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illustration of people demonstrating with slogan: we all need jobs
How many times have you heard the phrase, "I am/You are lucky to have a job," in the past five to six years? I know that I hear it and read it dozens of times a day.

At a time when corporations are pulling in millions and billions in profits those of us who work for the corporations are lucky to have a job. Hostess goes into bankruptcy and requests that the bankruptcy judge allow them to pay $1.75 million in bonuses to the very executives who drove the company into the ground and now that mediation has failed 18,000 jobs have been lost. But you have a job and are lucky to have it.

Your job barely pays the bills and in some months it doesn't. You are lucky to have a job because it provides health insurance. You still can't afford the co-pays so you don't go to the doctor. That $150 dollar co-pay you had to come up with when your child went to the emergency room—you had to skip a few meals to pay for it. But you sure are lucky to have that job.

This company that you are so lucky to work for just laid off another 3,000 people. You still have your job. How lucky can one get. You have survived three rounds of lay-offs. You are lucky to still have a job.

The CEO where you work just threatened to move the company out of the state if the company did not get some sort of incentive to stay. The city you live in agreed to cut the companies property taxes. Your property taxes will now go up to pay for the loss in revenue. The CEO got a huge million dollar bonus for holding the people of your state and city hostage. You still have a job though so you are one of the lucky ones.

Your company just made a deal to send all of their IT and call center work offshore to India. You are no longer one of the lucky ones. The CEO just got another bonus for saving the company millions of dollars by outsourcing. Guess he was the one that was really lucky.

Can we stop saying, "I am/You are lucky to have a job," as having a job does not necessarily mean that you are getting ahead. In many cases it is just about survival on the very edge. Just one thing out of your control and your whole world can come crashing down around you. An employer is lucky to have you—a person is not lucky to have a job with a corporation. We need to get out of this mindset that we are lucky to have jobs. As long as we as a people hold that mentality then the employers have the upper hand over us. As long as corporations have the upper hand we will never get ahead.


Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:45 PM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, Social Security Defenders, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Invisible People.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Agreed. (17+ / 0-)

      I am lucky to have a job.  But I am tired of my ass bleeding.  As long as I have children to take care of, I will be a bitch.

      "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." - John Steinbeck

      by Bulldawg on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:10:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yea, they don't like it one bit when you stand up (13+ / 0-)

      for your rights.  I worked for a large corporation for 25 years.  Unfortunately for part of that time I worked for an abusive boss.  He never abused me but he abused people around me and some of my subordinates.  I didn't like it at all but I tolerated it grudgingly.  The company knew he abused people but they turned their head because they felt he delivered for them.  Personally, I think he did much more harm than good.  Then, when I progressed in the company he wouldn't give me the independence I needed so he started trying to punish me on my performance appraisals.  I'm a sort of a strange person, very easy to get along with but I can, at times, have a short fuse when confronted with injustice.  So I confronted him and it was in the presence of the VP.  They transferred me to a different department immediately.  I guess they saw something that frightened them,lol.  These corporate organizations don't like people who rock the boat. They expect you to be a punching bag if need be. And if they even sniff anything that they feel could ever result in a lawsuit they get frantic.  I finally left that company after 26 years because of another incident of a different nature.  But I made out well financially and got my full pension.  However, I resented the contract they made me sign to get that settlement.  Of course it involved my signed statement that I would never do them harm but also, the part I resented, was that I would no longer communicate with people I knew in the company or ever reveal the nature of the settlement.  I didn't care about the settlement but what right do they have to tell me who I can talk to.  They also frightened people in the company telling them they could be fired if they ever spoke with me.  But during that last incident they had the balls to have me followed by a private investigator, who I caught one day following me, and whom I told never to let me see his face again.  Can you imagine the audacity, to have a private detective follow me.  Apparently they had the strange idea that I would hurt another employee, which was absolutely absurd.  That is how frightened they get of people who stand up for their rights.  The fact that I had worked there for 26 years and had been a model employee who had advanced up the ladder to director had no weight.  It seemed totally paranoid to me.

      •  I fought back at a couple of companies (6+ / 0-)

        during my working life.  The last time the confrontation was on a Friday evening.  I wrote my letter of resignation and got to work early on Monday.  I found another person in the department to go with me to put the letter on my boss's desk, so I would have a witness as to the time I turned it in.  Then I went down to Personnel and gave then a copy of the letter and  made them log in the time.

        Funny thing - my boss never came in until around 9:00 am, but when I put that letter on her desk, there was a cup of steaming cocoa there.  And the door to the manager's office was closed.  

        They let me go that day, but with pay for 2 weeks vacation and 2 weeks of sick days.  I know they were going to fire me and would have except for my actions.

    •  Funny thing about unemployment (14+ / 0-)

      For all the talk about how important job creation is, you don't hear any of the Very Serious People talking about it in the Fiscal Cliff Freak Show. Oh sure, they say millions could lose jobs if cuts aren't made to social programs - but none of them are proposing to create any jobs to get the economy going. They throw up their hands in horror at the idea of stimulus - or laugh.

      With corporations making record profits, they really LIKE unemployment up - keeps people thinking they're "lucky to have a job." And they are too, because every worker they can eliminate is more for the bottom line. Anxious people will eat shit to keep a job - low wages, lousy conditions, even dangerous ones.

      Up to a point.

      Occupy Wall Street freaked them out. Obama getting a second term worries them. That fast food strike in NYC had them pissing their pants. Unrest at Walmart is making them pay attention. The Fiscal Cliff is their next big shot at pulling off what they thought Romney would give them.

      Let's have THEM feeling lucky not to be having a mob at their gates - because their own stupidity is going to wreck the 'nice little thing' they've got going for themselves.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:57:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course the CEO should not spoken ill of (20+ / 0-)

    for he is of the saintly job creator class.

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:51:54 PM PST

  •  As a union organizer (37+ / 0-)

    I hear this phrase all the time. And I do sympathize. But you have to draw a line somewhere.

    To use hyperbole (and steal the line of another organizer), in response to this statement that it is better to have a job, any job, "under slavery, everyone can have a job"

    Its our job as progressives to help fight every day to make sure that there are enough jobs - and that they actually afford people the ability to live, not just to work.

    •  Technology is destroying a lot of jobs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      debedb, hnichols

      Eventually people will have far less children and educate them far more. There is less and less need for manual labor these days, which translates to less of a need for population.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:15:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We are changing to an economy where (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        knowledge will be far more valuable than labor.

        •  I've been hearing this talk for decades, (8+ / 0-)

          but it never happens. All it has meant is that more KINDS of jobs get shipped overseas - anything that can be done with any kind of computer. The jobs that remain are the grunt jobs that MUST be done hands-on and in person, and they are filled by undocumented immigrants and other desperate people who will take anything at any wage at all.

