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Comment Re:How do these statistics work? (Score 4, Interesting) 142

I'm working at a business with low pay--where the average for a programmer is $96k here, programmers make $74k. The same is true of most IT staff, running a good 20%-30% short of the industry median.

We're also fairly diversified and have chicks and people from all over the world in our staff, and have had folks who speak Russian or obscure Indian dialects as a primary language in prominent technical positions. They're also poorly-paid, although near as I can tell we all have about the same salary.

It seems like a form of posturing: we don't want to pay salaries, so we create a perception of ... something. We're a good place to work because of something something benefits diversity open-door-policy.

Are these studies by industry, region, experience, and business? Do we say that black women earn 55% as much as white men, or do we say that black women at business X in job Y earn 55% as much as white men in business X at job Y? What happens if business X mostly hires white men for job Y, and business X' hires a higher proportion of black and asian women for job Y but also pays like shit even if you're a white man?

That doesn't work. Recruiters will successfully poach someone getting underpaid or unhappy. So, it seems like you're unhappy about getting underpaid.

Competition is why people earn what they earn what they earn. Your employer cannot get away with paying you $x when employer B will pay you $(x+y). At a statistical level, maybe race and gender matters but on a personal level there are too many variations.

Comment Re:2 weeks vacation (Score 1) 262

I'll take my vacation sure! But while I'm gone it's one more opportunity for them to "forget" how much work I do. And that's working a regular 51 hours a week (yeah I'm a lightweight in the industry) and being extremely productive while doing so. I'm over 40 in "the biz" so EVEN if I had full certs, and EVEN if they were current, and EVEN with a TON of experience, If I'm let go, I'm unlikely to get employed at anything but the lowest technical position. This has already happened to me once. If I want to keep paying my bills and supporting my family I can't let that happen again. Fear runs this business in a lot of places.

You're doing it wrong. It should be the other way around. The company should be afraid that you will leave with valuable experience and knowledge.

You should only have FOMO, fear of missing out. Someone else grabs a nice opportunity when you're on vacation.

When agism is rampant in multiple industries, and when there are people who will work for much less than I am, then the companies have the upper hand. I'm not disagreeing that things should be different - just pointing out that they currently aren't.

I find ageism to be counter-intuitive for me.

The older you are, the bigger your social network and connections that you have more opportunities. I know an older engineer and he gets calls from his older jobs who want him to constantly do contract work and he charges very high for those. You basically carry around the knowledge of every company you have ever worked at and a lot of them are always calling you back to get a project done.

Plus, you have a huge retirement account. They say retire when the money your retirement savings makes for you exceeds your expenses. House paid off, kids grown up - the expenses are barely there and your retirement account keep growing. The only problem is healthcare though.

Plus, older workers probably have more of a management role or a semi-engineering/management role. Those aren't going to be replaced by younger/cheaper engineers.

Plus, I feel older employees have probably had more time to come across that magical opportunity that gives you a huge payout or a huge chance to work with the best. When you're young, you're basically scrambling around to make something happen - unless you are aided by well-connected relatives or mentors.

I guess it all depends on each person's circumstance. I just feel older engineers control higher positions, hold all these wonderful connections and have it all setup over time. As a younger engineer you're basically burning through your time just to get an inch ahead while all your efforts are harvested by the older engineers to benefit them from the system they have slowly created to benefit themselves by withholding information, connections and such.

All I'm saying is that it feels counter-intuitive to me.

Comment Re:2 weeks vacation (Score 2) 262

I'll take my vacation sure! But while I'm gone it's one more opportunity for them to "forget" how much work I do. And that's working a regular 51 hours a week (yeah I'm a lightweight in the industry) and being extremely productive while doing so. I'm over 40 in "the biz" so EVEN if I had full certs, and EVEN if they were current, and EVEN with a TON of experience, If I'm let go, I'm unlikely to get employed at anything but the lowest technical position. This has already happened to me once. If I want to keep paying my bills and supporting my family I can't let that happen again. Fear runs this business in a lot of places.

You're doing it wrong. It should be the other way around. The company should be afraid that you will leave with valuable experience and knowledge.

You should only have FOMO, fear of missing out. Someone else grabs a nice opportunity when you're on vacation.

Comment Re:Student debt at 30-36??? (Score 1) 364

For people aged 30 to 36, the analysis shows having any student debt significantly hurts your chances of buying a home

If you still have student debt 10 years after you graduated I wouldn't give you money for a house either.

