Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Sunday August 03 2014, @04:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the moderation-in-all-things,-including-moderation dept.

An interesting writeup on Harvard Business Publishing blog by Michael Harris, discusses what most of us have already known, but each of us have colleagues (or worse, bosses) who still don't get it:

"In early April a series of reports appeared online in the United States and the United Kingdom lamenting the "lazy French." A new labor law in France had apparently banned organizations from e-mailing their employees after 6 p.m. In fact, it turned out to be more a case of "lazy journalists" than "lazy French": as The Economist explained, the "law" was not a law at all but a labor agreement aimed at improving health among a specific group of professionals, and there wasn't even a hard curfew for digital communication.

Like all myths, however, this one revealed a set of abiding values subscribed to by the folk who perpetuated it. Brits and Americans have long suspected that the French (and others) are goofing off while they the good corporate soldiers continue to toil away. They're proud about it too. A Gallup poll, released in May, found that most U.S. workers see their constant connection with officemates as a positive. In the age of the smartphone, there's no such thing as "downtime," and we profess to be happier and more productive for it.

Are we, though? After reviewing thousands of books, articles and papers on the topic and interviewing dozens of experts in fields from neurobiology and psychology to education and literature, I don't think so. When we accept this new and permanent ambient workload checking business news in bed or responding to coworkers' emails during breakfast we may believe that we are dedicated, tireless workers. But, actually, we're mostly just getting the small, easy things done. Being busy does not equate to being effective."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @06:01AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @06:01AM (#76848)

    The U.S. workforce is DRIVEN by their company-owning
    employers to to work harder and longer to produce
    more value to the company that hired them and
    (grudgingly) pay their wages for services rendered.

    Fail to do that long enough or become too costly to pay
    wages to due to senority and you are either bought off
    to retire early, laid off, or fired and the company
    hires another warm, hungry body at entry level wages
    to take your place.

    With all the automation and computerization going
    on in developed, industrialized countries,
    companies--owned and operated by human beings--are
    seeing other human beings as unecessary for the
    profit and survival of their company.

    So what will the company owners do to make money
    when everybody else on the planet has been
    squeezed out of a paying job by a robot
    or computer system?

    No money.
    No demand.
    No capital.
    No profit.

    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday August 03 2014, @08:26AM

      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 03 2014, @08:26AM (#76859)
      Umm.. yeah, the answer to that is simple, at least until we have replicators and an insanely huge supply of energy. Even if it's a robot that hands you your burger and fries, supply & demand still applies. Workers move towards what is needed to be done. Look, I realize you can argue with that, but tne reality is that technology has still failed to raise unemployment rate. Maybe one day it'll reach the point you describe, but for now it's not on the horizon. If you don't believe me then look at a video of how pencils are made then try to imagine what it'd take to adapt that machinery to assemble a Big Mac. Until automation starts resembling human beings you'd don't have any real substance to your fears.
      --
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Common Joe on Sunday August 03 2014, @08:46AM

        by Common Joe (33) <{common.joe.0101} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday August 03 2014, @08:46AM (#76862) Journal

        Umm.. yeah, the answer to that is simple, at least until we have replicators and an insanely huge supply of energy. Even if it's a robot that hands you your burger and fries, supply & demand still applies. Workers move towards what is needed to be done. Look, I realize you can argue with that, but tne reality is that technology has still failed to raise unemployment rate. Maybe one day it'll reach the point you describe, but for now it's not on the horizon. If you don't believe me then look at a video of how pencils are made then try to imagine what it'd take to adapt that machinery to assemble a Big Mac. Until automation starts resembling human beings you'd don't have any real substance to your fears.

        I didn't look up any videos about pencil making, but I'm going to assume you're saying it's fairly involved to get machines to do anything. I have a couple of things for you to look at. First of all, there are reports [singularityhub.com] of machines that can make burgers. I'll supersize that with a website [momentummachines.com] by a company that is making those machines today.

