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JobforJohn
July 30, 2003 3:47 PM   Subscribe

This Guy in Minnesota just got laid-off and he's spending his time following around Bush's economic team on their tour of the upper midwest as they share their "upbeat outlook" on our nation's economy. He's following their tourmobile with his own tourmobile and has been chasing them around in parkinglots and at fast food places. He finally cornered the Treasury Secretary whose advice to the job-seeker was to "just wait." What's your economic reality? Is it closer to the sunny optimism of the big shiny tourbus, or the laid-off reality of the homemade minivan? (Check out the particularly funny bit about how he stumbled on the entire press corps only when he was looking for a dumpster.)
posted by amoeba (84 comments total)

 
What's your economic reality?

Joined high-tech comms semiconductor company Sept, 2000.
July '01 layoff: passed-over, but friends were hit
November '01 layoff: passed-over, but friends were hit
January '02 pay cut: 7.5%
July '02 layoff: passed-over, but friends were hit
January '03 layoff: passed-over, but friends were hit

But there is a bright side: the morale-sucking, motivation-destroying non-leadership that abounds in this organization has forced me to re-examine my priorities, and I've come to the conclusion that I've had enough of this corporate shit.

Now if I could just figure out what I want to do now...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:06 PM on July 30, 2003


I was "downsized" from my job of 3 years at a software company.

Why was he downsized: buy out; software company stream lined or subbed their work out or company's software worked so well it took away his job? How many people are out of work in the computer industry yet made more than they were really worth?
posted by thomcatspike at 4:10 PM on July 30, 2003


Terrorist.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:11 PM on July 30, 2003


Maybe the promised lower taxes are for those that have lost their jobs. Lower income=Lower taxes!

I'd love to know how much that bus cost to rent for this. This is clearly campaigning for GWB's re-election, but I'm sure that we're all paying for this.
posted by birdherder at 4:14 PM on July 30, 2003


Try evading righteous rigamarole. Otherwise, rebel insurgency start triumphing.

Oops! Wrong thread.
posted by jpburns at 4:15 PM on July 30, 2003


yet made more than they were really worth?
meant made more than what they thought they would make at that age; a company should share its profits.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:24 PM on July 30, 2003


Was laid off in Sept 1981 during that recession. Work in the automotive industry, they were all being crushed by Japanese imports at the time. Was out of work for just over a year - luckily they kept extended the unemployment benefits because so many folks were losing their jobs.

When I did start working again, I had to settle for a lot less than I'd been making before.

Today's laid off tech workers will probably have to reconcile themselves to same fact of life - they're not going to start out at huge bucks no matter what kind of degree they've got.
posted by Oriole Adams at 4:27 PM on July 30, 2003


Oriole: so what are you saying, the dude should go work for Wal-mart?
posted by amoeba at 4:30 PM on July 30, 2003


How many people are out of work in the computer industry yet made more than they were really worth?

Through a series of decisions that now looks incredibly stupid (ie, loyalty to employers at times salaries were skyrocketing, then choosing to go back to school to graduate into the 2002 economy), I never got offered more than 50k and never made more than 30k. I/T is now heading towards the ultimate commodity labor, and it's an employer's market in general, making it hard to switch careers.

I consider myself lucky that after 20 months of sub-employment (including 9 months of nothin') I have a schoolteacher equivalent salary and some chance for advancement.
posted by weston at 4:31 PM on July 30, 2003


Oriole, I don't know of anyone who is still looking for a job making what they made during the dot com years. I make 20% less than I did then, and am damn glad, every single day, that I have a job making that 20% less. I live in SF and I have A TON of friends who simply cannot find jobs, period. At all. For less money...for ANY money.

Also, since they made more money than they probably were worth during the dot com years, now should they get "pay back" and not find a job?

Good for that guy. I am so sick of Bush making everything sound so rosy. Talk to the real people, you son of a bitch. The ones who want to work and can't find decent jobs. Why doesn't the press pay attention to them?
posted by aacheson at 4:37 PM on July 30, 2003


...I am so sick of Bush making everything sound so rosy...

Perhaps it is because he is a "cheap labor conservative."
posted by limitedpie at 4:46 PM on July 30, 2003


I am too old to be caught up in the current mess but have many friends who have lost jobs, or have children who have lost jobs. Married to a younger woman, she has nice job but tells me of the many folks being laid off, the many saved because they are "protected" on basis of this or that for diversity, of the atmosphere of nervousness and anxiety...It took me some time to recover my sense of well being caught up in a union struggle and having a lousy settlement after our side was (purposely) ousted to cut back number of employees. Problem was (for me) that the job was so centraol to my sense of myself that I was a wreck without the job. Now I am at peace with myself and feel very sorry for all those who are suffering.
Just two days ago I called to make appt for GE tech guy to come fix an appliance. The call center lady was in Central America!
posted by Postroad at 4:52 PM on July 30, 2003


Oriole: so what are you saying, the dude should go work for Wal-mart?
anyone besides me have friends in the computer industry whom taunt them because they wouldn't take the risk? Hire on; make more than the previous job; get a bonus up front; receive company shares; sell shares; quit; cycle again 4 more times; now no job or savings. Say this as they all said thom you have to take risks who cares you have tenure at a company for 5 years. Well its 5 years later, my word to them: where did you spend it all and why no saving you made 5 time more a year than I did and you want me to buy your drinks. Plus too saw a lot of young kids make $100K to $200K out of high school and have no loyalty to a company to even give a two weeks notice because they were going to make more $, so why bother they would say. Burned bridges; penny stocks; spent wages I've noticed a lot, add too corporate america taking advantage which does not help matters. Has society done this too itself, yet want to blame the Pres.? No job is secured unless you're your own boss, imho.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:57 PM on July 30, 2003


From 1992 to 1999, my salary increased (through multiple jobs) by at least 15k each year.

I was laid off on the morning of 9/11/01...45 minutes before the first plane hit. I got a new job by 10/1, but that company closed by 12/31. I didn't get a new job until 2/15/02, for a 3 month contract. After that, I got the job I have now. I'm making 20k less than what I was making in 2000.