          "Knowledge more valuable than labor"? It is to laugh - unless you mean "knowledge" of how to lie, cheat, steal, kiss ass, kick ass, lobby the government, etc.

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 10:47:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No. (4+ / 0-)

          The information economy is adding a lot of value.  Much wealth is being created.

          Unlike physical things, knowledge can be conveyed and reproduced for nearly nothing too.

          However, we are living people and we need stuff and that physical stuff requires labor.  Conveying the knowledge requires labor.  Creating knowledge requires labor.  Employing knowledge in any way requires labor.

          Labor is at the foundation of all wealth and will remain at the foundation of all wealth.

          As valuable as knowledge is, and it is very valuable and increasing in value make no mistake, it does not replace labor.  It can augment it like any other tool does.

          In a very basic sense, making a tool multiples labor.  That is why the tool has value.  Time is saved, and time is how we measure wealth.  When we have no time for our own purposes, regardless of how much knowledge we may or may not have, we are poor, period.

          When we have a lot of time for our own purposes, again regardless of how much knowledge we have, we are wealthy, period.

          The value of knowledge lies in it's ability to improve the output of labor.  There is also value in mere enlightenment too, but that is reserved for wealthy people, who have time to explore and create and apply said knowledge.

          How we value peoples LABOR determines their overall wealth, and again this is independent of knowledge.

          Life is thirds, one to work, one to live and be who we would, one is sleep.

          Undervaluing labor means more labor is required to sustain the person and their life needs, and could deny them basic wants.  Their lives become 2/3 labor, 1/3 sleep and this is unjust and undesirable as slavery is, and the reasons are obvious.

          One is not free when constrained in this way.

          A very common argument for devaluing basic labors is anyone could do them, therefore they are near worthless because supply is very high.

          However, when we look at basic wealth and the rule of thirds in life, we see that there is a basic, minimum value of labor needed for people to live in a modest, just, humane way.

          There will be no economic change, unless it's on the backs of millions of people who would be rendered slaves to serve the knowledge class in their folly to escape the basic realities of human existence.

          ***Be Excellent To One Another***

          by potatohead on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:51:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Which means (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        means are the ends

        that a governement guaranteed income should be considered.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:21:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  and throughout most of history (4+ / 0-)

      most of us here would have been slaves or serfs.At least in Rome you could earn your freedom....

  •  Tipped, recced and republished to (10+ / 0-)

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:59:57 PM PST

  •  More lucky than some of us. (20+ / 0-)

    Every point you make is correct, but...

    not having a job is worse.

    Still, I think you are on to something, though I don't quite know how to formulate it.

    The idea came to me from conversations with my mother in law, who has a great deal of trouble understanding how so many people can be out of work when there are so many open jobs.

    After I pointed out that there are about 6 out of every available jobs and that a lot of those available jobs are minimum wage, I told her about the networking groups I'm in -- just full of people with years and years of working who can't find work now.

    And then this question:

    Should we be mad at people who aren't working when there are minimum wage jobs available -- even though filling all of those jobs would still leave 3/4 of them out of work -- or should we be mad at the folks who fouled up the economy so badly that we can no longer tell our kids that success is waiting if you work hard enough and well enough?  

    That took her back a bit, because she had to agree on one thing: There is something wrong with an economy that has stopped rewarding hard work and talent.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:01:05 PM PST

    •  A min wage job for a past skilled worker (14+ / 0-)

      is a living trap, waiting to fuel the descent into debt and poverty.

      That's the big thing right there. If you get a min wage job, kiss your free time goodbye. Expect to be penciled in and expected to perform with or without reliable childcare, when you are sick, etc., and so on.

      Kiss your healthcare goodbye, your dental, your vision plan, say goodbye to your savings, to everything you have built up, because you are about to use that to fund that flat spin into the ground at an alarming speed.

      That's the hesitation. That is what makes the unemployed skilled worker freeze.

      Many probably remember having those jobs in college, or in highschool, and remember the utter awfulness of it. No matter how hard you worked, you started out with pay so low, that you will never catch up in that world.

      And you are aging quicker than you are finding employment. Will you work min wage jobs until you are so old no one will hire you? When your skills are obsolete, when your networks truly are dried up and your kids have learned to settle into something that isn't even close to what you had in mind at all, simply because

      Poverty became the new normal, along with accepting abusive bosses and abusive work-atmospheres, roach motels, and discount crap, because that's all you can afford.

      Being poor sucks in so many ways, but having a memory of something better, wouldn't make it suck less. If anything that will bring the despair on in waves.

    •  This ^^ (11+ / 0-)

      Our economy has changed. When I started working, nearly every job (even menial ones) offered a pension. You always got time and a half.  Savings accounts paid 5% interest.  Your future was limited only by your work.

      That is gone.  

      Now, we have classes, and stratification.  We have incredibly wealthy plutocrats, and the menial minimum-wage worker bees that support them. There is no middle class, it is barely hanging on - and it's not upwardly mobile any more.

      I am very, very upset about this country, what they have done to it since the 1980's, concentrating all wealth available in this country only in the hands of a few.  

      "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

      by mumtaznepal on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:43:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your future was limited only by your work (4+ / 0-)

        I think that the single biggest problem we face in talking to many people is that they haven't seen that change -- it's still to easy to blame the victim.

        I also see that changing as people who have worked all their lives are foreclosed out of their homes and struggling just to stay alive.

        I know my MIL has struggled a lot with our problems.  She blames me, and she may be right.  She started to get a glimmer when I showed her the paycheck from one month of a contract I had worked (OK -- it was a month that included substantial overtime (not time and a half, btw), and strain on my hands and wrists that my 60 year old body cannot sustain over long periods, but it was still a month). When she realized that I would need to work nearly a year at minimum wage to earn the same money, it opened her eyes, but the clincher was a simple question: "How do I get work like this if I'm busy sweeping floors somewhere?" followed up by another:
        "How does it help the economy for me to withhold talents that are worth what people are willing to pay me (sometimes) so that I can sweep floors?"

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:23:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well said and clever (18+ / 0-)

    though as someone who is increasingly clear they may have slipped over the line into unemployable, I kind of hear it as "lucky to be alive".  

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:01:06 PM PST

    •  It shouldn't be a matter of luck, though. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      means are the ends, wbr, Ramoth

      There are very few people who could not do a job given sufficient opportunity to do so, it seems to me. The creation of unemployment has been a deliberate policy at times. I'm not saying the high unemployment of Bush's crash and Obama's slow recovery are, necessarily. But "labour market flexibility" is certainly seen as desirable by many in finance, industry and by their economists. If you wade through the econogibberish, you can see that it means, in large part, moving more people to unemployment or underemployment to allow companies to adjust their workforce size to match the (inherently unstable, volatile, speculation-driven) markets, and to have an advantage in wage and condition negotiation.