        Question for you: You say there the jobs will "always" be there that require humans to program and make these food-making machines, right? Let's assume you're right. What about the people who have an IQ under 100? (That's about 3.5 billion people in the world... or over 150 million people in the U.S.) No offense to them, but I don't think they have it upstairs to program machines like you and I do. So... what are they going to do? What are they doing today? If you provide decent examples of what people do today, are those people happy doing what they are doing and do they have decent pay and benefits for raising a family and saving for a good retirement? I'm genuinely curious because I don't have great answers to those questions.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Sunday August 03 2014, @12:25PM

          by VLM (445) on Sunday August 03 2014, @12:25PM (#76883)

          Yet I can make an argument the other direction.

          Lets say we replace all our IQ 120 tool and die makers (because all their jobs went to China) with IQ 80 burger flippers.

          The average income has imploded, average employed IQ has dropped about 40 points...

          IQ 80 class guys can always get an IQ 80 class job, like flipping burgers or security theater. The problem is, what is an IQ 120 guy supposed to do if all the IQ 120 jobs have gone to China / India? Or even just IQ 100 average good ole boys?

          This is pretty much the scenario where I live today. There's programming work for maybe the top 25% of people who can code (obviously I don't live in NYC or SV where its more like 150%). I'm doing pretty well financially, a modest integer multiple of the average income. What does everyone below my level do? Well, there's McDonalds and Walmart class of jobs and that's about it. Its been a long time since I made less than $30/hr but there is this dead gap between about $10/hr and lets say $30/hr where there are just no jobs remaining, at all.

          The unionized skilled tradesmen can make $30/hr but the entire population of everyone between IQ 90 and 110 can't become an electrician or plumber. There's always .mil but maybe only 10% of the population qualifies WRT age, physique, criminal record, education credentials and the demand for even the worlds biggest .mil is only about 1% of the population, so most people who would make great .mil soldiers won't be able to get a slot. Same problem with resource extraction jobs, where 0.1% of the population can get a $100K job in the oil fields.

          I guess what I'm getting at is if you're familiar with the concept of a bell curve for IQ, you can think of that as a supply graph and then there exists a demand graph for what employers want, and that looks like the same graph other than the deletion of everything between 90 and perhaps 130.

          Average to smart guys are probably more screwed economically than the IQ 80 crowd.

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday August 03 2014, @11:25PM

          by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 03 2014, @11:25PM (#77014)
          "I didn't look up any videos about pencil making, but I'm going to assume you're saying it's fairly involved to get machines to do anything."

          Welp, you should have [youtube.com] since you missed a fair chunk of my point. Just because you can automate one thing doesn't mean you can automate another. Seriously, have a peek at that video, the machinery they use has little in common with what it'd take to assemble a Big Mac. In other words, until we have humanoid robots, there is not going to be some sudden revolution in automation that's going to put people out of work. Instead what happens is they move around to other tasks. And you know what? This is not a new thing! When I worked in fast food we got a machine that automatically loaded up baskets with fries to put in the fryer. What was employment life like before and after that machine arrived? Not that much different except we had another machine to load up and clean from time to time. They didn't buy it then fire somebody. At a retail job I ended up at later they went through a process of computerizing a chunk of the inventory. Again, a change in our work procedures, no change in staffing. This sort of stuff is common place and HAS been since the dawn of using machinery to produce goods. At the end of the day we're not seeing a correlation between the rise of automation and the rise of unemployment. As it turns out as workers we're just a little too versatile. That machine that can make burgers, it cannot clean itself, it cannot unload the supplies from the truck, and it cannot make decisions about how much to make

          "Question for you: You say there the jobs will "always" be there that require humans to program and make these food-making machines, right?"

          I do see why you'd make that assumption but, no, I did not nor am I making that point. My point is that we need to start mass producing Commander Datas or maybe Johnny Fives before we can seriously start worrying about the workforce. Even the ... um... dimmer bulbs have a huge edge over automation. I don't think the main point of your question is likely to be a real issue for decades if not centuries. However, I will take a serious stab at trying to answer at least the spirit of the question, but I'm going to be a jerk and answer it with another question: Do you really think our economy is strictly based on production of physical goods? I ask because the services people provide change all the time. In light of the way the internet is developing, we're seeing new markets created. There are people doing things that are earning them money that was not possible twenty years ago. It's not a lot right now, but who is to say it won't turn in to something down the road? Not only do we need our cheeseburgers, but we also need a variety of entertainment. And I'm not talking strictly about somebody being a goofball on Youtube. Just today I went to a flea market and bought a painting of a dog that actually sort of resembles Grumpy Cat. Why? I just liked it, it made me laugh. That's what I mean by entertainment. No, I don't need this painting. But it was fun.

