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 Post subject: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:32 pm 
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I think we're seeing what we learned in Economics 101, basic supply and demand. Too much supply and such items are priced and handled like commodities. Corn, PC memory, jobs.

Have you ever considered yourself a commodity? Ready to be replaced as soon as a cheaper alternative is found? Location is not an issue for most jobs. When it is an issue, like hamburger flippers, it's not all that important. Remember when companies hired the most experienced and best fit? Back in March I was called by a bank about a job. The first question was, "Are you still interested?" I said yes. "And what's the least amount of money you'll accept for this job?" Is that what hiring people boils down to today? The lowest bidder? I'm not making this up, it really happened.

So the answer is education? Hardly. Upon completion of a degree in a field with "plenty of job opportunities", and with honors, students stamped out of college degree programs by the hundreds compete directly with experienced, senior, managerial, and project leader types. How does one get their toe in the door? They don't. As an alumnist put it, an employer today hires only "turn key" people. Why bother with the rest? Those people actually have a chance at a job, perhaps even some competition, but the rest? Employers want a bigger selection of experienced people to choose from, but last I looked, no person creates real job experience at home. Yeah, you can learn a programming language at home if that's your field, but you don't learn to deal with customers, meet tight deadlines, handle the boss's demands while your doing some on-line tutorial.

In my field like many others I'm suppose to have many certifications. Uhhhh, have you seen what they cost? Who's going to dish out 4 or 5 thousand on a 2 week bootcamp? You can study online for half the cost and no hands on experience, who wants that? I would actually commit and pay for such a class myself if I would get a letter of hire, but it doesn't work that way, because when you cram knowledge into your head at the high rate of speed that boot camps do it doesn't get retained well unless you start using it immediately and all the time.

I asked some journalist the other day who reports on the economy a question. Yeah 9%+ unemployment is high, but it's still saying the overwhelming majority are working. Are they spending? Hell no. Low consumer confidence. And why is that? Because the economy is slow? That may be a reason not to hire more staff, but as far as spending is concerned people don't spend when they have no confidence they'll even have a job next week. Would you spend under such circumstances? Had things been "normal" I would have bought a car, my current car is 15+ years old. When I get a job you think I'll be buying a car? Not until I can pay cash for it and still have a nest egg to fall back on, which is not going to be any time soon. The only things on my "to buy" list besides food and utilities are things the house absolutely needs, not things I want around the house, like a refurbed bathroom. I"m talking basics like paint and sheet rock patch. I need to buy a larger sump pump thanks to Irene, at least I can boast about that when I go to sell.

I'm out of cheese at the moment (that means it wasn't moved, all my cheese has been consumed). I'll continue my whine after I get some more.

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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:12 pm 
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Unfortunately the economy has been systematically taken over by a group of Greedy Oppressive Polluters, who would rather the economy not grow under a black, semi-liberal commander and chief. Long gone are the days of working for a company your whole life and retiring with benefits (if you ever got any in the first place).

I fear the only thing that can change that mentality is to bring out the guillotines and start making the greedy pay the ultimate price for sabotaging US. It worked for the french, maybe it can work for US too.

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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:31 pm 
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We just recently had a heck of a time finding a qualified person to fill a software QA position at my company in the SF Bay Area. We would have taken a bright college grad with a somewhat technical background - no experience necessary - in an instant if any had bothered to apply.

My point here being:

1) Don't let a lack of experience get you down. There are lots of companies who love to hire energetic college grads for entry-level positions.
2) Location is important. The jobs market in the SF Bay Area is actually pretty hot right now. If you're young and you don't have a family yet or anything else to anchor you to your current location, you may want to think about relocating to a city with a stronger job market.


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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:47 pm 
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I saw a job expo out there in the near future, but I can't justify the cost. It's in an ultra fancy hotel with legal types, who will probably have or require litgation experience. I'd need a new suit just to schmooz with these guys. So the trip and clothing would easily exceed a grand, given the odds the entry price is too rich for my blood. And some of my alumnists as well.

I will spend more time job searching on-line in the SF area. While I am young at my new field I am a retrainee, so there are some assumptions being made without asking me or fully accepting my responses:

1. I am willing to take an entry level job because I am new to a profession. Some assume I will command a higher salary regardless of relevent or irrelevent experience. IE I'm kinda old.

2. I'd jump ship at the first chance for more money. Actually that's rather ridiculous, but you can't tell a hiring manager that. Jump ship in this economy? To where? And I've worked for 5-16+ plus years for all my employers, so jumping ship for a few more bucks is not in my job history. But again, I can't tell the hiring people what they don't want to hear.

3. Regardless of the above and your comments, which I appreciate, I think the "turn key" mentality is more the rule rather than the exception. It's good to know not all employers are as single minded as that, now all I need to do is to find one myself.

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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:31 pm 
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Some employers are happy if they can hire two for the price of one... You can not really blame them, can you? Higher price must be justified, which is not easy... You can learn at home, but you can not know what to learn... Not spending is a good thing. You probably don't need that new car.


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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:00 am 
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Here's the overall problem: a growth economy is a fantasy. We live on a finite earth, and no matter how many people there are, resources that we depend on will run out if the economy has to constantly grow.

The economy is a subset of the environment. Think about that for a while.

We need to change our thinking -- and we need to move to a steady state economy.

http://steadystate.org/

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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:32 pm 
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Big +1 for you Neil !!
And what does growth provide ? Nothing !! (maybe one of those cool fanless PSUs... and a few quiet fans...) But more seriously speaking, you post is spot on.