  •  I understand what you are saying (14+ / 0-)

    and it is a common refrain at my current job.
    However, I had no job for a long time. I was hungry and for a very brief period actually homeless. So as much as I despise the attitude of my current employers, I also understand and remind myself often enough that I am lucky to have a job.

    I hate that the world that we live in has become this way. But until it changes---if it ever does--we have to deal with the reality of the ugliness. It is a luxury to believe otherwise.

    "Religion is the smile on a dog." Edie Brickell

    by zesty grapher on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:01:43 PM PST

  •  Lucky to have a job? Bullshit. (16+ / 1-)

    I interviewed with seven different people for the job I have now.  The reason I got the interview was because of my killer resume showing years of experience and a mile-long list of technical skills.  I aced the interview in part because I presented them with written recommendations screaming my praises, but mostly because I obviously know the work.

    I've kept the job because I kick ass at it.

    That's why I have a job -- because I fucking earned it.  And if you have a job, or if you didn't fuck up at jobs you've had, you earned it too.  

    You know who's lucky to have a job?  Someone who won his job in a fucking raffle.

    •  My former employers were lucky... (13+ / 0-) have me working in my job for them.

      I knew how to get the work done. Hell, I drew up the base sheets and blocks used all by my lonesome! I knew where everything is and what to do to get the work done. But they didn't keep me busy, since they couldn't keep up.

      I was also a crutch for the two younger men who eventually were running my section, since they didn't know the territory, having  not come up through the ranks nor trying to learn it. One of them got the supervisor's job instead of me. Neither had the guts to stand up for their people, or seek new people for the section. When I retired, they didn't replace me, and my position was written out of the budget 18 months afterwards. Next June, another engineer retires, and probably won't be replace, either.

      The two guys I mentioned will be lucky if they can hold onto their jobs!

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:16:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Keep telling yourself that. (11+ / 0-)

      The last interview I had was a day and a half long multiple panel interview.  I was interviewed by around 20 people.  The guy that was the position's boss.  Every person in his unit.  Every person (save one) in the two units his worked with and their bosses.  His boss.  His bosses boss, the vice president (note:  singular.  There can be only one).  I too have a killer resume showing years of experience (including a PhD) and a mile-long list of technical skills.  It was the best interview I've had so far and was preceded by four phone interviews.  That's out of five in-person interviews and I have no clue how many phone interviews in my two year long search for employment.  It's been three months since that in-person interview and I'm still waiting to hear back.  Naturally I expect nothing at this point.  

      Interviewing with seven different people isn't even standard--it's well below standard.  Having a killer resume means nothing.  Years of experience means nothing.  A mile long list of technical skills means nothing.  Ass-kicking written recommendations mean nothing (I've one from a member of the National Academy of Sciences--whoop de f*cking do).  I know the work backwards, forwards, up side down, inside out, and have nearly a decade of experience training people for some of the jobs I've applied for.  To merely say "I obviously know the work" is slander.

      But in this job market where a hundred fully qualified people are applying to each and every job all of that means less than nothing.  The job market is a raffle.  A few win, the vast majority lose.  You got lucky, nothing more.  There are a hundred people lined up to take your job and they'll do it for fifty cents on the dollar, and that's not including offshoring.  Ignore those facts at your own peril.  I'd like to rah-rah workers but we're in the ultimate employers' job market and have been for many years.

      •  I never said... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigOkie, Dirtandiron, Brian B

        I never said you should be in the position you're in.  

        The reason I applied for this job was because my last one was outsourced.  So thank you for the advice, but I'm well aware of how disposable my corporate overlords think I am.  I'm not sure why my refusal to internalize their abuse bothers you.

        And no, it's not luck.  Luck is pure chance.  Your unhappiness doesn't change the fact that I wouldn't have been called for the interview if I hadn't already been doing that type of work for years.  Does that mean I was the only qualified person who applied?  Of course not.  I'm sure plenty of qualified people didn't even have their resumes glanced at.  I went through plenty of that  myself before I got this job.  But that doesn't make me less qualified, or less skilled, and I don't deserve the recommendations any less.  It's not like I'm Luke Russert -- I worked for it.  (So did the other candidates.  And they all should be working, and I hope they are.)

        But it's about time people stopped thinking "I'm so lucky, I'm so grateful." Because that leads to "Well, they cut my pay, but I'm grateful I still get my benefits."  The following year, it's "They cut my benefits, but I'm lucky they didn't cut my hours."  Then it's "They cut my hours, but I'm lucky I have a job."  Like the proverbial frog in the pot of steadily heating water.

        What if employers hadn't been able to get away with that all this time?  What if people did what Wal-Mart workers have started doing, or what Occupy Wall Street started last year?  What if they'd started fighting back?  Maybe there'd be more people getting paid better now, resulting in a stronger economy, and fewer people like you getting fucked over.  That's what I want, and what I hope might happen.  

        But it won't even start until people stop saying "I'm so lucky," like they themselves have accomplished nothing and are only working because the benevolent corporate gods chose to rain good fortune on them.

    •  Totally crap HR. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kcc, Dirtandiron

      Argue either side, but there is NOTHING in that comment that justifies an HR.

    •  Hnichols, why the drive-by HR? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigOkie, Dirtandiron

      Is it because you disagree with me?  I'm not sure that's how HRs are supposed to work.

      At least have the courtesy to explain why you think it's warranted.

  •  One rule have always lived by... (16+ / 0-)

    My employer is not doing me a favor by giving me a job, I am doing them a favor working for them for their benefit.

    They are lucky to have me as an employee.  

    Not vice-versa.

    "Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, a fanatical criminal" -- Logical Song -- Rick Davies & Roger Hodgson

    by Over50Lib on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:03:39 PM PST

  •  I work like a frightened rabbit... (9+ / 0-) be able to say "I'm lucky to have a job."

    I earned my job with the quality and quantity of my work, and with my determination to be better at it than I was yesterday.

    "She's petite, extremely beautiful, and heavily armed." -1995 Michael Moore documentary Canadian Bacon

    by Tom Seaview on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:09:56 PM PST

  •  Doesn't make sense (5+ / 0-)

    What practical impact does this advice actually have?

    In the real world, your employer is lucky to have you if you are good at your job, make money for them, and are not easily replaced.

    If you do a mediocre job that anyone can do, you can tell your employer they are lucky until you are blue in the face. Then they'll smile and ask if you're coming in Monday or should they hire someone else.

