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Down and Out in White-Collar America 854

XorNand writes "Fortune has a pretty sobering article on the employment situation for white-collar workers. By many accounts, we've never had it harder--the slump in the 80's primarily hit blue-collar workers. While bleak, things might be inching towards the light; as my econ professor says, jobs are the last thing to recover after a recession."
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Down and Out in White-Collar America

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  • It's a good thing my shirts have green collars.

    "But in the past two or three years companies have turned to India and the Philippines for much more sophisticated tasks: financial analysis, software design, tax preparation, even the creation of PowerPoint presentations."

    Apparently Fortune isn't hiring software people either.
    • by stinky wizzleteats ( 552063 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:45AM (#6203121) Homepage Journal

      Overseas outsourcing of the creation of power point presentations.

      You know, I've always been disgusted that modern business people are incapable of conceptualizing thought without resorting to power point slides, but this piece of knowledge just places me on a whole new plateau of disdain and revulsion toward basically every human being in this country who wears a suit.

      I guess it must be the combination of absurd dependence on power point to think and communicate combined with the sheer soul-whithering miserliness to actually outsource the development of slideshows to overseas labor.

      It fills me with an urge to defile a golf course.

      • by Cloud 9 ( 42467 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:42AM (#6203498) Homepage Journal
        It fills me with an urge to defile a golf course.

        Don't fight it, it's fun.

      • "I guess it must be the combination of absurd dependence on power point to think and communicate combined with the sheer soul-whithering miserliness to actually outsource the development of slideshows to overseas labor."

        It's probably quite encouraging for those people who had to listen to the "we're making huge cuts and outsourcing to india for big profits" managerial speeches to learn that people have finally grasped the obvious conclusion:

        Senior managers are the dumbest of all jobs -- why not outsource
      • You know, I've always been disgusted that modern business people are incapable of conceptualizing thought without resorting to power point slides, but this piece of knowledge just places me on a whole new plateau of disdain and revulsion toward basically every human being in this country who wears a suit.

        I always enjoyed the way George Lucas handled this problem. On his main location, the Skywalker Ranch, only the creative people work - designers, writers, prop artisans etc. His companies need the "suits
    • even the creation of PowerPoint presentations?

      Some people are just idiots.

    • Re:White collars (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mike_oldlib_com ( 220468 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:24AM (#6204352)
      Just a little Irony...I was sitting with our onshore reps from India and discussing a project that was to be offshored to Manila that another company was doing - and cheaper than India by half.

      With a straight face, mind you, the Indian consultant looked at me and said..."But you won't get the same quality"
  • US National Debt (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Michael's a Jerk! ( 668185 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:36AM (#6203093) Homepage Journal
    American economy has been hit hard. Enron, etc, and september 11 couldn't have come at a worse time. Not trying to be flamebait, but the usual 'let's start a war or 2 to fix up the economy' hasn't worked :-(

    According to the Debt clock [], each Citizen's share of this debt is $22,684.87.

    he National Debt has continued to increase an average of $1.47 billion per day since September 30, 2002!

    The Fix? I don't know. Welcome to Globaliziation.
    • 'let's start a war or 2 to fix up the economy' hasn't worked

      What's the basis of your conclusion? Do you expect an entire economy to make a U-turn in a few months? What would qualify as a "fixing" the economy in your mind?

      • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:05AM (#6203172)
        "What's the basis of your conclusion? Do you expect an entire economy to make a U-turn in a few months? What would qualify as a "fixing" the economy in your mind?"

        Well, one thing that leads credibility to his statement is that war/defence spending doesn't comprise nearly as much of the U.S. GDP as it used to. If I'm remembering stats that I heard on NPR properly, during WWII, the war spending portion of GDP was something like 22%. Granted, it was spending that went nowhere in a sense, since there was no return on the 'investment' that war bought, but it stimulated market aspects back into production that found something to do after the war ended. It didn't hurt that tensions between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. escalated as well, generating R&D, assembly, testing, and materials jobs to build the infrastructure that carried us into the fifties and sixties. Once the government didn't have one single active enemy to be able to propaganda the country into paying to "fight" against, matters toward defence didn't get what they had.

        Contrast that to the modern state, where GDP impact of a war is more like 4%, which can almost be written off as statistical noise, and you end up with a war not helping the economy as a whole. We don't build hundreds of planes a day for our "police actions", we don't crank out the carpet bombs, the tanks, the rifles. We have most of the war materiel stockpiled already, with personnel already trained in its use, and actively being paid already. We move them to the area affected, pay them more for combat duty, go through more ammunition, and put a little more wear and tear on the big items like tanks and planes, but we don't ramp up production. Things remain nice and stable. The fact that no additional money appears to be necessary to pay for the rest of the expenses from the Iraq invasion should be proof enough for that.

        I personally am glad that our "problem" is mild enough that we don't even have 7% unemployment. 5% is considered regular, healthy unemployment, and if this is the worst that it gets, we're going to be just fine. I'm glad that we shouldn't need another multi-million casualty war in order to feed people.
        • Re:US National Debt (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:03AM (#6203311)
          You are not remembering correctly. During WWII we were spending in excess of 60% of our GDP on the military. For all intents and purposes, it was all we did. The only onther production that really existed was that which was necessary to keep the nation necessary. All industries that could be were converted to the war effort.

