The US labor status

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greenpondmike

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Also my sister n laws have to work doubles and do extra work more often than not because some youngun calls off and the company I work for has trouble keeping folks, keeping dependable folks and even having folks show up for the first time--it's like they hire them and give then their uniform and they never see them again. A friend that works there in administration told me that she guesses they only wanted a uniform.

My company gets judged by all the sorry workers, but how are they to know who will work out and who won't? How are they to know that some are just thugs that was lucky enough not to have a criminal record yet? I have heard this about other guard companies also even if they pay better. These enployees keep the admistration under constant stress and they age quickly--on call 24/7 and I don't see how they even have a life trying to juggle the accounts they have with all the calling off and folks wanting to leave half way through their shift.

Not only that, but the no call no shows, the ones that show up and leave and then show up at the end of their shift like they was there the whole time and the ones that have their cousin showing up pretending to be the official guard relieving me because the official one is running a couple of hours late. One time I relieved one that was a sleep when I got there and she didn't even have any pants on. I got an eye full that day when I woke her up.
 

jtr1962

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I am/was as blue collar as it gets. Followed the advice above and the examples of my parents and grandparents. Did ok for myself. Tried instilling the same in my kids. My oldest is 28 today, graduated mid-class (3.2 gpa) with a chemical engineering degree while working at a printing company running presses during his time at school. He got promoted in August to senior engineer at the company he works for. Smart, driven, not afraid to get his hands dirty down on the production floor. Youngest is 26, works running cnc machines turning out industrial parts. Step daughter (23) is a nurse, paying back loans while raising her son with her boyfriend. Stepson works retail while paying for school. (25) It can be done, gotta get out of bed and show up early. Work from there...
What bothers me here about all this is the way you and others seemingly look down on anyone whose life has followed a different path. I'm glad we're having a civil discussion about it, so let me offer an alternate view. You and others were lucky enough to be born with bodies which could hold up doing these blue-collar jobs for years. I mentioned earlier that I was forced to do those kinds of jobs simply because nobody was willing to hire me in my field. And after only a few years they ruined me physically for life with severe carpal tunnel syndrome (same thing which caused my mother to quit work in her mid 40s, after returning to work a few years earlier once we were no longer kids). When the basement got flooded in early September I had to clean up. I did about 80%, then my hands reached the point where I had to take a break. This was about three weeks ago. Now they're almost back to normal. "Normal" means I can make a closed fist with difficulty but it hurts. Three weeks ago if I went halfway I had pain shooting up my arm. My knees were hurting too, to the point I had to lean on stuff getting up. But anyway, by my late 20s I could no longer do ANY job full-time. All jobs require use of your hands in some fashion. Even here, I might post a lot for a while, then take a break for a few weeks. Be glad your body didn't break doing blue-collar work. And hope the same for your kids. Your step daughter will almost certainly end up with a bad back. That ends the career of a lot of nurses.

And then there are additional factors. I hate to bring this up but it's a morning person's world. The last great discrimination remaining in society isn't against minorities, it's against night people. Think about this. Schools start early in the morning. 8AM to 4PM or 9AM to 5PM are "normal" work hours for lots of jobs. Those who are night people never perform optimally in either school, or at work. Yes, they may be able to physically be there, but take it from me, when a night person is forced to keep day hours, it's extremely physically draining. I remember going to school, or putting in a full work week, I was spent at the end of the day. Completely. And I couldn't do this on a continual basis. I really needed the summer vacations from school just to feel normal again. You don't get summer vacations at work, so the only real option was to just quit the job when you were exhausted, rest a few months, then look for another job. When I finally worked at home, on my own hours, it was a revelation. I had more energy than I had in years. All because I kept the schedule my body told me I should keep. So when workers might ask for flexibility or a work-life balance, they're not always being entitled, or being snowflakes. They might be asking for things which not only help them, but increase their productivity. I'm glad some employers are finally listening but I have yet to hear any serious discussions about night versus day people. We probably have 1/4 or 1/3 of the population not living up to their potential because of this.