          We keep finding new and ingenious ways of spending money. If that didn't happen, the economic doomsday scenario would already have serious legs by now.
          --
          🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
          • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Wednesday August 06 2014, @05:31AM

            by Common Joe (33) <{common.joe.0101} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday August 06 2014, @05:31AM (#77905) Journal

            Sorry I couldn't reply sooner. Your reply deserves a reply. On another note -- I'm not a fan of watching videos (too much time to watch for usually so little benefit), but I did watch the video you supplied.

            Not that much different except we had another machine to load up and clean from time to time. They didn't buy it then fire somebody.

            It makes me question: what was the benefit of buying a machine if it didn't ultimately reduce the workforce? The machine cost money to do the work that a regular person could have done. I suppose It is possible that it reduced human error involved and produced more consistent fries. That is a different kind of machine than the ones I was talking about.

            Do you really think our economy is strictly based on production of physical goods? I ask because the services people provide change all the time.

            No. I actually believe there are three major areas that our economy is based on: agriculture / food production, manufacturing / construction, and services. Agriculture and food production is dominated by the big boys. It is basically impossible to have small farms run by just a family of 4 or 5 anymore. It's not economically sustainable. Large machines now cover what many people used to. Manufacturing has been hurt as shown in a number of areas. It's not the say that we don't have manufacturing in the U.S. We do, but not to the extent that we used to and the manufacturing we do have is usually for larger items which require larger companies. The innovative spirit seems to be dying since it is harder for smaller companies to start up and survive in the manufacturing industry. (Small manufacturing has a hard time competing with nations that do not have the same legal and moral requirements that the U.S. has, so a lot of this is outsourced. Go look and see how many items in Wal-Mart are actually made in the U.S. Wal-Mart used to pride itself on U.S. made brands.) Finally, services seems to be trudging along, but they are impacted because of the other two. Who does a service person service if food and manufacturing people don't form the basis underneath? Service requires an outside source of income because service must pay money to food and manufacturing for the things they do. And not everyone has the talent to be in service industry as not everyone is a people-person. (I hope this paragraph was clear. I can try to clarify in a further post if it wasn't.)

            We keep finding new and ingenious ways of spending money. If that didn't happen, the economic doomsday scenario would already have serious legs by now.

            Hard to say if there are legs or not, but I can say that median income when adjusted for inflation has gone down in the past few decades. Think of it this way: can a family of four comfortably on only a median income brought home by one person? I know there are graphs like this [wikipedia.org], that show it going up, but 1) this graph reflects tends to reflect a two-person income 2) government has changed the definition of inflation a couple of times since 1980 and 3) inflation no longer includes food and oil prices -- something the U.S. economy very much is influenced by. (An honestly, $52K a year is not good enough to raise a family, buy healthy food and good quality computer and internet for everyone in the family, set aside retirement money, and deal with medical emergencies or car-fix emergencies, etc.)

            I'm no economic expert. Far from it. A lot of what I say is based on personal observation and that is certainly biased. I also believe a lot of data floating around is also biased. (Lies, damned lies, and statistics.) I do try to use logic and imagination, though. How often would a person have to retrain in their lifetime? Who would pay for it? (Businesses are not in a mood to retrain people who have been downsized these days. They're not usually in a mood to train their own employees that they retain.) How does one know what to be retrained in? How long is retraining vs the ability to use that information? How can a person who has no talent to foresee what will be popular for a number of years get retrained and earn enough money until they should be retrained / job hop again or retire? Some of these questions I ask (and try to find answers for) because of my own personal reasons. It always seems to be a struggle to keep up with the pace of life.

            And thanks for a decent reply. Sometimes people get flamed for a response like mine or yours. I'm simply looking for a good dialog to learn from and it appears you are too.

            • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday August 07 2014, @06:00PM

              by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 07 2014, @06:00PM (#78542)
              "...but I did watch the video you supplied."

              I appreciate that, thank you.