My firstborn son came into this world the day Clinton was elected. It seemed, for quite a while there, that I was on the fast-track to happiness.

Now, I'm still paying off debts accrued during the only period of unemployment I've experienced in my professional adult life.
posted by thanotopsis at 5:19 PM on July 30, 2003


Gosh, instead of following around the economic team and trying to make some sort of "political" statement -- why doesn't he actually LOOK FOR A JOB?

The economy, for the vast majority of Americans, is doing just fine. Unemployment is at a "whopping" 6% -- which means that there are waaaaaay more people working than there are people who are NOT working. Mortgage rates are (still) at record (or near-record) lows. The classified section is still full of "help wanted" ads.
posted by davidmsc at 5:25 PM on July 30, 2003


Gosh, instead of following around the economic team and trying to make some sort of "political" statement -- why doesn't he actually LOOK FOR A JOB?

Maybe he is. He's getting a lot of exposure, which can't hurt.
posted by kindall at 5:41 PM on July 30, 2003


The economy, for the vast majority of Americans, is doing just fine.

Perhaps statements like that re why people see fit to blame the president for broader, more complex economic woes (not that I'm implying that you speak for the Pres.). It's not so much that he caused the doldrums (though the argument could be made) but that he is refusing to be part of the solution.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:50 PM on July 30, 2003


See, only a federally funded adult spelling program could help me keep a job.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:51 PM on July 30, 2003


davidmsc, a lot of smart people think the real unemployment rate is actually higher than it was in '82. That is, almost double that "whopping" 6 percent. Here's the explanation. It's hard to argue with the fact that more people are not working now than were not working 21 years ago.
posted by micropublishery at 5:54 PM on July 30, 2003


The classified section is still full of "help wanted" ads.

I would venture to guess that you aren't unemployed, and haven't actually read them. I had been intermittently out of work ever since moving in fall 2001, and at least where I live those "want-ads" were for newpaper delivery, pyramid schemes, and nurses.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:57 PM on July 30, 2003


Did you folks get a load of the pablum in the Reuters story?!

Both Snow and Evans said one of the longer-term hindrances to faster economic growth was frivolous and costly lawsuits affecting workers in health care and other sectors. "Clearly there's a connection between our tort system, which is driving up costs, driving doctors out of medical care, driving up expenses for businesses ... I think we need to make the connection more closely between the tort liability system and the American economy and the loss of jobs," Snow said.


Wow. If we could just get those trial lawyers under control, we'd have richer docs and hospitals, cheaper healthcare, and Unlimited Wealth and Prosperity!

Pathetic.
posted by micropublishery at 5:59 PM on July 30, 2003


Unemployment is at a "whopping" 6% -- which means that there are waaaaaay more people working than there are people who are NOT working.

"Don't worry, sir, the leeches are only sucking out about 6% of your blood... there's waaaaay more blood left in you then there is inside the bellies of carniverous parasites!"

But, you know, glass half full and whatnot.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:38 PM on July 30, 2003


Sorry y'all. There is a video link to that unemployment story I mentioned earlier. Go here. Then scroll down to this story:
Non-Working Numbers
Paul Solman investigates why the official unemployment rate in Chicago is significantly lower than the actual number of jobless citizens. Click video.
posted by micropublishery at 6:46 PM on July 30, 2003


Cry me a river. Get a job. Make some money so you can pay the taxes you're always voting to raise.
posted by paleocon at 6:54 PM on July 30, 2003


Cry me a river. Enjoy your role as cheap, expendable labor (or, as the case may be, no labor). Don't complain about how the non-working class (those whose fortunes do the work for them, whether the non-performing CEO still somehow enjoying a bonuse or the simple owner of a handful of Subway franchises) never seem to suffer any economic inconveniences.

Hell, cry me an ocean. Please. By close of business Friday. Or you're fired. No overtime pay allowed.
posted by micropublishery at 7:06 PM on July 30, 2003


Cry me a river. Get a job. Make some money so you can pay the taxes you're always voting to raise.

[looks around, trying to figure out who paleocon is talking to]
posted by Hildago at 7:13 PM on July 30, 2003


Paleocon, I got laid off last year. After nine months of looking I've had one, count 'em, one interview. I'm surviving by the luck of a tutoring gig at the community college and the fortuitous coice of a brother-in-law, who is also unemployed but has built up a good clientele as a shade-tree mechanic. Find a job? what, at a quickie mart? Retailers all tell me I'm overqualified.

I'll cry you a fucking river, and then hold your soulless head under the surface. Dirty, rotten, misbegotten asshole.
posted by notsnot at 7:15 PM on July 30, 2003


Rode tech roller-coaster. With the last job (I thought was gonna be stable, finally) went through six rounds of layoffs before the inevitable company liquidation. Spent the severance "relaxing" and re-evaluating. Just took a job at a non-profit for pre-Y2K salary and am in mental panic. Aren't I supposed to at LEAST "make my age"? Am I taking a massive step backward? Will it be better to expend my energy on something "real" as opposed to vapor-company? Is there such as a thing as a "good karma" job? Must.not.panic...
posted by airgirl at 7:25 PM on July 30, 2003


A quick scan of paleocon's comments confirm that (s)he's one of the more active trolls on mefi today. Ripe for banning.
posted by jpoulos at 7:27 PM on July 30, 2003


paleocon's so conservative, he wishes we'd never come out of the Paleolithic!

From his user-page:

My wife told me about metafilter. She said "Jeb, get on over here and take a look at this!"

...after which he bashed her on the head with his club and dragged her back to the mammoth carcass, away from the dangerous technology.
posted by interrobang at 7:45 PM on July 30, 2003


fire bad! fire bad!
posted by amery at 7:51 PM on July 30, 2003


Yeah but... if we don't have people like paleocon and jos. bleau (?) and davidmsc and some of the other conservative stalwarts around, it sure could get mighty boring in here.

Would you conservatives please recruit your friends to MeFi?
posted by micropublishery at 8:01 PM on July 30, 2003


which means that there are waaaaaay more people working than there are people who are NOT working...