          Now today, our spending on military is about 3.2% of our GDP. As you say, trivial. What is more interesting is teh comparatvie numbers. In overall spending, as in dollars, we are, by far, the biggest spender. However in terms of % of GDP we are rather low.
      • Re:US National Debt (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:46AM (#6203395)

        Try the Interactive Tax Chart.
    • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:28AM (#6203233) Homepage Journal
      'let's start a war or 2 to fix up the economy' hasn't worked

      of course not.

      the traditional theory is that war is a stimulus for the economy because it is an instant export generator. materiel (bombs, ammo etc) is manufactured domestically and then exported to (ie, dropped on) a foreign country. george orwell outlines this economic theory quite nicely in 1984, and that's how it was back in '48.

      however, the war against iraq and most modern interstate wars involving a developed nation are different for several reasons:

      1. they are shorter. unlike world war 2 which lasted between 8 years (if you were japanese or chinese) and 4 years (if you were american), modern wars are measured in weeks. there is no time to ramp up domestic production. peacetime surpluses of materiel are expended so there is no productivity boost during the war itself.
      2. modern weapons don't lend themselves to effective wartime production. during ww2, planes, tanks, guns were all simple to mass produce and were consumed en masse for the war effort. modern weaponry (planes for instance) require a long time to design and manufacture. they are best developed during non-war periods and then held on hand to be consumed during a conflict. replacement production during wartime is not really an option.
      3. production is no longer exclusively or predominantly domestic. for better or worse (i suspect worse) oecd economies are globalized. foreign instability caused by war or threat of war has a greater impact on the domestic economy than during the isolationist 40's. look how badly wall street behaved during the lead up the iraq invasion.
      the bottom line is, that war's traditional role of providing a fine way to just throw away production on a foreign "market" is obsolete. if the united states wants to develop a government-funded make work project, they should investigate something more productive... highways again maybe. or a second panama canal?
    • by js7a ( 579872 ) * <james.bovik@org> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:00AM (#6203298) Homepage Journal
      It would be easy to get rid of the U.S. national debt, if we didn't have the lowest tax rate of all but one of the industrialized nations. [] Take a look at the country with the highest tax rate as a fraction of GDP, Sweden []; they have very responsible debt levels (unlike ours []), along with 4% unemployment (we just hit a nine-year record high above 6%) and very reasonable 2.2% inflation. Moreover, Sweden is way ahead of the U.S. in the only way known [] to make more citizens. [] While Sweden is the best place to raise kids, the U.S. has increasing crime rates [] (which tend to correlate with unemployment), and therefore likely soon-to-be-decreasing property values.

      What is Sweden's secret? Progressive taxation. Average production workers in Sweden pay no income tax [] to their central government because the bottom bracket starts about a tenth above the average production worker's salary. The Swedish tax rate is typically about 57% of income earned above that base. Sweden only has two central government tax brackets: 0% and 25%, so their "federal" taxes are actually closer to the "flat tax" than ours are in the U.S. The additional 32% or so varies by local jurisdiction, as does the income bracket at which it takes effect.

      The problem in the U.S. is that top-bracket income earners (including corporations, medium-sized businesses, and most of the top 1% rich, excluding some of the prominent top rich in the media spotlight) pay a huge amount of money in order to help elect government officials who will keep the top tax brackets low. This effectivly "saves" them an even larger amount of money, except for the externalities like crime rate, debt, and property values. We used to have regulations providing equal air time for federal candidates, but Reagan's FCC did away with those, so most candidates today, even most nationally prominent Democrats, sure know which side of their bread is buttered on. There are some notable exceptions, however.

      • by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:31AM (#6204388)
        Get a clue before you start painting pictures of socialist wonderlands. Sweden is everything but a positive example.

        Firstly, the unemployment rate. The Swedish government plays number games, and uses artificial means to suppress the "open" unemployment down to under 5%. In truth, if you start including the people who have been given early retirement because they were deemed unemployable, or those in different government reeducation or temporary placement programs, the unemployment rate is closer to 15%.

        Average workers do pay income tax, and a lot of it, they just don't pay the central government tax. The 30-35% of the income paid to on the local level (and it isn't actually local either, because richer counties are taxed for the poorer ones) is paid by all. And that is not everything: there are hidden taxes on labour, in the form of taxes on companies for employing people: the true tax rate, including these, is closer to half for people with low incomes, and to two thirds for people with "high" incomes ("high" starts at around $35k - hardly considered high income in the States).

        Sweden has not thrived under it's cleptocratic government. In the last thirty years, it has fallen from being the second or third richest nation in the world, down to being among the poorest of the western countries. In the EU only Portugal and Greece are poorer, and that looks likely to change. If Sweden had enjoyed the same economic growth since 1970 as the US, it's per capita GNP would have been double what it is today.

        Sweden lacking in innovation and corporate growth as well. Entrepeneurs, skilled labor, and even large companies are leaving the country at alarming rates mostly driven out by the standard of living. With such high taxation on labor, purchasing services is beyond the reach of the typical family, which leads to stressful do everything yourself lives and a generally unhealthy population. American leftists often laud the less time Europeans spend at work, but in truth people here are more stressed because they spend that time at home doing things which the a middleclass American family can afford to pay for (the result of which is a less efficient society and destruction of potential wealth).

        And for the highest taxes in the world, what do we get? Sweden is hardly a great place to live any more. Crime victimization rates are actually higher here then in the US (the US has more murders and gun crime - for obvious reasons) and the justice system has been on the brink of collapse for 15 years. A minority of all crimes even get investigates. There is state health care, but it involves long waiting lines, deteriorating service, and is in a constant state of crisis. The school system is also fairing ill - the education is sub par compared to the rest of the EU.

        If you want this so bad, then please take it. Sweden is a country drowning under it's own system, and unable to do anything except continually raise the taxes and devalue it's currency, slowly consuming the countries entire post-war wealth. Only Thatcher and Reagan type reforms could begin to save it.
    • by 73939133 ( 676561 )
      he National Debt has continued to increase an average of $1.47 billion per day since September 30, 2002! The Fix? I don't know. Welcome to Globaliziation.

      How exactly is globalization responsible for Americans living beyond their means? Furthermore, the US has been the strongest proponent of globalization; most other nations, in particular developing nations, didn't and don't want it.

      Whatever the economic and political woes of America are, they are home-made; nobody else has made decisions for America.
  • In my university... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by r6144 ( 544027 ) <r6k AT sohu DOT com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:38AM (#6203099) Homepage Journal
    I'm an EE major, and the teacher keeps saying, "If you graduated two year earlier, companies would literally fight for every one of you... But now...".
    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:48AM (#6203276)
      ... for companies to do so. Many were hiring people just to have them available to them for work. They never gave them anything revolutionary to work on (by and large), and ended up wasting them. It was a bad investment, planning for something that didn't pan out.

      It didn't help that people *flocked* to technical programs at universities, forcing excessive weed-out classes to reduce admissions numbers. I ended up ceasing to ccontinue with my CSE major not because I didn't want to learn the trade to do something that I liked, working with computers in newer, exciting ways, but because I didn't want to do group projects with people who had no idea what a spreadsheet was, and we all were to be basically graded on the performance of the lowest member of the group. (yes, I am bitter)

      People flocked to the programs for the money. There's no money now, and there are a lot of trained people who are very upset about not being able to make a five year career on a four year education. This is one fad that died.

