My Daughter

My Daughter
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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

w/ population growth, a jobs recovery is now impossible

Just to stay even with where we are today, and keep our total unemployed number stable, we'd have to add 144,000 jobs a month.

Well, the population growth thing is a two edged sword, naturally, because population growth also equals "more customers"....

There is a school of thought that says that the population growth in the country is too slow, thanks to us baby boomers discovering artificial birth control, and having smaller families than the two previous generations. We got into the preposterous situation of this baby boom generation all reaching middle age, and not consuming as much as we used to. There's now way for the echo generation/gen Y to buy as much crap as we did....particularly in light of the fact that we have screwed them out of decent entry level jobs, as documented elsewhere, hence the big slowdown....

I think the demographers have been worried about this for years... The solution: Import the most productive segment population from south of the border, so that they can buy cars, cellphones, and rent our apartment buildings. and pop out a few babies to keep the game going...Same can be said for the H1B cases that we were talking about the other day.....In either case, we are not going to tell 10 million people at the prime of their consumption phase to go back home......You never hear that argument....

Those in their 50s who remain unemployed for any serious length of time are completely screwed. They are too old to go back to school and too expensive to insure. Moreover, these are exactly the people who have been draining their home equity to fund consumption.

I just have to comment on this, as well.....since I am in this age group....I am focused on the 50-year old white collar worker at the moment....

I've been around some corporate-type environments, and I have to say that it never ceases to amaze me how many people there are in some of these places that add no real value to the business....They show up every day, email things back and forth to one another, have important meetings to determine the agenda for the next meeting and do a lot of wheel spinning, and a lot of them get paid a lot of money for it. How did such a thing come about? There was a 25 year period without a serious business downturn, and during this time, a lot of weak managers got jobs they shouldn't have, and set up their organization full of attractive people with good lines of BS but no real skills....There was no "cleansing" period during which some of the excess could be wrung out of the system.

The modern "HR" systems added to the problem. If you could manage somehow to get a job, all you had to do is be pleasant around the office, ideally well-dressed and good looking, and you'd get a favorable job review every year, because the systems are set up, as Laurence J. Peter suggests, to measure "input", that is, your participation in the system, rather than "output", the performance of some measurable amount of work....

So year after year, even at the high levels, these companies were populated by people who got where they were by agreeing with the boss, looking good around the place, and making as few waves as possible. Some of these people actually became managers. A lot of them, not all, have never run any actual business more complicated than a lemonade stand...

This did no favors to the employees, as we are now seeing. You get a job, you figure out the corporate environment, you keep your head low, and make sure to show up at the company christmas party and play nice during the meetings, and you get a good review and you do exactly the same thing the next year.... so there is no incentive to innovate, to take risks, develop new skills, and do anything if there is a potential of failure. You get people in their jobs who have not developed any sort of risk-taking skills, have no real self-assessment ability, since all they did was agree with the boss for all of those years....You get your 3% raise every year, and eventually, you are making pretty good money doing nothing of real value to the organization.

Naturally, you go out and buy a bigger house, you get a nice car, so that you can be seen as powerful around the office, you take your vacations to Cancun, put your kids in private school.... I suppose I do not need to rant at this point.....because Tyler is exactly right.... this is where the spending habits entrap them even more into the situation.

So the business hits a brick wall, the few competent managers around finally correctly start to question some of the activities, and start to lay people off, and before long, a lot of these people find their way onto the street....The situation is correctly described above: No relevant job skills except agreeing with the boss, a lot of overhead to pay for, maybe you are smart enough to save and maybe not, and you get a lot of fearful people....the most fearful, of course, are the stepford/trophy wives, that are at home taking care of the status symbols.... and have themselves developed no useful skills since getting their MRS degree in 1985 and then retiring....This adds one more source of irritation to the already frustrated man of the house..

A lot of them got overweight during this period too. Just saying.

Ironically, well, not ironically but tragically, the reality is, that a lot of these people know that they're trapped. They are not emotionally or intellectually satisfied with their jobs either (it is soul-robbing to spend your career being a yes-man )..This causes just as much stress and frustration, and makes it pretty unsatisfying to show up at the office every day.

So, what ought to be a blessing, a chance to be liberated from this kind of environment, be creative, be all you can be, and reset your career to something fun, which gives you a sense of accomplishment, becomes a life catastrophe for some of these guys. They sit around and whine, and do their outplacement which is a placebo version of what their job was, and wait....I am sure the suicide rates among these people are increasing, but suicide requires a bit of initiative, so it would not surprise me if it did not....Their stepford wives go into panic mode, at the prospect of losing their gravy train, which makes the situation even worse....So the divorce rate starts to climb....The health insurance thing makes it even worse.... I can name at least 3 overweight 50-55 year olds that need hip replacements....

So, what is going to happen? Well, these are the flower children of the 60-'s and 70's... They will use their political power (it's a democracy, after all) to do what they always did, which is to whine so that someone comes and bails them out.

So that is what is going to happen. This will go on as long as it can.

BTW my personal attitude toward this issue is completely different than most....


Anonymous said...

Amen, bro.
I'm glad someone else has noticed and you really nailed it right on the head. That's exactly what's going on and has been for many years.
Those that speak up, suggest some new idea, quickly get shuffled out the door so they can get back to reading their papers and drinking cofee. Tons of middle mangement that are pretty much useless at best and usually a big aggravation to everyone else. When the economy goes bad, the actual workers got canned to trim the budget, but it was so bad this time that firing underpaid workers wasn't going to be a big enough of a cut and a lot of dead wood in management got the boot this time.
Unfortunately, those that survive this recession won't have learned a thing and they'll go right back to business as usual.

Larry L.

Consists of... said...

Thank you. As a 29 year old woman that has never as in not even once had a job that was decent, despite trying for years and getting a degree, I can not help but think this is the reason why. I tend to make waves. I do it because I want to see things improve. No one likes waves in the office.