Vacuous, naive, facile-minded bullshit from someone clearly not very high on the corporate ladder... or else a complete shut in. By this same accounting, there were also wayyyyyy more people working than not during the great depression, when the unemployment rate was 20%. Likely there were also tons of jobs in the want ads for grave diggers and pencil salesmen during that time as well.

Any more than casual glance at the any of the business pubs (conservative or no) will tell you that both companies and individuals are hurting right now, and have been for at least the past three years. The unemployment rate doesn't have to be over 10% for this condition to exist. Besides, they way the current measure is calculated, that only current unemployment claims figure in (long term unemployed are reclassified as employed with this fuzzy math), it would take something drastic for the "official" figure to reach that level. Like another four years of cut and spend economics, perhaps.

... oh, and another thing: mortgage rates are at all time lows BECAUSE the economy is in the crapper.
posted by psmealey at 8:03 PM on July 30, 2003


Have a job, but after this thread no longer feel very secure in it. On the plus side, this makes the 80 hour weeks I've been putting in seem like less of a big deal.
posted by lbergstr at 8:04 PM on July 30, 2003


Yeah but... if we don't have people like paleocon and jos. bleau (?) and davidmsc and some of the other conservative stalwarts around, it sure could get mighty boring in here.

I agree with this, as I said here.

The difference is that paleocon - from looking through his coments - seems to just show up and say something like "GUILTY!" every once in awhile, while jos beau and davidmsc will actually explain why they think the things they think.

Paleocon is more like a Yahoo! message-board poster who posts responses to articles with titles like "LIBS EAT SHIT".
posted by interrobang at 8:11 PM on July 30, 2003


I'll third, or fourth, or whatever, the props to Jos Bleau. He usually makes me think, and is occasionally surprising in his views.

I miss MidasMulligan, though i rarely agreed with him.

And I apologize to the rest of you for that little rant up there. ;)
posted by notsnot at 8:17 PM on July 30, 2003


Don't complain about how the non-working class (those whose fortunes do the work for them, whether the non-performing CEO still somehow enjoying a bonuse or the simple owner of a handful of Subway franchises) never seem to suffer any economic inconveniences.

I like how you arbitrarily define people into working and non-working class. Somehow if people don't do some sort of "real" work defined by you, they're suddenly "non-working." I happen to know a family that owns a couple of sandwich shops, and to call then non-working is laughable.

So what does the guy with the van really want to accomplish? It's not like Bush, with the wave of a magic wand, can magically make the economy better. The guy's like a little kid. Wah wah I want you to magically give me a job now, even though I'm spending money traveling throughout the country trying to make some sort of a point instead of out looking for a job.
posted by gyc at 8:21 PM on July 30, 2003


>-- why doesn't he actually LOOK FOR A JOB?

Maybe he's patriotic enough to care about his country to the point where he's willing to counter the Bush spin machine on the economy?

There's more to being an American than defending the status quo, putting a flag sticker on your tailgate, and thanking Jebus you still have a job in Bush's economy.
posted by skallas at 8:21 PM on July 30, 2003


gyc: There's the working class and there's the non-working class: those who labor (your example, by the way, would fit here) and those whose money, by itself, makes them more money. The hypothetical owner of a few franchises who "works" only two Fridays a month to do payroll is not really working in the sense that most English speakers understand the word. Even though he or she is not a Fortune 500 CEO.

And, er, I think this John fellow would like to see, um, more progressive economic policies. That's the point, although he's obviously not a wonk. Good for him for going straight to the top (or close to it) with his grievances.
posted by micropublishery at 8:37 PM on July 30, 2003


To continue a bit, my last post sounds like an attack on davidmsc, and it really isn't.

What's going on here is a some quick-and-dirty DIY democracy and I think its great. Sure, I do agree with him and yes he's not a great writer, and no there's not some great plan on his site on how to fix everything, but there's something to be said about people who get off their assess, sticker up their car, and try to make a difference. Telling them to "goto work" or "get a life" is an insult. We're sitting here in front of our computers and this guy is doing something he believes it. The criticisms sound like cheap pot shots.

There's a certain amount of respect you have to give people who go out there and do this kind of thing. The crazy Larouchies here couldn't be more out of touch with reality, but I respect the way they're out there everyday expressing their views. America needs more of this and less tightly controlled media and press conferences. Yell at a politician, make demands, protest, etc. Saying "get a job" to these people is cheap and a sign of ignorance of how the political system works here. I guess some people can't stand activism of any kind.
posted by skallas at 8:53 PM on July 30, 2003


em>Cry me a river.

Fuck you paleocon. Fuck you and everyone who thinks like you.

MBA, honors undergrad, management @ telecom. laid off, fucked over and pretty much screwed.

unemployment ran out, wife laid off in february. there are no jobs. have been told i'm way too over qualified. have had one real interview. sent thousands of resumes. nothing. not a goddamn thing.

started my own web design company, got a part time job in a liquor store catering to ass wipes like yourself who come in with huge rolls of cash and stumble around the wine department like you know what you're talking about. working 20 hour days. no insurance, about to lose our house that we've worked so hard for, sold the cars...etc.

fuck you paleocon, fuck you george bush and every other cocksucking republican piece of garbage.
posted by damnitkage at 8:57 PM on July 30, 2003


I work for the small family business. In the last two years we have gone from 32 people to about 11 today. Every one that was let go, I had to give them the news. It really, really sucked. It always reminded me of the Cheer's episode where Norm was chosen to be his company's hatchet man because he was so compassionate about letting people go. Everytime I had to do it I carried around a knot in my stomach for days.

The only solace for me is that our people were mostly not the sole or even primary breadwinners in their family. Their income was important, to be sure, but it wasn't much, just a bit above the market rate, but Dad always provided real good benefits, until he started dropping in his retirement money to make payroll, then the cuts came. 10% across the board pay cuts, copay on medical drastically increased, no more swing shift, graveyard shift, or overtime. We did what we had to do to stay in business.

But after over two years of treading water, we're busy as hell and ever optimistic.
posted by vito90 at 9:19 PM on July 30, 2003


...
posted by quonsar at 9:19 PM on July 30, 2003


But after over two years of treading water, we're busy as hell and ever optimistic.