      I believe that it'll level out again, and that suitable numbers of college-training-required technical jobs will come back, but hopefully this period of bust will be remembered, and the trend won't repeat for a long time.
  • by flacco ( 324089 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:38AM (#6203100)
    Oh sure, eveything was fine when it was manufacturing jobs that were exported to other countries. Now that white-collar/no-collar jobs like software development are being exported, suddenly it's alarming.
    • by aergern ( 127031 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:11AM (#6203193)
      Yes..and quite a few of those blue collar workers, some of them my friends morgaged their homes and went back to school to get degrees so that they wouldn't have to go through that again. Guess what ..every industry that goes really strong in the U.S. seems to eventually get shipped overseas.

      I read an article on CNN's website about 19 of 50 states have outsourced their call centres to India. So if an unemployed person calls about their check they are talking to someone in India. Sorry buddy but I don't like that use of tax dollars when someone here could do that job. But I guess since they do it at $200 a month instead of $2000 a month's ok. It saves money. They don't lower taxes because of it..they just shove the savings into another pork barrel.

      I was never quite happy with U.S. companies be able to send blue collar jobs out of country and this doesn't set well with me either.
    • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:24AM (#6203225) Homepage Journal
      The problem is that blue colar folks can take some night school classes and bump their skills up to white collar. What happens when there aren't enough white collar jobs? Then those blue collar folks are shit out of luck along with a lot of the white colalr folks because there is no place to go. You can't have every American as middle management. How do you make the leap from flipping burgers to managing 10,000 employees in India without anything available in the middle? The way things are going only the lowest shit jobs and the highest rolling in the dough jobs are going to be left in this country. You could raise the taxes for the wealthy to support the lower classes but then they'll just move their assets out of the country to. Then what happens to the US? Nothing good.

      Remember all those sci fi books where machines, ultra-cheap foreign labor, and the affordablity of shipping stuff around turned the USA into a flat broke smoking hole in the ground? Welcome to the future. Maybe if I get some bitchin swords I can deliver pizza.
  • by slobarnuts ( 666254 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:39AM (#6203103) Homepage
    I dunno if we are heading to the light yet. While the market is posting gains, the dollar is still losing value. And confidence is still shakey The US dollar is down against every other foreign currency, where it used to be the strongest. This is due to loss of foriegn investment. When there is foriegn investment then more jobs will be created. But, exports make more money against a weak dollar.
  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:42AM (#6203111)
    My wife who like me is a GenX'r is now a manager in charge of hiring programmers, etc.

    Well when the topic of GenX's who cannot get work came up in SlashDot I talked this over with my wife. She yeah she hires young programmers. I asked how come? She said that they learn quicker and are more flexible.

    I looked at her with amazement and said HUH? Are you bs'ing me? I said you are just as bad as those other managers. Promptly I pointed out that I can learn very quickly, etc, etc. She said, but fine that is you, but not me. I have problems learning these days in contrast to previous years. And GenX's demand too much.

    What I learned from this is as follows:

    1) Managers suck! They look at their own perspective and think the rest of world must be like that.

    2) People like to validate sterotypes. ONLY young people can learn new technologies and are flexible.

    3) GenX's are screwed!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:49AM (#6203129)
      Divorce the bitch. Get a younger one. That will change her tune.
    • My wife who like me is a GenX'r is now a manager....
      1) Managers suck!....
      3) GenX's are screwed!

      Dude, you sure like insulting yourself and your wife. :P
    • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:45AM (#6203270) Homepage
      Maybe it's time to get a new wife. Sounds pretty callous to me, but then I'm an unemployed GenXer ;).
    • by krumms ( 613921 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:46AM (#6203271) Journal

      What I learned from this is as follows:

      1) Managers suck! They look at their own perspective and think the rest of world must be like that.

      2) People like to validate sterotypes. ONLY young people can learn new technologies and are flexible.

      3) GenX's are screwed!

      I like to think of myself as a pretty fast learner - I'm 19, doing the rounds at uni, and have taught myself a bunch of different programming languages ranging from PHP and Python to C/C++ and Java.

      However, I fail to see the logic behind the idea that 'young people learn faster'. A person's ability to learn is not a function of their age.

      I know for a fact, through all the personal research I've done into things related to software engineering, that in order to do the job properly a little more care (read: 'time') has to be taken to plan things out in advance. The inexperienced software engineer, otoh, will run into the problem and solve it with little thought - often resulting in a monolithic, incohesive mess that's impossible to extend should the need ever arise.

      I know for a fact that most students my age don't give a fuck about good software engineering practices - 'software engineering principles' to them is just another unit to study up to the exam and then forget about. So they'll get out of uni and will no doubt get a job somewhere developing software, and most of them will do a shit job. But they're fast, and if they're fast, they make the managers look good in the short term. If the managers are made to look good, then they're going to keep doing what they're doing.

      So I think it's not that managers 'look from their own perspective', but that they seek professional recognition from their bosses. And in order to stay 'competitive', so to speak, with other hirers-and-firers, they work towards what's best for them - not what's best for the company.

      And besides, your wife has no argument. What the fuck sort of a reason is 'they can learn quicker'? So what? Seasoned developers have less to learn anyway!

      I have problems learning these days in contrast to previous years. And GenX's demand too much.

      Don't take this the wrong way, but your wife's a fucking idiot. Last I checked, you get what you pay for - and at the moment I'd bet she's paying for green, poorly trained, ill experienced code monkeys.

      Here's hoping somebody comes across the shitty code written by all the people she's hired, and raises the alarm.

    • by miu ( 626917 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:47AM (#6203401) Homepage Journal
      Easier to bully. Cheaper.
    • Pop Quix, hotshot. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by xdroop ( 4039 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @09:07AM (#6203829) Homepage Journal
      Here is a quiz for your wife.

      You have two programmers. One is just out of college, and costs you $x per year. One has been working in the industry for fifteen years, and costs you lets say $3x per year.

      You give both programmers the same assignment.