The other thing here is I think the time has long come for some sort of universal basic income. Test runs have shown it doesn't stop people from working. I provides a safety net, and lets people hold out for jobs better suited to them, which in the end benefits everyone. Employers don't want people who hate their jobs. It hurts morale, and it decreases productivity. Right now at current levels of taxation we could probably afford a UBI of about $600 a month. Obviously not a lot of money, but enough to serve the functions I described. It's not a new idea, either. Nixon wanted it in the 1970s.
 

jtr1962

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When it snows I pay him to shovel shut in neighbors sidewalks and loan him the tools to do it. He works cheap too, 😂
I hope "cheap" means more than giving him a quarter for ice cream. I had one of my neighbors complaining once that he couldn't get kids to mow his lawn any more. So I asked him how much are you offering. He said a quarter to buy ice cream. This was the 1990s. I told him ice cream hasn't cost a quarter probably since the 1960s. I also mentioned that when I did the old lady's lawn next door about 10 years earlier she gave about $5, although I shoveled her snow for free in the winter just out of courtesy. Only took me an extra 5 to 10 minutes anyway. He looked at me like I was nuts.
 

greenpondmike

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Don't hold back GP, tell us how you really feel. :twak:
On the positive side by old standards folks would consider me a piece of trash for a worker, but this NEW breed of folks make me look good! All I can say is gunshots don't scare me and I will actually go to it or go after someone that fires a weapon driving by and I have called off only once in early 2016 when my truck left me and my wife stranded in walmart's parking lot all night. That is once in almost 6 years. What is wrong with going and hanging out at a place for 10 or 12 hours and getting paid for it. I've considered bringing the bbq grill with me.

I'm older and I aint out to mess up my work record with a bunch of foolishness.
 

turbodog

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bykfixer

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I hope "cheap" means more than giving him a quarter for ice cream. I had one of my neighbors complaining once that he couldn't get kids to mow his lawn any more. So I asked him how much are you offering. He said a quarter to buy ice cream. This was the 1990s. I told him ice cream hasn't cost a quarter probably since the 1960s. I also mentioned that when I did the old lady's lawn next door about 10 years earlier she gave about $5, although I shoveled her snow for free in the winter just out of courtesy. Only took me an extra 5 to 10 minutes anyway. He looked at me like I was nuts.
50 cents these days dawg. :poke:lol
 

scout24

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JTR- I feel the habits I described were of equal value to all adults, regardless of profession. Sorry if it came across otherwise. I think they would apply equally in an office setting. As far as physical health, I've had surgeries on both shoulders to remove arthritic growth, ligaments and tendons. And have a ruptured disc/several bulging discs in my lower back. I'm 53 and move like I'm 70 for a half hour or so in the morning, and can tell you a day and a half in advance of bad weather moving in. Docs won't do a hip replacement at my age since they'd have to do it again later, so the pain from the torn labrium comes and goes. Anti inflammatories help, but they're poison. I loved Celebrex until I did some reading and found out how badly it beats up your liver. It all takes it's toll. 🙂
 

greenpondmike

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Wow scout24, you're only 2 years younger than I am. I take 10 aspirins a day and if I have to do something physical I sometimes take 20 along with a strong cup of cowboy coffee. Caffiene also helps with pain. I wish there was a way to lubricate those ol stiff joints don't you?
 

idleprocess

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Some of you should try your hand in persuasion - I'm sure you could get small children to eat their vegetables and adolescents to make good decisions with nothing but HTFU in the toolbox. Despondent adults well aware of their bleak futures should they opt to drop out should be a cakewalk!

The economy has treated me well, but I see troubling signs afoot that are bearing down on others with proportionately greater force.

I bought my house a bit more than a decade ago at an extremely fortuitous time. Yet in that ~decade...
  • House : Double in value per the county appraisal district's annual exercise in creative writing
  • Prior apartment : Closing in on double what I used to rent it for
  • Daily-driver vehicle: Replacement cost of a new example of my old daily driver almost double
  • Occasional-use 18-year old backup vehicle : Nearly double what it was evaluated as for tax purposes when I acquired it; some of this may be 2020-2021 chip shortages but with new vehicle prices being what they are the entire used automobile market has seen upswings
  • Income : More than it was a decade ago but nowhere near double
And this is in the DFW metro - a cheap place to live for decades with a reasonable economy offset by long sweltering summers and general lack of draw. If I had to start over today under circumstances equivalent to those of a ~decade ago I'm not sure I'd be buying a house. And I'd be on far better footing than most residents of the region.
 