So, um, you're going to hire some more people to handle all this work you've got, right?

Or are you just gonna work the ones you've got harder?
posted by beth at 10:28 PM on July 30, 2003


Everyone just needs to work for the government.
posted by pemulis at 10:33 PM on July 30, 2003


i've been in chicago for six months, looking for a job seven days a week, at least twelve hours a day. i've had fewer than five interviews, and only one real job possibility, which i won't know about for another week or so. it's fucking ridiculously retardedly hard to keep looking day after day after fucking day.

this is the longest i've been out of a job since i started working when i was fifteen years old.

anyway, yeah, i'm one of chicago's hidden unemployed people, since i'm not on an unenmployment roll anywhere. every time i turn around, i hear another story about someone looking for a new job for years at a time.
posted by sugarfish at 10:47 PM on July 30, 2003


Laid off from struggling software company 11 Mar 2001, ending a 15-year run as a technical writer. Back to school studying programming; may branch out to database and/or networking if I have to stay in school while waiting for the job market to ease up. Duty Now For The Future.

Also working full-time at telephone tech-support site -- damned glad to be making $8.50 / hr vice $50,000+ / yr. Lo, how the mighty have fallen...
posted by alumshubby at 11:06 PM on July 30, 2003


I don't know if my story will help those of you who are out looking or not, but here goes:

Laid off in March after 14 years at I job I loved with a company I loved - only place I'd ever worked, except for some part-time stuff in college. Its a company town, many friends and relatives still work for said company, layoffs in Feb/March were a huge impact. Decent, compassionate severance package, including outplacement, where I was asked to write and seal up a description of my "perfect, dream job".

Out of work 4 months. In that time sent out +/- fifty resumes (I could afford to selective at the start), got a startling 11 (!) interviews. Then June comes; severance running out, we've had to take in two roommates in order to keep the mortgage -- boyfriend still working for true-love company, but although he's been there 18+ years and has a responsible (not 'professional') position he still only makes +/- $20,000 a year -- I was the main breadwinner in the family.

June 15, small non-profit runs ad for job in local paper. 9 people cut it out and send it to me. I apply via email. Get an interview. Started July 1st at about $2000 less than I was making at true-love job. Here's the kicker - my 'dream job' that I had to write and seal could be the actual job description for the job I have now.

I'm happy, and I love what I'm doing. We'll keep the house, and we're able to help our "invisible unemployed" friends to continue to live indoors.


I shudder to think how badly it could have gone. I hope this guy keeps on chasing Bush, and gets more and more press. The very idea of members of the cabinet tooling around the midwest in a bus trying to sell an "upbeat outlook" is horrifying.

There's an old saying: A recession is when you're out of work; A depression is when I'm out of work.

I say lets convince Bush is a depression, not just a recession.
posted by anastasiav at 11:12 PM on July 30, 2003


"lets convince Bush is a depression, not just a recession."

To hear the economists tell it, it's not even a recession. The economy has actually been growing since the end of 2001 -- but unemployment has actually been increasing at the same time. You may remember talk of the jobless recovery in the '90s; well, now we have the jobloss recovery.

An important distinction to remember, for this reason: when the Republicans brag that tax cuts stimulate the economy, the current situation provides some evidence that they might just be telling the truth. But it shows equally that that so-called stimulus does sweet fuck-all for people making five-, four- or zero-figure incomes.
posted by ramakrishna at 11:43 PM on July 30, 2003


BS in Computer Sci, out of work since 2/2002. My husband was also out of work from 11/2001 to 4/2003. I'm out of unemployment insurance and if my husband hadn't got the job in April we would probably be living with my parents. (I'm 33.)

There are so many out-of-work tech workers in the Puget Sound area that the companies that are hiring can choose those with the most skills/experience while the vast majority of us can't find work.

I'm going back to school for a 6-month software certification program starting next week. I don't know if it'll help, but at least it will get me out of the house every day.
posted by ukamikanasi at 11:51 PM on July 30, 2003


there's a hole in a log at the bottom of the sea
there's a hole in a log at the bottom of the sea
there'd a hole, there's a hole, in which duhb i'd like to see.
posted by quonsar at 12:10 AM on July 31, 2003


OK, I know next to nothing about economics, but if I understand the New Deal correctly, the idea was for the government to just create jobs by going into debt and starting all sorts of public works.

Now, tell me if I'm wrong, but why didn't we have a Digital New Deal of some sort instead of these idiotic tax breaks for the very rich? We have tons and tons and tons of smart, computer-literate people doing nothing. Why didn't we just hire them and create, I don't know, the George Washington Bridge for the 21st Century.

Hire all those laid off web people to teach computer skills in inner city schools. Create online arts projects, or get Project Gutenberg to hire tons of people to scan and proofread. Pay people full time to run SETI@home. Shit, hire people just so they can come up with ways to hire more people. By the time you hit the umpteenth hundred trillion that the Bush tax cuts are really going to cost us, you could really have something.

And the money wouldn't go to offshore tax shelters, it would go to buying spiffy new iPods and Segways, and wham, you have your economy back.

Tell me why I'm wrong, please. I can explain Baudrillard to you, but as I said, I know nothing about economics.
posted by muckster at 12:21 AM on July 31, 2003


The last thing they want is another New Deal. On the contrary, they hate the New Deal and want to dismantle its legacy as much as possible. Krugman has been arguing this and Norquist even admited it.
posted by homunculus at 12:56 AM on July 31, 2003


> We have tons and tons and tons of smart, computer-literate people doing nothing.

/tinfoil cap on

If you herd all those cats, they'll just perfect AI and it'll take everyone's job.
posted by skallas at 2:58 AM on July 31, 2003


I like how you arbitrarily define people into working and non-working class. Somehow if people don't do some sort of "real" work defined by you, they're suddenly "non-working."

