LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
Your boss gives you 80 pounds of fresh ground Washington beef for Christmas.
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
Life in a fake rubber dog shit factory.
Cousin Hue from Hawaii writes...
Just what is an Executive Summary?
Well Cuz, an Executive Summary appears at the top of technical white papers. It's a method of dumbing down the information in the white paper so the pea-brains running your company can mention the white paper at the next Waste-Of-Time meeting saying, "I want to make sure everyone reads this!"
Clearly, the Executive Summary is an attempt to prove Charles Darwin wrong.
January and February are my least favorite months. The holidays are over, it's cold outside, and the relative humidity is so low my fingers are always cracking. People tell me to use cream, but then I leave an oil slick on everything I touch. Note: Never put cream on your hands before flossing your teeth.
That said, it's time to go back to work. Today I decided to head for Safeway to get some chicken strips and Brach's chocolate stars. In the parking lot there were banners everywhere shouting, "Grand Re-Opening!" Wait a minute! You never closed! How can you re-open? The real danger became apparent as I approached the front door. Another banner greeted me with a new slogan, "Experience the Unexpected!" The unexpected is not what you want in a food store.
I was there to get chicken strips and chocolate stars. Safeway now carries neither. Well, that was unexpected! The chicken strips have been replaced by chicken nuggets which are superior to the Hamster McNuggets I'm used to. But the stars are gone. I asked the clerk about them as I bought the chicken.
There are many types of chocolate. I've just spent the past month eating the expensive stuff the Sales department sends you at Christmas to hide their utter contempt. But that's not good old Blue Collar, working man's chocolate. Today was the day to get back into the swing of work, and cheap chocolate was exactly what was needed.
I drove down to Long's Drugs. They carry Brach's. Well, yes and no. They do but they cut down the number of items they carry. Individually wrapped candy is all. No loose chocolate.
The economy seems to be picking up. Jobs are soft but they are getting better. But don't think this is a guarantee. It seems every day I hear about companies sending their software and IT jobs to India. Is it possible the national economy will recover and leave us behind?
Since the 1950's, it seems the chief US export has been jobs. These have been mostly manufacturing jobs, both union and non-union positions. Employers figured out they could lower costs and regulations by going where people work for a few dollars a day under conditions that in many cases would be illegal here. So let's not act like this is anything new, and that we've just realized this while driving around in our Subaru Outback, with our Nike firmly on the pedal, hauling the new Sony 84 inch Plasma TV home.
We bought into globalization a long time ago. Everything from clothes to fake rubber dog shit is now imported. (You have to wonder what the Chinese who work in the fake rubber dog shit factory are thinking about us.) About the only stuff we make these days are movies, peanut butter, and Snap-On tools. Technically, it's difficult to buy a U.S. manufactured car. I drive a Saturn, which is about 95 percent U.S. made. But nothing starts and ends here.
We're now a service economy. That means all the little towns that grew up around factories are dead or gasping for their last breath. But the ugly little secret about the service economy is that it doesn't pay well. Think about it. Florist, Janitor, Burger-Flipper, Disk Jockey, Donut Glazer, Telephone Sanitizer, you name it, the pay sucks; except for high-tech which is why they're sending our jobs over seas.
The Promise of Globalization
When big corporations, and the politicians they buy, talk about globalization they say it is good because it raises the standard of living. And in countries like China where the government is nasty to their own people, we have more political power. Companies will have more customers, and so everyone will be better off.
The Problem of Globalization
You'll be better off unless you were working at a good job in a factory that closed. Then you're just screwed. Conservatives I know tell me these people need to re-train. Let's look at this idea in a fair and balanced way.
Let's say you're 58. I know this won't happen. Most of you are going to eat it long before 58 from your caffeine induced stroke caused by coding 18 hours a day. You know I'm right. How many 58 year old coders do you know?
So you're 58, you've been working in a factory putting gizmos on widgets since high school. You're married and have kids, a house, debts, etc. The factory decides to move to Asia. Everyone in the plant is hereby laid off. You'll get two weeks severance, and unemployment. You decide to re-train.
Hmm, High Tech or Burger Flipper? Which to choose? High Tech is going to require computer skills, probably math, and serious bladder control. The Burger-Flipping job will require good hand/eye coordination and no visible rashes. Which do you think is a better fit?
The idea that every one of us can be re-training to be a brain surgeon is crap. Everyone has their skills, but not all of us can be masters of all we survey. That 58 year old is more likely to end up in a job that doesn't pay much more than minimum wage.
The Big Lie
I'm not saying re-training can't be done, but it's no picnic. Since most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, they have to chose between school and eating today. The big corporations, and the politicians they buy, will tell you this is fair. It's free trade. Everyone must compete.
The free trade argument works along the idea that now there are more customers for all products. So it doesn't matter that the jobs are moving to another country because they are customers too, and there will be much rejoicing. This argument just doesn't hold up, because when you hire children in China to make shoes for a few dollars a day, and then turn around and sell the shoes for a hundred bucks a pair, the child not going to be a customer.
Who Will Buy The Shoes?
Lower paying jobs means less disposable income. Less disposable income means you buy less stuff you really don't need, like over-priced shoes that don't make you play basketball any better. If what I've said is news to you, then you've been blissfully in the dark. Check out Econ-1A at the local Ju-Co while you're re-training.
Now we will ship the IT and software jobs off to India. If you're hit by this and feeling like you were screwed with your pants on, you should go look at your car. What make is it? Not American? Then you've been playing the globalization game. Up until now, you've been a winner. Time to re-train for a new career. You're choices are WalMart, or BioTech. Are you good with a pipets?
We Always Get What We Want
None of this is the fault of the big corporations. We told them we wanted better products at less cost. That's exactly what they gave us. Just like we told the airlines, we wanted cheap tickets to Las Vegas. We got them, but don't expect editable food, or comfy chairs. We didn't ask for that.
I have a suggestion if you want decent jobs. Try to buy stuff that was made here. I know, it's pretty hard to do this. There's just so much peanut butter and tools a person can use while watching a movie. But since we do get what we want in this country (even though most of us won't admit it), we have to say we want good well-paying jobs. There's only one way to get them, applied economics. So far we've been applying for cheap stuff. Time to re-apply economics for better jobs.
Gui Weapon Wipes Out Beef Industry!
Let's play, "Who said this?"
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"Please erase with reckless abandon."
"I'm a big retard."
"Knowledge without wisdom equals teenager."
"The previous user of this laptop ate lunch on the screen!"
"You know that drink I had?"
"You mean the one that had a birthday before you finished it?"
"You're eating chocolate in front of me!! That's not nice! It's like dangling a little boy in front of a priest!"
Time to wax my Saturn.
(The Last Honest Geek)
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