    Your attitude toward your job is something no one cares about. They care if you can execute or if you can't, or if you have valuable skills or you don't.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:10:51 PM PST

    •  Do you really believe (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mysoreback, Dirtandiron, carrps

      some of the stuff you write?

      Plenty of people have jobs who are nowhere near mediocre [as in less than mediocre] or are generally incompetent simply because people are employed by people who like them.  It has little to do with genuine productivity or competence.  

      If your boss likes you, he or she will simply overlook all of your faults.  If your boss doesn't like you, then there is nothing you can do that is right.

      The people at the top are typically the ones who blab the most or the loudest, or who successfully sabotaged and bullied other people to reach the top.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:33:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Selling yourself" (0+ / 0-)

        ...and taking the time to educate your employer as to your value are important skills as well as the specific technical skills involved in whatever it is you do.

        If your thesis was true then most successful companies are run by morons. This clearly is not the case. At least in my line of work, personality only gets you so far. With customer commitments and budgets on the line, pretty faces who can't perform don't last long.

        Sometimes, the problems you describe occur to highly competent people. More often, I suspect, "the boss doesn't like me" type people turn out to be simply less competent and effective.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:07:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know how old (0+ / 0-)

          you are, but the notion of competence is a myth probably for at least 1/2 of all the employed.

          I've seen it way too many times--where unqualified people are hired and have no business getting the job that they got.  And I've seen it way too many times where performance problems, incompetence, lack of interpersonal skills [usually all three together] are simply overlooked by the person's superior.  And I'm talking about obvious problems--I could list a bajillion examples, but it would take too long.  And then there are those who get where they do because of nepotism  or insider connections.  And I've seen plenty of people who simply show up to work.  Because the boss likes them, they get to goof off.

          You live in a nice world.  I've been at places like yours, and I've been at places where what I describe is the norm.

          I would venture to guess, since you so ventured, that people who tend to dismiss these notions are probably the worst offenders who think that they [themselves] are just wonderful, while their coworkers think that they're asses who get away with everything under the sun.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:51:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  My answer is "fuck that" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, JeffW

    (R's) take those tired memes and shove 'em, Denise Velez Oliver, 11/7/2012.

    by a2nite on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:11:51 PM PST

  •  My luck ran out. (7+ / 0-)

    On the other hand, the place where I worked is toxic. Sometimes you have to pick your poison.

    •  Me too, but I don't feel unlucky. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      israelfox87, JeffW, Dirtandiron, jck

      My job sucked, and I am not helpless.  You move on, try to find something better.  If you feel "lucky" to be employed, they own you.

      See you in Heaven if you make the list. R.E.M.

      by Akronborn on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:25:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That owned feeling comes with not seeing a lot (6+ / 0-)

        prospects for another job that pays close or as well. When you support a family, then it's not just about you. I agree, that the workers make the employers lucky. But when someone knows they can hold you hostage by indirectly threatening your family with poverty, homelessness, hunger, humiliation, then they feel free to make the statement that "You are lucky to have a job".

        There are plenty of skilled people out there who haven't found work that pays enough to pay the bills.

        And as long as there is no solidarity with workers, then this bullshit about owning employees will be a constant problem.

        And people will cringe at the thought of losing their homes, their healthcare, their pensions, etc.,

        It's scary building a life, and then dealing with someone who is petty and mean spirited, who would willingly throw it and you away, so you can be an example for others.

        •  Honestly (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GreenMother, JeffW

          that last paragraph sounds very, very familiar, and I do have a family to support, and it is scary.  But I have to believe in myself, and that my skills will make the difference, and that if I can't make as much, we will find a way to live with less.

          I stayed more than long enough in a bad situation, but in the end, I couldn't let myself feel that I needed that job so badly that I was trapped.  Life is too short.

          See you in Heaven if you make the list. R.E.M.

          by Akronborn on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:13:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I certainly do not blame you, I guess I am just (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            trying to remind us, that people may come to different conclusions despite being in similar situations.

            I am glad you found a way out. Best wishes to you for your future success and prosperity.

  •  "The companhy is lucky to have me/us"....and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    israelfox87, Dirtandiron, JeffW

    I think luck is turning MY direction. The corporate free ride is ending.


    And explore self-employment and/or forming co-ops with your colleagues.

  •  Yes! This idea that ownership bequeaths jobs (9+ / 0-)

    onto employees must die.

    Every -- and I mean EVERY -- employment situation is an exchange. Each party has something the other needs. The employer has money and needs labor. The employee has labor and needs money. Neither party can do without the other.

    Ownership and management has somehow pulled the psychological trick of making employees forget that they have something management needs. Jobs are no longer seen as business exchanges, they're seen as largess.

    And it was like this long before the current economic downturn. Ownership wants it this way, because it gives them the power of manipulation. Labor should not help them in that endeavor.

    You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

    by kenlac on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:15:09 PM PST

  •  I'm on salary, work extra hours whenever needed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, JeffW, Chi, GreenMother

    all vacations and time off is tentative until the actual day of. I still check email on the day off and weekends. Weekends without work or heavy email checking doesn't mean I'm not spending time walking through scenarios, brainstorming a problem with or asking advice from my wife, or vice versa.


    The job is lucky to have me.

    klaatu barada nikto

    by JohnGor0 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:15:57 PM PST

    •  I think America is the only first world country (7+ / 0-)

      where we abuse ourselves like that.  

      We don't take vacations, we never have time off, we are available 24-7.  I've always had jobs like that, with tremendous responsibility.

      It's not right, because it's not a good way to live.  Only in America do we still feel guilt for taking time off.

      "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

      by mumtaznepal on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:51:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sometimes, you HAVE to draw a line. (16+ / 0-)

    There's pay cuts, there's "you're lucky to have a job" and there's just out and out rape.

    I work as a technician at the University of Michigan (given that I am a Ph.D., I'm already pretty severely underemployed).  My job is temporary; it was meant to last a year, then the funding would run out.

    My boss offered me another year's extension.  The catch?  It was at half-pay.  1/3rd less then the graduate students made in stipend, and quite possibly less then Ann Arbor's minimum wage.

    I told him it wasn't personal, but I could not live in A2 on that salary, and offered him the opportunity to try it himself.  He got really pissy and blathered on about how his kids did unpaid internships to start their careers.  I pointed out that a) his kids undoubtedly got a lot of parental support, and b) landlords, utilities and banks didn't accept "social charity" as currency...and that if that was the only offer on the table, I would be forced to walk, leave town and head for cheaper digs with my family.

    HIS boss came to me later - with an offer of 9 months' extension at full pay.  Still 30-50% less then what I should be making, mind, but it wasn't a 50% pay cut, either.