              "It makes me question: what was the benefit of buying a machine if it didn't ultimately reduce the workforce?"

              It improved efficiency. Not only were the same amount of fries being put into each basket, making inventory more predictable, it meant less getting spilled on the floor to end up as waste. It also meant the workers spending less time doing that task so they can work on others. You could make the argument that there were fewer work hours because it indirectly lead to the closing process being shorter, and you'd be right. However I'd argue that nobody I worked with wanted the closing process to be longer.

              "(I hope this paragraph was clear. I can try to clarify in a further post if it wasn't.)"

              It's worth pointing out that there's a more prominent problem in that the labor is being shifted around to the various poor regions of the planet. When they get enough work that they can raise their prices, the next poor country gets in line to do the work. My point isn't that we shouldn't blame everything on automation, rather that we're already seeing the effects of it and are dealing with it accordingly. One of the results of this ... call it either efficiency or lower prices is more products are being produced. Not only does that mean more people are buying stuff (i.e. jobs in stores etc...) but it also means that a facility could have fewer employees, yet more locations to get a job at.

              " Some of these questions I ask (and try to find answers for) because of my own personal reasons. It always seems to be a struggle to keep up with the pace of life."

              I work in a field where this is almost an inevitability. Right now I'm about one-third of the way through my career, and it's heavily tech based. There's a very serious possibility that my job could be automated or 'teched' away. I don't know anything about your situation but if it'll help I'll offer my outlook: I am optimistic. Why? The skillset I have today is not like the skillset I had last year. As things change, I adapt. Sometimes I get held back, my knowledge of yesteryear's software is still indemand. Sometimes I jolt forward, I'm ahead of a lot of people in effectively using the new round of software we have. Sometimes my foot slips off the pedal and I crash into the ground. I discovered recently that I do NOT have the talent I need to move up to the next phase of my career. That's actually a good thing, though, as I know what to study now to start developing that ability. I have a plan for what I will study during my next round of down-time. And ya know what? Just having that plan keeps me optimistic

              Back onto the topic of automation. I totally understand that the economy is based on the idea of no free lunch. I also understand that some of the laws of thermodynamics probably apply, at least in a metaphorical sense. It's not that I believe there aren't limits, it's that I don't think that we're seeing the entire picture. Even if we start building humanoid robots, people will still want favors from other people. As long as that happens, supply and demand will kick in, and things will continue to circulate. I hope that makes sense.
              --
              🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @12:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @12:51PM (#76888)

        What jobs get automated first? The easy ones. As the ability to automate more difficult and complex jobs progresses, jobs for common laborers will be taken over by automation. Then, it works its way up the complexity curve. First it's the jobs the 80 IQ perform. Then the 100 IQ. In the end, what's left are only the really hard jobs, that take the really talented and smart people to perform, which by bell curve definition isn't the majority of the population.

        But back to the article. Another way of thinking about all this is that with automation, the easy jobs will be taken over. This removes the ability for the always connected to busy themselves with the little/simple things, and forces them to focus on the big problems. Perhaps that will force a change in the behavior of workers and companies?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Sunday August 03 2014, @12:11PM

      by VLM (445) on Sunday August 03 2014, @12:11PM (#76882)

      You're only talking about industrial material production.

      You've got two models.

      One is 3rd world where 1% owns everything and 99% are peasants. Coming soon to the USA and in many aspects, already here. An economy doesn't require 100% participation of all its citizens and illegals. I suspect you don't even need the full 1% of population to be viable.

      The other model is service driven. One lawyer in a small town will starve, two lawyers in a small town and both get rich. Prison industrial complex requires real live humans, if not for guards at least to be the prisoners, law enforcement in general. War. Paranoia like TSA security theater. Hospitality services, at least for the cute young women. You can tell a lot about the viability of a local economy by looking at the waitresses and cashiers, and I haven't seen anything below a 9/10 in awhile, so there must be no other way for women of the caliber to make money (If theres no HR, marketing booth babes, sales execs, then there's always waitressing). Ditto for pr0n. Pro athletics. Entertainment industry in general.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @04:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @04:35PM (#76919)

        Without some sort of manufacturing base,
        even if it has been essentially fully
        offshored like it is in the USA, how can
        there even BE a service industry?