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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:06 pm 
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I wish we didn't wander so OT, but Neil's comments, though probablty correct, are incomplete. Why? How? Well the answer is Harley Davidson.

In the last couple of years HD has learned it can be extremely profitable selling the same number, even fewer bikes. They are positioning themselves to be more profitable ever year regardless of sales numbers. They're leaving Milwaukee and moving to cheaper places. They can command more per bike by keeping supply lower than demand. Who's going to give discounts if there's a bit of a shortage of bikes in the first place?

Greenspan is also responsible for what's happened since Clinton took office. When wages and prices increased 3-4% annually so did profits. Then inflation was clamped down to next to zero, but CEOs and shareholders still wanted more profits. The result? Cost cutting like it's never been seen before, mostly in the form of outsourcing. Both political parties gave the keys to the candy store to companies to do as they saw fit, which amounted to flipping the bird to US workers. When foreigner labor can put together widgets for 60 cents a day and customers think that 2% price drops are a bargain with ballooning profits, how can companies lose?

Enough digression for 1 post.

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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:25 pm 
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Quote:
Some employers are happy if they can hire two for the price of one...

Even better to hire 1 or none, and spread the work onto existing employees. After all if they haven't popped they can handle more. Hear any complaints?

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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:34 pm 
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Neil hits the nail on the head....again!

Ive argued up and down many times that a business (or governmental ideology) can never be considered "successful" if it doesn't take into account its long term environmental and human rights sustainability.

Profit margins can no long be the only measuring stick used to describe success.

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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:37 pm 
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While that's all well and good I believe we don't live in sector 001 in the 23rd century.

Greed is a basic human response that's not going to go away anytime soon. Furthermore "business schools" augment this and cast the argument into concrete. Shareholders, as short sighted as anyone else, would sue if they believe otherwise. Legalese in court would back up their stand.

Still OT.

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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:12 am 
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I think it's important to think about why we work. We sell our time and attention for money. Not easy to escape from that since most of us need money, at least some. At some point it makes sense to find other means to get what we need, than to rely entirely on the pay check. Are there other means for you to provide for your basic (and luxury) needs?

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 Post subject: Re: The Economy or lack thereof
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:53 am 
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Vicotnik wrote:
I think it's important to think about why we work. We sell our time and attention for money. Not easy to escape from that since most of us need money, at least some. At some point it makes sense to find other means to get what we need, than to rely entirely on the pay check. Are there other means for you to provide for your basic (and luxury) needs?

IMHO that's exactly the reason why land property will always remain important...if for some basic food products people don't need to get to the "market" to buy them, if they can get some food on the table regardless of pay-check, then they have an indispensable means to survive in dire times...

Two examples...
...when Greece was occupied by the Germans in WW2, famine broke out - the occupiers commandeered food supplies and the Allies imposed a trade embargo...people who lived in the cities died by the tens of thousands...people who either fled to the country or had some land property they could cultivate, survived by foraging...


Since then Greece has witnessed a great wave of urbanization, with people abandoning their villages and with them agriculture and stock farming, in order to taste the offerings of the city and to empower themselves with money, while the past 20 years there has been a great spike in the number of house and land selling agencies...with the blessings and the encouragement of EU and the politics of the EUdelogical parties in Greece, agricultural production has dropped from covering about 80% of the country's needs to near 15%, farmers were payed subsidies to destroy their crop of traditional agriculture they knew so well (in a global economy, some products were not regarded competitive in price) while the whole economy has shifted towards tourism and services...the last decade mostly even the hotels and the tourist agencies have changed hands over to foreign businesses and owners


...since Greece was occupied by the Troika in 2010, with their commands and the undemocratic decisions of their puppet government of George Papandreou, salaries have been slashed, unemployment has exploded - even in the "official" numbers (excluding various categories of unemployment) - businesses have been closing down, while prices and taxes have been hitting, setting and overcoming, record levels...
Most recently even those earning no more than 5000€ per year have been taxed and those owning even a single home will be getting a huge fee through their electricity bill...people have been cutting electricity in their homes to save money and selling their houses at ridiculous prices...they can't afford to own them...

Those who are just a little better off, i.e. not feeling the repercussions of unemployment and rising prices as much as others, are the ones who relied less on a paycheck, those that today and the day before had very little money but kept their land property despite the large pressure from current social ideologies and economic offerings from land/house brokers who have often almost occupied areas of interest (I have counted more than 15 land selling offices in villages measuring fewer than a thousand souls)...they are not going to prosper, but they could survive in contrast to a family of four with three of them unemployed and bills building up, money shortening and cost of living rising...


There is going to be a blast...no doubt about it...I hope it will bring the government down, otherwise I can only see proper dictatorship (right now it is economic and political, through the control of parliament) and/or revolution and/or civil war...
I was there in June when the large demonstrations outside the parliament took place, right there face to face with the special police forces...I can tell you that it was a miracle or accident that no one died on the 29th of June...
But people then were not intent on fighting a battle with the police, they thought, they really believed they could bring the government down with their great numbers...
they were wrong...they know now they were wrong...this government of PASOK and its half-brother of New Democracy are too ruthless, too servile and too defiant to listen to the voice of the people, the voters the democratic body, the demos that supposedly rules in a demo-cracy...

There are scores to settle here....some think they can get away with getting the most of the pie for themselves and at times they want the whole thing...
The economy may be subset of the environment, but through the -often violent- uneven distribution of resources, the earth cannot support as many people as it potentially could


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