Probably masters degree and MBA such that is acquired later on in life.

Comment Re:Older guy in his mid 50's? (Score 0) 283

Try mid 60's like me. I've been offered indefinite contract jobs, but full time employment? I'm not working for less than people that know less than me. A security 'forensic specialist' that didn't have a clue as to what email headers were? REALLY?

You're in your mid-60s? You should be retiring. You have SS and medicare. Why do you want full time employment?

I'm in my mid 30s and I plan for retirement like crazy so that I can retire in my mid 60s.

Comment Re:I was recruited for a dev position and felt bia (Score 5, Interesting) 283

Some people claimed it was bias against older workers and veterans.

I was recruited for a dev position around 2007. I was pretty active in several Open Source projects and with one of the major community Linux distros. I had a pretty solid body of work that was publicly visible. Once I submitted my resume, the interaction changed somewhat. I was in the military about 10 years at the time, so in addition to my Open Source activities, I had quite a few years of military experience.

When they thought I was just an Open Source dev (perhaps thinking that my day job was for some small mom & pop company), the recruiter was always eager to communicate with me. However, after they got my resume, they seemed less eager. I don't think it was age (I wasn't 30 yet), but perhaps being a military veteran had something to do with it. Perhaps they thought I would expect a higher salary based on my experience/education (I had earned my MS in Computer Engineering shortly prior). Who knows.

Either way, I've known some folks who have worked at Google and other SV companies. Looking at where I am now I feel like I dodged a bullet, so it's all good.

Since companies will not give feedback on why they didn't hire you, there is no way to know why things went the way they went.

I got declined for a job. I had a friend who worked there and told me why I was declined. I was completely off base about what I thought was going on. He said it was just one guy who was completely against me since I had given a really bad answer to a technical question he asked. The guy didn't show it at all and he it didn't even register that he had such a huge grudge against me.

Comment Re: Not a surprise for those who sell 3P on Amazon (Score 4, Informative) 32

"Amazon cuts out middle-man; film at eleven."

So company A sells company B's products through Amazon. Amazon notices and starts selling company B's products directly. Doesn't this mean that company A didn't need to exist?

It's not like company A made their own product and Amazon decided "hey those are cool, lets make them ourselves and sell them cheaper" and now company A is screwed.

So company A had a shitty business model, and Amazon made that business model moot by buying their customers and cutting out the, now useless, middle men.

Company A had to do market research. Company A orders, markets and sell hundreds of products of which one or two sell well. They sell products from Company B-Z which makes slight variations of many products which they will only make once ordered by Company A.

I would agree with you if Company B created and marketed these products and Company A was just buying from them and putting them on Amazon.

It seems like Amazon is making Company A do the work of finding out what sells and then swooping in and selling them. Amazon has no intention of buying hundreds of items and then figuring out what sells. They want to let someone else do the hardest work of what sells and then undercut them.

Comment Re:Not a surprise for those who sell 3P on Amazon (Score 1) 32

My wife has been selling as a 3rd-party Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) merchant since 2011. As a work-from-home mom, this keeps the majority of the items in Amazon's warehouses for quick turn-around, as Amazon mixes the 3rd party items in with their own to provide a larger catalog. As the business expanded, we began to dabble in wholesaling (buy direct from the manufacturer, list on AZ, send it to the FBA warehouse, profit) and life was good.

What we began to notice was that, on the really popular selling products, Amazon started to list their own Sold by Amazon along side the FBA program inventory. Understandable, it's their platform, their listings. Then we started going to tradeshows, and hearing from the manufacturers that Amazon was secretly buying out the same products, and we had to say no, we can't compete against Amazon on Amazon (since they take 15% of the sale when you use their listing service). Over time, we lost the pop lines, and more of our regular inventory sits and sits, waiting for the long tail.

Ultimately, what Amazon is collecting is sales data. The 3rd party sellers take the risk, make the sales, and Amazon takes a slice of the profit. At some point, they calculate if there's enough margin, and they go direct to the manufacturer and cut out the 3rd party sellers, and take all of the profit. They did the same thing with the private labeling, where they calculate which commonly produced products are in demand, and they move them into their Amazon private label system.

So, it is not surprising that Amazon is doing the same thing internally, making divisions within the company compete against one another. With their household divisions, they often deal with manufacturers directly under the Amazon Family brand of private labeling. Quidsi (as Diapers.com) sells 3rd party goods (Pampers, Huggies, etc) through wholesale contracts that Amazon would simply have better buying power over; everything the smaller division does could be managed at higher volumes by the parent company, hence lower costs and higher profitability.