        The cows have to be 'factory farmed'
        and slaughtered on the manufacturing/
        production end to be used as an input
        in order for restaurant service industry
        giant McDonalds to turn the incoming beef
        into hamburgers to sell to a hungry public
        to make money and create capital to
        re-invest in the company and profit to
        pay its shareholders and executive staff.

        The tiny remnant of profit left over is
        used to pay the underpaid, overworked
        masses who provide the REAL value to
        the company...everybody beneath the
        franchise owner level....

      • (Score: 1) by terryk30 on Monday August 04 2014, @08:29PM

        by terryk30 (1753) on Monday August 04 2014, @08:29PM (#77342)

        Yikes, I'm trying not to read something unintended in what you wrote, but your stereotyped list

        HR, marketing booth babes, sales execs

        seems to imply "women of that caliber" (which you mean, I assume, smart and attractive women) would not pursue jobs or careers that don't primarily or secondarily require attractiveness. (No, I don't have my head in the sand on whether attractiveness plays a role in success.)

        Perhaps you were being flippant, but you may have insulted either smart women (with many career choices) or sales execs (of either gender, attractive or not, who I'm sure add some value you or I cannot...).

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday August 04 2014, @08:54PM

          by VLM (445) on Monday August 04 2014, @08:54PM (#77357)

          I'm all confused.

          There exist several jobs which hire women based primarily, if not solely, on looks. The pay for some appearance based jobs is much higher than others.

          So if the economy is great aka lots of high paying corporate jobs, then the 9/10 and 10/10 appearance all get higher paying corporate jobs and the marginally less attractive women get lower paying hospitality jobs. There is of course quite a bit of overlap and there are some training issues. But pretty much, smiling while selling cheezeburgers is the same as smiling while selling helicopter engines or routers, its just one job pays at least 10x as much as the other for the same "looks"

          Of course if the local economy is in the dumps, the best a 10/10 appearance saleswoman can hope for is selling cheezeburgers because the corporate HQ might have closed and there's no real jobs, but at least the restaurants are still open because people gotta eat. In a competitive appearance oriented market I have no idea where the 9/10 and 8/10 get stuck working when the 10/10 population is high enough to fill all the appearance oriented jobs. There are more jobs in the world than solely appearance oriented, of course, although if the local economy is in the dumps as a prerequisite ...

          All sales exec types are confrontational in that they are inherently only interested in their own success and that involves convincing people to make decisions for non-rational non-engineering reasons. Such as the sales exec being very attractive or having sports season tickets to share or just outright corruption like financial kickbacks / bribery. So yeah I don't think very highly of that profession, you can think I'm insulting them as a group if you'd like, I wouldn't disagree with that. Their very existence as a profession is oriented around insulting my intelligence and analytical ability, by attempting to hack my greed or sex drive or general psychology, so we'll call it even. They exist solely to screw me over, so a little contempt seems fair.

          Smart women would tend toward smart jobs and I do like them quite a bit. Its not controversial at all that when there's no high paying corporate jobs for smart people in a community, the taxi drivers tend to have PHDs. Its pretty much the same deal as happens with appearance oriented jobs, but with intelligence. If your taxi driver used to be a petroleum engineer or aeronautical engineer like Houston in the 80s, the local employment situation for smart people is likely dismal.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by frojack on Sunday August 03 2014, @06:57AM

    by frojack (1554) on Sunday August 03 2014, @06:57AM (#76853) Journal

    After reviewing thousands of books, articles and papers on the topic and interviewing dozens of experts in fields from neurobiology and psychology to education and literature, I don't think so.

    I see his research was exhausting...

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by umafuckitt on Sunday August 03 2014, @07:42AM

      by umafuckitt (20) on Sunday August 03 2014, @07:42AM (#76856)

      The point is not about whether or not you're working hard. The point is that it's beneficial to have extended blocks of time when you're not working.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday August 03 2014, @08:02AM

        by frojack (1554) on Sunday August 03 2014, @08:02AM (#76857) Journal

        So why are so few French workers happy? Too much time on their hands?
        And they work their asses off in Columbia and Brazil, and aren't very productive but still quite happy.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/10/30/the-pursuit-of-happiness/ [forbes.com]

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Sunday August 03 2014, @03:11PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Sunday August 03 2014, @03:11PM (#76906) Homepage Journal

          So why are so few French workers happy? Too much time on their hands?