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greenpondmike

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Hey, I'm at this time mainly worried about the price of gas going up. Last year I used $80 a week in the winter because I had to run my engine all night to stay warm, but now I work farther away and it was 80 in the summertime. I hate to see what it's going to be this winter if the price wasn't going up, but it is and will it level off or shoot straight up to $7 a gallon. What, am I going to have to walk 64 miles a day to earn a living?
 

scout24

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I felt the eye roll in your first paragraph from here, idleprocess. Don't worry, my kids hate vegetables. And my youngest needed a six month stint in county jail to straighten himself out. Everyone has a point where they become frustrated, one of mine is hearing people saying how bad things are without doing anything to help themselves. Yes it's tough right now. It's been tough before. It'll be tough again. Farm life/pre electricity and plumbing. Great depression. WWII. Vietnam war and draft in the 60's. Interest rates, inflation, and duck and cover drills growing up in the 70's. Black friday in the markets. The dot com bubble bursting. 9/11 and the war on terror. How's that for an uplifting list?

Interesting you talk about not buying a house- None of our kids have any desire to right now, even though two are arguably in a position to do so... Seems a sign of the times.
 

jtr1962

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JTR- I feel the habits I described were of equal value to all adults, regardless of profession. Sorry if it came across otherwise. I think they would apply equally in an office setting. As far as physical health, I've had surgeries on both shoulders to remove arthritic growth, ligaments and tendons. And have a ruptured disc/several bulging discs in my lower back. I'm 53 and move like I'm 70 for a half hour or so in the morning, and can tell you a day and a half in advance of bad weather moving in. Docs won't do a hip replacement at my age since they'd have to do it again later, so the pain from the torn labrium comes and goes. Anti inflammatories help, but they're poison. I loved Celebrex until I did some reading and found out how badly it beats up your liver. It all takes it's toll. 🙂
In a perfect world where those in charge accurately assessed their employees, and there were opportunities to go as high as your ability might take you, you might be correct. In the real world where good supervisors are as rare as unicorns, and opportunities for advancement plateau at very low levels in most places, the only real answer is to not work for someone else. At the very least you get to keep all the fruits of your labors. I remember my mom talking about her first, or maybe second, job with the FBI. One of her coworkers did a fraction of the work she did, but she was great at looking busy whenever the boss came around. So the boss loved her. The boss didn't much care for my mom, who just did the work, but didn't try to look busier when the boss was looking, and didn't kiss his behind like her coworker did. I'm sure if there were promotions, that other person would have gotten them first. Doesn't sound much like a merit-based system to me. More like petty office politics. There's a good reason a lot of civil service union jobs use tests to determine promotions. The test is objective. A human boss usually isn't.

I'll tell you that I react badly to nearly all medications except aspirin. But even that I can only take a few a day, not eat them like candy the way greenpondmike does. I'm guessing you have medical insurance which covered the procedures you had. I haven't had it since I was taken off my parent's policy in college. I guess on the plus side, I'm a little over 6 years away from qualifying for Medicare, assuming it's still around then. In the meantime though I literally can't afford to do anything which might require a doctor or hospital. Last week my back was killing me. I still had to deal with lifting my mother a few times a day and hoping it would get better on its own. Fortunately, with enough aspirin, and moving the right way, it did, more or less.

Anyway, try to avoid medications like the plague. You're right that many are poison. My mom is only on a low-dose BP pill at nearly 83. I don't take anything except an occasional aspirin (and moderate drinking).

Forgot to mention something about stress and working for others. Prior to going on my own in late 1990 I noticed small amounts of gray when I cut my hair. A year or two later that was gone. I got some gray recently with all the stress from current events during the last year but I'm confident most of that will go away once things get better. Maybe a small amount will remain due to age, but then again my sister doesn't have any and she's 57. My mom is only about 20% gray. I remember one of the supervisors at the last place I worked at. To show how stressful things were there, he was a few years younger than I am now, completely gray, and looked like an old man. I'm glad I changed paths when I did. Oh, and he died from a heart attack a few years later.

Interesting you talk about not buying a house- None of our kids have any desire to right now, even though two are arguably in a position to do so... Seems a sign of the times.
They're smart. Houses aren't worth what people are asking for them. We're in a bubble. Just a matter of when it bursts, not if, and how low prices will go when it does. They should hold out until then.
 

idleprocess

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Rigged, to me, denotes unfair, and I do not think the US is unfair in that a motivated person can move upwards.
Reports of the perceptions of others are what I'm speaking to. In my experience a motivated person can indeed get ahead, however I'm not going to claim that I bootstrapped myself to my present place in life and have found that the signal to noise ratio of those that claim to have done so ... rather low.