Wow, that is pretty evil.

I mean, from their standpoint, it makes sense. They will trawl through their data on what sells and try and sell it themselves. The sellers do all the market research for them.

Even taking a 15% commission on sales and then using your own data against you is scummy and evil.

I have no idea how you'd protect yourself against Amazon in this scenario. They have your sales data and possibly sales data of your competitor. They can come in and undercut anyone anytime.

Comment Re:#MAGA (Score 1) 310

Imagine this: you live in the slums in Mumbai. Your father goes thru trash every day, hoping to find tin cans to sell, and your mother tries to sell home-made bread on the market to feed all of your 6 brothers and sisters. Now you get the opportunity to get a three year degree in software engineering and go to the U.S. to work for a tech company. You have no clue about all the politics surrounding H1-B in the U.S., and you don't know that you will be grossly underpaid comparing to your American peers.

Bullshit!!!!!

You haven't actually talked to those Indians about their backgrounds.

All those H1B Indians come from wealthy Indian families. Those dirt poor Indians simply don't have the opportunity to get a degree and get to the USA.

Nope.

They are a mix of all backgrounds, mostly middle class, some upper-middle and some lower-middle. Just mostly depends on if their parents put them through engineering or medical school - because that's all US cares about: STEM immigrants.

Wealthy Indians would never leave India. Why would anyone leave from being the top class in a society to be the bottom rung in America?

Comment Re:Even if my job isn't replaced, I still lose (Score 1) 99

What a lot of people don't seem to get is that if a substantial fraction of labor gets displaced, market forces will tend to devalue *all* labor.

Yes, maybe *my* job is safe, but my pay doesn't have to stay high.

Suppose all truck drivers are replaced with automation. That's 1M more people on the job market. Yes, maybe they can't do MY job, but, with no alternative, they'll try to get educated and move up the labor food chain.

And with more people in general chasing ever fewer jobs, there'll always be someone willing to do any given job for cheaper--including mine.

Arguably this has already happened significantly. Do you realize that the share of corporate productivity that goes to labor has shrunk in half compared to 1973?

That if labor got the same share of productivity today that it had in 1973, that we'd all have 2x the purchasing power? I'd love to be paid 2x the purchasing power. I'd be done with my mortgage, be completely unworried about retirement and paying for medical care, etc.

I welcome automation replacing labor, but we have to find a way to distribute the resulting wealth such that the people who own things have don't have ALL the wealth and so that the people who can no longer make ends meet in a depressed labor market can live decent lives.

--PeterM

You're telling me I have to worry about robotically-replaced truck drivers that's going to suppress my wage on top of the following things I already worry about suppressing my wages:

  • kids being taught to code
  • H1Bs
  • New college graduates
  • Engineers in India and China
  • boomers not retiring

Goodness, programmers are so super-scared that someone somewhere is going to "suppress" their wages.

Comment Re:New American Dream (Score 1) 245

Everyone knows that these days you don't make money actually working in a job. If you want to make money you have to invest. If they paid workers decent wages then all these companies wouldn't be able to post perpetually increasing profits which means that their stock value tanks. And if stock values tank, how are all those decent, hardworking, real Americans going to take care of their families if they can't get money from the stock markets? Because they certainly can't make any money working in a real job. Companies no longer exist to provide services for customers and jobs for employees. They exist to drive income to shareholders through dividends or profits derived from stock trading. That's why you have all these unicorns and tech companies with massive valuations with no clear plan to profitability or long-term stability: that's not their purpose. They just need to keep the stocks flowing and the Dow going up.

When did companies exist to provide jobs for employees?

Anyways, investment has replaced pension and retirement. If you don't invest, then you're working till the day you die. Instead of letting the company or city handle the investment, you handle it yourself now. So, the burden of investment is now on you.

I have 15% going to a 401k (it includes matching from my company) but, even in a dual-income household, with mortgage and student loan payments we can't afford to put anything more towards retirement. We put a little bit into savings each month but that's it. And the sad thing is, with the combined income of me and my wife (and including overtime, profit sharing, bonuses, etc) we will make almost $100k this year. My wife brought over a decent amount of savings when we got married, but I'm afraid to invest any of if because I know that this giant stack of Jenga blocks we call a stock market is going to come crashing down sooner rather than later (when it does I'll shift funds to index stocks and ride the recovery). The marketing and advertising bubble will pop. The Twitter sale debacle is a harbinger of what's to come as people realize that marketing data and ad revenue aren't enough to keep a business afloat (hear the rumblings about Twitter adding paid subscriptions?) As incomes remain at best stagnant, disposable income drops as cost of living increases, meaning that marketing data gets less and less valuable. One of the pillars the stock market is built upon is confidence. As these large, popular companies go further and further in the red, people will start to panic. Wall Street might want to look into licensing those FoxConn suicide nets, or at least hand out free hardhats to pedestrians walking below.