Well, here's a guide to the rich, in case you need to figure it out:

physician: working
investment banker: working (I'm not sure what exactly they're doing for 80 hours a week, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt)
lawyer: working (minus all those hours spent haggling over whether "will" or "shall" should go in the contract)
paying yourself to manage the assets of the tax-dodge foundation your parents started in the 1990s: not working
supporting bush's no-taxes-on-dividends because dividends are your primary source of income: not working
posted by deanc at 3:54 AM on July 31, 2003


I never got offered more than 50k and never made more than 30k.

Forget about the trade deficit... that sounds like a DOHficit.
posted by wackybrit at 3:54 AM on July 31, 2003


There are no easy answers.
I am with muckster a bit here. Pretty ignorant in the area of economics. At least economics beyond the scope of my monthly commitments.

I feel for all the techies who have posted somber stories about their situations. I am holding on, barely, for how long, I am not sure. I can only say, that don't bother looking in New England, the job market here for IT is bottomed out. If I lose my job, then it is instant career change, to what I still don't know. But I think about it every day.

I wonder when all the free oil gets here?
posted by a3matrix at 5:17 AM on July 31, 2003


Yeah but... if we don't have people like paleocon and jos. bleau (?) and davidmsc and some of the other conservative stalwarts around, it sure could get mighty boring in here.

Would you conservatives please recruit your friends to MeFi?


Hi gang. I participated for ahwile. Really did - at least sometimes - try to make coherent, thoughtful arguments. But finally becaome convinced the MeFi largely was a community that was not about discussion of alternative perspectives, but rather was much more comfortable simply agreeing that Bush/Conservatives = evil, and simply exploring all the ways that this pre-designated fact was true.

This FPP is a case in point. Bush is somehow to blame because this guy doesn't have a job? So he follows a bus around instead of looking for a job? Hhhmmm. Anyway ... trying to recruit conservatives to MeFi has little chance of working if they get here, and read things like ...

"fuck you paleocon, fuck you george bush and every other cocksucking republican piece of garbage"

I'm not saying MeFi should change a bit, mind you ... only that so long as the prevailing tenor is what it is, it will remain a nice platform for the left to preach to the choir, but will not be a place where a serious consideration of multiple viewpoints is invited.

Just sayin' ...
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:57 AM on July 31, 2003


So, um, you're going to hire some more people to handle all this work you've got, right?
Or are you just gonna work the ones you've got harder?


Our approach right now is to use temporary labor, for a couple reasons. First of all, the temp labor that's available to us right now is the best we've ever seen. Three years ago, when we needed to hire temps we literally had to show them how to turn on a computer and use a mouse. Many didn't speak English. But entry level temps now often are college educated and know as much if not more about computers than many of our full-timers. Second, while we are busy right now, it's working on projects, which will end in 2 to 6 months. None of our new business is on-going-as-far-into-the-future-as-the-eye-can-see. So, we're not ready to add employees quite yet.
posted by vito90 at 7:05 AM on July 31, 2003


The classified section is still full of "help wanted" ads.

My husband and I both got laid off from companies where the CEO and upper management were getting millions of dollars in bonuses and shipping huge numbers of jobs offshore.

Sure, the local paper has loads of want ads, but none of them in IT. With 20 years of experience as a project manager, I'm getting offers in the $10.00 hour range...which, when compared to the expense of management clothes, commuting costs and daycare for the baby would mean I was losing money to take the job. That's bloody insane.

Most of the IT ads in this area say things like "Work for certifications..." In other words, you work for free for 3 months and they'll pay for you to get an MCSE or some such nonsense.

Loads of ads for strippers and hookers though...so that's nice.

On our block, 5 houses are for sale because everyone here got laid off. We would relocate in a heartbeat, if we could find work somewhere else...but everywhere is the same as it is here...IT jobs are being bodyshopped out to offshore facilities, HB1 workers are being brought in at extraordinarily low payrates, (to get my severance package, I had to train my replacement...an visa worker with a PhD in CIS who is working for less than 20K a year.), and meanwhile, the CEOs are sucking profits out of companies like they were Monica on a President.

Getting better? My happy ass, it's getting better. When 80% of my friends and professional colleagues are either out of work or underemployed...it isn't getting better for the vast majority of the 4 million laid off workers.
posted by dejah420 at 7:08 AM on July 31, 2003


Aww, cripe.

The Austrians, and their sympathizers, offer the best explanation of why we're here.

Yesterday, I caught a Bush soundbite: "You know, some have said, 'Well, maybe the recession should have been deeper in order for the rebound to be quicker.' My attitude is, a deeper recession means more people would have been hurt. And I view the actions we've taken as a jobs program, job-creation program."

Well, George, I'd say the government ought to get out of the business of centrally planning the economy.
posted by trharlan at 7:15 AM on July 31, 2003


fuck you paleocon, fuck you george bush and every other cocksucking republican piece of garbage

Agreed. Everyone I have met that is in favor of any of Bush's economic policies all seem to belong to one of these groups:

A. Is in college/high school (ie, not in the workforce)
B. Is retired
C. Has huge amounts of unearned wealth (inheritance/no-pay-back loans from rich parents/huge amounts of rental property)
D. Is a lawyer or is in finance
E. Is living at home, off their parents
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:21 AM on July 31, 2003


Civil Disobedient: You're painting with too broad a brush. Don't forget to add laborers and owners of the steel, textile, and catfish industries.
posted by trharlan at 9:24 AM on July 31, 2003


You forgot

F. Business owners (you know, the ones that actually create the jobs everyone thinks they deserve). Bush's policies, and low interest rates, have allowed me to expand my business far more rapidly than I otherwise would have (hell, I haven't even had time to look at MeFi for a few months). My clients on Wall street - that for most of last year were in "lights-on" only mode, are starting to get optimistic, and are talking again about new development. It is still quiet ... but even fortune 500 companies are beginning to think things have turned the corner.

I've just rented another floor, and added 7 people to the payroll in the last two months, with plans to add a dozen or so more by the end of the year. [Side note, resumes containing "followed Bush economic team around in a van" will not get serious consideration.]

I realize this is the worst kind of news possible (for everyone other than the folks actually getting the jobs) ... because there is at least some chance that by next year, in the middle of the election cycle, the economy may be in a full-bore recovery with jobs being added and optimism in the air.