      • Your young guy jumps on it and produces a tool to meet the assignments in two weeks. Your older guy takes four weeks. Who is more productive?

      • Your young guy's program is y lines. Your older guy's program is y/3 lines. Who is more productive now?

      • Your young guys's program has no documentation. Your older guy's program comes with complete internal commenting, a design document rationalized from the user requirements doc (which he pestered you for before he started), and a notation that he is waiting for you to assign a technical writer to the project so that the user documentation can be written. Who is more productive now?

      • Your young guy's program handles the data set in z seconds. Your older guy's program handles the data set in z/4 seconds. Who is more productive now?

      • Problems with your young guy's program require him to go back into the thing to fix them every so often. Most of the time, these seemingly small problems require him to spend a large amount of time poking through his program looking for the problem, and then re-architect large parts of the program in order to effect a fix. Meanwhile, your old guy's program has problems opened against it one tenth as often, and it takes him less time to locate the problem and make a fix. Now which programmer is more productive?

      • Both programmers leave. Which program would you want to be stuck with?

      Most managers look at stupid metrics like number of lines of code produced, number of bugs fixed, that kind of thing. Younger programmers can crank crap out by the dumptruck, resulting in bugs by the dumptruck. And all that for a lower cost per year. But we all know that the more experienced programmer is the way to go, because he is actually completing more projects -- even though that metric cannot be accurately measured (since you practically never give the same assignment to two separate teams).

      Managers hate this kind of reality, because it is impossible to graph on a powerpoint slide. They may not even know it intellectually, because all the metrics they measure are pointing to the wrong conclusion -- but as they do what the metrics encourage them to do, they wonder if there is a better way than having all these kids grinding all these hours producing all this crap.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:44AM (#6203115)
    Don't forget about the president's impact on the economy.

    It's been a long time since we've had such an idiot in the whitehouse: not elected, taking away your rights, giving disproportanate tax cuts to his wealthy friends, ignoring corporate execs who have cost the economy billions, fighting questionable wars.

    He's making us into servants.
    • Yes.

      Bush's first chief economic advisor, Lawrence Linsay, came from Enron. So did the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick. Bush's energy policy was based on discussions between Cheney and Enron's Ken Lay.

      One of the most important jobs of the President is to appoint good people. On the economic side, Bush's appointments have been terrible. Bush can find good people - his chief political advisor, Karl Rove, the man who got him elected, is brilliant. But his economic team is all crony capitali

  • by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:54AM (#6203138)
    Back when I was a young'n, we had these things called JOBS. We had to walk 5 miles through 6 foot snowdrifts just to get to work, then labored until we were exhausted. And we LIKED it!
  • With the demise of so called 'blue collar' jobs and now the demise of 'white collar' jobs, what, if anything will actually be done in developed western countries like the United States and Europe?

    It seems the only thing that will be left is retail and the public sector. But where will people obtain money to buy things in stores if all other activities occur in less developed/cheaper countries. We can't all work in shops or government, can we? The balance of payments would be totally off-balanced if we did.

    The current arrangement cannot last.
    • by panaceaa ( 205396 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:13AM (#6203200) Homepage Journal
      I'm not an economist, but this is how I understand it:

      International inbalance in supply and demand is mostly solved through exchange rate fluctuations. When jobs and investment are move out of the US, the American exchange rate is drops. This is because the things Americans make are too expensive compared to equivalents offered by other economies. But as the exchange rate gets lower, things become more affordable to other countries. And as it lowers, at some point the exchange rate will drop to a level where things are as affordable as they used to be. Trading will resume at the same level it used to in US dollars, even though people outside the US will be paying less for the same goods and services. Ignoring worker efficiency improvements, at this point the economy will return to normal.

      However, the great tech boom of the 90s did a lot to improve worker efficiency. Now that corporate revenues are lower, companies are finally starting to implement systems for their cost savings. Software such as Enterprise Resource Management and Customer Relationship Management tools reduce the need for workers, while the Internet allows workers to be moved to more affordable locations. These technologies are causing the recovery to take longer, but at some time the supply and demand will be rebalanced.
      • IANAE

        You got it mostly right. It's easier to look at it the other way: when foreigners want to invest in the US, they need dollars. Thus the demand for dollars increases, and the price level of the dollar will rise. (This is of course in an idealized world where that's the only thing going on at the time--ceteris peribus, as economists would say.) A similar thing happens when people in other countries want to buy American goods and services.

        When the "value" (price) of the dollar goes up, it means Americans (who own lots of dollars) can afford to buy more PS2s because it takes fewer dollars to buy a yen than before. Unfortunately, the Japanese can't buy so many, uh, whatever they buy from us because it takes more yen to buy a single dollar. So our imports go up and our exports go down when we have a "strong" (high priced) dollar.

        When the factors reverse, we have a weak dollar, and the opposite happens. We export more and import less. (Before you assume this is ideal, think what happens to the prices of consumer goods when competition from overseas is lessened.) As you might guess, the ideal value of the dollar relative to the yen (remember, the dollar might get stronger against the yen but weaker against the euro at the same time) is something the US and Japan might not agree on.

        Now, about worker efficiency. Economists have a term for this: productivity. It's not just a buzzword: productivity can be measured in terms of product per man-hour. To find a (somewhat meaningless) national productivity, divide the GDP by the total number of hours worked. For a time in the 90s some economists in the Federal Reserve (which influences the economy, but that's beyond the scope of this post) thought that technology advances were pushing up productivity faster than usual, allowing the "natural rate of growth" of the American economy to increase. (Some even talked about the "end of the [boom-bust] business cycle", in the same way people talked about the "end of history" and other such nonsense.) So instead of aiming to grow GDP at say 3%, they though they could get away with 5%. The result of this was an economy that starting moving faster than the Fed could control it, finally spiraling into a recession. The truth of the matter is there's very little hard data to suggest that overall productivity grew any faster during the last ten years than at any other time in the postwar period.