    There comes a point where a job becomes a negative-sum game...when it costs you more to have the job then it would be to be unemployed.  That was the point for me, and I stood my ground.  It paid off.

    •  Good for you! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ArchTeryx, means are the ends

      I've been wondering what's ahead for you.

      I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

      by peregrine kate on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:11:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure.. (3+ / 0-)

        Seems to be equal odds permanently unemployed, forever trapped in half-pay temp positions, or actually finding a career level job and salary.

        But no job can be utterly one-sided toward the employer.  You have to gain SOMETHING by being in that job - even if it is enough money to feed your family.  If there's no gain AT ALL, it's time to leave and seek better opportunities elsewhere.

        •  Can't answer those big questions for myself, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          let alone you.... But I can say that we're planning another Motor City Kossacks meet-up soon, probably to watch the Inauguration together. Let me know if  you're interested.

          I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

          by peregrine kate on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:18:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  This one just hit home for me (17+ / 0-)

    My boss informed me last week that my coworkers and I will be receiving a very small bonus this year. Our company took a financial hit this year due to a negligent, reckless and ill-advised decision by our company's President to extend credit to a customer in financial trouble who went into bankruptcy. The loss is being taken out of the pool that bonuses are drawn from.

    In my company, my bonus can account for up to 25% of my annual salary, we're not talking about a free turkey or a $10 gift card...this is income that each of us banks on and plans for all year. This year's bonus was to pay for a long-planned move to reduce my 50 mile commute and to pay my daughter's tuition for her first year of college.

    I expressed my dismay to my boss about this and was told that I should stop complaining because at least I am working. He also said I was a typical liberal looking for a handout.

    Yes, it is true that there are people that have it worse than I, but I am sick and damn tired of being treated as though my paycheck is a product of my employer's benevolence. I work dang hard for what I get, it's mine and I deserve it!

    •  What would he say if you had stock... (4+ / 0-) the company, and could say a few words about the boneheaded move upper management made in extending that credit at a stockholder's meeting? I should hope that the manager(s) responsible for that fiasco had a bigger chunk taken out of their bonus, but I'll wager they didn't.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:40:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, that might give momentary satisfaction (2+ / 0-)

        But owning a few shares of stock won't save your job after you humiliate your boss in front of HIS bosses.  

        "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

        by stormicats on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:56:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You might put a word in the ears of... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron, Calamity Jean

          ...your fellow stockholders, rather than take it solely upon yourself. I must say I've never been in either position, and never banked on any bonus. In fact the only job I had with any sort of "bonus" was with a small, family-owned engineering firm, and that "bonus" was a gift certificate to a local men's clothing store. They might have just not bothered.

          Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

          by JeffW on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:07:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's a privately held company (3+ / 0-)

        There are no stockholders, just six wealthy members of a wealthy family, descendants of the obscenely wealthy man who founded the company.

        •  Sounds just like the small, family-owned... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          ...firm I described above. Founded in 1899 by the owner's father, and the boss was in his early 90's. Interesting place to work, but the pay was nothing to write home about, and I would have had to marry into the family to get anywhere. I moved on after working for them for 15 months.

          Oh, and they were Republicans, too. But you probably guessed that

          Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

          by JeffW on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:32:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I am so lucky to have a job. (5+ / 0-)

    At the age of 62 I was unceremoniously dumped. I went for 18 months with no job. I will never rock the boat. I just need a job to survive.

    Ideological goals are wonderful until you have to buy groceries and pay the mortgage and get medical care.

    •  Ran into an old friend last Thursday morning when (6+ / 0-)

      I stopped for coffee on the way to work. She's one year younger than me- 55. She was smiling broadly, telling me she was retiring after 22 more workdays. At 55. She worked 34 years at our local VA hospital as a nurse.
      I told her I will work until I die.
      She told me sh is glad she had a government job.

      She bought my coffee.

      I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

      by Gentle Giant on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:01:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  These words came to me this very evening ... (4+ / 0-)

    ... when debating the choices for a health coverage open enrollment period.  It seems more dizzying this year than ever before, and after an hour of conversation and the review of multiple Power Point slides, i'm no clearer on what will actually be the most cost effective option.  It's going up - question is how much?  And will the choice that costs the least end up costing the most if something horrible happens?  It's just a mess ...

    But yea ... lucky to have health care i guess.  Though i'd feel luckier if we could actually afford to use it for health care.

    •  I learned a trick for that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Take a look at your out of pocket expenses last year.  Include anything paid for with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA).

      Next, figure out if you've got any big expenses coming up:  orthodontia, outpatient testing, elective surgery, chronic condition monitoring.

      ONLY if your out of pocket expenses are going to absolutely go over your deductible should you take the low deductible option.  Otherwise, you are putting money into the insurer's pocket that you will never recoup.  Take the high deductible option (since your expenses will never exceed EITHER deductible), and keep some money in your own pocket.

      Finally, get as much into the HSA as you can -- do all their little wellness things; they add up, they don't go away at the end of the year, and an HSA is PORTABLE if you lose your job.

      Never put more into your FSA than you think you'll need.  If you know you've got outpatient testing or orthodontia or something like that coming, put aside for that.  If you aren't sure, don't put it aside -- it's use it or lose it and you will really be annoyed with yourself if on December 31st you simply cannot figure out a way to spend out that last couple hundred dollars.  Better to have to pay it out of pocket, and not give the FSA provider any freebies.  That's how they make their money.

      "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

      by stormicats on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:06:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Start a company (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If profits are high, wages are low and employees are abundant, what better time to go into business?  That sounds a little trite, but seriously, opportunities are out there and plenty of people will knock on your door to work for you.

    History will be kind to us because we will write it.

    by Sky Net on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:38:31 PM PST

    •  All you need is some credit... (3+ / 0-)

      ...and/or investors.

      Piece of cake!

      Maybe I should try that when we move to Stephenson County, IL, next year. There's a nice manufacturing building in Freeport that should be available, and a bunch of the former employees that worked in that building looking for work.

      Now, what to make?

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:43:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was going to say something similar (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sky Net, winsock, VClib

      why do people assume that someone has to "give them a job"?  I know a lot of people who don't like the idea of working for someone else, so they developed some skill that others will pay for and started their own business.  For some, the "business" was just themselves, doing things others will pay for.  I know a plumber, an auto mechanic, a computer tech, someone who cleans houses, someone who installs audio video systems, someone who has a lawn and garden service, all kinds of things. I know someone who goes to homes of clients to do manicures and pedicures, and has been doing that for years.   In a lot of ways, that's harder than just having a job, because not only do you have to worry about doing the work, you also have to worry about GETTING the work, and business generation is work in and of itself, that you do on your own time.  But for some people, that's a better than having to rely on someone else to "give them a job." In a lot of these instances, the people built a situation where they were able to have someone else working for them.  