          Maybe it's because I'm not exactly normal, but I was perplexed when people, hearing I was retiring, say "but what will you do? You're going to be bored!"

          My answer to "but what will you do" was "any damned thing I want, when and where I want, and nothing I don't want to do."

          Six months into retirement I found I was right. Perhaps it's the dim or the lazy who fear having too much time? I certainly don't understand that view from a nerd; we love to read, learn, tinker. I don't understand how any nerd could ever become bored.

          --
          mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @04:58PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @04:58PM (#76923)

            Perhaps it's the dim or the lazy who fear having too much time?

            No, its just people not having any comprehension of what its like to have free time since they've been slaves their entire lives. They've been conditioned to equate "not working" with "not eating", so the idea of not working is completely alien to them.

          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday August 03 2014, @09:50PM

            by frojack (1554) on Sunday August 03 2014, @09:50PM (#76987) Journal

            But you are retired.
            Different thing, than having to sit around 3 days and go to work 4. Not enough time to get away. Too much time to stay.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 2) by ticho on Sunday August 03 2014, @11:22PM

              by ticho (89) on Sunday August 03 2014, @11:22PM (#77013) Homepage Journal

              Sure, you can't go on a vacation abroad during those 3 days, but nothing is really stopping you from using those days to relax and pursue your hobbies or whatnot. Incidentally, I am taking every Friday off this summer, so I'm talking from first hand experience.

            • (Score: 2) by SlimmPickens on Monday August 04 2014, @12:55AM

              by SlimmPickens (1056) on Monday August 04 2014, @12:55AM (#77040)

              having to sit around 3 days and go to work 4

              Well that's what I have (and short hours) and I consider it optimal. Enough money to do all the things I like. Plenty of time to ride my motorbike, read, tinker with my network, explore math.

              My freind just offerred me a job in bc/dr and despite the higher earning potential and the enjyoment I would get from working in larger and better resourced teams I'm really struggling with it from a quality of life point of view.

              • (Score: 2) by SlimmPickens on Monday August 04 2014, @02:45AM

                by SlimmPickens (1056) on Monday August 04 2014, @02:45AM (#77067)

                I have to add making bacon to the list of things that I like. Some of you may remember I've already been encouraging people to make bacon.

          • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday August 04 2014, @09:12PM

            by VLM (445) on Monday August 04 2014, @09:12PM (#77363)

            For political / economic reasons we confound education and vocational training.

            However, what you're describing is what used to be called education, giving yourself a lifetime of interesting things to think about.

            Used to be, only the aristocrats had the luxury of not having to work to eat, so only they got higher educations. Then higher ed became a weird stealth way to select kids of the upper classes and aspirational middle classes. Leading after some time to higher ed being a combo of a replacement for ineffective high schools and strictly vocational training and complete disparagement of the liberal arts. Aside from the whole "higher ed as a license to print money" racket.

            An uneducated aristocrat would probably go insane. A retired uneducated guy would probably go insane. I have an uncle in law who spent his last 20 years watching TV, what a waste. An educated guy is never bored, for better or worse, and an aristocrat / retired educated guy just has more time to do self directed educated stuff. Have fun, don't get bored!

            • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday August 04 2014, @10:22PM

              by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday August 04 2014, @10:22PM (#77386) Homepage Journal

              Indeed. It makes me think of my maternal grandfather who, after facing mandatory retirement, just sat down and waited to die.

              It took a quarter of a century.

              --
              mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
        • (Score: 2) by umafuckitt on Monday August 04 2014, @08:18PM

          by umafuckitt (20) on Monday August 04 2014, @08:18PM (#77336)

          And you believe in how they are quantifying happiness? I certainly don't.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by PizzaRollPlinkett on Sunday August 03 2014, @02:40PM

    by PizzaRollPlinkett (4512) on Sunday August 03 2014, @02:40PM (#76904)

    I'm not sure managers care if anything gets done. They want people to sit in a chair at a desk for 8 hours per day. If people sit in the same chair at the same desk 9-10 hours, then they're 20% more productive. This is quantifiable.