At any rate, at least in my case, Bush's policies are causing exactly the kind of behavior they are designed to cause, and are, in fact, at least partially responsible for very real jobs being created.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:52 AM on July 31, 2003


Three months ago, my advisor insisted, "Trust me; in two years you'll not only have a great job; you'll have recruiters getting pissed at you because you're not returning their phone calls."

Sigh.

Midas, no slight on you or on anybody of any political stripe, but ... 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wish'd.
posted by alumshubby at 10:34 AM on July 31, 2003


Where the Good Jobs Are Going
posted by homunculus at 12:32 PM on July 31, 2003


Don't forget to add laborers and owners of the steel, textile, and catfish industries

What laborers? You mean the ones across the globe? The ones making pennies a day so that our companies can inflate their stocks ever so slightly, increasing the net worth of those who own stocks in said company a nickel or so, while netting millions for those with tons of stocks, who will then take those profits and not invest them back into their company, but instead go and dump their modest gains just minutes before an investigation into funny accounting practices frightens away buyers, causing the stock to nosedive, causing the company to go bankrupt, causing even more unemployment? Is that what you're talking about? Oh, you were joking! Oh, a most clever barb to have been stung by! You jester, you!

And Midas, congratulations on being able to do so well in spite of Bush's policies, though I imagine they did wonders for your hirings of those 7 people, who likely had extremely good resumes -- I'm guessing a few master's degrees and doctorates in there as well, right? Nice of you to re-employ them at a fraction of what they were probably earning. I just hope you're offering them health coverage.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:37 PM on July 31, 2003


As usual, self-serving tax cuts for the rich are endlessly spun as "jobs programs".

The spin is wearing oh so thin:

The first week in July brought more bad news about the weak labor market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate for June rose by 0.3 percentage points to 6.4 percent - a nine year high. Total employment declined this last month for the fifth straight month, with 30,000 lost jobs. Since the start of the recession, total employment has declined by 2.6 million and the private sector has lost 3.1 million jobs. This may be the first administration since Hoover’s where total employment has dropped.

Three major tax cuts occurred in the past three years, with a total cost of around $1.75 trillion over ten years (and this is a gross underestimate since the cost assumes that many of the provisions are allowed to sunset). Each of these cuts was sold as economic and job stimulus. The current employment situation shows that these tax cuts had very little to do with good counter-cyclical fiscal policy, and have left us with another jobless recovery.


'Course, the Bush administration has fingers to point...but oddly, they keep shooting themselves in the foot when they open their mouths:

Reporter: Thank you, sir. Since taking office you signed into law three major tax cuts -- two of which have had plenty of time to take effect, the third of which, as you pointed out earlier, is taking effect now. Yet, the unemployment rate has continued rising. We now have more evidence of a massive budget deficit that taxpayers are going to be paying off for years or decades to come; the economy continues to shed jobs. What evidence can you point to that tax cuts, at least of the variety that you have supported, are really working to help this economy? And do you need to be thinking about some other approach?

GW Bush: Yes. No, to answer the last part of your question. First of all, let me -- just a quick history, recent history. The stock market started to decline in March of 2000. Then the first quarter of 2001 was a recession. And then we got attacked in 9/11. And then corporate scandals started to bubble up to the surface, which created a -- a lack of confidence in the system. And then we had the drumbeat to war. Remember on our TV screens -- I'm not suggesting which network did this -- but it said, "March to War," every day from last summer until the spring -- "March to War, March to War." That's not a very conducive environment for people to take risk, when they hear, "March to War" all the time.


That's right. Bush says the "March to War" is all TeeVee's fault.

~guffaw~

Hi gang. I participated for ahwile. Really did - at least sometimes - try to make coherent, thoughtful arguments. But finally becaome convinced the MeFi largely was a community that was not about discussion of alternative perspectives....I'm not saying MeFi should change a bit, mind you ... only that so long as the prevailing tenor is what it is, it will remain a nice platform for the left to preach to the choir, but will not be a place where a serious consideration of multiple viewpoints is invited.

Right. I guess that's one (self-serving) hypothesis, MidasMulligan. Another is that those whining about MeFi not toeing the Bush-Wall Street-chickenhawk line are really just upset about seeing their (self-servingly) described "coherent, thoughtful arguments" debunked regularly....and instead of revising their own ideas, they slander the group.

'Course, on occasion there sure do seem to be folks here who do cowardly things like tell those with whom they disagree to "shut [their] fucking mouths" as a childish attempt to stifle consideration of multiple viewponts, right MidasMulligan?

~chuckle~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:45 PM on July 31, 2003


Civil_Disobedient: What laborers? You mean the ones across the globe? The ones making pennies a day so that our companies can inflate their stocks ever so slightly

Do you favor protectionism? I was enjoying hopping on the L-train to bash Bush, and here you go, actually (I think) agreeing with his policies.
posted by trharlan at 1:05 PM on July 31, 2003


Sorry, Bush's policies? Protectionism? Are you out of your mind? Before I go all medieval on you for even suggesting such a thing, could you please provide any evidence at all that Bush is trying to keep jobs in this country.

I don't mind feeding trolls little morsels, but I'd rather not waste any precious job-searching time giving them a gourmet meal.

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:27 PM on July 31, 2003


(Sorry 'bout the italics.)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:28 PM on July 31, 2003


Civil Disobedient: Sorry, Bush's policies? Protectionism? Are you out of your mind?

Lumber.

Textiles.

Catfish.

Steel.

Let me assure you, I am not out of my mind. Nor am I trolling.
posted by trharlan at 1:57 PM on July 31, 2003


Aah, I see. Ok, I get where you're coming from. Yes, protectionism when it comes to things we export in huge quantities. Open-borders when it comes to labor, however, which the 3rd world has a very big advantage. I thought we were talking about jobs, and the fact is, jobs are flying the coop. It's arguable whether this is directly Bush's fault, but it is certainly an accepted by-product. So, for example, we have:

Information Technology - to India
Manufacturing - to China
The "Service" Industry - to SE Asia in general
Finance - to India
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:22 PM on July 31, 2003


fold_and_mutilate: I think you are guilty of post hoc reasoning. You have absolutely no way of knowing what unemployment would look like if W didn't cut taxes.