        Finally, consider that there are other major causes for this recession. For example, a collapse in consumer and business confidence. This has been caused partially by the post-9/11 hysteria, fueled by FOX News and color-coded alerts. Also contributing is the government's increasing deficits. Gingrich and his radicals forced Clinton to balance the budget, and that worked great in good times. Now that bad times have hit, the government is going a little crazy with deficit spending--some is good, but it should be targeted spending, not tax cuts to people who already have lots of discretionary income. Government deficits have all sorts of reprecussions in the economy, few of them good. Another cause has been the amount of corporate crime that has recently been revealed (e.g. Enron). Businesses have been getting away with more and more under the last 4 presidents, and it sure doesn't give people confidence to think "my company could be next--where will the food come from if I'm out of work?". So people are saving more, and an economy built on rising amounts of consumer debt is collapsing.

        In the long run the current shake-up in the economy is health. That sure isn't comforting to the man on the street, though. If you don't like what's being done about it, remember to vote in 2004. That's the only way you'll get people in power that share your views, whatever they may be, on what should or should not be done for the economy in tough times.

  • It is a sad trend (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alizarin Erythrosin ( 457981 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:55AM (#6203140)
    That companies keep outsourcing things to foreign countries. Of course, it saves them money, but at what cost? As they do that, unemployment in the US will only rise. I guess the prospect of higher profit margins outshines the prospect of giving a hard-working American a job.

    Ok, let's say that these things do allow for more investment into other markets. But with the US economy in the shape it is in right now, will these companies want to spend the money on possibly risky ventures into new markets, or just claim the money as profit and make all their execs super rich with fat bonuses.

    Or maybe I'm bitter because I can't find a job.
    • by Mistlefoot ( 636417 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:59AM (#6203155)
      Just as YOU outsource to foreign countries.

      See where your car is made, your shoes, your computer, tv - the list goes on. But you save money. The problem isn't your country as much as it is you. Pay more, buy local or take your share of the blame.
    • by kurosawdust ( 654754 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:09AM (#6203190)
      I'm not proposing to know what the solution is, but a big chunk of the problem is that consumers almost never see their purchases as having any effect other than having them end up with X less money and Y more stuff. A choice between two companies' products, one at $1.99 and one at $2.99 doesn't involve consideration of the companies' practices in the mind of the consumer (in fact, extraordinarily few consumers know the policies/histories of _any_ companies whose products they buy). The choice is simply 2.99 > 1.99, therefore I'll go with the 1.99.

      I dont mean to imply that I thoroughly research Wonder Bread's history of its management's dealings with labor before i buy a loaf; i have no clue what the companies who make most of the products i buy do, and (this is the worse problem, IMO) even when i do find out horrible things about companies, they rarely stick in my head long enough to affect purchasing decisions.

      I think the incredible penetration of advertising into the culture and average person's home is partly to blame as well - for every one report of Nike's child-labor dealings a person sees on the news, how many Nike ads does that person see? 10? 100? 1,000?

      Sorry, rambling. Just some thoughts to exercise my hands and burn up good karma :P

    • You know how companies are more concerned about their stock price than just about anything? Well, watch the stock market on a day the monthly employment numbers come out. If there's higher unemployment, the markets usually go up. Why? Because companies can give smaller salary increases and they can acquire new employees for a lowered cost (in both salary and search time).

      I haven't paid attention to the employment report's effect on the markets lately, but during the bubble the market would always drop
    • by smallpaul ( 65919 )

      That companies keep outsourcing things to foreign countries. Of course, it saves them money, but at what cost? As they do that, unemployment in the US will only rise. I guess the prospect of higher profit margins outshines the prospect of giving a hard-working American a job.

      So unemployment in America goes up and unemployment in India goes down and that is a problem because...Americans are just entitled to a better standard of living? Or because American businesses are supposed to be nationalistic rathe

  • Interesting trend... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:55AM (#6203141)
    I've noticed that lots of people who were highly paid during the dotcom boom are not recovering well, despite the existence of jobs, only requiring a little bit of creativity to find them. I wouldn't say that things are in the overinflated state they were, with people being paid $100K for basic system administration, but jobs can be found. I think that the problem is that most of the people who were making the insane dollars they were don't want to take on a $30K-$40K job, even if basic administration or technician work will pay the bills. They can't forget the lavish lifestyles that they lived.

    I was affected by it too, for I managed to get out of field techin' to start doing Quality Assurance Engineering. That job lasted a year. When it ended, I looked for other QA jobs, basic IS admin jobs, and the like, and I ended having to go back to what I knew very well, which was field tech. It's not the most fun, the most glamourous, but it does pay the rent, gets me away from a desk all day, and doesn't leave me sitting at home feeling dejected for myself for being unemployed for months and months.

    If the market picks up, and QA positions become available in the money and stability that I want, I may leave my current job for one. Until that time arrives, I'm going to be happy where I am. It's not perfect, but life isn't fair, and those that get off their asses and try to make something for themselves will be a lot happier than those who give up.
  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:55AM (#6203142)
    I know it's not glamorous, but think about it...
    All of my computer-industry related friends bemoan the state of the industry, in general. Those of us who have jobs face lower pay, longer hours, and general harassment by management, as management knows if we don't, there's 10 others out there that will. Talk about bum luck.
    However, most of my friends who are skilled "trademen" of some sort are all working. They may not make the big bucks (although most of them still make in the $12-15 range locally, which is a decent sum), they're working. And when there's no work, well, it's time to kick back and relax. Isn't this what life's supposed to be about? (fortunately, there's never been a prolonged period of no-work for them, I can imagine a long spout would trigger the same anxieties we've faced: How are we gonna pay the rent? Food? Utilities? Of course, most of them fall into the "Fuck the rent, I'm getting a tattoo" category, but that's another story). What do they do?
    Plumbers. People still shit and piss and pipes still get clogged.
    HVAC. Gotta have A/C in the summer and heat in the winter around here (your mileage may vary depending upon your locale).
    Construction workers (ever see Office Space?)
    Manual Laborers.

    Like I said, it's not glamorous, but you may actually find you enjoy doing such work. And it adds to your skillset in general (Ever see those Carlton Sheets ads? Buy property, fix it up yourself, sell for profit. In today's economy, the interest rates are spot on and lots of property is available on the cheap). And it gets you out of the house. Your parents will be proud.

