100%

    So hang in there.

  • Re:Ramen Noodle! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JusTyler (707210) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:48PM (#7105270) Homepage
    But could you work up a solid shit while on your Ramen diet?
  • Roger Waters (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:15PM (#7109013)
    Will you accept your second-class status,
    A nation of waitresses and waiters,
    Will you fix their martinis,
    Will you stand still for it,
    Will you take to the hills
    (from Radio KAOS)
  • Re:Simple truths (Score:3, Interesting)

    by master_p (608214) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @05:29AM (#7111940)

    Making a comparatively huge wage for years, then spending a while unemployed before making another (comparatively) huge wage

    So you are in the 5% that makes a huge wage ? what about the rest ?

    is much better than being forced to work in a tedious, menial, or back-breaking job for your whole life with no hope of ever escaping abject poverty.

    But I did not say Communism is better. I said that in the long run, Capitalism is as bad as Communism. Since you don't seem to understand anything, let me explain it to you:

    • money goes where money is; eventually, only a few will have all the money; we are not far off from this situation.
    • Capitalism, as aggressive as in US, promotes the primal instincts of each person, instead of promoting humanetarian values. A person living in the US (and other capitalistic areas) is a wild animal, always scared, on a loan and a mortgage...in the work place, most people look to eat you alive in order to promote themselves over you...the scary thing is that you accept this animal behaviour as normal!!!

    If that isn't clear to you, maybe you could use a stint in a poor country to help you see the real world. If you've never lived outside of the U.S., you've never seen what a hard life really is

    I am living outside the US. But I have lived in the UK for a year. I am in a position to judge clearer than you the benefits of a mixed system, where Capitalism is not so aggressive. I can go to work and be really open to people, much more than when in US. In the 8 hours that I work, I can steal a couple of hours once in a while and do nothing (because I am tired!!!), and I know that my colleague will not say it to the boss, because he is not an antagonist to me!!! The company can't fire me so easily without paying me some amount of money!!! and if I am fired, I don't have to go through the agony of not having health care!!!

    Is it just coincidence that the poor people in the US are millions ? is it just a coincidence that you are a trigger-happy society ? which country has the most gun-related incidents ? which country has the highest rates in criminality ? is it a coincidence that more than 1 million people have been added to the class of poor people in the last year ? is it a coincidence that after the .net fiasco, there were huge scandals like Enron ? what did these managers do ? they stole money!!!

    If you think that many companies make 90% profits, you obviously don't understand the costs of doing business. Any market where a company can repeatedly make a profit anywhere near that level is a market that will soon be flooded with competition. For a company to make actual profits even in the very low double-digits is very, very good

    But you don't understand that it's the production cost that allows this situation to rise, not the actual profit!!! For example, the pair of Air Jordans that one wears and cost you 100 bucks cost 5 bucks for Nike to make in a sweat shop!!! And that's true for other companies as well, like Reebok, Spalding etc... with asians working 16 hours in a day, with wages like 1 dollar, at shitty places, without proper air conditioning....yeah, this type of Capitalism is really good!!! wake up, buddy...

    If you've ever lived in a truly poor nation, you'd realize that you, by virtue of the fact that you're even posting on Slashdot, are likely within the wealthiest 5% of the entire world. The lifestyle accorded to an American working for minimum wage is literally an impossible dream to hundreds of millions of people.

    This is because of the following reasons:

    • US and EU do not allow the cheap agricultural products of Africa and other areas to enter their markets!!! they actually impose restrictions, in order to promote their own products!!! how is that for a 'free' market ?
    • US imposes restrictions in many products. A recent example is steel: last year US introduc

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