Tag Archives: unemployment

Goodbye and Good Riddance 2008 — Green Rant

It’s the end of the year and it’s mighty slow for those of us looking for a job.  Things started drying up dramatically around Thanksgiving and then it trickled to next to nothing on Christmas Eve.  I guess it’s to be expected.  I hope things will pick up shortly after New Years.

Sigh … I wonder how the latest financial problem involving that Madoff guy will affect everything.   How many more are out there like him?  And how many companies will soon find out that the money they’ve “lent” out evaporated?  I hope this doesn’t erode the little bit of confidence that could have been built up in the past few weeks.  I realize that it’s going to take a while to unwind everything and figure out how much money there really is in the system.  I imagine a lot of money is being double counted now.  My feeling, though, is that it’s time for a return to sanity and for the world economy to be based on actual trade again rather than debt swapping.  We’ll see if that actually happens.  The US isn’t in the best position to actually manufacture much of anything anymore.  Plus, there aren’t enough creative business people and managers who can envision cost effective manufacturing in the US that pays a good wage, is safe for the environment, and provides cost competitive products for consumers.  It takes a strong will to change things and it takes courage to act.  Right now, though, I see a bunch of flimsy spined folks running around who only know how to cut costs with a chainsaw or beg the government for corporate well-fare.

( Hahaha … irony of ironies … spreading personal wealth to corporations.  There are so many out there who don’t have a pot to pee in blinded by the thought of  the stereotypical “Well-fare Queen,”  who have been fooled into thinking that they are middle class or even rich.  Hahaha!!!  It blows my mind!  I guess this explains the state we are in.  Everyone was  living beyond their means because so many people deluded themselves into thinking that they had means.  Welcome to reality and enjoy the global “three finger salute.”  Not everyone can and should own a house and a car … that’s why there are apartments and public transportation.  The rest of the world seems to understand this.  Anyhow, there are some nice stats on Wikipedia about household incomes in the US — link.  I wonder how many people have actually looked at their finances to understand their true situation.)

So what comes next?  It’s clear that the rate at which people are accumulating stuff is not sustainable because there’s only so much matter on the planet.  Which leads me to some “Duh!” moments I’ve had in the last few days:

Duh! #1:  My husband says to me after thinking really hard about it,” What if there were some way like plants and trees to convert the CO2 to oxygen and water, then we wouldn’t have to worry about carbon so much anymore.”  My deadpan response, “Uh, why not just plant enough trees and plants to cover your carbon usage …Duh …”  Continue reading Goodbye and Good Riddance 2008 — Green Rant

Poor Management Can Cost You Your Job

Poor management can cost you your job.  This is something that I’ve been thinking about in light of my own unemployment and, in particular, with respect to the trouble the US automakers are going through.  Poor management can cost you your job and being mere grunts, there’s nothing you can do about it.  The thing about management, though, is that is where the senior people go.  Sometimes it’s not a matter of competence as it is “social promotion” or management becomes a self reinforcing organism in which ill-suited people are made managers to protect the ill-suited people in the upper ranks.  Then there’s the matter of entrenchment in which managers are happy within in their little fiefdoms and they will do what it takes to maintain their little kingdoms.  In other words, they aren’t going anywhere and, consequently, nobody beneath them is going anywhere either.  It kills youth and innovation when this happens — but this is what happens in mature companies when organic growth slows to near zero.

I’ve always like the idea of managers either having to move up or move on from a position within 5-yrs.  I say if you don’t get it in 5-yrs, then you won’t get it and you don’t want to.  Experience is a double-edge sword.  On one side their is wisdom and on the other there is calcification — we will do things the way we’ve always done them because these ways worked in the past.    Experience is not accumulated by doing the same thing over and over again until death.   We see this within in RPG games:   the rewards for killing the same beast over and over again diminish with each time you kill it.  Wisdom arises from a variety of experiences.  But wisdom is useless without imagination.  To be effective, one must be able to apply what one has learned to many different situations.  One must see the patterns and recognize the differences and the similarities amongst situations.  Then that person must use that accumulated wisdom to imagine solutions and what the outcomes from those solutions may be.  I know many foolish, unimaginative, and just plain dull managers with lots of experience doing the same thing.  I imagine that these are the same types of managers at the big auto 3 US autos that killed the first electric vehicles, watered down the daring looking Volt to look vaguely Prius-like, who couldn’t see past the next hour to $4/gallon gas, and who constantly ignore the customer in favor of doing what’s familiar, safe, and, ultimately, the bare minimum of what they can get away with.