The interesting statistic that I read recently was that the largest increase in the stock market happens right before the crash.

So, you're missing out on a lot of gains waiting for the crash.

Plus, as they say, timing the market is a fool's errand. Just buy now and ride out the bumps. On a long enough term, you'll mostly always come out good (except for a few occasions in history).

Comment Re:New American Dream (Score 1) 245

Everyone knows that these days you don't make money actually working in a job. If you want to make money you have to invest. If they paid workers decent wages then all these companies wouldn't be able to post perpetually increasing profits which means that their stock value tanks. And if stock values tank, how are all those decent, hardworking, real Americans going to take care of their families if they can't get money from the stock markets? Because they certainly can't make any money working in a real job. Companies no longer exist to provide services for customers and jobs for employees. They exist to drive income to shareholders through dividends or profits derived from stock trading. That's why you have all these unicorns and tech companies with massive valuations with no clear plan to profitability or long-term stability: that's not their purpose. They just need to keep the stocks flowing and the Dow going up.

When did companies exist to provide jobs for employees?

Anyways, investment has replaced pension and retirement. If you don't invest, then you're working till the day you die. Instead of letting the company or city handle the investment, you handle it yourself now. So, the burden of investment is now on you.

On the other hand, unicorns and massive valuations are great because they need employees to create new products which creates competition for employees and rising wages. If big established companies dominated everything there would be stagnation. They would offer the same services and do rent-seeking, and wouldn't need employees to create new products and ideas.

Comment Re:Ask Slashdot - Why are Cities more Expense? (Score 1) 207

Now, I understand WHY a city is more expensive. Because stuff costs more, because there is more tax, more demand for less space, etc etc etc. But WHY are these underlying services more expensive?

Taxes: Sure, there are more people to service and a few more services (pedestrian crossing signals) but there are a lot more people who pay for them. And many don't even live in the city but spend money there!

Space: So the land has more demand. But why can't we go vertical as needed? Most cities have less than 10 buildings over 20 floors.

Restaurants/Movies/Clubs/etc There are a lot more customers to provide for revenues. More economies of scale, should be cheaper.

Infrastructure How is it that cabling/piping/ducting a building is more expensive than across 25 acres of a suburban neighborhood? Cities may have public transit, but less roads to maintain, less area to cleanup, less trash pickup points, etc.

What am I missing?

Pension.

Cities have to pay pension and healthcare for retired city employees. For newer suburbs, there is no such requirement.

Comment Re:I can tell you about my experience. .. (Score 1) 239

... training my replacement, after I gave notice. I am always looking for a new job, anyone who isn't is a fool. So, I was/am happily employed by a medium sized ,very high tech , company. I'm a sys-integration guy, which means I used to be an very good developer, then got more interesting in the bigger picture. Since I was never satisfied with my knowledge in any aspect of computing, I became very good with OS fundamentals, networking, file systems, and all the other peripheral stuff associated with software development (revision control, ticketing, testing, deployment, you name it, I know about it ) So Integration came easy. I recently found a significantly better paying, more interesting job, so gave notice. My company hired an H1B to replace me. He is useless. After 3 weeks of fairly intensive OJT, he is still unable to even start to resolve the few minor problems that come up. I have very, very little faith that he will be able to take over for me. I know for a fact that he is being paid less than half of what I am earning. I also know that totally qualified locals are available, for about 85% of my rate. So, I have told him, he shouldn't even have the job, he is taking a decent paying position from a properly qualified local, and that he should be happy I'm not his boss, cause I'd fire his ass immediately. I have a pretty good suspicion that he was hired because the project manager' wife (indian) has a H1B recruiting company in India. She's a bitch and a half too. Needless to say we're not really on speaking terms. Fuck the H1B program. It's just a way to abuse the labor market. There's no skills shortage, there's a corporate greed problem.

Why is this an H1B problem then? Anybody can hire an incompetent bozo for half the salary.

After all the legal and immigration paperwork and fees, he'll probably add 10K-20K in expenses over his salary.

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