    Creativity can't be measured, and can't be quantified. So what could managers do with it? They can't force a certain percent more creativity out of people. They're not smart enough to realize that, say, me taking a walk would give me a perspective to solve a problem. Or even do design work, where there are no units of work being produced. (You can't quantify how design work helps prevent false starts and dead ends.)

    So managers basically just ignore what's important and manage what they can quantify.

    Am I anti-manager? I think I am. I didn't used to be that way, and have had the good fortune to have a former military supervisor who was a dream to work for. But I've seen the professional management class (people who have college MBAs and have no real-world experience doing anything but managing) destroying America one department and company at a time.

    --
    (E-mail me if you want a pizza roll!)
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @03:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @03:30PM (#76911)

      I completely agree with everything you have said above.

      I'm a systems administrator with thirty years experience.

      It just gets worse and worse.

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @03:38PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @03:38PM (#76912)
    The phone rang, middle of Monday morning.

    The caller ID said 'Google'. I answered the phone. A slick voice told me that they were calling, because they wanted to interview me for a few positions they had open - but, because they were very busy, they scheduled their activities a week in advance, and so they were calling me, now, to set a call, only fifteen minutes long, next week - on Wednesday, ten days in the future - to discuss a few openings he had.

    I agreed, not because I believed what this smooth-talking fellow told me - anyone can program their phone switch to say 'Google' - but because I wanted to see what he was selling. I suggested that he send me an email, confirming this appointment. He said he would.

    Tuesday passed, with no email. I started thinking about cold-calling the number on the caller ID, just to see if I could get a name.

    Wednesday morning, I saw an email confirming the appointment:

    You have been invited to the following event.

    Title: Richard/Google
    When: Wed Aug 6, 2014 9am - 9:25am Pacific Time
    Calendar: David N.
    Who:
    * David N. - organizer
    * Jasmine B.

    I asked:

    Confirmed.

    Is there an agenda?

    Is there a job description?

    Whom is Jasmine Brown?

    'David' replied:

    Great questions! Jasmine Brown is someone I am training on my team,
    regarding the position I have a few different ones to share with you.

    The Teams are You Tube, Cloud, Apps, Geo, Earth and a few others.

    Look forward to chatting.

    At this point I did some research on my interviewer-to-be.

    I was not too surprised to discover that my would-be interlocutor was a salesman - his voice had oozed superficiality from its very first syllable.

    He even had a degree in marketing, from the University of Florida. as online sales manager, he claimed to be 'Responsible for Worldwide Online sales for fashion beauty products'.

    In 2011 - just a few years ago - he'd started selling, for another company, using Google, and apparently he'd done quite well.

    So, naturally, this led to his switching careers entirely, in January of 2014, and becoming a technical recruiter.

    WTF, Google? I thought you were smart.

    How do you expect a salesman to hire an engineer?

    I began to wonder if this was a training exercise.

    I asked Bozo, right out front, like a good engineer, what was going on:

    David,

    You know, when you called me, out of the blue, Monday, I sort of got the impression you were doing so not because you had selected me yourself, but, rather, because someone had asked - perhaps ordered - you to do so.

    It almost sounded like you were calling me while that person was watching you, to be sure that you would call me - I say this because, basically, you called me, to tell me that you wanted to call me, a week and a half in the future, to talk to me, for fifteen minutes, about some positions that obviously weren't that urgent.

    I'm leery when there aren't any job descriptions. My BS meter starts peggin', as we say in the engineering business.


    So, I'm looking at your LinkedIn profile - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/david-naylor/2b/563/7 [linkedin.com] - and I'm at a loss as to why we are going to have a conversation.

    Correct me if I'm wrong. You're a salesman. As a salesman, you have sold your employers on letting you become a recruiter.

    Presumably there is more money to be made in recruiting. Why else would you switch, after seven years? Perhaps congratulations are in order - presuming, of course, that the switch in careers leads to value being added, to both parties.

    That's between you and your employer, I suppose.

    Many CEOs are former salesmen. There are good reasons why one might want one's chief executive officer to possess sales experience, I suppose.