I, for one, think W has exacerbated our economic problems. While you'd likely agree, I doubt we have the same reasons for our beliefs.

Many economists would argue that, in aggregate, lower taxes are better, because the market does a better job of allocating resources than the government does. Do you agree with this?

I understand that, were you president, we would not have attacked Iraq. But I'm curious as to what else you would have done differently regarding the US economy.
posted by trharlan at 2:41 PM on July 31, 2003


The economy, for the vast majority of Americans, is doing just fine

If they keep saying that often enough, some of us will actually believe it.

Really, we should lower our expectations. In proportion with the intelligence we displayed in the last presidential election. And in recognition of our continued slide toward a Latin-style economy.
posted by Twang at 3:34 PM on July 31, 2003


And Midas, congratulations on being able to do so well in spite of Bush's policies, though I imagine they did wonders for your hirings of those 7 people, who likely had extremely good resumes -- I'm guessing a few master's degrees and doctorates in there as well, right? Nice of you to re-employ them at a fraction of what they were probably earning. I just hope you're offering them health coverage.

Wow ... interesting assumptions. All false. The seven people span the spectrum from admin assistants to senior architects. They are paid very well (I've always paid above market, because I want talented, loyal people) - and yes, they do get benefits (in fact, partner benefits if they are gay).

But ... what exactly are you trying to imply? That I should look for shitty resumes, hire people with no skills or education, and pay them large amounts of money?

Right. I guess that's one (self-serving) hypothesis, MidasMulligan. Another is that those whining about MeFi not toeing the Bush-Wall Street-chickenhawk line are really just upset about seeing their (self-servingly) described "coherent, thoughtful arguments" debunked regularly....and instead of revising their own ideas, they slander the group.

Er, hate to say this, but I just popped back in and "de-bunked" the usual Bush=evil "self-serving" crap that is the norm here. Simply stated that Bush's policies directly lead to me creating jobs. I'm a capitalist - cut my taxes, leave more money in my corporation, and I'll expand my business with it. Which will let me create jobs. Simple as that. Thought it might be worth it to hear that individual persepctive, since others have shared the experience of joblessness (that is blamed, in some vague way, on Bush).

But you needn't worry foldy ... I had left MeFi partially 'cause I'm too busy, but also because in my free time it just isn't worth it to have discussions at this petty a level. Thanks, though, for so effectively demonstrating the point I was making.

It does occur to me that MeFi might become a far more interesting place if it invited genuine Socratic dialogue, rather than being largely a forum where preachers preach to a chorus of "amens!" ... but hell, that's just me. Anyway - you've convinced me nothing has changed ... so I'll leave you to your comfort zone ... and disappear back into the shadows.
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:37 PM on July 31, 2003


Wow ... interesting assumptions. All false.

Well, since you're possibly back in the shadows already, I don't expect a response, but just in case, I'd like to point out that my "assumptions" were spot-on (save for the wages, which I am, believe it or not, happy to hear). Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe true Socratic dialogue involves running away when people disagree with you, particularly when they're not trolling or not listening.

It's great that your company is doing so well, but unless you've been away from newspapers and television as well as MetaFilter, you should know that you are in the minority. Do you think it's just coincidence that so many people are posting "laid-off" gripes here? I guarantee you, if this was 5 years ago, most of the people here would be saying, "get a job and stop complaining." Unfortunately, it's just not that simple these days. Jobs are disappearing as companies learn to make the most out of a smaller workforce (just work them harder) or move them to cheaper labor markets.

There are few industries left (I actually can't think of any, but I'll optimisticly assume there are some) that don't require some kind of college degree. The problem is, many people spent their 4 years and $90,000 to master a certain profession that is now no longer wanted. Tough luck, you may say. But what are these people to do? Go back to school and pick a new industry? Get more in debt with the hopes that maybe, perhaps this industry won't be exported? Sure, you can always try waiting tables (though even these jobs are getting harder to get), but do you realistically expect someone with a family and kids to be able to meet any kind of reasonable standard of living? Or how about a secretarial job? No, sorry, you're overqualified -- you'll just leave once the economy turns around.

This has been my reality, and the reality of many, many people, for three years now. Most of us who have the luxury of posting on MeFi are just getting by: enough to pay the rent and the phone bill, not much more. There are thousands more that are in far more dire straights. I know, I deal with them every day at Housing Authority I work at. Their numbers increase, but federal and state funding dips down to nothing. We can't house these people. The shelters they have to live in are at 150% capacity. They, too, aren't getting as much federal or state funding as they were. These are very hard times, made much harder by Bush's economic policies. This state budget bloodletting is feeding the vampires of corporate America, and millions are suffering because of it. So I'm glad you're doing well, but for every story I hear about 7 people being hired, I see another that has 10,000 being cut from the existing workforce. Things are not getting better, Midas.

I hope this was civil enough for you to respond to it, because you're one of the few conservatives around here that tries to keep some decorum.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:20 PM on July 31, 2003


Do you think it's just coincidence that so many people are posting "laid-off" gripes here?

No, but it's a biased sample.

I just did some quick arithmetic: of the folks in this thread with stories of being laid off within the past four years, and being unable to find a job in a reasonable amount of time that paid close to their old salary... 6 were in IT or telecom. One was in some other industry. (Several more were worded so that I couldn't tell what industry they were in.)

No one doubts that IT and telecom are in a slump, because of the excesses of the dot.com tulip frenzy of the late 90's being corrected, and because of massive overbuilding in the telecoms during the same period. This is not a Bush phenomenon (or Clinton's fault), or even an American phenomenon: European telecoms made the same mistakes, and are in the same trouble. The rest of the economy is doing much better, although if you're in IT, and your friends are in IT, and none of you can get a job, it doesn't look that way to you.

It's not surprising that IT is heavily represented on MeFi, either.

BTW... any of you IT folks thinking about going into nursing? There's a desperate nursing shortage, nationwide. The US has denuded a couple of Caribbean islands of nurses, and is bidding fair to do the same to the Philippines.