      The only people who are "lucky to have a job" are people who don't have much in the way of marketable skills and/or are easily replaceable  Then, yes, luck plays into it -- any one of a lot of people could do that work, it just happens to be them.  People who gotten in-demand skills, or who have worked to build a reputation so that they are in demand, are not "lucky" to have a job.  They have earned the spot they have.  

      •  Some people are good at doing something... (7+ / 0-)

        ...but know they are not good at running a business.

        I worked for some engineers years ago who were originally principals in a fairly large consulting firm. That form merged with another one, and they decided that they didn't like the deal, so they cashed out, and started their own smaller firm.

        The partnership didn't last too long for some. The ones who remained in this small firm didn't run it very well, and would frequently jettison employees at will. I was one of them, and wasn't surprised to hear two years later that they had gone out of business.

        I'm good at what I did for the last 27 years before I retired, but I have no interest in doing it as a consultant.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:01:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We have to support unions again! (7+ / 0-)

    Even if we don't belong to a union, we have to stand with them. Income inequality began when we stopped standing with labor.

    I don't know about all of you, but I'll trust a 'union thug' over a corporate CEO any day!

    Well behaved women rarely make history.

    by IamNotaKochsucker on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:41:05 PM PST

    •  I agree. We need a strong resurgence of unions, (3+ / 0-)

      starting with abused minimum wager workers like WalMart, Amazon, etc.

      "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

      by mumtaznepal on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:56:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just curious (0+ / 0-)

    Do you actually know an employer?

  •  Holy crap! (4+ / 0-)

    This post just described the last 16 years of my life & my current economic condition. I'm currently facing trouble for back taxes. How I wish my governments would bail me out just enough to relieve me of that burden. My wages stagnated, but the cost of living did not.

    The working man has been had in this country for decades. Class warfare may soon become something much more tangible and much less metaphorical.

    I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

    by Gentle Giant on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:44:21 PM PST

  •  UNUM web ads on the Rachel Maddow Show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are offensive.  The woman says something like "I wouldn't last 2 months without this job.  So when they asked me to kick in 'a couple of bucks' I said sure."

    I would DIE so I am lucky. UGH


  •  Not job creators - wealth extractors (9+ / 0-)

    Nobody runs a business with the idea of maximizing the number of employees they have. The goal is always to do more with less, trim the payroll, boost productivity. Eliminate benefits and pensions, and keep wages as low as possible. Minimize expenses and invest not one cent more than you have to. (And none at all if the aim is to cash out in the near future.)

    Those are the goals CEOs pursue. That's why they get the big bucks - and why shareholders demand they do it so they can get more of those big bucks too. This is the model vulture capitalists operate on; this is why they've been strip mining the middle class for decades; this why they exalt the ownership class.

    Because if you aren't a wealth extractor, you're just raw material to be exploited and used up. That's why no single payer. That's why raise the retirement age. That's why the carried interest rule and the low capital gains rate. That's why the anti-government fetish, where it's not a wholly owned subsidiary being gutted for private gain. That's why the contempt for 'muppets'.

    And they want us to be grateful to them for all of this. They demand we stroke their egos and give them precedence. They want us to bow to their superiority.

    "Lucky to have a job" indeed.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:46:41 PM PST

  •  Nobody ever tells employers (14+ / 0-)

    they're lucky to have well educated, hard working, and conscientious employees.  It's taken for granted.  Similarly, nobody ever points out employers are lucky in this country to have a well developed infrastructure.  That's where all the outrage over "You didn't build that" came from -- businesses have a right to operate in an environment where they have plenty of educated workers to choose from, police and firefighters to protect them, roads to move their goods, laws o protect their commerce.  These are rights so entrenched that they don't even think they have to pay for these things; they are just supposed to be part of the environment like air.  

    We worship capital in this country, treat labor with disdain, yet most of us are labor.  It's upside down.  

    The 1 percent doesn’t vote against their self-interest. Why should the 99 percent? -- Joan Vennochi

    by Martin Gale on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:46:50 PM PST

  •  It all started when they dropped "Personnel" (7+ / 0-)

    First we were "human resources" and now we're just "resources."   The department is "HR," an acronym that has lost its meaning.  No one wants to be reminded that the "resources" are actually "human."

    I made the mistake of commenting in a staff meeting how I felt being called a "resource" was demeaning, as if I were no more than a computer or a desk chair.  I suspect I had the Mark of Cain from that point on, and when my manager was told to cut someone, I was the sacrificial goat.  Despite having earned certifications, cross-training and doing pretty much everything else I was told I needed to do to preserve my "relevance" to the company, no matter how uninteresting or scatter-shot I found it.  In addition, I volunteered for any project in sight that I could contribute to.  But nope, gotta "trim the fat" (was that the thunk of a cleaver on bone I heard?), so out the door I was after more than a decade.

    Now I'm doing contract work and hoping it will last.  

    How can we, especially in professions like IT, where Union is the concept that dare not speak its name, get BACK to the point where we are personnel, and valued for not only the skills we have but the skills we CAN learn, given a chance?  How do we stop being "resources," seen as overhead and as replaceable as a worn keyboard?

    How can we speak up for anything when no one is listening except other people in the same boat as we are?  We're a bunch of POWs in the Class War, telling each other how we're going to escape... to where?

    It's getting late.  I have a 6 AM meeting tomorrow.  And despite being employed at the moment, I know the abyss is only a couple steps behind me.

    "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

    by stormicats on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:50:36 PM PST

    •  Oooh, you just hit a nerve with me! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar, Dirtandiron, Calamity Jean

      That job I retired from, I once had a section head who referred to me as a "resource". He thought it was a complement, but I set him straight really quick. He didn't do to well as our section head, though, and we got a new one not to long after that.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:53:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I refuse. (5+ / 0-)

      Have caught shit for it a time or two as well.  I talk only of teams and people.

      The worst?  Sales people vs technical resources...  hate it, and every time I push back I get the oddest looks.  Nobody really wants to recognize that labor creates wealth, but that is universally true and the sooner we all get that, the sooner we can be valued properly.

      ***Be Excellent To One Another***

      by potatohead on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:00:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, it is become less and less (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sky Net

        true that labor creates wealth.  

        More and more, knowledge creates wealth.  Labor is becoming a less valuable commodity.  

        •  And you don't think knowledge is labor? (4+ / 0-)

          ***Be Excellent To One Another***

          by potatohead on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:55:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It is talk like yours that is causing a lot of (5+ / 0-)


          Basic labors are always needed.  Those that do them have to live just the same as a scientist or some talented artist or other special person.