    It's not so clear why one would want this sort of expertise when recruiting software or hardware engineers, however.

    What could we possibly have to talk about? Forgive me for asking. But I don't do SEO. I haven't worked extensively with Google's products. We seem to have nothing in common. I work at a much lower level.


    Have you been assigned to SELL me on the experience of working for Google?

    You only have seven months of experience as a recruiter. I surmise that Jasmine Brown has even less experience - I infer that she is the newest member of your team.

    Don't you have anyone more technically competent to interview me?

    Is interviewing me considered a waste of their valuable time?

    Is this just a training exercise for the newest HR flunkie, er, ah, 'recruiter'?

    Are you being punished?

    Is it a combination of several of the above?

    (Life is usually like that.)


    I gotta be honest.

    I'm not interested in another battery of wanna-be MENSA admission tests.

    It's juvenile. Puerile. Prepubescent. Infantile. It reeks of insecurity and inexperience. I feel like I am 12 years old again, and have been thrown into the pages of Readers' Digest.

    Maybe you ought to administer those stress-test-relationship-to-destruction tests, in person - enough black eyes, enough 911 calls, enough broken windows, and maybe Google HR will get the message - it's offensive.

    If you're testing for my willingness to subordinate myself to someone half my age and grovel for a job at Google, nothing has changed.

    Just mark me 'insubordinate' and move on to the next candidate.

    Let's just agree that I'm not smart enough to work for Google - never mind that thirty years' experience. No college degree. You know what THAT means. Autodidactic! Like Edward Snowden! Beware! Beware! May be honest!

    We can all save ourselves fifteen minutes, by skipping this interview. That's my take on things.

    If Google really wanted to SELL me on the idea of working there, all they would need to do is make a sincere offer of long-term employment supporting interesting projects - backed up by some contractual language that insured that there were penalties for changing their corporate mind - and I'm sure there would be no lack of useful things, crying out to be done, that I would quickly assume responsibility for.

    Exercise some of that salesmanship. Persuade me you are not wasting my time.

    Here's what I got back from this weak sister of a recruiter:

    I was just reaching out to explore a conversation to see if there was any
    interest in a couple of the openings we have available right now.

    Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best.

    I'm wondering whose brother-in-law David is.

    So, the next time someone tells you they are a Google employee ... don't be too impressed.

    And the next time a recruiter calls you, from Google, and tells you they want to talk to you about a position ... be prepared for the fact that they may not be telling you the truth.

    Be prepared for the fact that they may be using you, like a showroom dummy, to test a new approach towards interviewing younger, less sophisticated, less mature, far cheaper candidates - without compensation or even letting you know that the whole transaction is fraudulent, from the very beginning.

    The SMS I sent to my wife after I got the first call, says it all:

    I have a phone interview with Google next week. My God. A Google employee actually SPOKE to me. For a whole minute! I feel so SPECIAL.

    PS: Craigslist has interfered with the publication of this story at least half a dozen times now:

    https://post.craigslist.org/manage/4596745128/ip4n9 [craigslist.org]
    https://post.craigslist.org/manage/4596770661/qrir7 [craigslist.org]
    https://post.craigslist.org/u/llunxO4Y5BGCnhbm2VWjmA/s3di8 [craigslist.org]
    https://post.craigslist.org/u/Dmoyo_4Y5BGms5rhwHGhDA/t9kv9 [craigslist.org]
    https://post.craigslist.org/u/eHNgURgZ5BGqyG4ouFJolw/r7zjx [craigslist.org]
    https://post.craigslist.org/u/NpVwDZ4Z5BGWqxbm2VWjmA/dqg2s [craigslist.org]
    https://post.craigslist.org/u/onrmRhkb5BGfFl4_--FJ2g/dw546 [craigslist.org]

    Food for thought.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @05:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @05:06PM (#76924)

      Please don't post this e-mail gossip-type garbage to our site. Next thing you know, we'll be getting chain-mails asking us to forward it to everyone in our address book.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04 2014, @03:52AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04 2014, @03:52AM (#77084)

        That's not gossip.

        That's a firsthand description of events.

        Firsthand descriptions aren't hearsay.

        Nice try, Google.