Personally, I look forward to GM and Chrysler going into bankruptcy because when management gets too corrupt and calcified, often total collapse is the only way to get rid of the entirety of upper and middle management and bring in new blood.  No, no, a reorg outside of bankruptcy never solves that issue.  I’ve seen and heard about it from friends and family too many times.  What happens in a reorg is that the managers themselves pick and choose who stays and goes and, in the end,  the self reinforcing organism does just that.  They rehire each other and get rid of any talent below them that causes a threat.   Essentially you get the same structure with new acronyms — it’s the same same story everywhere, in private companies and the government.

I’ve just had a revelation:  Perhaps this economic meltdown is nothing more than a changing of the guards — a transfer of power from the boomers to Gen X.  So far it’s not a smooth transition, mainly because some boomers can’t accept that they are old and that it’s time to pass the torch.  We saw this in the Presidential Election, although McCain was part of the whatever came before the Boomers — the WWII people, Brokaw’s so called “Greatest Generation.”   The younger people feel oppressed and want change while the older people are happy with the present and feel assaulted from below.  They feel their experience should count for something.  And it does, which is why they need to pass it on through mentoring younger generations.  But then I think about those old people who really seem wise and relevent to me — Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Al Gore, and T. Boon Pickins come immediately to mind because they are in the popular media a lot these days.  I think these are people who have kept relevant with the times.  They never stopped observing and they never stopped imagining a better future.  They are, also, still pushing into the future despite their age.  These are leaders who can create jobs for us :).

So in wrapping this up, if you are in a organization in which management only thinks of preservation, then start packing your bags, looking for a new job, and saving money for unemployment beause people only preserve that which is already dead.  If you are a manager, take an honest look at your mindset and motivation.  If you are in preservation mode, think carefully about what you are preserving.  You may say you are trying to save all the jobs you can, but the reality you can’t admit to yourself is, “I can’t be a manager if I have no one to manage.”  If you find yourself there, then maybe it’s time for you to stop being a manager because you’ve totally lost perspective.  You are no longer working for the good of the company, the stareholders, the customers, or the employees.  You are now thinking only about yourself.  On the other hand, if preservation never crossed your mind and your aim is growth, then you are doing great and we can count on you to grow jobs through the support of new ideas and younger employees.

The Overhead of Having a Job

Unemployment has revealed to me that I spent a lot of money in support of my job.   After household and car expenses, a lot of my money went towards clothing.  This was actually a recent thing since it’s only been three years since I figured out how to dress like an adult ;p.  Once I figured that out, though, I never wanted to come to work looking like I was there to paint the walls again.  On the flip side, now that I’m unemployed, I have no where to wear my work clothes and I don’t have many casual clothes to wear while doing errands and grocery shopping.  Hahaha!  The irony of it all :).  Other expenses included gas, which HURT when it was $4+/gallon and eating out for lunch and dinner with my husband nearly everyday.  Now, I’m a home body and I have time to prepare most meals.

It is surprising, when pushed, how little my husband and I can live on and still be quite happy.  Actually, I don’t think our happiness has decreased at all.  Interestingly, as soon as I found out that I was going to be laid-off, something kicked off in my brain that turned off my “I want” function.   Now my only indulgences are my monthly fee for Warhammer Online and my monthly shipment of manga from Japan.  My husband greatly enjoys the home cooked meals and returning home to a wife who is not frazzled by the latest rediculousness her management has imposed on the office.  I suffer from boredom, but I usually manage to find something to fritter away the hours while waiting for gainful employment.  Life seems a lot simpler and we spend some great time together cleaning up after the evening meal and playing Warhammer together.

Running Tech Layoff Tally

Presented to you in spreadsheet form courtesy of CNET.  The spreadsheets also include links to the stories about the layoffs.  Yikes, there are so many people that I’m competing with for very few jobs :(.

I’m sad to hear about the layoffs at Lulu since it believe so deeply in self-publishing.  But I guess in tough times, words can stay in blogs and pictures on photo-sharing websites.  I hope small publishers can weather the next few years to keep self publishing alive.