          They need a place to live, clothes, food, healthcare, retirement and every other thing people need.

          People themselves, have a minimum cost to be healthy, happy people.

          When we don't value their labor well enough for them to labor to reach that happy healthy state, something is wrong.

          No matter who you are, you have only so many hours a day to labor.

          In fact, life is thirds.  One is for work, one is to live, one is to sleep.

          Devaluing people means forcing them to choose between sleep and life, meaning they basically have no life, or they take on higher risks, die early, etc...

          It is ALWAYS true that wealth is the product of labor.  ALL of it, everywhere at all times for anyone.  

          Failure to get this is the source of a lot of basic problems in the world.

          And labor is personal exertion over time.  How do we get knowledge?  People fixate their attention on a specific task over time.

          How do we move materials?  People fixate their use of their bodies to the task of moving things over time.

          In both cases labor was performed.  In both cases that person isn't free to act as they would.

          Now, one could love what they do for work, and that's a desirable state, enviable.  It's rare too.  Most of us spend significant amounts of our time purposed by other people as opposed to self-purposed time.

          That is labor.

          Connect this to wealth.

          What is wealth?  It simply is having the majority, of our time, and in particular waking time, be self-purposed time as opposed to time others purpose for us.

          When we do not value people's labor such that their labor delivers them enough value to live a modest life, we force them into either taking much higher risks, like not getting medical care or eating well or sleeping the right amounts, or we make them very poor, meaning they labor for most of their time, unable to live in a desirable state, most of their time purposed for them, as slaves.

          Capital you say?

          Labor again.  How do you think that value was created and aggregated?  Labor over time producing value above and beyond that paid in compensation to laborers can be stored and that is capital.

          All of it, from the dawn of time is derived from labor.

          Now, here's the ugly kicker.  

          Knowledge applied to labor over time improves efficiency.  

          There are two ways we can go with this.  One way is everybody can work a little less and we all get more wealthy as a society.

          And that was happening until we shifted away from properly valuing people.

          The other way is we can use that technology to devalue people, paying them much less, which delivers most of the wealth to the owners, enslaving the people as the technology grows.

          As a society we don't become more wealthy in the second scenario.  We have nice shiny things, but we labor more for less liquid dollars, with more and more of our time purposed for us as opposed to sharing in the benefit of automation having more time to purpose ourselves.

          Add in outsourcing with that technology?

          Now we get insanely cheap TV's and tablets produced in places where people suicide because they are valued so poorly, treated badly, paid little, laboring constantly so that others elsewhere live more desirable lives.


          We gut our middle class, rendering wave after wave of people poor, despite having nice things.

          Whoever convinced you of that lied big and is seeking to over exploit you for their own gain.  Count on it.

          The basic things I have just written have been true as long as humans have been around.  Absolutely nothing has changed, and it won't either.

          ***Be Excellent To One Another***

          by potatohead on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 10:11:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thoughtful comment, enough for a diary ! (0+ / 0-)

            Several business bloggers ( example here - Umair Haque of HBR) are musing on the need for not just "more stuff" but "lives better lived"



            Yesterday, pundits and talking heads believed this crisis was just a garden-variety, workaday crash. Today, people like Tyler Cowen and I have called it a Great Stagnation. But here's what I believe it might just be called tomorrow, when the history books have been written, and the debates concluded: a Eudaimonic Revolution. A sweeping, historic transformation in what we imagine a good life to be, and how, why, where, and when we pursue it.

            Though it harks back to antiquity, eudaimonia's a smarter, sharper, wiser, wholer, well, richer conception of prosperity. And deep down, while it might be hard to admit, I'd bet we all know that our current habits are leaving us — have left us — not merely financially and fiscally broken, but, if not intellectually, physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually empty, then, well, probably at least just a little bit unhealthy. Eudaimonic prosperity, in contrast, is about mastering a new set of habits: igniting the art of living meaningfully well. An active conception of prosperity, it's concerned not with what one has, but what one is capable of.



            What, then, does it mean for an economy to be "healthy"? Consider, for a moment, a few very different numbers.

            9.8% of adults strongly agree that their life is close to their ideal.
            19% of adults strongly agree that they are satisfied with their life.
            21% of adults strongly agree that their life has a clear sense of purpose.
            30% of adults strongly agree that on most days they feel a sense of accomplishment from what they do.
            Surprised? Here's what I'd suggest: we might be in a eudaimonic depression. The real depression isn't merely a temporary lapse in economic "output" — but a depression of human potential; one of human significance squandered.

            "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

            by New Rule on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 02:59:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  And they ask.... (4+ / 0-)

          Why pay somebody when I can just use a machine?

          The answer?

          If you don't pay people, their value drops, and when their value drops they are increasingly unable to meet needs with their labor shorting wants, increasing crime, raising costs due to sickness and the many other things poor people suffer from.

          The result of that is they simply become unable to afford the product of the machines.

          Truth is, when we make machines, we free time and labor that can be applied to better machines, or more robust lives, or more advanced things, better things, simpler things.

          Always going for the cheaper things means we devalue ourselves and for a time it works, but in the end, when so many of us simply are not valued properly things break down, and that is where we are right now.

          Could be you tomorrow.

          It has been me twice in my life.  Jumped careers twice, finally settling on people based work because they simply cannot easily outsource that, and so I will endure for a time valued well enough to live a modest life.

          Can all of us do that?  No.  The basic labors are always needed.  Always.

          So we come to a basic question.  Is it OK to undervalue people so that we get nice things?

          That cool computer you are working on is the product of a lot of people royally screwed to bring it to you.  The words we exchange here are subsidized with blood and bright futures rendered moot.

          That cheap sandwich you get?  The guy who made it has no real future, will likely die early, can't retire, won't see good health care without an expensive subsidy, will see great difficulty owning a home.

          Wash, rinse repeat for wave after wave of work, whole industries gone or rolled over into low wage jobs where they paid family wage jobs before.

          Suddenly that sandwich costs too much, because an increasing number of people do not make enough to participate in the society they live in.

          That is the impact of your words.  Know it.

          ***Be Excellent To One Another***

          by potatohead on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 10:22:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Why bother (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      To your company, you are a resource. Get over it and try to be the best resource you can. It seems pointless to me to pick fights over such minutae.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:17:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You really ARE a troll, Sparhawk! n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peregrine kate, wsexson, farmerchuck

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:34:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Whatever (0+ / 0-)

          Unfortunately, cutting into a staff meeting asking that people not be called resources is not a smart thing. It sends the message that you don't really care about the true purpose of the meeting and are willing to waste everyone's time with trivial irrelevancies.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:05:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, insufficient information (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I did not provide complete details of the meeting, which was a general discussion in which individual concerns were solicited, regarding the working of the department and "any other concerns" we might have had.