How about becoming CT or ultrasound technicians? Some of the CT techs at my hospital make upwards of US$100K a year (sometimes as high as $200K, I kid you not), because of bonuses for coming in at night to do urgent scans. And the hospital is terrified of losing them. They're that much in demand.

And neither nursing nor CT/US can be done from India. although reading scans can be done from india. if i were a radiologist, i'd be a little worried
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:09 PM on July 31, 2003


Midas, glad you're still out there...come back to the fold. Without you, the right counterargument seems all too much like a FReeper with Tourettes.

That being said, I can't consider your argument as thoughtfully as you would like because I'm not in the position you are. I'm a job seeker, not an employer and I don't share the economic benefits you describle.

I've been in and out of work since Fall of 2001. I've used that time to get additional training so that I can get an intellectually challenging, interesting job. I'm not looking for the 125K job - I'm looking for a 35K (in S.F.) entry-level position. This is what I'm facing when I peruse the ads. C'mon, you can't blame me for being a little bitter and resentful.

And then there is the issue, raised by previous posters, of business who are also taking avantage of the business climate you described, but instead of hiring domesticly, they are sending jobs off-shore. People are angry for a reason, Midas. They're not getting a fair share of the economic pie. Not every dot.com worker was getting 100K salaries - I certainly wasn't, not by a long shot.

The current job situation was not the fault of workers who were being paid too much. If the corporations hadn't tried to build out their business far beyond what any sensible person would think prudent and Venture Capitalists hadn't been throwing around cash like a drunken sailor at everything with "cyber" or "e-" name slapped on it, we wouldn't have had such a hard crash.

On preview: Slithy, I was a nursing student prior to taking a dot.com job. I quit because, in my heart of hearts, I didn't want to spend the rest of my life getting punched in the face on a daily basis (psych nursing). People aren't pegs that can be pulled out of one slot and stuck in another. And I was looking at 5 years of schooling - do you really expect people to put themselves in even more debt because there might be a job waiting for them in 5 years?
posted by echolalia67 at 11:50 PM on July 31, 2003


do you really expect people to put themselves in even more debt because there might be a job waiting for them in 5 years?

Hell. Why even try. Life just isn't even worth it with all the risk that is involved.

However, some might consider schooling to be an investment, not merely a debt. But those naive optimists, what do they really know anyway??
posted by jazzkat11 at 11:57 PM on July 31, 2003


However, some might consider schooling to be an investment, not merely a debt.

And like any investment, it comes with risk, that risk being that your investment won't pay out in the end, that in many cases you won't even break even. For those who are already in debt, your advice offers little consolation. If you are out of a job and still have loans (college or otherwise) to pay off, you will be laughed out the bank door if you go in asking for money. Banks want some assurance that you will actually pay them back -- telling them, "Well gee, sorry, I done picked the wrong field. This time I think I got it, though!" is unlikely to get results.

Midas, nursing is a great field to be in right now, as is healthcare in general. My friend just finished nursing school (after a BA in International Relations) and is looking at $50k starting salaries everywhere she goes. The problem is, she comes from a family of nurses and doctors, and has it in her blood. It is not for the feint of heart, however, and most people are simply not cut out for the physical and psychological rigors it involves. Healthcare is probably the only industry that has a fantastic economic outlook as retiring baby boomers reach critical mass.

Oh, and echolalia67 -- that looks like a great job! I particularly liked this: "Also, The boss smokes pot during the day (you don't). Still there?" Free sushi? Come to work at 10am?! Christ, man, take that job.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:45 AM on August 1, 2003


Civil_Disobedient :that looks like a great job! I particularly liked this: "Also, The boss smokes pot during the day (you don't). Still there?"

It was the "have assloads of experience...be prepared to act as our de facto secretary....make 12 - 15 bucks an hour" tone of the ad that pissed me off.

If they really want a super-experienced HTML monkey, they should at least spring for 20 bucks an hour. You can't afford rent on an apartment with 3 other roommates on $15 an hour in this town. Hinting that their potential employee would also be expected to act as the office admin in addition, is just plain sleazy.

And to top it off, "the boss can get high on the job, but you can't" thing really pissed me off. Oh, it's okay for them to be completely unprofessional during business hours, but the poor slob who ends up working for them, the one who probably most needs the sweet embrace of Mary Jane to prevent themselves from snapping and killing their cheap, sleazy employers on the spot, can't.

No amount of arriving at 10 AM and eating sushi could make working for assclowns like that palatable.
posted by echolalia67 at 2:01 PM on August 1, 2003


Oh, for some reason I didn't realize "you don't" was a statement, not a question (you don't smoke weed?!).

To quote the Simpsons...
Lionel Hutz: All right gentleman. I will take your case. But I will require a thousand dollar retainer.
Bart: A thousand dollars. But your ad says "no money down".
Hutz: Oh, they got this all screwed up.
Bart: So you don't work on a contingency basis?
Hutz: No! Money down!

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:08 PM on August 1, 2003


Not laid off, but...

I worked at a newspaper doing advertising for four years. Quit in December 2000 to go back to school full-time to finish my bachelor's degree. (I had one year's worth of classes left and figured that would be the quickest way to do it, rather than taking one or two classes at a time and transferring credits). Finished my degree in December 2001. I was told that it would probably take six months to find a full-time job. I wish! I've been temping ever since, unable to find a full-time permanent position. I've sent out countless resumes and have had exactly three interviews and no offers. Put it this way...for certain entry-level jobs in my field, many companies are requiring MBAs. They can still get plenty of applicants.

I've got kind of an indefinite temp job now, which I've had since December, but I am making a heck of a lot less than I did when I left the paper. I am living with my parents because there is no way I can afford to rent an apartment around here (I am in the Chicago area) on what I make now...not to mention they probably would not look too kindly on the fact that my employment situation is so touchy.

I have never been counted in the unemployment statistics. I've never been eligible for unemployment...I left my job voluntarily, and when I was in between temp positions (for three months at one point last year) I did not qualify.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:31 PM on August 1, 2003


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