    • by miniver ( 1839 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:13AM (#6203201) Homepage

      Well, in this area (Washington DC metropolitan) depending upon the type of construction work you do, you can be just as screwed as the white-collar types. The late 90s saw a huge commercial construction boom, but with the current economic bust, there are huge buildings that either (a) have never been finished, (b) have never been occupied, or (c) are now standing empty because all of the tenents went bankrupt. That means no new commercial construction. In Loudoun county alone (home of AOL & MCI/Worldcom), 16% of the office space is empty, and if MCI/Worldcom is forced to close their offices here (more than one million square feet), that figure would double.

      Residential construction is still hot, but "used" home sales are starting to outstrip new home sales, and new residential construction is moving farther away from the metro area, simply because most of the inner metro areas are already built to zoning capacity, and "smart growth" advocates (you know, the sorts who have a $1m+ house on 5+ acres of land, and want everyone else to live in apartments near metro stops) have squashed new local development.

  • Bartending (Score:5, Funny)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:55AM (#6203143)
    Not to give up my secret or anything, but I've figured out how to get through this, for me at least...

    When you were laid off/graduated college to discover no jobs available/etc., where did you go first? Same place I did, I bet. The bar. And you probably spend most of the money you do come up with right there, tipping those bartenders that best help you drink away the economy...

    So I just completed bartending school, and I'm already fighting off job offers. A perfect complement to my CS degree for sure, based on my new economic theory.
    • Would but I don't really have the money and I'm possibly to anti-social to be a good bartender. I would be a pretty good bouncer. (Big, tall, strong, scary looking, mutters weird things.) I've yet to get an interview as a bouncer or security guard yet though. Not sure what other jobs would let me violate my fellow citizens right to party. I don't think I could be a cop, spook, or soldier.
  • by Analysis Paralysis ( 175834 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:58AM (#6203150)
    All the outsourcing examples given share one common requirement - the need for reliable, high-speed Internet connections between central HQ and the workhou^H^H^H^Hsatellite offices. While a lot of network management can be done remotely, there is still a need for a physical presence - even if only to check that the cables haven't come loose...
  • my experience (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ramzak2k ( 596734 ) * on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:59AM (#6203152)
    I was laid off four months ago from a software development firm with 170 others working with me. In those four months - i had only 2 interviews (with one leading to an offer very recently) & i consider myself lucky to have had those because many of my collegues are yet to get their first call.

    The four month period was a interesting experience & here are some things i learned/did in that time:
    1. Remind yourself "often" that it is not your fault. Economy is bad and nothing stays that way forever.

    2. Network: I created a simple discussion forum on my server ( and asked all my 170 peers to register. It turned out to be very useful in discussing subjects like - how to get our unemployment benefits & severence packages/Over Time pay from our old firm. Many of them started posting job opportunities too as soon as they found themselves in a job.

    3. Actively prepare towards something : How about a certification that those recruiters so much like ? Or simply read tech forums and keep updated on any new thing on your subject that shows up. This gave me an artificial feeling of getting somewhere which was very useful to keep my hopes floating.

    4. Apply to every ridiculous job on the web, even to those recruiters with fake job descriptions. This could seem like a futile effort with many not even drawing a "hi there, i got you email response". But, again - its one of those exercises that help in keeping a healthy hope alive.

    Thats about it.
  • by bcg ( 322392 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:04AM (#6203169)
    Whilst I'm far from being an economist, isn't this sort of thing completely and utterly unsustainable? I think its fair to say that lots of tech company's workers are pretty much their customers too. So if the majority of tech companies continue to outsource their development contracts in Asia aren't they going to eventually ruin their customer base? I mean they pay pittance to Indian workers who could not afford to be a customer of theirs. Don't believe the bullshit - get a quote from a offshoring firm for the chargeout rate on a developer - a client of ours recently did and it was around $10US per hour for a senior developer. So you can image what the poor sod cutting the code is actually getting paid. Never mind - some bright spark in 10 years time will decide that the next big thing to fix a country's economy will be to repatriate workers and the cycle will continue... Its already happened here in Australia with outsourcing vs permanent employees.
  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:05AM (#6203170) Journal
    Remember that the last boom was largely built on the IT boom, which was itself built on ever-cheaper hardware, which itself was possible because of massive shifts of production from rich to poorer countries.

    Cheaper services, like cheaper PCs, is good for anyone who needs it, and the current outsourcing wave is likely to be very good for the global economy in the long term. It just means we in the service sector have to find other ways of passing our time, getting paid less and working on smaller, local projects.

  • by prakslash ( 681585 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:17AM (#6203212)

    Instead of worrying about how we all are headed to the homeless shelters and how the profit-hungry Corporations and the Government is to blame, can we think of some ways to "offshore-proof" our employability?

    Here are some suggestions:

    (1) Move up the chain!! Instead of being the one whose job is being exported, think of ways to crawl you way up the ladder to become the one who is doing the job-exporting.

    (2) Work in Defense. If you are writing software for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, administering the UNIX cluster at the local Air Force Base or cranking out Code for the F-22 at Boeing/Lockheed Martin, rest assured, your job isn't going to be outsourced to a shop in Bangalore - even if they promise to do it for free!

    (3) Work for an out-sourcing /off-shoring business or start one of your own! Heck, if the companies will export 3 million jobs in the next few years to save money, I'd say there is money to be made in helping companies save money. Like they say, if you can't beat 'em , join 'em.

    (4) Get into Sales and customer-facing jobs. I know y'all like to work in T-shirts with ketchup and coffee stains but may be it's time to get a makeover, buy a suit and start honing up on your people-skills. A company cannot hire someone in Russia to do a face-to-face meeting with a client in Chicago or Atlanta. An added advantage - The makeover and newly found people skills will help you get dem girlz too! :-)

    Of course all the above is easier said than done.. but saying it is still a better start than all the complaining and worrying...
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:33AM (#6203244)
    All of this is basically unnecessary. With a little more work we could have cheap nuclear power or perhaps hydrogen. Start up mining projects in nearby parts of space and you solve matrial shortages. Once that's done, we could build machines to do the work we need to do and free us all from labor and poverty. This isn't sci-fi, it's something attainable by mankind in a generation or two. The problem is there are too many people opposed to this. Oil companies, old money who'd loss their importance without scarcity, polititions and leaders who thrive on war and stife (George Bush, I'ma lookin' at you), etc, etc.