            My comment, if uncomfortable, was germane to the subject at hand.  Sometimes staff meetings really are about the staff.

            "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

            by stormicats on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:30:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  We're not even Resources anymore (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stormicats, means are the ends

      We went from Personnel to Human Resources to Human Capital. Next step Soylent Green?

      Oh, and we're not employees. We're independent contributors.

      I can't tell you how happy I am I'm retiring next month.

  •  Can't We All Just Bury Are Heads In A Teabag (0+ / 0-)

    Like a Tea Party Teabagger?

    The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

    by kerplunk on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:54:34 PM PST

  •  They don't value people properly. (6+ / 0-)

    That means we must and as long as we can be divided enough to prevent reform they will screw as many of us as they can because that is more and better for them.

    Anyone working full time, and I mean anyone regardless of the job they do, needs enough compensation to live a modest life.  That means retirement, health care, living expenses.

    Some say, "we can't afford that" and the answer is we must, or we accept that a lot of get screwed so some of us can benefit.

    Really, we push work we could do ourselves or pay more for onto people we don't value well enough to make that work worth doing.  Maybe we could all do a little more, or we could indulge less so that everybody laboring their lives away has a shot at living those lives.

    This is not a market problem, but a moral one.  Either we commit to valuing people both in their labor and person, or we don't, and if we don't then it could be us next, because the race to all get ours by fucking other people over is a race filled with mostly losers.

    Look around people.  Who is next to get devalued?  Wave after wave since the 80's, each rendered down to poverty wages so that the rest get cheap service, coffee, sandwiches, TV, clothes, and whatever else.

    That cheap shit means some of your friends, family, neighbors and kids will live poor and die early to subsidize the fat margins and cheap labor policy most corporations continue to push for.

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***

    by potatohead on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:55:24 PM PST

  •  And Then There Is Luke Russert (4+ / 0-)

    The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

    by kerplunk on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:05:50 PM PST

  •  That's what the aristocracy wants. (4+ / 0-)

    It wants the working class to feel looked after, while they scrabble around for scraps from the master's table. /baltar

    There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the Republicans no matter what. Our job is not to worry about those people.

    by xenothaulus on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:49:10 PM PST

  •  Well, up until Nov. 30th I could say that... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, means are the ends

    Dec. 1, I was laid off. No job now.

  •  I really am lucky... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, means are the ends work for a company of people that know they're lucky to have me.  I am treated well, I get good benefits, and I respond by working my ass off for them.  This should be the norm:  mutual respect and good faith.  

    I hope that we can work towards a society where it is the norm, and I can no longer call myself "lucky."

  •  Ya know.... (4+ / 0-)

    As someone who has a job, a low paying, dead-end, thankless, not paying-the-bills, you-better-be here-or-else kinda job, I don't feel so lucky.  
    I know I could be un-employed and be frantic, but I am employed and frantic. There is so much wrong with where I work, I don't even know where to begin.  I have gone into deep debt from the cost of everything spiraling outta sight, except my paycheck which stays the meagerly same.  From abusive, incompetent supervisors, to favoritism, to not being able to be sick or we get 'marks' against us, which makes the incidence of people coming to work sick an endless cycle of sick/not sick/sick/not sick.  We get health insurance, but can't afford to go to the doctor, even if we could find one who's taking on new patients.
    I realize I have a job, and therefore should feel lucky, but ya know what, I'm not young, I've had good jobs in the past, what I have now isn't good, it's a new form of servitude, and forgive me, I don't feel lucky, I feel angry.

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

    by Lilyvt on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:51:40 AM PST

  •  I was lucky.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    means are the ends

    I used my life savings to start a sustainable energy company after getting laid off... My income dropped from 120K+ to 35K. Of course I lost all that to cancer and the downturn. Banks and suppliers are real big on calling in your loans when they find out you have cancer.
    I was lucky...
    I was only out of work for two years following the cancer surgery, and I'm sure the stress of not qualifying for unemployment or assistance of any kind really helped the recovery. And I was lucky enough to develop diabetes from the poor diet during the recovery. I was lucky that I could sell everything I had built for the past 45 years to make sure that Citi got their money, so I got to keep the farm that was our only source of food and "income" during the laid off times.
    I was lucky...
    I was able to declare chapter 7 last year, as the auditor that went through EVERYTHING we still own, and found NO appreciable assets.
    I was lucky...
    That job I found after the cancer paid 20K, and Citi agreed to only take 92% of that for the mortgage, and we could find a second job to pay the taxes of 10,000/year.
    I was lucky...
    I was able to get unemployment from the state of Vermont when I got laid off at the end of August, and it covered almost 80% of the mortgage.
    I was lucky...
    I kept receiving unemployment for 7 weeks, until I turned down a minimum wage job, that my doctor said would permanently damage my back. Should only take (I'm told) another 6-10 weeks for my appeal to be heard, and then I might be able to receive temporary disability from the state, although it will be less than the unemployment, and I won't get any payments in the interim.

    I get much luckier and I'll be dead.

    "I took a walk around the world, To ease my troubled mind. I left my body laying somewhere In the sands of time" Kryptonite 3 doors Down

    by farmerchuck on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:11:51 AM PST

  •  The Campaign Continues Always... (0+ / 0-)

    Even though they've finished most of the final vote counting and the media has moved on to other issues, we're still in a continuous campaign, evident here on this blog more than most other places, but it's pretty much everywhere. The entries on racism are powerful spurs to get our conscience awake and charged to engage more quickly in those situations where speaking up can change the moment and add to the millions necessary to move the mountains that still need lifting.
    The campaigns for equal rights, marriage equality, voting rights, fair wages, addressing climate change - these all require participation and action. They are part of a greater campaign, fairness, justice, peace.
    That we are here, participating here, is a kind of call, a call to do a little more, to think a little more clearly, to speak with a bit more compassion, to take action, to help out where we can and encourage those around us to keep getting involved, to find their own ways to participate, to see and to support the larger campaign.
    It's, to my mind, the community we all seek to share...  

  •  God Bless the Master Class (0+ / 0-)

    who kindly allow some of us to work for less than a living wage.

    Let's all run over to Company HQ, get down our knees, and kiss their golden feet.

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Nov: Lives lost trying to earn a living.

    by JayRaye on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 11:52:07 AM PST

    •  Thank You Boss (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you Boss for minimum wage
      Thank you Boss for part-time fare
      Thank you Boss for tips on where
      We can get food stamps and shelter.
                              Bless You, Boss

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Nov: Lives lost trying to earn a living.

      by JayRaye on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 12:32:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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