LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
You finish writing your column and the hard drive throws a bearing.
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...
Booming on The Craps Table
I heard the most moronic thing the other night on the news (like I was surprised). There's concern about the proposed casino in San Pablo because it's so close to the freeway that terrorists might attack it.
I think this is a sign that the terrorists have won. We're so worried that there's a terrorist under every slot machine, it reminds me of the Cold War when there was a Commie under every bed. If you play five coins the terror becomes progressively worse.
It's time to wake up and realize that the best way to fight terrorism is to not allow yourself to become terrorized over nothing. You can worry about everything that might happen, or you can worry about what is likely to happen. To date, no casino has been attacked. This fear is irrational.
It's no secret that Ross Perot was right about that sucking sound. Not only are jobs going to Mexico, but also to Africa and Asia. Over 400,000 IT jobs have been lost since March 2001. Many are being replaced by foreign workers in other countries. We hear about India much of the time. India has a subset of it's population which is highly educated, speaks English, and will work for a tenth of the money they rest of us can. All one has to do to get an Indian operation going is install a generator, and dedicated communication lines.
Meanwhile American workers are scrambling to find a job that will let them put food on the table, pay the rent, and make their minimum credit card payments. If you buy the data John Kerry is pushing, the average new job being created in this country pays 9,000 bucks less than the job that was exported. Nine large might not sound like a lot to many, but according to the US Census Bureau the average family of four makes about 35 thousand a year before taxes. This reduces their gross wage to 26 grand. 26 thousand bucks for four people. You try to live on that. Not counting housing in The Valley, you would have a hell of a time keeping your family going on 26 grand.
There are people who say you have to re-train. I'll buy that. A lot of us have re-trained in the past. We were told to re-train for high tech, we did, then the outsourcing started. So what do we re-train for now? Let's put our thinking caps on and see if we can figure this out.
The trend suggests that any job that doesn't need to be done here will be outsourced because the world's population can do it for far less money than an American. That's the big hint. This covers manufacturing, design, engineering, research, and whole lot of other stuff. You name a high paying job that doesn't include danger (such as mining) and it's going over seas. What's left?
The service industry is something that largely must be done in person. Flipping burgers, taking tickets, selling popcorn at the theater can not be done remotely. Although America has many foreign nationals in the military, it pays them the same low wage as it does Americans. So it stays too.
Those are the low-paying jobs which will stay. What about the "good" jobs? Manufacturing of high tech military hardware can require a security clearance. Any job that requires a clearance will have to stay (although many components of the new Joint Force Strike Fighter are being made in other countries so they will buy the plane.) There's also political points to be made for getting military manufacturing jobs in your local representative's district.
Legal representation must be done locally.
Being accustom to the high standard of living we are, we need to pair down these choices. Slinging hash, taking tickets, and selling popcorn aren't going to keep you fat, dumb, and happy. The military is pays far too little (many military families are on welfare.) We need to avoid these jobs at all costs. That leaves us with medical, legal, and military manufacturing. (OK and mining if you like to blow crap up, but I would have thought you got that out of your system by now.)
Even Doctors these days are getting squeezed. It's not easy to become a doctor, you have to be extremely dedicated, and then after you get a practice going, the insurance companies screw you over. A lot of Doctors are quitting.
That leaves military manufacturing. Good jobs that pay well. The work is tedious, you have to live in the right places, and you don't want a 420 conviction on your record when you go for that security clearance.
Those are your choices. It doesn't sound that great when you think about it. There is one more alternative. It's in your garage. Invent something and start your own company. That's how most of those great companies we have been working for got started. Maybe it's our turn to throw the dice. Or if you haven't got an idea to develop, go work for a start up. They need to keep most of their workers local for the first few years. These also happen to be the years when employees get obscene stock options (the secret weapon of The Valley).
I've lived here nearly my entire life. I've seen Booms and Busts. The one thing that always amazes me is how The Valley re-invents itself every decade. The bust is like a forest fire which releases nutrients into the soil which allows a new and different forest to grow. That's what happens here. The paradigm we are working under dies during the bust, and makes way for "the next big thing". Since there's a critical mass of cleaver people here, and the bust sets capacity free, "the next big thing" happens here.
The choices are laid out before you. Mediocre low paying jobs, boring high paying jobs, being a lawyer, or getting ready for "the next big thing". I don't know what that thing it will be, but it can't be too far in the future. Someone is in a garage right now making it up.
Batman Saves Queen From Lazy Cop!
Someone is not amused!
Let's play, "Who said this?"
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"Our software is self-healing!"
"It's also self-inflicting."
"Saying the software has 'issues' is like saying Charles Manson is a little nutty."
"I've decided to always act stupid around you. It's so entertaining watch you explain things over and over."
"If you can get a sun burn in London, you are defiantly white!"
I have to get all that hard wood flooring out of my garage.
(The Last Honest Geek)
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