    Probably the silliest group that opposes this sort of thing is common laborer's afraid of losing jobs to machines (that includes white collars, remember how many accountants got put out of work by Lotus 123?). It seems to me instead of getting angry at the tool that takes your job, you ought to be mad at people who control the distribution of goods made by those tools to the detriment of the rest of society. There's something really wrong with a society that lets 2% of the people control 95% of the wealth. There ought to be less talk about bolstering the economy and more about improving the general standard of living. Oh well, not like that's gonna happen anytime soon.
  • I'm an aerospace engineer in the space/defense sector, which is notoriously cyclical. Sometimes I questioned my sanity in staying in it, but working on spacecraft was just too fun to leave.

    Ironically, it's a pretty good place to be these days. Defense spending is way up for obvious reasons, and it's poured into high-tech programs that demand a lot of engineering. Many, many people bailed out for the tech boom in the late '90s, which thinned out the employee base. I won't say there is a massive shorta

  • good times (Score:3, Funny)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:42AM (#6203261) Journal
    The company I work for is doing great, mainly because I'm underpaid.

    I actually typed about 1000 words describing what I do there, but decided to scrap it. Now I feel bad for spending an hour on this post.
  • by Bloodmoon1 ( 604793 ) <be.hyperion @ g m a i l . com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:02AM (#6203303) Homepage Journal
    Back when I was in highschool (Class '01), I was sold on taking Cisco classes at our Community College for the better part of my day all year. My initial plan was to graduate early, get a job doing whatever, but I went for Cisco instead because 1) It was 13 free college credits and 2) EVERYONE was telling me how I'd be making $30k/yr easy, probably even before I got out of college. Took the classes, got my CCNA in Nov. '01, right about the time the economy officially turned to shit. I worked making collection calls for Ford until 6-02 when I joined the AF, got a medical discharge 6 months ago, and now I can't find a job anywhere. I know my stuff, I'm a CCNA, but I can't get a job. I do mean anywhere to. I never had a problem getting jobs when I was in high school, but now that I have a diploma, some college, a professional cert., and some life experience, I'm having to dig through the my sofa for change for food or gas.

    Now, I'm really not trying to sound like I'm bitching, because I'm not, I'm just recounting my experience. I'm also not saying all those people who told me Cisco was great screwed me, but rather, I think they we're just going with the info they knew to be true. Problem is their info was from '99 or so. Now all the IT jobs I can find open want more experience and skills than I think any human could have, and want to pay them something in line with McWages.

    All in all, my whole experience has me actually wondering if IT is even going to be a viable career for long. For some reason, I see it going to something of a plumber type occupation. Very few places have a in-house plumber and only call one when they are need for their specialized skills. With computers becoming easier to use and more stable all the time, I can see IT people no longer needed on a day to day basis and instead delegated to being the IT plumbers. Seriously, have you ever seen one of Apple's XServe's? I don't think it can get much easier than that. Maybe I can be a teacher, seems like I'm always hearing about more of them being needed...
  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) * on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:30AM (#6203360)
    Perhaps the puzzling part of the article (how the dollar and market don't look so bad but unemployment is) can be answered by the negative effects of giving ultra-big business all these "pro-business" concessions via government mandate.

    Small and medium size business employ more people than all large companies combined in the US. Yet, every stimulus package from Congress only benefits the big boys who can afford a team of lobbyists and a legal department that dwarfs most law firms.

    Where does this leave the real innovators? Its hardly contested that innovation and new markets are usually created by those willing to go at it with a small company and do it or fail trying as opposed to some big-business top-down master plan. In the tech industry you have to fight the legal departments of potential competitors, fight the patent junkies, fight potential adversaries like the massive and powerful content industry, etc before you can even come up with a decent business plan.

    Someone somewhere is sitting on a billion dollar idea but its not going to go anywhere because investors fear retribution from unfair competitors. Or perhaps she cannot get enough money to pay for years of IP challenges. In a legal war of attrition its the little guy who loses, and loses badly.

    I think we might be seeing a loss of innovation and a loss in small to medium sized businesses. How can these companies compete with sweetheart deals, crony capitalism, and legal tricks?

    If this little thesis is correct it would explain why Joe from Winnekta can't find a job, even though the economy isn't as bad as it was in the 80s, why PCs are still ugly and loud beige boxes, and why relatively new tech like cellphones are a better deal and a better product overseas. Or why broadband is so expensive here in the States.

    Everytime congress cuts a deal for some business it raises a barrier to entry for small business to walk in and compete. Enough barriers and you've got an economy that isn't moving, but is dependant or more crony capitalism to keep it going. I hope I'm wrong as I'd hate to be here when this all hits critical mass.
  • by poptones ( 653660 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:31AM (#6203361) Journal
    ...and a serf sells his time.

    Prophetic words from potter George Ohr. What we are seeing is a cycle we are doomed to until we get over this mass consumerist mindset. Sure, you can go to wallyworld and buy tons of crap you couldn't afford before - but for what? I'm willing to bet 70% of everything that comes out of that place ends up in a landfill within three years.

    If you look around you'll see some people still doing just fine - or even better than last year. $40,000 cars still sell and automakers are coming out with $100,000 cars. People I know who make high end home entertainment systems are still doing just fine. Why? Because the people who can afford that stuff aren't the ones whose jobs are being shipped overseas.

    I hate how this sounds, but it all comes down to values. Not family values but simple common sense values - like spending twice as much on an article that will last five times as long. Like buying something that represents craftsmanship and community instead of a cheap chinese trinket you had to get in order to keep up with the neighbor.

    It's everywhere - even on those "home improvment" type shows. Every week I laugh in disgust as Steve Thomas and the boys tell us how great this new styrafoam and plastic POS they are gluing to the front of their project of the month is when compared to the old, outdated plaster and woodwork that it's replacing - never mind it's a hundred fucking years old and just now in need of replacment - this new same-as-ten-thousand-others piece of crap is "just as good"... yeah, right.

    You don't have to be a millionaire to buy good shit - you just have to learn to not drive yourself into debt buying truckloads of cheap crap. Until the people of the US can accept this most basic bit of common sense, it's all downhill.