Everyone has a point where they become frustrated, one of mine is hearing people saying how bad things are without doing anything to help themselves.
My point is not to illustrate that things are terrible (their have obviously been bad times beyond the COVID recession) but to lay out what I see as unmet needs driving the difficulties that employers are having with hiring and retention. You may feel those needs are more perceived than real and that's fine, but it's generally beneficial to everyone when employment is more palatable through the carrot rather than the stick.

And for sure there are people out there doing nothing moan that they didn't manage to walk the perfect path in life, but my sense is that the overwhelming majority have reasonable initiative, work ethic, persistence, but feel that in spite of that they're still not getting ahead.
 
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jtr1962

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Also, happy employees are productive employees. And they keep morale high. Nothing is worse in a work place than low morale. It spreads even faster than covid.
 

knucklegary

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Wow scout24, you're only 2 years younger than I am. I take 10 aspirins a day and if I have to do something physical I sometimes take 20 along with a strong cup of cowboy coffee. Caffiene also helps with pain. I wish there was a way to lubricate those ol stiff joints don't you?
GP, try fish oil for lubing those knees.. Takes 3-4 couple weeks to feel positive effects. I've been on it for 10yrs now, and i feel like I'm in my 40's. Good for low morale, as it keeps you regular
 

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Good Lord Scout, you're making me feel like a spring chicken. My warranty has not expired on body parts damaged when my ambitions far exceeded my talents. And thus far physical therapy and isometrics have made it possible to avoid pain meds and bionic parts.

In my 40's I could tell I needed to adapt to a life without the daily abuse of baking in the sun in summer, freezing my buns off in winter along with remaining vertical too much. My doctor used to say "you need a new job". As luck would have it my hobby of digital photography meant learning computer skills as my work became more and more digital. So without changing jobs I was able to master a new career as records manager and IT guy to the seniors above me. It led to less physical abuse, but my eyes are paying a price now.

Each morning I set on the edge of the bed for a time or crash into furniture from which ever body part decides to lolly-gag. But once the engine is warmed up I have the pleasure of training either my future bosses or my replacements.
 

greenpondmike

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I have a lot of respect for older folks with physical problems, but they still keep going. I don't feel as alone here now.
 

turbodog

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RE: the whole 'getting ahead' thing.

There are not enough 'upper' jobs for the 'lower/middle' to move into.

What's the stats... like 80-90% of bankruptcies are medical...

Min wage jobs (fast food/etc)... are usually staffed by adults feeding a family, not HS/college kids. And due to poor raising, bad schools, etc... it's as far as they are going to go, clean and sober or not.

If you want an eye-opening read on some of this, go read 'scarcity, why having too little matters so much'. It will change your life.

Edit: We _all_ 'top out' somewhere. I own/run a business that thankfully is doing well, even in covid-time. But I'm not going to be an investment banker, PHD researcher, or surgeon. Can you live, not just survive, on wherever you find yourself?
 
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idleprocess

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There are not enough 'upper' jobs for the 'lower/middle' to move into.
It's been my observation that some large percentage of want ads for white collar work are, at their core, exercises in fiction. I've seen several reasons for this - the laundry list of requirements effectively exclude 100% of applicants, the demand (wages, benefits, work environment) offered by the employer fail to rise to meet the market's tolerance for supply, or the listing itself wasn't genuine (individual requisition got pulled, a larger initiative to form a new group crumpled, or it was ultimately a "resume gathering" exercise).

On the first point, modern HR has refined the process of assessing documented qualifications to an almost dismal science, but seems to fail miserably when it comes to assessing more fundamental capabilities. Toss in the ... I'll be polite and say aspirations ... of strategic HR (padding hiring requirements to anticipate the company's future demands on its workforce) and companies paint themselves into a corner where almost no one is qualified for anything and the company's compensation/incentives are merely on par with the immediate demands on the position.

At the end of the day the workforce is what it is and the bellyaching about a lack of qualified applicants is almost wholly on employers. They can either adapt to reality or admit that a sizeable percentage of much-bemoaned 'unfilled openings' is ultimately illusory. I've watched my own employer post the same listing month after month - a position with mid/senior level requirements yet listed as entry level with pay to match leading me to conclude that it's not a real listing.
 
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