    But don't worry... all that infrastructure - the roads, the abandoned factories, the empty offices - will still be here, and all those jobs will come back... in twenty years, when the US economy has finally and completely hit the shitter and the people of the US will once again willingly work 12 hour days in sweatshops for peanuts - producing cheap american trinkets for the up-and-coming EU market and all those freshly minted eurotrash capitalists from the FSU.

  • by cartman ( 18204 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:50AM (#6203514)
    The biggest difficulty I can forsee is not the decline in programming jobs, but the decline in skilled careers altogether, because of losses to overseas. The prospect of re-training doesn't bother me so much. But re-train to do what? Accounting? Law? Engineering? DBA work? Manufacturing? Research? All of these careers will move to foreign shores. Graphic Design? Even graphic design is being shipped overseas -- "The Simpsons" is now drawn by people in Thailand for $1/hr!

    Nothing remains! I have no idea what skill to acquire. The only career for which there's brisk demand is NURSING. That can't be shipped overseas, not even a portion of it. I have no desire -- NONE -- to be a nurse. I suppose I could sell clothes at the Gap to people who no longer can afford to shop there.
  • by hprotagonist0 ( 312387 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @10:15AM (#6204060)
    By many accounts, we've never had it harder...

    Geez, it might not be wonderful right now, but it's not exaclty the Great Depression. Have any of your friends started jumping out of windows? Living in shantytowns? Try to keep just a little perspective.

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @10:46AM (#6204182)
    I worked for an IT consulting firm during college. We actually went to the client and made sure their systems worked, secured them, and installed new systems. That was very "hands-on" work that could not be done by someone overseas (try having an IT guy in Bangalore replace a failed switch or router).

    During my last year in college I handed in most of my programming projects via e-mail. That made me realize that I (or some other low-paid code monkey) could do my job from anywhere on the planet. Any good or service that can travel a wire can easily be "offshored" or outsourced.

    After college I got a job as a network administrator for a school. Sure, I was earning 20k/yr less than my "programming friends" but I knew I had a job that could not easily be replaced. If you are looking for job security, get one that REQUIRES client contact. That makes you much harder to replace.

  • by Bull999999 ( 652264 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:15AM (#6204313) Journal
    1. Many of you are complaining that you are putting in 60+ hours at work for low pay. May of you also have ideas on how a business should be run. Why not combine your willingness to put in great number of hours and great business ideas and run your own business?

    2. We as consumers put mom and pop stores out of business because it is cheaper to shop at Wal-Mart, Costco, etc. Then why are we suprised that businesses are laying people off for cheaper labor overseas?

    3. If we tax the shit out of businesses, won't they encourage them to cut costs by laying more people off?

    4. For people who invest, do you not invest with hope that you'll make money off of your investment? Since share holders elect board members who in turn hires CEOs, why are you suprised when CEOs act in the interests of the shareholds?
  • by YllabianBitPipe ( 647462 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:32AM (#6204391)

    Having lived the tale so to speak (I'm in the Bay Area, worked for startups and corporations, through boom times and now slacksville):

    We as workers need to adapt. Get used to the idea that you will likely not have your job for a lifetime, let alone five years. Get used to the idea that you will not have a sustainable career, either. You might have to totally change gears every ten years, and get into something related but completely different. The days of job security are over. Companies simply don't give a shit about their workers. Many of the benefits enjoyed by previous generations like pensions and unions are now gone, thanks to the largely empty promises of stock options and equity in the company. Yeah, when times are good, those things can be worth something but the people running the companies always gave themselves more anyways. The disparity between the execs and the workers is shocking to behold. And they will ship your job to whatever country is cheaper so they can save a dime. They don't give a crap about us. That's life, that's business, and it sucks, but we gotta eat, so every day I suck it up and go to work but in the back of my head I'm preparing an exit strategy ... just in case.

    It sounds harsh, but we all gotta do it. No matter what job you have, no matter how secure you think it is, you gotta pay off your debts, get six months of expenses saved up, and just imagine "what if"... because I've already lived through a layoff where you go to work one day and the next day your out on your ass, a security guard watching you pack up your cube. And you have to learn from this.

    I'm saying, in addition to thinking about what you'd do if you lose your job, we all have to think about what else we can do as a career. The reason why recessions are so hard on people is because they think whatever they did at their last job is all they can do. We all have got to come up with other careers to fall back on just in case.

  • by SiliconJesus101 ( 622291 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @12:20PM (#6204676) Homepage
    Jesus f'ing christ people!!!! You are all whining like there is nothing that can be done for these poor unemployed white collar people. News flash, get a blue collar job!!!

    The way I grew up you did what you had to do to keep a roof over your head and put food on the table. It seems like todays generation are a bunch of prissy ass whiners who refuse to do anything that might involve getting their hands dirty or breaking a sweat. No, it's not the job you want....but WILL keep a roof over your head and food in the mouths of your family!!!

    As a current blue collar man myself (field tech for a cable company) it really pisses me off to drive down the road every day and see literally 20 to 30 job opportunities a day on the sides of buildings or in the store window with no takers. Hell, the manager at the local Circle-K was pulling double shifts beacause he was unable to find any applicants....let alone employees!! It might be a job as head chicken boy at KFC or lead burger flipper at Mickey D's....but it's a job!!! Tighten up that belt, stop buying expensive dinner out and quit buying those geek gadgets that you so cherish until you get back on your feet.

    It's pretty sad that we have an unemployment rate at all with all of these open jobs that people would rather collect welfare than take. It's even more sad that we have a government that would take (steal) my hard earned money to give to people that REFUSE to accept one of these many jobs that are available. Learn the meaning of "Ramen Noodles".....then come back and talk to me about a handout.

    • Easy to say, not so hard to do. I've given up on finding a white-collar job. I apply to every blue collar job I can find. Nothing. Apparently I am too qualified for a blue collar job. People get the impression that with my degree, I'll be out the door once a better opportunity comes along.

      • Not to be an ass or anything, but I personally have at least 6 different resumes' to cover various types of work I can/have done. Also, you don't exactly have to fill out on your application that your previous job was some high end white collar gig that you were paid obnoxious amounts of money for. C'mon man, haven't you at least delivered pizza or done something blue collar in the past?? From the end of that job until now you have been a student. Works every time.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.